Monday, February 29, 2016

Breaking: BOE to Discuss Superintendent Contract in Secret Tomorrow

What perks is the new superintendent demanding?  
Take home car, home office, travel, part-time outside employment, more health insurance, or top salary, it is anybody's guess!  The Montgomery County Board of Education didn't pick this new superintendent in a public process and they will not include the public in the formation of the contract for this superintendent. 

http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/uploadedFiles/boe/meetings/agenda/2016/160301%20Resolution%20for%20Closed%20Session.pdf

Council: "MCPS has fairly consistently underestimated actual emollment"

Today at 2:30 PM, the Montgomery County Council's PHED Committee will discuss their plan to overcrowd Montgomery County Public Schools for developers who want to build more housing.

The Council knows MCPS enrollment forecasts are flawed, but doesn't care.

The Council plans on simply "enlarging" the following schools to accommodate the plans of developers in the Westbard area.  Similar plans are being hatched for other parts of the county.

 So much for the Maryland State study that reported on the "optimal" size for public schools! 

Classroom trailers have been in use in MCPS for over 30 years.  They will be on the ground for another 30 years if the Montgomery County Council and Montgomery County Planning Board have their way. 


http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/Resources/Files/agenda/cm/2016/160229/20160229_PHED1.pdf

120 Cell Towers/Access Points for Montgomery County Residential Neighborhoods. Coming Soon! Germantown/North Potomac/Potomac

Disclaimer:  This article does not directly relate to Montgomery County Public Schools, however, because the Parents' Coalition has tracked how cell towers go up on Board of Education land we believe that the homes impacted by this plan may be interested in knowing what is coming.  We doubt Montgomery County government has done anything to notify these residences.  

We do not know if any of these cell towers are going up in front of public schools.  The list of locations for these 120 access points has not been made public. 

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, at 2 PM, the Montgomery County Tower Committee will approve the construction of 14 cell towers in North Potomac. 

These 14 cell towers are part of a 120 Cell Tower/Access Point deal with Montgomery County Government to put up cell towers in RESIDENTIAL neighborhoods in North Potomac, Potomac and Germantown.

These are neighborhoods with NO UTILITY POLES.
These communities will now get cell towers in front of homes.  How many neighbors to the planned 120 cell towers/access points have been notified of this massive project? Anyone with concerns about property values?

Please forward this information to NORTH POTOMAC, POTOMAC and GERMANTOWN residents and let them check the list of some of the addresses up for cell towers on March 2nd.

See Agenda Items 12 - 25 for the March 2nd Tower Committee meeting.  The Tower Committee does not have any citizen representation on the committee. 20 of these cell towers have already been approved by the Tower Committee.  14 cell towers will be approved on Wednesday.  86 more locations/access points will be approved in the months to come? 

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cable/Resources/Files/Towers/agendas/2016/3-2-16_agenda.pdf
 

#MCPS Special Ed Student Data Breach, @MCPS Sits On Information for Months, Doesn't Notify Parents Themselves

MCPS to Parents: You're On Your Own.

Washington Post, February 29, 2019

Stolen computer had MCPS special education student data on hard drive

The data included parent and student names, addresses, phone numbers, students’ birth dates, school status, disability, race, home language spoken, mediation and hearing outcomes, most recent IEP meeting date and type, and school enrollment information. No social security numbers were included.

The school system provided the data to WestEd to help identify parents to participate in a focus group or survey for the special education study.

“We are frustrated with their carelessness toward our records,” said Montgomery schools spokesman Derek Turner.

To read the whole article, CLICK HERE.

Planning Board Member Presley is not eligible for reappointment

County Council Looking for New Planning Board Member to Start This Summer: Republican Amy Presley’s second term will end in June

$120,285 in Uncollected Property Taxes on Board of Education Cell Towers

Base of a Board of Education cell tower.
Last week, the Parents' Coalition documented how many of the Board of Education cell towers owe back property taxes.  The total amount in back taxes currently owed is $120,285.85.

The amount of property taxes owed on Board of Education cell towers could buy 2 more teachers for MCPS classrooms. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Civic Federation: Protect Montgomery County homeowners by capping assessment increases at 5%

Maryland's homestead property tax credit is a cap that helps protect people from being taxed out of their homes during times of rising property assessments. The default cap is 10% but most counties in Maryland have chosen a much lower percentage to better protect their homeowners. Now that property values are recovering, it is time for Montgomery County's homeowners to have better protection. Five percent is a cap level that has worked well in counties across the state and even in the Town of Kensington.

The Montgomery County Council has never chosen to protect homeowners in this way, but our Montgomery County Delegates and Senators can do it by passing MC 28-16 (HB1078), a bill limiting assessment increases to 5%.

To add your signature to the over 350 signers of the change.org petition, go to:

https://www.change.org/p/maryland-state-house-protect-montgomery-county-homeowners-by-capping-assessment-increases-at-5

You can also leave a comment when you sign the petition.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Bill to Permit Alcohol Sales Across Street from BCC High School

Bill MC 8-16 is currently being reviewed by the legislature.

Montgomery County – Alcoholic Beverages Licenses – 
Exemption From Minimum Distance Restrictions


http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2016RS/bills/hb/hb1067f.pdf

$37,218.51 in Back Taxes Owed on Cell Tower at Woodwards Road School Site

Children can not use this school site. It is leased to cell tower companies and Comcast.
See our previous post on Wheaton High School's cell tower

03696820 is one of the property tax identification numbers for the Woodwards Road school site cell tower.  This one vendor owes $37,218.51 in back property taxes.

Again, no one on the Board of Education cares if the private companies using public school land do not pay their property taxes.  What is the MCPS Real Estate office doing to collect these back taxes? 

The Board of Education certainly does not need property taxes to fund MCPS! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Schools win court case against special needs student

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/newsx/local/item/3138-schools-win-court-case-against-special-needs-student

New tests show radon at potentially deadly levels in many schools

While the number of children and staff members who get lung cancer and die from radon exposure in MCPS facilities won't be known until many years in the future, tests reveal that the levels are well beyond EPA-recommended maximum levels in many classrooms and offices.

The most current available results are at the following link:
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/facilities/maintenance/default.aspx?id=460457

Some schools are still in the process of being tested, so if your school's results are not from 2015 or 2016, check back every week or so.


 Summary Radon Test Reports For All Facilities
           
           
           
       
 Individual Facility Radon Test Reports  
Elementary Schools             Middle Schools             High Schools            Other Facilities

Some Upcounty Residents Not Happy With Board Suggestions For New School Name

Some Upcounty Residents Not Happy With Board Suggestions For New School Name: The Board of Education suggested naming new Clarksburg middle school for former Wootton High School Principal Michael Doran or one of three other former school system officials

Board of Education Candidates Forum

We invite you to join us for a free League sponsored educational program "Board of Education Candidates Forum"

The quality of our public schools impacts everyone in the County whether or not you have a student enrolled.

65% of MCPS’s 2016 budget of 2.79 billion comes from local revenues, including income and property taxes.

Invest wisely in our School Board.  Learn more about current candidates, their priorities and positions before you cast your vote. 
Monday, February 29, 2016
6:30 to 8:30 PM
Carver Educational Services Center Auditorium
850 Hungerford Drive
Rockville, MD 20850


Please see the linked flyer for further details. We encourage you to share this information with others.

The public is always welcome and admission is free.

'Turf War' taking place over competitive bidding #fieldturf #nobids

This is in Georgia, but the same thing has gone on here in Montgomery County for over a decade.  We love no bid plastic grass purchases here in Montgomery County!  Why get bids when you can just shop!  

'Turf War' taking place over competitive bidding: A process meant to prevent fraud and misconduct is being called into question after millions of taxpayer dollars are allegedly being awarded to private companies without consent.

$32,225.65 owed on Kennedy High School Cell Tower in Back Property Taxes

Kennedy High School cell tower
See our previous post on Wheaton High School's cell tower

03696682 is one of the property tax identification numbers for the Kennedy High School cell tower.  That tax id number shows thousands of dollars in back property taxes owed on the Kennedy High School cell tower.

Again, no one on the Board of Education cares if the private companies using public school land do not pay their property taxes.  
The Board of Education certainly does not need property taxes to fund MCPS!  

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Superintendent candidate travel expenses revealed

MCPS took their time, but finally released a document summarizing the travel expenses for the superintendent candidates.

But note that these aren't the travel expenses for the 2016 search.   These are for the 2015 candidate search, which ended with hiring Larry Bowers, right from within MCPS.   So the BOE spent $9228.92 and got exactly zero in return.

We asked for the actual travel expense invoices.  MCPS said that they they didn't have the actual invoices.  Instead, they sent us the invoice below, which appears to have been prepared by the search firm,  ECRA Group, Inc.

For all anyone knows, the figures from ECRA are entirely fictitious.   With no names or receipts, we have nothing to show that the ECRA bill is legitimate.  And neither does MCPS.  It's all based on trust.  Does your employer trust you this much?

Candidate A was frugal.  Seems that she walked to and from the airport.  She also walked to and from her hotel.  She must be on a starvation diet because it seems that she ate absolutely nothing.

Candidate B was also quite frugal.  He apparently ate TV dinners during his visit.  Spending so little on meals would not make our previous superintendent or our current BOE look very good by comparison.  We'd like to know how he got to and from the airport for a total of $15.00.   This guy really knows how to cut costs. 

Candidate C apparently thought that he was being recruited for a corporate executive job so he did whatever he could to spend, spend, spend on himself.  Kind of like former Superintendent Starr and a number of other MCPS executives.  $3806.00 in airline expenses.   Did he fly first class?   Or maybe he took two interview trips.  Even so, $3806.00 in airfare?   Did he come from London?

Candidate D didn't eat much.  Possibly another TV dinner guy.  He stayed at a reasonably priced hotel.  But he sure did like to fly in style.  First class, perhaps?

Candidate E was the most frugal overall.  No shocking expenses.  Maybe she didn't spend enough to please the BOE.

There were no travel expenses reported for local candidates.  Or maybe they walked from Howard County, Baltimore County, etc.  We'll never know.

MCPS Special needs students' information compromised


.@MCPS special needs students' data stolen. Watch @ABC7News at 4pm


Breaking: State BOE REVERSES Decision of MoCo BOE, "concerns about the logic of the Acting COO's decision to dismiss the Complaint" @MCPSOperations

From Twitter Profile
Conclusion to Maryland State Board of Education Opinion reversing decision of Montgomery County Board of Education.

"For the reasons stated above, we reverse the decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education to dismiss the appeal based on untimeliness and remand this case to the local board for appropriate processing and a decision.  We note that the statement of the hearing examiner, adopted by the Acting COO, that erratic attendance compromised the Section 504 plan raises concerns about the logic of the Acting COO's decision to dismiss the Complaint when one of the reasons for the Section 504 plan was to compensate for absences related to the student's disability. "


Chevy Chase Elementary School principal calls for stop to cyberbullying



*Former Superintendent Joshua Starr put elementary school students on Twitter.  Now, parents are being told to keep their elementary school students off of Twitter.

Md. Senate holds up seven Hogan appointments #education

The Senate Executive Nominations Committee voted Monday night to delay the confirmations of seven of the nearly six dozen appointees of Gov. Larry Hogan who are expected to be voted on as early as Friday. And while the chairman of the committee says the delays are part of the process, some Democratic senators made it clear that the some of the delays could be lengthy.

“None of the appointees should be aggrieved by this process,” said Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, D-Montgomery and chairman of the committee. “This is precisely what is contemplated by our constitution — advice and consent. We consent, but we also advise along the way.”

All of those being delayed are appointees to boards overseeing education, transportation and energy issues — subject areas over which the Senate has clashed with Hogan since the start of the session...

...The committee also held the appointment of Chester B. Finn to the state school board one day before the Senate recommitted a bill giving it confirmation powers over the next state schools superintendent...

 http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/02/23/senate-holds-up-seven-hogan-appointments/?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TDR+insider+022416&utm_content=Md.+Senate+holds+up+seven+Hogan+appointments

$8,101 in Back Property Taxes Owed on Springbrook Cell Tower

Warning on cell tower on Board of Education land.
One more cell tower vendor on Montgomery County Board of Education land that is not paying their required property taxes.  

Account Number: 03696578

March 1st: Blair Ewing Center Construction Update

Ewing Center
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is scheduled to update the feasibility study for the Alternative Education Programs at the Blair G. Ewing Center (14501 Avery Rd. in Rockville, MD).

There will be a public information meeting on Tuesday March 1, 2016, at 7pm where the updated concept plans for the Alternative Education Programs at Blair Ewing Center will be presented. Everyone present at the public information meeting will have the opportunity to hear about the updated plans and provide input about the proposed project.

The meeting will be at the Blair G. Ewing Center (14501 Avery Road in Rockville, MD 20853) onTuesday March 1st from 7:00pm - 8:30pm.

More information is available from Barbara_M_Ruppel@mcpsmd.org, or from the Division of Long-Range Planning (240-314-4700.

Sign language interpreter services will be provided upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 5 business days prior to the event. If you need this service or other services/aids to participate in this event, please email Barbara Ruppel, administrative secretary at Barbara_M_Ruppel@mcpsmd.org; TTY users should call Maryland Relay (711).

Separation-of-powers question stalls Md. state superintendent bill

The Maryland Senate has delayed a vote on a controversial bill that would give it confirmation oversight over the hiring of a new state schools superintendent in order to seek advice on whether such a law would violate the Maryland Constitution.
Some Democrats say it is time to make adjustments to the 100-year-old law that gives board members the ability to independently hire a superintendent. But lawmakers who support the bill pressed the pause button Friday and called for an advisory letter from the Maryland Attorney General’s office because of concerns about the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches...

 http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/02/19/separation-of-powers-question-stalls-state-superintendent-bill/?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TDR+Insider+012216&utm_content=Separation-of-powers+question+stalls+Md.+state+superintendent+bill

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Underage Drinking Letter from 2nd District Commander Captain David Falcinelli

Dear Residents of the 2nd District:

http://patch.com/maryland/rockville/teen-indicted-driving-deaths-wootton-high-students-0

The above link is an article on the indictment of the young driver involved in the crash that led to the death of two Wootton High School students back in June, 2015. I encourage you to read the article and the accompanying links about some steps that were taken by various members of the community after this very tragic crash. One of our officers recently lost his life to a drunk driver, a driver that had a history of alcohol related issues dating back several years. I am asking for your help to avoid any more tragedies.

In the last several months, the 2nd District has had its share of underage parties, in addition to receiving calls from various high schools about students showing up at school events intoxicated. Fortunately, no one died as a result of any of those events. The most significant event occurred in mid-January where students from American University had a party at a house in Bethesda, where 110 students were cited for possession of alcohol by a minor. There was also an assault on an officer, as well as a street robbery, both related to young people being intoxicated from this party. Charges for the hosts of this event are still in process, and American University is taking appropriate administrative sanctions against students involved in this event. These parties take multiple officers of the street for hours at a time. This is time that is no longer available to patrol your neighborhoods.

As someone who has worked with various alcohol issues over the years, I can tell you that parties of today are much different than parties of yesteryear. Alcohol concentration levels are much higher. It is not unusual for a young person to be stopped in possession of a 30 pack, and state that the beer is just for him, or he and a friend. The number of sexual assaults and other crimes that occur, many of which go unreported, are much more prevalent. With the decriminalization of less than 10g of marijuana in MD, more young people are smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. As many of you may know, marijuana helps to ease the feeling of nausea which allows young people to drink even greater quantities before vomiting. This contributes to alcohol poisoning and death. Drunk driving is only one of the concerns that needs to addressed as a result of these parties. Taking the keys and having the kids spend the night does not always work!

Many parents choose to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that their kids are not drinking. Some provide proper guidance on how a son or daughter should handle these incidents. Most alarming is that several parents will actually host these events and be uncooperative with the police upon our arrival at the house. While I am not in the position to judge your decisions as parents, I do feel it is important to explain the law and the consequences that can occur for failing to follow it. Attached is a flyer on Adult Host Responsibility. In summary, if you host a party where underage people are consuming alcohol, we will work exhaustively to ensure that you are charged $2500 per person under 21 found to be consuming alcohol at your party. If convicted, you will also have a criminal record. Please be a responsible parent – teach your kids to obey the laws and obey them yourself. If you feel the need to have an alcohol beverage with your son or daughter, the law in MD does allow for you to drink an alcoholic beverage in your house with your child. Alcohol and young people in unsupervised settings are a disaster waiting to happen. Please help us prevent another child from dying.

Sincerely,


Captain David Falcinelli
Commander – 2nd District

@mocoboe Spends $39,413 In One Month Fighting Families of #MCPS Special Needs Kids

Special Education Legal Expenses

Special education legal fees for outside counsel for November 2015 totaled $39,413.

The year-to-date total of $77,027 is $50,505 (39.6 percent) less than the same period
in the previous year. In addition, total year-to-date special education legal costs of $77,027
are $123,453 (61.6 percent) less than the budgeted amount of $200,480 through this time period.
The Jeffrey A. Krew bill for November 2015 totaled $38,995.
The Carney Kelehan bill for November 2015 totaled $418.

*Note: This cost does not include the cost to taxpayers of the SEVEN employees in the ill-named Resolution and Compliance unit. Let's have a show of hands for how many times these folks have actually enforced compliance with IDEA. Anyone? Anyone?

*Note: This cost does not include the cost to taxpayers of the full-time attorney employed in the "Legal Services Unit." For more information on what the "Legal Services Unit" has accomplished in the past, please click HERE.



Alex Abrosimov will take on incumbent student member of the Board of Education in April

Two Students Win Primary for Board of Education Seat: Incumbent and other candidate will face off in April election

"I want to build a student movement that has accountability for student leaders"


Four Students Face Off For Seat on Board of Education
...Abrosimov, however, said student leaders have not been responsive enough to the needs of students. The sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville entered the race because he believes there is a disconnect between students and their representatives.
“I want to build a student movement that has accountability for student leaders,” he said, noting that student leaders should not be interested in “just getting bullet points on their resume.”
Between his time on the swim team and debate team, Abrosimov started his own club, the Student Union Party, which advocates for various issues and now has more than 200 members...

...Gonzalez, a sophomore at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, was similarly inspired to run because of perceived faults in the school system, including the school board’s recent decision regarding final exams.
“When I heard the decision about final exams switching from the end of each semester to the end of each quarter, I wasn’t happy about that and felt like student voices weren’t included,” she said...

...Kim, a junior at Wheaton High School, where he is student body president, said his campaign focuses on providing “a voice, not just a face” for the student body and promoting student interests to the board...

 http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Beat/Web-2016/Four-Students-Face-Off-For-Seat-on-Board-of-Education/

$27,740 Owed in Back Taxes on Tilden Middle School Cell Tower


But, hey, it's only money.  We're rich in Montgomery County and unpaid property taxes are no big deal here.  

See previous posts on this topic. 

BOE President Vows Full Investigation into Child Porn incident #NOnotMCPS #neverMCPS

When the same thing happened in Montgomery County Public Schools there was no FBI tip line, no statements from the Board of Education, and no investigation.  In fact, MCPS has disbanded their work group that had met a few times to shuffle papers around on this issue. 

From WUSA9: 
School board chairman vows full investigation into child porn charges On Thursday, the Chairman of the Board of Education for Prince George's County vowed to conduct a full investigation into the sexual abuse allegations rocking a Glenarden elementary school. http://www.wusa9.com/videos/news/local/2016/02/18/investigation-into-school-background-checks-/80592480/

 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Police cited 14 students for underage drinking at Whitman event

This year, underage drinking at bRAVE escalated, with police citing 14 students.
This leaves the prospect of next year’s event up in the air.
“The future of bRAVE is yet to be determined,” principal Alan Goodwin said in an email. “We need to step back from this event for a while and then brainstorm with the SGA about the future.”
After six students were caught drinking at bRAVE last year, there was an increased effort to prevent drinking this year through more security, a stricter check-in system, and many appeals by Leadership students on Facebook. Goodwin even warned students during announcements at school and sent several emails to parents, imploring bRAVE-goers to make good decisions. Still, this year marks by far the highest number of students cited for being under the influence at the dance.

The 14 students, a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors, were pulled into the main office and given citations by police. Some students were stopped as they entered bRAVE and some were pulled out of the dance throughout the night.
Each student will receive three days of in-school suspension, 10 hours of community service and limits on extracurricular activities, including being banned from participating in Talent Show and possibly Prom, as a consequence of the zero tolerance policy, Goodwin said. Penalties resulting from citations are determined by courts.

http://www.theblackandwhite.net/2016/02/22/14-students-cited-at-brave-events-future-in-jeopardy/

Wheaton HS Cell Tower Owes $15 Thou$and in back Property Taxes


The Wheaton HS cell tower now sits right next to the building.
Fortunately, Montgomery County is rich and doesn't need the property tax revenue from cell towers that are built on Montgomery County Public School land.  

The Board of Education is happy to allow private companies to build on dedicated public school land, and not pay property taxes.  

Public school students lose the use of dedicated public school land, and the County loses the property tax revenue that could help fund the public schools.  It's a lose-lose for the public school students! 

The Parents' Coalition has been tracking the failure of cell towers to pay their required property taxes for years.  This is not a new problem. This is one of the reasons we are opposed to private companies taking over public school land for uses unrelated to the education of public school students.  

The account number for the Wheaton cell tower is 03696636.

In just that one property tax account, the cell tower vendor using Board of Education land owes over $15,000 dollars in back property taxes. 

Check the account for yourself at the link below. Enter
03696636 into the Account Number field to see the tax bills.

 https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/realpropertytax/default.aspx


Wheaton High School was moved to a new location, right next to cell tower. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

"Parents worry Wi-Fi could harm students" Montgomery Sentinel 2/19/2016

Parents Worry Wi-Fi Could Harm Students
ROCKVILLE — A few parents at a Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education meeting said they worried that wireless computers and devices with wireless Internet was gradually impeding the health of students.

Read some excerpts from the article.. "David Carpenter is a former county resident and a general physician who served on committees with scientists who performed research about the effects of radio frequency radiation.

He wrote a letter to members of MCPS management in November encouraging them not to have the school system connected to the Internet wirelessly. Carpenter also is the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.

“It’s appropriate that every child have access to the Internet, but the problem is when it’s wireless access to the Internet, there is exposure to radio frequencies,” said Carpenter.

MCPS spokesperson Derek Turner said MCPS follows guidelines set by the Federal Communications Commission. One of the repeated concerns of parents who testified at the meeting and said the standard was 20 years old.  Turner said the guideline had been updated in 2013. "

So were the guidelines updated in 2013 or 20 years ago? That is the question.  Read more at http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/newsx/local/item/3154-parents-worry-wi-fi-could-harm-students

"Mr. Collette does not have training in public health" Fox 5 Live Interview on the MCPS Wi-Fi Health Concerns

Watch this new piece from Fox 5 Covering MCPS WiFi issue 
Learn more at the parents blog on wifi issues at http://safetechforschoolsmaryland.blogspot.com/ 

Montgomery County Sentinel: County vote on school buses sets off a backlash in Rockville

ROCKVILLE – When the Montgomery County Council last week approved funding to temporarily relocate 100 school buses from the Shady Grove Transportation Center to the Carver Educational Services Center, it furthered an existing NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) problem in the city.

Entire story at:
http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/newsx/local/item/3137-not-in-rockville 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Google finally admits they are collecting your child's data

Today's Post reports that Google officially admits it tracks and collects student personal information when students use Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks and go to YouTube, Google Maps etc.

Google also says schools must obtain parental consent for students under 13, and schools can control and limit which of the tracked services schools use.

Do you remember ever being asked to consent to the collection of your student's personal data?

Goolge also confirms it uses the info for its business purposes - monetizing our children's data while they receive their "free" public education paid for by our tax dollars.

All this is very disturbing and possibly illegal. "Possibly" only because under FERPA, schools are allowed to consent on parents' behalf. This does not mean they should do it without parental knowledge and consent. FERPA advises obtaining parental consent.
Google's letter was written in response to an inquiry by senator Al Franken sent last month. He advocates for parental "out-in". Schools could implement it right away. This is something all parents should know about. People need to write to sen. Franken, and to MD and MCPS officials asking for opt-in consent, and for limiting student data collection.
I'm attaching Google's letter and the letter of Sen. Franken's. Here is the link to the Post article:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/02/16/google-says-it-tracks-personal-student-data-but-not-for-advertising/

Feel free to forward to other parents and post on your lists. 

MCPS Parents

BOE: We Can't Hear You, We Are At Lunch!

At the Parkland Magnet Middle School cell tower proposal meeting, a Board of Education staff member said, "I'm not an authority to accept the vote." 

Who would be an "authority" to accept a vote of parents and community members on a Board of Education proposal to put a cell tower in a school's loading dock?
  
Why do Board of Education members always turn down requests to attend parent and community meetings on important issues?

We know that the very next day after the Parkland meeting, a majority of the Montgomery County Board of Education were in Annapolis having LUNCH with their fellow MABE club members!  Who has time for constituents when there is free lunch!    
  • MABE is the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.  
  • MABE is a private club for Board of Education members that costs taxpayers in Montgomery County over $70,000 a year.
  • MABE allows BOE members to meet outside the Maryland Open Meetings Act.  The public is not allowed to attend or observe any of these meetings and minutes are not made public.  
  • MABE is sponsored, in part, by a CELL TOWER CONSTRUCTION FIRM.
Now you have your answer to why our Board of Education members will never attend a community meeting on a cell tower proposal.  
Cell tower vendors are funding BOE lunches and dinners at their private club meetings.

MABE released a fun video of their February 12, 2016, luncheon.  Turn up the sound and enjoy!


WUSA9: Md. only state without criminal penalty for failing to report child abuse



...Maryland state law mandates that principals call police or child welfare immediately if they just suspect possible child abuse, but advocates say the trouble with Maryland's law is there is no penalty if they don't.

 “It's a massive problem,” said Jennifer Alvaro, a child safety advocate and therapist who has treated both sex abusers and victims. “It's like having laws against speeding and speed limits, but if you break that law, there is absolutely nothing anyone could do to you.”...

 http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/local/maryland/2016/02/17/md-only-state-without-criminal-penalty-failing-report-child-abuse/80526454/

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Exclusive Video: BOE Staff says, "I'm not an authority to accept the vote." #celltower #parklandmagnetmiddleschool

The Parents' Coalition has obtained exclusive video of the Parkland Magnet Middle School cell tower community meeting that was held on February 11, 2016.

At the meeting community, parents and PTA members took a vote to determine if there was any support, whatsoever, for the construction of a cell tower in the loading dock of Parkland Magnet Middle School.  As first reported here, the community meeting voted 53-0 to oppose the construction of this cell tower.

In the video of the meeting [at minute 10:35], you will hear the Board of Education representative say, "I'm not an authority to accept the vote."  Well, if a BOE staff member is not able to "accept" a vote of a community, who exactly is the "authority" that should have attended this meeting?  How is this community is to make their voice heard?

Note that when the Wootton High School community was opposed to the cell tower at that school, the Board of Education had no trouble understanding their position as expressed at the community meeting.  Wootton High School did not get a cell tower on their football field.  The proposal was stopped when the community meeting showed massive opposition to the plan.

Once again we see that different parts of the county are treated differently when it comes to putting a for-profit commercial compound on public school land. 

...ask for a more specific look at how many new students would come from new apartments... #factcheck #mocoboe

Roger Berliner: Development Allowed By Westbard Plan Should Be ‘Pared Back by Almost Half’: In memo to colleagues, County Council member outlined what parts of the plan he would cut

Class of 2015 Graduation Rate Declined Slightly in Montgomery County Public Schools

Class of 2015 Graduation Rate Declined Slightly in Montgomery County Public Schools: About 90 percent of students graduated within four years

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Man caught roaming Paint Branch HS while toting backpack with illegal drugs

A man managed to tiptoe his way into Paint Branch High School, where police say he attempted to deal plastic baggies of marijuana from his backpack.
Emmanuel Akum, 19, of Silver Spring, is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance on school property, trespass on school grounds and disturbing school operations.
According to Montgomery County Police, on Wednesday, January 13, PBHS assistant principal Traci Pettis-Jones spotted Akum roaming the second floor of the school. When she attempted to speak with him, Akum tried escaping out a back door, where security guards managed to stop him.
Akum, who'd been kicked off school property just one week earlier, refused to tell school leaders why he'd returned to campus as he was not a Paint Branch student.
School staff reported a "very strong odor of marijuana" coming from Akum. And so, they searched the 19-year-old's backpack and found a plastic bag containing 26 individually wrapped baggies. Each baggie had marijuana inside. Akum, police say, also had $51 in his wallet: 10 $5 bills and one $1 bill...

 http://wjla.com/news/crime/man-caught-roaming-high-school-while-toting-backpack-with-illegal-drugs

Monday, February 15, 2016

10 PM News: FOX 5 Covers Wi-Fi Health Concerns

Letter Detailing Over 21 False Statements on the MCPS Website on WiFi Radiation

Dear Montgomery County Board of Education Members,

I would like to bring to your attention the following- The MCPS Statement Concerning Deployment of Wireless Computing Technologies and Radiofrequency Monitoring Summary Report contains:

1. False Statements: This document details the over 32  false statements on the MCPS RF webpage and provides documentation to each erroneous statement. I personally made inquiries as to the factual nature of  MCPS statements from agencies such as the FCC, FDA, NCI and the American Cancer Society. These agencies all confirmed certain statements to be 100% inaccurate.

2.Outdated Statements: Why is MCPS using decade old scientific reviews as “proof”?  Each outdated document is cited. The MCPS community deserves best available science, not outdated reviews.

3.Wireless Funded Statements: MCPS copiously cites sources that are either directly fully funded by the wireless industry itself and/or by persons whose jobs involve consulting for the wireless industry or making money by designing products for the wireless industry. The funding source of such  statements should at least be noted if not removed.

4. Misleading Statements: Statements are made that validate the opinion of MCPS but are not a true representation of the body of science nor the organization MCPS  references.  MCPS seems to be cherry-picking in that MCPS puts forth“quotes” which are missing the rest of the statement the cited organization made.  Such selective information presentation is misleading to families and staff who should be given all information in a transparent fashion.

5.No Proof of Safety For Students and Staff: Multiple experts have written to MCPS detailing problems with the 14,000 dollar measurement report citing inadequate instrumentation, inprecise measurements and a lack of adequate documentation on exposure scenarios. There is a sufficient number of concerns that it seems this Measurement Report cannot be used to verify whether the radiation levels are safe for students and staff. The parents, teachers and staff of Montgomery County Schools deserve accurate responsible information on the radiation levels in MCPS schools.

For MCPS to put forth information such as is on their website as proof of safety is an egregious error. Comparing MCPS’s measurements to FCC standards is meaningless as FCC limits are known to be hundreds of thousands times too high to protect public health.

A total of 15 experts have written MCPS about the health risks of wireless school networks and their concerns with the radiofrequency webpage and measurement report. They all recommend the schools use safe technology. Why are these expert letters not posted? Why is their information not integrated into the webpage for the public?   Why isn’t MCPS responding to the concerns they are raising?


The MCPS site was already changed twice after we repeatedly wrote MCPS to remove the unfactual statements. Only two statements were removed. The MCPS Statement still contains an abundance of false and misleading statements- over 30 false statements in fact. Once all of these false, misleading, and wireless funded statements are removed,  MCPS would have little text left on the webpage.

MCPS did get one thing right. The webpage states “It is not ethical to test a substance by exposing people to it and seeing if they get cancer from it.” Right now MCPS students are the equivalent of guinea pigs and are being exposed to unprecedented levels of radiofrequency radiation without their knowledge or consent.  We adults were not exposed to such levels as children.

Appendix V in this letter contains information on the mice and rat studies underway at the National Institute of Health Science (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) where rats are being exposed to low level (FCC compliant levels just like MCPS) radio-frequencies at very low levels for hours a day just like our children in schools.

Wouldn’t it be ethical to wait until the NTP research results are available before the school system is de-facto performing what is basically the same study but instead of rats it is on children and teachers and staff. The rats, the mice and MCPS children are being exposed to  what the National Toxicology Program calls “chronic exposure to modulated radiofrequency radiation”.

Our children are not lab rats. Yet, just like the NTP rats, today’s schoolchildren will be “the statistics”. I imagine that a decade from now, researchers will count up the numbers of  young adults with cancer, neurological disease and infertility and look at the connection with lifetime wireless exposures.

It is unethical to knowingly post false information and not to act to protect children when such a serious matter is brought to your attention. You have a duty of care to every student and your job is to ensure their safety. Wireless is not safe and MCPS has yet to provide any documentation of safety.

Please remove the false and misleading information on the MCPS webpage.  I ask that MCPS take immediate action to minimize radio-frequency exposures in classrooms. Please hardwire the chromebooks and tablets, install safe technology communication networks and teach students and staff how to minimize exposures to cell phone and wireless radiation to protect their health and future.

Sincerely,
Theodora Scarato LCSW-C
APPENDIX 1: 32 False Statements Itemized with documentation
APPENDIX II: Outdated References
APPENDIX III Wireless Funded Research and Statements
APPENDIX IV: Misleading Statements including Details on Why the RF Measurement Report is Inadequate to Assess Student Safety
APPENDIX V: The National Toxicology (NTP) Study on Rodents and Radio-Frequency