THIS POST WAS UPDATED MAY 19, 2018
BCPS is raiding all possible funding sources to pay for giving every student a laptop. Read a thorough explanation of how money is being misappropriated “for the children.”
“The County Office of the Auditor points out that the General Fund portion of the County’s budget would increase by $28.3 million, including new funding for the STAT program, and related curriculum materials. ‘These increases are significantly offset by the elimination of retiree healthcare funding, which totaled $25 million in FY 2018.’
It’s unclear what that “elimination” means, though recent discussion among county and school officials noted a “budget appropriation transfer” from the retirees’ fund, to be used to pay for STAT, a possible shell game that might constitute raiding the fund? Or an ongoing tapping of underfunded retirement and benefits monies?”
Read more of Joanne Simpson’s article here
In a letter to the editor, Leslie Weber (of the Baltimore County Parents and Teachers Association) and Cynthia Boyd (parent and physician) succintly lay out the problem between the educational technology industry and public education. The letter was witten in response to an article by Nancy Grasmick, former Maryland state superintendent of schools. Although Grasmick’s article is over two years old, (as is the letter), as a retired teacher who always had the greatest respect for Dr Grasmick, I was quite dismayed to read her position on the role of businesses (in particular educational technology companies) and the education of our children. Does Dr. Grasmick understand that the ed tech industry uses the term “personalized learning” as a panacea for what ails public education and severely undermines the teacher’s role and expertise in the classroom? I fear not.
Counter arguments are clearly expressed in the letter.
Read the letter
Pete Fitzpatrick wants to be on the Baltimore County School Board and is running in District 1. Fitzpatrick wrote a letter to the editor in The Baltimore Sun, critical of Dr. Karen Salmon, the Maryland State Board of Education Superintendent, for her decision not to approve Verletta White’s appointment as superintendent in Baltimore County. Many people are in an uproar but Pete has taken it to a new level, comparing Salmon to a meddling mother-in-law. The following commentary by Len Foxwell is worth reading. It begs the question: what century does Pete think we are living in? I especially like Foxwell’s comments about chicken pot pie and martinis.
“A partisan attack on Dr. Karen Salmon that took on sexist overtones yesterday has now officially crossed the line.
In this letter to the editor, a “gentleman” named Pete Fitzpatrick literally compares Maryland School Superintendent Karen Salmon to a nagging mother-in-law and encourages her to “admit she acted precipitously and without all the facts and go home.” Where, presumably, she can thaw out her husband’s chicken pot pie and make sure he has a chilled martini and comfortable slippers after Mr. Slate blows the 5 p.m. whistle.
The attacks on Dr. Salmon’s competence, integrity and independence over these past 24 hours have been nauseating. She acted judiciously and in the best interests of a school system that continues to reel from the indictment, prosecution and imprisonment of the previous Superintendent for the same sort of ethics violations committed by Dr. White.
Honest debate and disagreement over Dr. Salmon’s decision is okay. The misogynistic, disrespectful tone taken by Mr. Fitzpatrick in his letter is not. In my opinion, he needs to apologize, publicly, to Dr. Salmon and then withdraw from the race for the Baltimore County Board of Education.”
Read the letter
Flew in from Tucson last night to attend Dallas Dance’s sentencing. After about 2 hours including statements for the prosecution by former superintendent Bob Dubel and BOE member Roger Hayden and 6 speakers for the defense, sentence was announced.
The latest article in The Baltimore Post shares emails from top personnel in the IT department of the Baltimore County Public Schools. The emails discuss bedbugs destroying the laptops. You just can’t make this stuff up. More proof that the leadership did not really plan well for this experiment?
“Is there a Laundromat nearby?” read more
- In her most recent article, Ann Costantino describes the racous meeting of the Baltimore County Board of Education held April 3, 2018. Costantino quotes a letter I wrote to one of the Board members. I was appalled by the behavior of BOE member Stephen Verch and have called on him to apologize. If a teacher behaved in the manner Verch displayed, she would probably be restrained by security and asked to leave – or even arrested. Worse than that, as reported in Costantino’s article, Verch is unapologetic and states so with pride.
PAlso reported from people who attended the meeting was the rude behavior of teachers who spoke in favor of the STAT program. It is one thing to state your opinion, but quite another to heckle those speaking in opposition. Costantino shares a letter to the board from a parent: ‘I found it absolutely unacceptable to hear BCPS staff in the lime green shirts counting down out loud as time was running out on one of the citizen’s advisory council speakers. It was completely unprofessional, and I believe BCPSONE owes her a public apology on behalf of your staff.”
Jayne Lee, the president of the Batimore County Council PTA has this to say: “Thing is that his (Verch) behavior was not only directed at his fellow board members but also at those of us with differing opinions. Just as bad as Mr Verch was the behavior of the STAT teachers who jeered at the people with opposing views, counted down the time left while someone was speaking and sat in the atrium making rude nasty personal statements about speakers. My children would have been punished for that kind of rudeness. Perhaps last night the STAT teachers showed us the biggest problem with too much screen time. You end up with spoiled rude little children who have so much time on a device that they have no social skills and lack the ability to have interpersonal relationship skills that are generally acceptable.”
I will repeat what I have said from the beginning: when classroom teachers – not STAT teachers, NOT central office personnel, NOT resource teachers – turn out in great numbers at board meetings willing to speak, then I will believe that the majority of classroom teachers are in complete support of the digital transformation. Until then, the only real transformation I can see, is that of polite discourse disintegrating into brash bullying of stakeholders by BCPS personnel in public meetings.
Read the full article here
Didn’t we used to call stuff like fuzzy math?
More on the BCPS STAT debacle
There will be no public comment at next meeting of the Board of Education if Baltimore County tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Are we surprised? Real question is: what motivates them to shut out stakeholders’ opinions? Are they smug, thinking they know better? Are they lazy and don’t do their homework? Are they just not so smart? Do they really care? We would just love to know.
Read about it here
Baltimore County Board of Education member Kathleen Causey wants to hear from teachers. For those who are hesitant to express any criticism of current BCPS initiatives, Causey set up a post office box to hear from teachers, which she shared in 2016 at a BOE meeting. Causey and several other BOE members are concerned about teachers who are afraid to express opinions because of retaliation. Retaliation can be obvious, such as when a teacher is called into the principal’s office and told she was being “unprofessional on social media”. While this may be a he-said-she-said situation, it is threatening nonetheless as professionalism is an important component of teacher evaluation. Retaliation can also be blatant, and come in the form of priority transfer (involuntary transfer to another school). Or it can be subtle, such as extra duty assignments or being excluded from important committees.
Kathleen Causey’s address is: PO Box 311, Sparks, MD 2162. Teachers are encouraged to share their concerns with Causey and may do so anonymously.
Doing the same thing over again and expecting the different result? Is this what Baltimore County Public Schools is doing? Brenda Peiffer’s Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun is an indication that this may be the case. Read it here