Saturday, February 7, 2009

Has MCPS dropped American History from its Curriculum?

In the context of recent activity by the BOE and MCPS, I've begun to have serious concerns about whether our children will believe that American History and US Government are more than concepts in heavy high school textbooks. Despite repeated notices and parent activity, the Board and MCPS seem to disregard prior legal opinion and past challenges to its practices, without seeming to acknowledge that its operations are subject to state and local laws.

The BOE/MCPS decision to discuss the issued opinion of the state's Open Meetings Compliance Board in Closed session seems to directly challenge the recently issued opinion, given the presumption that meetings of public bodies are to be open in the public. While the new leadership in the White House embraces transparency and open government, MCPS appears to be digging in, and not admitting it could possibly be wrong.

Its also not the first time MCPS has been chastised by the Open Meetings Compliance Board for similar transgressions. Ever hear of Bradley MS? No, you wouldn't because that prime piece of real estate on Newbridge Road in Potomac was surplused by the BOE without public comment in 1994. Ever hear of River Falls ES? Glen Hills ES? Laytonia HS? Olney HS? No you wouldn't because those schools were given away in emergency closed meetings by the Board of Education in April, 1996. Remember the controversy in 2004-2005 over MCPS and the county council's efforts to "surplus" Kendale ES and Brickyard MS school sites? A call to the open meetings compliance board brought that decision into the sunlight, and saved 30 acres of school land from exiting the school systems inventory of future school sites.

And MCPS got in trouble with the open meetings compliance board again over its decision to close meetings in connection with the Sex Education curriculum.

From the article:
Rosanne Hurwitz, who heads one of the county's six PTA areas, asked the Attorney General's Office to investigate whether such a discussion would violate open-meeting laws.
Assistant Attorney General William R. Varga yesterday spoke with George Margolies, the board's staff director. Mr. Margolies told Mr. Varga that the board would discuss "the status of the litigation" with Mr. Weast and "the impact of the superintendent's decision in connection with the litigation," according to a letter from Mr. Varga to the open-meetings compliance board.
"However, Mr. Margolies assured me that discussion will be limited to issues in the context of the litigation," Mr. Varga wrote. "The board is aware that policy decisions in connection with the curriculum must be handled in an open session

And lets not forget, that MCPS doesn't think "old laws" apply. Up until this year, MCPS was charging curricular fees for class related material. More specific materials may be found in the Parents Coalition Guide to Fees.

Even when MCPS acknowledges that it has made a mistake and indicated it will change the policy - implementation of the policy is delayed until the start of next school year .
I thought illegal was illegal - does something happen between now and next September that impacts whether the school system can flout the law and still charge illegal fees?
Don't we expect our children to obey the law? What type of example is set by MCPS and our esteemed Board of Education by constantly flouting the legal system?

Maybe Montgomery County is like Lake Wobegon - where all children are above average and the rules don't apply.

1 comment:

  1. This article was cited in a National Blog on technology and education:

    "dangerously irrelevant"


If your comment does not appear in 24 hours, please send your comment directly to our e-mail address:
parentscoalitionmc AT