Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Public Comment Period Closing for Proposed Change to MCPS Language Immersion Admissions

Public Comment Period Closing for Proposed Change to MCPS Language Immersion Admissions: Revision would replace sibling link with weighted lottery system

Vandals Hit Stadiums at Walter Johnson, Churchill High Schools in Suspected Sports Rivalry

Vandals Hit Stadiums at Walter Johnson, Churchill High Schools in Suspected Sports Rivalry: Series of spray-painting incidents leaves scoreboards, plaques damaged

It's the Budgetpalooza! Feb 13, 7pm...

The  Montgomery County Civic Federation is teaming again with the Montgomery County Taxpayers League and the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County for the Fifth Annual Budgetpalooza!

Each year we go through the MCPS Operating Budget in depth, this year, for FY18 the proposed budget is $2.5BILLION. That is half of our entire county budget. Help us find out where the money is proposed to go.
DATE: Monday, Feb 13, 2017
TIME: 7:00-9:30PM
LOCATION: Executive Office Building Lower Lobby Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville

Please help us do the deep dive, and volunteer to take a chapter or appendix of the budget to analyze and present at the Budgetpalooza!  To sign up go to 2017 Budgetpalooza!

See you there!

Need for an Independent Inspector General for WSSC & M-NCPPC...What You Can Do

Call for Submissions: Stories of School Employee Sexual Misconduct

Stories of School Employee Sexual Misconduct is now accepting:
  • Unpublished, personal stories between 750-7500 words by victims of school employee sexual misconduct
  • Letters from loved ones (i.e. children, spouses, parents, siblings, friends) of victims or offenders of school employee sexual misconduct
  • Letters from school administrators about their experiences with cases of school employee sexual misconduct

Due March 1, 2017

"...county’s interest in retaining its authority over new telecommunications facilities..."

Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner has written a letter to County Executive Ike Leggett about telecommunications facilities.
The letter follows a public notice by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for comments about small cell antennas. Comments are due by  Feb. 6.
“We believe the county would be best served by a joint letter to the FCC indicating the county’s interest in retaining its authority over new telecommunications facilities,” writes Berliner. “We could agree to hire outside council to join with other jurisdictions, if you believe it is in the county’s interest to do so. The Council looks forward to seeing your draft comments to the FCC that I can sign with you.”
In his Jan. 19 letter, Berliner references the hundreds of small cell applications before the Telecommunications Facilities Committee in Montgomery County.
“These applications involve the use of county rights-of-way and invoke the county’s process of conditional use approval,” said Berliner. “The Council has been petitioned by concerned residents to retain the Center for Municipal Solutions, a firm based in North Carolina, to assist the county in drafting appropriate county measures that would maximize their community protection in the process.”
You may remember the County Council hosted a forum on small cell antennas last fall. The city of Gaithersburg is holding a work session on the topic on Feb. 13...


Monday, January 30, 2017

WUSA9: Looking for a diverse group of people from DC, MD and VA—willing to volunteer 2 hours and be part of an upcoming news story on software program that tracks child predators

WUSA9 is looking for a diverse group of people from DC, MD and VA—willing to volunteer two hours of their time and be part of an upcoming news story! We will be demonstrating the 
world’s only computer software program that tracks child predators in real time. Volunteers must be willing to be on camera. If you’re interested and able to come to the station in Northwest Washington, please email Andrea McCarren: amccarren@wusa9.com and we will confirm details with you. Thanks.  

WHEN: Wednesday, February 1st: 11am-1pm

Andrea McCarren
WUSA9 Investigative Reporter

Pet resort says it was duped by top U.S. artificial turf company #FieldTurf #artificialturf

The resort claims that it was deceived by false advertising claims made by FieldTurf, the leading U.S. maker of artificial turf fields, and then blamed for the product's poor performance and persuaded to buy costly maintenance.


A Minnesota pet resort claims in a new lawsuit that it was deceived by false advertising claims made by the leading U.S. maker of artificial turf fields, FieldTurf, and then blamed for the product's poor performance.
The class-action suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Minnesota, is the fourth brought against FieldTurf since an NJ Advance Media investigation revealed that the company and its executives sold high-end turf for years after knowing it was falling apart and would fall short of advertising and marketing claims...


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

Springbrook High School cheerleaders continue cheer boycott after principal's 'ghetto' comment


Ethics Complaint Submitted Over Kensington Principal’s Work as Weichert Realtor

Ethics Complaint Submitted Over Kensington Principal’s Work as Weichert Realtor: Parent takes issue with principal’s real estate work for school employees

Residents Frustrated About Plans for Bethesda Growth, Talk About Incorporation

Frustrated with the lack of representation from the Montgomery County Council, dozens of Bethesda residents turned out for an informational meeting on Thursday night to learn more about the process to incorporate Bethesda.
The meeting was hosted by two groups, the Coalition of Bethesda Area Residents and the East Bethesda Citizens Association.
“A number of residents have been concerned and frustrated over the Bethesda Downtown Plan and from that frustration and concern, a lot of questions have come like why don’t we have more control,” said Mary Flynn, founder, Coalition of Bethesda Area Residents.
The meeting included representatives from the Maryland Municipal League (MML) who talked about what it takes to incorporate.
Organizers say this meeting was the first attempt to understand their options and opportunities to get more representation.
“There’s nine council members and this county has one one million people,” said Flynn. “We have [County Council President] Roger Berliner who has been very helpful and accommodating with his time and very generous with his time, but he doesn’t live here. There are issues that we are fighting and concerned about that we don’t feel he understands in a way that he can advocate for us.”
One concern with the Bethesda Downtown Plan, for some residents, is additional overcrowding in schools. Another issue is traffic on the what they call an “already congested Wisconsin Avenue.”...


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Forbes: Mysterious Artificial Turf Field Problem At Maryland High School

Yet another high school is replacing its artificial turf athletic field not long after it was installed.

Yesterday, the principal of Blair High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, announced that the stadium is closed so that its artificial turf field can be replaced. The field was installed in 2009.

Entire story at:

State BOE: HoCo Superintendent must respond to HoCo BOE request for Declaratory Ruling by February 6, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Surprise! Blair HS Gets New Plastic Grass! Cost? #tonsOcash #nobid

‘Too Ghetto:’ A Cheering Tradition Comes Under Scrutiny at Springbrook High School

‘Too Ghetto:’ A Cheering Tradition Comes Under Scrutiny at Local School: The athletic director told the girls HBCU culture has no place in Montgomery County Public Schools.

RALLY TO END ADDICTION January 31 in Annapolis

January 31 in Annapolis

Join Us on the Bus
Register at Eventbrite
Meet at Twinbrook Metro
Upper level on Chapman Ave
Arrive by 7:15, Return by 5:00
Light breakfast & Box Lunch Provided
Garage Parking $3.50 All day, Entry on Chapman Ave.

Here is the link to register for the bus: https://marylandrallytoendaddictionrpm.eventbrite.com.

EDWords: First, Do No Harm #screensandkids

When I send my children to school, I imagine that I am sending them into an environment where caring professionals are encouraging and challenging them to learn new ideas and engage in new experiences, anxious to open my kids' eyes to new possibilities. I am counting on teachers to provide understandable connections to what the kids already know and help them create a bridge to their future studies.

Fundamental to the teachers' efforts, I imagine, is an overarching concern for my children's well-being.

So I confess I am baffled by the silence from teachers, when it comes to the health risks caused by daily classroom screen time.  I would have expected educators to clamor for more information, call for medical and scientific support, and rush to mitigate the situation once they learned that daily use of digital devices poses serious health risks to their students. But that hasn't happened, despite all the media attention and medical research that has recently been made available.

And the research is clear: daily computer use damages children. Myopia tops the list. The USC Roski Eye Institute, in its largest and most recent myopia study, showed that daily screen time is the likely culprit for childhood myopia doubling in our country.

Retinal damage (which can lead to macular degeneration and blindness) is next. Prevent Blindness America and voluminous medical researchers report that children's eyes absorb more blue light than adults: the damaging HEV rays go straight to the back of a child's eye.

Blurred vision, dry eyes and headaches. Obesity, sleeplessness and anxiety.  Addiction. These are the side effects of children who spend their school days online and their evenings glued to their screens for homework. It's all medically documented, and the research grows daily. (This is not hard-to-find, esoteric documentation; major news outlets across the country have covered the health hazards of screen time extensively over the past year. Search the phrases "computer vision syndrome," "digital eye strain," or "blue light damage.")...


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It’s a one-woman show against Mobilitie’s rights of way crusade #SilverSpring #Maryland

Mobilitie might have met the one woman in America who has the best chance with the FCC to have the agency bridle, what she describes as, the distributed antenna system (DAS) provider’s desire to “run roughshod over local communities” as it attempts to reduce rights of way fees that they say will impede future 5G growth.

But Mobilitie has the support of CTIA, and the influential trade group believes that there are onerous approval processes in many communities that could prevent the U.S. from enjoying the full benefits of new wireless technology due to fewer small cells being deployed, and they agree that high fees to use utility poles are a clear obstruction.

On Dec. 22, 2016, the FCC said it was seeking comments regarding streamlining its wireless siting policies, an effort by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) that stems, in part, from a petition for a declaratory ruling filed by Mobilitie, LLC titled: “Promoting Broadband for All Americans by prohibiting Excessive Charges for Access to Public Rights of Way (PROW).

Maryland resident stands out amongst commenters
Thirty-two commenters have responded to date with ten being posted Tuesday, nine of them extolling the need to limit wireless siting due to WiFi and cell tower RF concerns, one oxymoronically suggesting that the U.S. would be better off if it cut its wireless umbilical cord and returned to Ethernet cables.

But tucked in-between the commenters who don’t address the WTB’s interest in how to best build out a timely 5G network is correspondence from Silver Springs, Md. resident Sue Present who said that Mobilitie was trafficking in hyperbole and belonged to a wireless industry cabal of “conniving, gluttonous bullies.”

At their initial read, a WTB staffer could possibly pass off Present’s opening salvo as the rantings of a NIMBY protester concerned about RF wafting underneath their tinfoil chapeau.
Fortunately for Present, they’ll read further...


Monday, January 23, 2017

Former Talbot school board member charged with having child porn

EASTON — An Easton man who won election last fall to the Talbot school board, but resigned before taking office, has been charged with having child pornography.
Harry H. Rieck III, 59, of St. Michaels Road, Easton, is charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography.
In November, Rieck won an unopposed election for the District 6 seat on the Talbot County Board of Education. Rieck later notified the school board of his decision not to take the oath of office and of his resignation from the board of education due to personal reasons. The three other school board members elected in November were sworn into office on Jan. 10.
Rieck served nearly a year on the Talbot County Board of Education after being appointed in January 2008 to fill out the term of a school board member who had resigned for health reasons. He ran for the District 6 school board seat in 2008, but lost in the primary election...

...Rieck also was president of the St. Michaels Middle High School band boosters and is a past president of the St. Michaels Rotary Club and St. Michaels Little League and was a committee chairman for Project Idlewild...


Tuesday 1/24 - Sentencing of BCC High Teacher Todd Scriber #sexabuse

 Court Scheduling Information
(Schedule is subject to change)
Event Date: 01/24/2017 Event Time: 08:30 AM Judge: GREENBERG, ROBERT A
Location: 50 Maryland Avenue North Tower Courtroom 9a Courtroom: 9A
Description: SENTENCING

Former B-CC High School Teacher Convicted of Two Counts of Child Sex Abuse: Teacher took surreptitious photos of his students

Md. lawmaker's bill would stop local governments from raising minimum wage

The Baltimore City Council [along with Montgomery County and all other counties in Maryland] may lose its [their] authority to raise the minimum wage if a state legislator has his way this spring.

Citing a need to help keep Maryland businesses competitive regionally and nationally, Del. Dereck E. Davis said he plans to file a bill by the end of this week that would would pre-empt local governments from passing minimum wage bills by making wages and benefits the domain of the state. Davis made the announcement at a legislative forum hosted by the Greater Baltimore Committee on Monday.

Davis acknowledged his bill be "controversial." His proposal comes after the Montgomery County Council voted last week to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Entire article at:


MCPS Parent on Minnesota Rock the Schools: Child Sexual Abuse in Schools #PassingtheTrash #grooming #mcps #CodeofConduct

About Rock The Schools with Citizen Stewart
Hosted by: Chris Stewart
Executive Producer: Monique Linder
Stewart’s mission with “Rock The Schools” is to “create a greater educational opportunity for black communities by grounding the school reform debate in black history and transformative black thought.” Stewart believes “this is done by challenging the dominant trope of anti-school reform activism, and illustrating connections between the liberationist principles of yesterday’s black struggles, and today’s education proposals (e.g. “privatization,” school choice, and charter schools).” Stewart’s tag “Public education for an educated public” begs the question of accountability.

About MCPS parent Jennifer Alvaro

Sunday, January 22, 2017

WPost Opinions: Montgomery County’s wrong tack on culturally diverse education


Gambling money rolls in, but then state diverts other funds

...That's because the state officials who approved casino gambling in 2008 — Gov. Martin O'Malley and his Democratic allies in the General Assembly — didn't require that school aid keep pace with the growth in gambling.

State budget analysts say the money from the casino-fueled Education Trust Fund is, in fact, going to schools. But that stream has allowed the governor and lawmakers to take money that once went to schools and redirect it to pay salaries, fund roadwork and support other government programs and services.

"While gambling was sold as a way to bring in more money for education, it really hasn't been putting more money in schools," said Benjamin Orr, director of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy. "We've essentially invested the same amount of money in our schools that we would have with or without legalized gambling."...

...When the General Assembly was considering casino gambling in 2009, Del. Curt Anderson sponsored a bill that would have forced state officials to use the trust fund money to increase funding for education. It died in committee...


Artificial Turf Field for Whitman High School

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has scheduled a brief information presentation regarding the potential stadium field artificial turf project at Walt Whitman High School.
This notice is to inform you the meeting will take place on January 25, 2017, at Walt Whitman High School at 7:00 p.m. in Whitman’s auditorium. 
MCPS extends an invitation to you to participate in this process. The community is encouraged to send representatives from their respective streets, areas, and associations.

The purpose of this meeting is to review details of the project and provide an overview of the design and construction process.

Scheduled participants include the principal of the school, MCPS staff from the Department of Facilities Management, government agencies, and school representatives.  PTA members, parents, and neighbors are strongly encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions prior to the meeting, please contact Ms. Michelle Schmitz, administrative secretary, Division of Construction at
240-314-1000; TTY users should call Maryland Relay (711). 
Taking these steps will help us have sufficient time to best meet your needs. 
Thank you.
 Dr. Alan Goodwin

Maryland casinos are pumping out billions for education. So why are there school budget deficits?

In the seven years since the first of Maryland's six casinos opened, they have pumped $1.7 billion into the state's Education Trust Fund — the financial windfall that advocates for gambling promised would go to the state's public schools.

But over that time, state funding for public schools has increased by less than half that amount — and some jurisdictions, including Baltimore, have suffered funding cuts.

That's because the state officials who approved casino gambling in 2008 — Gov. Martin O'Malley and his Democratic allies in the General Assembly — didn't require that school aid keep pace with the growth in gambling.

Entire article at:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Understanding The Rift In Howard County School’s Leadership

Note:  The Howard County Public School System uses one of the same outside attorneys that is used by the Montgomery County Board of Education.  The relationship between the Howard County Board of Education and the school systems outside attorney is one of the issues at the heart of the dispute between the Superintendent and the Board of Education.

In Maryland’s Howard County, where residents are encouraged to “choose civility,” the relationship between the school superintendent and the board of education seems broken. In December, the school board passed a number of measures that Superintendent Renee Foose claims undermined her authority to govern the county’s school system. In response, Foose took unprecedented action this week and sued the board. Where did things go wrong? Kojo explores the rift with Foose and School Board Chair Cynthia Vaillancourt...


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hogan seeks background checks for appointed lawmakers

Gov. Larry Hogan is asking people nominated to fill vacancies in the General Assembly to undergo background checks before taking their seats, infuriating Democratic leaders.
Two people recently nominated to fill seats in the House of Delegates — Baltimore's Nick J. Mosby and Montgomery County's Jheanelle Wilkins — have not yet been sworn in. Both were asked by the governor's office to submit to background checks. Neither has complied...


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Google Accused of Illegally Mining the Data of Mississippi Public Schools Students

Reporter Justin Vicory, The Sun Herald, Jan. 18, 2017. For the full story go here.

(TNS) — State Attorney General Jim Hood’s office filed a lawsuit Friday accusing Google of illegally mining the data of Mississippi public-school students.
On Tuesday, Hood accused Google Inc. of collecting personal and search-history information from students in order “to advance its own business interests and increase its profit.” He said Google violated the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act.
He said students who have accounts with Google’s “G Suite For Education” may have been affected. The web-based tools were previously known as Google Apps for Education. They were marketed as a free, safe way for students and teachers to seamlessly collaborate and communicate across multiple internet-connected devices. The software tools include Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google Docs.

Groups Representing 10,000 Bethesda-Area Homes Co-Sign Letter Objecting to Aspects of Downtown Plan

Groups Representing 10,000 Bethesda-Area Homes Co-Sign Letter Objecting to Aspects of Downtown Plan: Letter offers County Council members recommendations to limit school overcrowding, congestion

@MCPS partner Pearson plunges as digital switch forces new profit warning

Pearson lost almost a third of its market value on Wednesday after it ditched its profit and dividend forecasts in a battle to respond to a shift to digital that has already hit the music and newspaper industries.
Education group

The world's biggest education company, which traditionally makes most of its profit from textbooks and testing, is facing structural turmoil as customers turn to cheaper digital alternatives, or choose to rent instead of buy content.

The greatest change is being felt in North America, its biggest market, where a fall in college enrollment numbers due to an improving economy have compounded the digital switch.
Shares in the 173-year-old British company fell 30 percent on Wednesday, on course for their worst day ever and wiping off 1.9 billion pounds ($2.3 billion), after the group said it could no longer put a figure on its 2017 dividend, piling pressure on CEO John Fallon...


Victim of convicted Howard Co. child pornographer files federal suit

The parents of one of the victims of a Howard County substitute teacher serving a 16-year sentence for possession of child pornography is seeking statutory damages in federal court.
The victim, identified as Jane Doe, was one of Jeremy Sykes’ students at Folly Quarter Middle School where he was a substitute teacher. Sykes digitally altered pornographic images of both adults and children so they showed the faces of his stepdaughter and students at the school.
“It’s sensitive, of course, but at the same time there’s a desire to seek redress,” said Michael D. Herman, who represents the victim and her parents.
Herman represented one of Sykes’ victims in a lawsuit filed in Howard County Circuit Court, which settled last year. When another victim came forward, Herman said the decision was made to file the case in U.S. District Court; federal law allows victims of child pornography to recover damages of at least $150,000 if they have been personally injured.
Doe suffered and continues to suffer injury as a result of Sykes’ actions, the complaint alleges, and is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages...


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hixson (D-Montgomery Co.) steps aside as chair of Ways and Means

The long-time chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday afternoon said she is stepping away from the position she has held since 1993. 

Del. Sheila E. Hixson, D-Montgomery County, said in a statement that she will assume the role of “chairman emeritus effective Friday, January 20, 2017 to give me the opportunity to help transition the new chairman into the committee.”
Hixson, who turns 84 next month, does not give a reason for her decision. The statement does not indicate that she is resigning from the seat she has held since 1976...


Bill proposed for healthier vending machines in Maryland

An anti-obesity coalition is proposing a bill that would require healthier options in vending machines on state property.

WJZ-TV reports that Sugar Free Kids Maryland announced the Maryland Healthy Vending Choices Act on Thursday. The bill would require half of the snacks in vending machines on public property to meet certain standards regarding amounts of calories, sugar, salt and fat.
Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president of the health and wellness group Horizon Foundation, says the legislation would help combat the state’s “strikingly high” diabetes rates...


Monday, January 16, 2017

N.J. soccer club accuses top artificial turf company of fraud

The owner of a New Jersey soccer facility claims in a new class-action lawsuit the leading U.S. maker of artificial sports fields, FieldTurf, repeatedly brushed off complaints about his failing field and told him conditions would improve over time.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for New Jersey, is the third proposed class-action to be brought by customers in the state against FieldTurf in response to an NJ Advance Media investigation that detailed potential fraud.

The investigation found FieldTurf and its executives for years earned ballooning profits as sales of its popular turf, Duraspine, skyrocketed, all the while knowing fields were falling apart and would not live up to marketing and advertising claims.

Despite warnings and candid internal discussions, FieldTurf officials kept selling Duraspine to cities, towns, school districts and private companies across the country, and never changed their sales pitches. The turf was phased out in 2012...


Friday, January 13, 2017

"campaign contributions from developer-related and other special interests -- and that this contributes to excessive density and school overcrowding"

MCPS classroom trailers
A group of MoCo residents are concerned that candidates for County Council are too dependent on campaign contributions from developer-related and other special interests -- and that this contributes to excessive density and school overcrowding.  This grassroots groups of MoCo residents have formed MoCoVoters.org:


... and created its related Facebook page:


Please consider "liking" and, most importantly, widely "sharing" the Facebook page.  Anyone interested in participating with MoCoVoters.org can contact them through their contact page:


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Breaking: Neelsville PTSA Says They Have No Position On Cell Tower, Contradicts MCPS Assertion to Tower Committee

Tower Committee Chair Stops Public from Speaking
On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, the Montgomery County Tower Committee approved a cell tower for the Neelsville Middle School playground based on MCPS staff's assertion that the proposal had been approved by the Neelsville PTSA. 

At the 12 minute mark in the video of the Tower Committee meeting you can watch as the Tower Committee Chair stops the public from speaking about the lack of community approval for this cell tower. 

Meanwhile, the Verizon representative is permitted to speak during the meeting without restriction. 

Below is today's Press Release from the Neelsville Middle School PTSA stating, in fact, they have not taken a position on this December 2016, Verizon application for a cell tower on the school's playground. 

Ho Co BOE Wants BOE Staff to Report to BOE and Internal Audit, So Superintendent Sued Them.

...The complaint states one of the first resolutions passed by the newly sworn-in board on Dec. 5 sought to " misappropriate the superintendent's lawful authority."
At that first meeting with the new board member, Delmont-Small and Ellis passed eight resolutions, including a move to give the board responsibility over school board staff, such as the board administrator, secretarial staff and internal auditor, to increase transparency.
This change, which was passed despite opposition from board members Christine O'Connor and Sandra French, states that staff will report directly to the board rather than the superintendent. The board would then handle any staff terminations.
Another passed motion, introduced by Delmont-Small, instructed and authorized the board's internal auditor to review operations of the transportation department and all current and existing sole-source contracts.
According to state law, the complaint read, the superintendent is responsible for school administration, including discipline and terminations; therefore, deeming the board's actions illegal...


Howard Co Public Schools superintendent files lawsuit against Board of Education

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - Howard County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Renee Foose is pursuing legal action against the Board of Education for their “unlawful conduct” in preventing the superintendent from fulfilling her job responsibilities, according to a lawsuit.
In a lawsuit filed in Howard County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Dr. Foose filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief asking that the Court keep the Board of Education from illegally interfering with her duties as superintendent.
The lawsuit alleges that almost immediately after taking office on December 5, 2016, the new Board took action to prevent Dr. Foose from doing her job of administering and managing HCPSS.
The examples provided include: Unlawfully directing the superintendent to not engage or communicate with legal counsel; directing the counsel to illegally begin inspecting HCPSS records, which include student and employee records; “usurping” the superintendent’s authority to hire and fire non-certificated employees; preventing the superintendent from attending board meetings she is legally required to attend; and unlawfully substituting the superintendent’s designee on the Howard County School Budget Review Committee.
The lawsuit alleges the Board’s “illegal actions are creating chaos and uncertainty in HCPSS and are jeopardizing the orderly administration of public education in Howard County.”
Dr. Foose has come under scrutiny from parents in the past for her handling of mold concerns at several Howard County public schools. Last year, a petition to deny Foose's contract renewal received more than 1,500 signatures...


Teenager Charged in Double Homicide at Wheaton Mall

Teenager Charged in Double Homicide at Wheaton Mall: Video surveillance footage catches fight, stabbing, police say

I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems

When I realized I couldn’t answer the questions posed about two of my own poems on the Texas state assessment tests (STAAR Test), I had a flash of panic – oh, no! Not smart enough. Such a dunce. My eyes glazed over. I checked to see if anyone was looking. The questions began to swim on the page. Waves of insecurity. My brain in full spin.
The two poems in question are A REAL CASE, appearing on the 2014 Grade 7 STAAR Reading Test, and MIDNIGHT, appearing on the 2013 Grade 8 STAAR Reading Test. Both poems originally appeared in Walking on the Boundaries of Change, Boyds Mills Press, 1998.
Let me begin by confessing that A REAL CASE is my most neurotic poem. I have a pile of them to be sure, but this one is the sour cherry on top. The written evidence of my anxieties, those evil gremlins that ride around on tricycles in my mind shooting my self-confidence with water pistols. How in the name of all that’s moldy did this poem wind up on a proficiency test?
Dose of reality: test makers are for-profit organizations. My poems are a whole lot cheaper than Mary Oliver’s or Jane Kenyon’s, so there’s that. But how would your vulnerable, nervous, number two pencil-gripping seventh grade self have felt opening your test packet to analyze poetic lines such as this: I’m just down with a sniffly case/of sudden-self-loathing-syndrome…an unexpected extra serving/ of just-for-now-self-hate.
Seriously? Hundreds of my poems in print and they choose THAT one? Self-loathing and self-hate? Kids need an extra serving of those emotions on testing day?
I apologize to those kids. I apologize to their teachers. Boy howdy, I apologize to the entire state of Texas. I know the ‘90s were supposed to be some kind of golden age, but I had my bad days and, clearly, these words are the pan drippings of one of them. Did I have a purpose for writing it?...


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rockville High’s 56-year-old Bagpipe Band Fights To Keep MCPS Sponsorship

Rockville High’s 56-year-old Bagpipe Band Fights To Keep MCPS Sponsorship: Booster club president says school system pulled funding, recognition ...For years, the school system has offered the band free practice space and paid the director’s stipend, he said. The student group has won widespread attention by playing each year for the Marine Corps Marathon, marching in parades and beating adult bands in piping and drumming contests. In the past year alone, the group claimed first place at the Colonial Highland Games in Fair Hill, Southern Maryland Celtic Festival and Central Virginia Celtic Festival...

@mocoboe Rejects Data-Driven Interventions for Struggling Students

Common Sense Data Collection on Early Interventions for Struggling Students OPPOSED by Montgomery County Board of Education

Washington Post, January 8, 2017, by Valerie Strauss

Katherine Spurlock is a former public school teacher who moved to Montgomery County, Md., from a tiny school district in New York and wanted to ensure that her daughter, who has dyslexia, received appropriate interventions and placement in school.

As she worked through the system, she discovered some things that shocked her, including this: The county did not have any data showing how much money was being spent on early academic or behavioral interventions for students who need them. Nor did any other county in Maryland and probably most public school districts in the country.


When Spurlock, who had been involved with a Maryland task force on dyslexia education, discovered this, she began to work toward a remedy, engaging with some state legislators. In August, state Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore) and Del. Marc Korman (D-District 16) sent a letter to Karen Salmon, superintendent of schools in Maryland, asking whether the State Department of Education had any data on early interventions. It doesn’t, William Reinhard, executive director of communications for the department, wrote in an email.

Both Conway and Korman are introducing legislation requiring boards of education to annually report data on specialized intervention services to the State Department of Education and the General Assembly. Conway’s bill calls for such data to be collected from K-12, while Korman’s seeks data from K-3.
(*To read the whole article, CLICK HERE)

Sounds great, right?

Not according to the Montgomery County Board of Education, which voted today to OPPOSE Senator Conway's bill.

Students who learn differently lose again.

School Board Comes Out Against State Bills Mandating Less Sugar in Student Meals

School Board Comes Out Against State Bills Mandating Less Sugar in Student Meals: County education officials oppose five school-related bills, stay neutral on another The Montgomery County Board of Education is opposing state bills that would allow school systems to buy used buses for the Head Start program and require them to crack down on students’ sugar intake. Elected leaders on Tuesday weighed in on six education-related proposals that state lawmakers will consider during the Maryland General Assembly session that begins Wednesday. The board came out against five of them and took no position on the sixth. Two of the proposals opposed by the board dealt with sugar in school meals. Both would mandate that local education officials craft a plan for reducing students’ sugar consumption, and one would also force counties to form workgroups to study the issue.

Leave Your Laptops at the Door to My Classroom

When I started teaching, I assumed my “fun” class, sexuality and the law, full of contemporary controversy, would prove gripping to the students. One day, I provoked them with a point against marriage equality, and the response was a slew of laptops staring back. The screens seemed to block our classroom connection. Then, observing a senior colleague’s contracts class, I spied one student shopping for half the class. Another was surfing Facebook. Both took notes when my colleague spoke, but resumed the rest of their lives instead of listening to classmates.
Laptops at best reduce education to the clackety-clack of transcribing lectures on shiny screens and, at worst, provide students with a constant escape from whatever is hard, challenging or uncomfortable about learning. And yet, education requires constant interaction in which professor and students are fully present for an exchange.
Students need two skills to succeed as lawyers and as professionals: listening and communicating. We must listen with care, which requires patience, focus, eye contact and managing moments of ennui productively — perhaps by double-checking one’s notes instead of a friend’s latest Instagram. Multitasking and the mediation of screens kill empathy.
Likewise, we must communicate — in writing or in speech — with clarity and precision. The student who speaks in class learns to convey his or her points effectively because everyone else is listening. Classmates will respond with their accord or dissent. Lawyers can acquire hallmark precision only through repeated exercises of concentration. It does happen on occasion that a client loses millions of dollars over a misplaced comma or period...


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MCPS Legal Expenses, October 2016

MCPS Legal Expenses, October 2016

Special Education Legal Expenses

Special education legal fees for outside counsel for October 2016 totaled $4,597, all of which
was for Jeffery A. Krew. The year-to-date total of $38,295 is $681 (1.8 percent) more than
the same period in the previous year.

Non-special Education Legal Expenses

The total charges for non-special education legal expenses in October 2016 were $136,596.
The year-to-date total of $602,271 is $206,668 (52.2 percent) more than the same period
in the previous year. The non-Capital Improvements Program year-to-date portion totals $574,492.
This is $287,840 (100.4 percent) more than the same period in the previous year, primarily
due to ongoing litigation on a financial matter in which the Board recently received a favorable
ruling in the Circuit Court of Maryland.

The Carney Kelehan bill for October 2016 totaled $91,301. The largest amount, which was for
policy matters, totaled $46,591, the largest part of which related to Board policy development
($31,165). The next largest amount was for personnel matters ($40,986), the largest part of which
related to general personnel matters ($25,570). The amount for facilities matters, which is charged
to the capital budget, totaled $3,230. The amount for financial matters totaled $494.

The Hogan Lovells bill for October 2016 totaled $2,383, the largest part of which related to Board
policy consulting matters ($2,043).

The Venable bill for October 2016 totaled $4,320. The largest amount, which was for policy
matters, totaled $3,499. The next largest amount was for facilities matters, which is charged
to the capital budget ($821).

The DLA Piper bill for October 2016, totaled $34,792, all of which was related to financial matters.
Charges in October 2016 for court reporters, hearing officers, and other legal services totaled
$3,800, the largest part of which related to Board appeals ($3,375)

Coalition of Parents Commissions Expert Report on MCPS Language Programs

Coalition of Parents Commissions Expert Report on MCPS Language Programs: Analysis recommends that school officials expand two-way immersion, prioritize racial equity

Lawmakers want to make it easier to punish educators who sexually abuse students

State lawmakers and advocates in every New England state are pursuing legislation to make it easier to punish educators who sexually abuse students — and harder for them to get new jobs elsewhere working with children.

Massachusetts Senator Joan B. Lovely, Democrat of Salem, said she plans to introduce a comprehensive bill next month that will include a long list of changes, including making it illegal for high school teachers to have sex with their students, strengthening requirements to report abuse, and eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for cases involving sexual violations of children...

...In Connecticut, two state lawmakers said they want to extend what some call the “passing the trash” law to cover private schools. The law, approved in June, bars public schools from signing confidentiality agreements that cover up allegations of sexual misconduct. It also requires schools to share information when teachers accused of misconduct apply for new jobs. But the provisions do not apply to private schools.

“I think private schools should live up to the same standard as public schools,” said Senator Cathy Osten, Democrat of Sprague. Representative William Tong, Democrat of Stamford, said he also supports changing the law to cover private schools....


Monday, January 9, 2017

WJLA: Montgomery Village-based Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC) Caregiver abandons man with autism in transport vehicle while exercising at LA Fitness

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (ABC7) - A craving to burn calories and crank up cardio has a caregiver doing a lot explaining to police, his employer and the family of a disabled man.
Franck Tedlor, 26, of the 3300 block of Hewitt Avenue in Aspen Hill is now facing one criminal count of vulnerable adult abuse-custodian.
Around 6:30 p.m. on August 13, Tedlor drove his nearly non-verbal male patient with autism to the LA Fitness located along the 600 block of Quince Orchard Road in Gaithersburg. Tedlor allegedly parked the transport vehicle behind the fitness center, turned off the ignition, rolled down the windows and told his patient to behave and stay in the vehicle. It was 99 degrees outside at the time...


Balt. Sun: Maryland lawmakers face budget gap, political warfare in new session

Lawmakers left Annapolis last year with a modest budget surplus and talk of a bipartisan tax cut.
This year, they return to dismal financial prospects, readied for partisan warfare.
The surplus has evaporated, as have the calls for cooperation that heralded the start of the past two General Assembly sessions.

Leaders of both major parties fear policy debate could be overshadowed by political maneuvering that jump-starts the 2018 campaign season.

"The claws are coming out, and this isn't going to be pretty," said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings, a Baltimore County Republican.

The agenda Maryland lawmakers will consider in the annual 90-day session that begins Wednesday is sprawling and has implications for families and businesses across the state.
It includes budget cuts, forcing many businesses to offer paid sick leave, and addressing the escalating opioid epidemic. Lawmakers also plan to tackle inequity in the criminal justice system and the lack of diversity among licensed medical marijuana business owners. And they will wrestle over environmental policy, particularly a ban on the natural gas extraction method known as fracking...

...With state revenue falling short of projections, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and leading Democrats in the legislature must agree on $544 million worth of spending cuts for the next year — 3 percent of the state's $17.2 billion general fund. Those tough budget decisions will take place amid a potentially toxic political climate...