Monday, May 30, 2016

Larry Bowers: Let Tyler Walk! #graduation #damascus

Let Tyler Walk!

Tyler is a senior at Damascus High School and was out for 3 months in November 2015 for a total spine replacement surgery. Tyler is a special needs student in the Learning for independence program (LFI). Due to the time he missed whether it's excused or unexcused from being out for the surgery/recovery his parents were informed he will not be allowed to walk with his graduating class. 

Sign the Petition

Memorial Day






 "...gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime...let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,-- the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."     

General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868

Sunday, May 29, 2016

MCPS Bans Students from Graduation Ceremonies All the Time

If you owe MCPS or your local principal cash, whether the fee charged was legal or illegal, you do not get to attend graduation.  (For example, senior dues are an illegal fee. They are not authorized by the legislature or the Board of Education, but that does not stop principals from banning students from graduation if they do not pay up.)

No cash = no cap and gown = no ceremony 


Friday, May 27, 2016

Controversy Erupts at B-CC High School Over Punishment of Students Who Were Allegedly Drunk at Prom

Controversy Erupts at B-CC High School Over Punishment of Students Who Were Allegedly Drunk at Prom: Teachers, parents unhappy after Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers overruled principal on decision to ban students from graduation ceremony

The reversal of the decision to ban six Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (B-CC) seniors from next week’s graduation ceremony because they were allegedly drunk at prom has caused a furor among some staff, parents and teachers.
Members of the school community who spoke to Bethesda Beat Friday said the reversal—which came from Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers after formal appeals from the students and their families—undermines the authority of Principal Donna Redmond Jones and flies in the face of a renewed effort to end underage drinking before prom, homecoming and other school events.
Jones, the school’s first-year principal, instituted the rule that any student who showed up drunk or was found drinking at the May 6 prom wouldn’t be allowed to receive his or her diploma at the school’s graduation ceremony Wednesday at DAR Constitution Hall.

Montgomery County planning massive tax-cut for developers

Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row: Montgomery County planning massive tax-cut for dev...: This Thursday, Montgomery County will raise your taxes to the highest level ever. And next week, they will discuss the biggest developer ...

MCPS Mother speaks out after disabled son photographed partially naked using school restroom



An 18-year-old special needs student hasn't returned to class since someone snapped a compromising picture of him in a school bathroom, and then uploaded it onto a popular social media application.
On Monday, May 16, the student, born with cerebral palsy, autism and impaired vision, entered a men's restroom at Damascus High School where he was enrolled in the 'Learning For Independence' program.
Due to dexterity issues, the student, who ABC7 is not identifying, is unable to button or zip his pants. Instead, he wears clothing with elastic waistbands, often dropping his trousers down to his knees when he urinates. While the special needs victim stood in front of a urinal, a male classmate used his cell phone to take a photo of the victim's bare buttocks.
The photo was then posted onto Snapchat. It went viral in short order....

http://wjla.com/news/local/mother-speaks-out-after-disabled-son-photographed-using-school-restroom

WSJ: Cellphone-Cancer Link Found in Government Study

A major U.S. government study on rats has found a link between cellphones and cancer, an explosive finding in the long-running debate about whether mobile phones cause health effects.

 http://www.wsj.com/articles/cellphone-cancer-link-found-in-government-study-1464324146

The researchers wrote that the results "appear to support" the conclusion that RF radiation may indeed be carcinogenic.

Mother Jones:

Game-Changing” Study Links Cellphone Radiation to Cancer

  Click here for link to Mother Jones article  http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/05/federal-study-links-cell-phone-radiation-cancer

Thursday, May 26, 2016

MCPS web site shut down due to "technical difficulties"

Due to unspecified "technical difficulties", the public MCPS web site has been almost entirely shut down since Thursday evening.   An estimated time for reactivation has not been announced.  

   

Council's Education Comm. will Take Up State Audit of MCPS while You are on Vacation

According to a message posted on Facebook today by Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, the Council's Education Committee will be discussing the 2016 Maryland State Office of Legislative Audits report on Montgomery County Public Schools sometime in August.  No date has been set yet for this discussion.

August is traditionally a time when many Montgomery County families take vacations.  Obviously, the Council wants to make sure you are out of town when the 2016 MCPS Audit is discussed.
The Council does not want you to see any news reports about the Audits findings or hear MCPS' response that the State auditors are wrong in their findings.

So let the Council know when your family will be out of town this summer so they can safely schedule a discussion of the 2016 State audit of MCPS when the least number of County residents will be in the County.   

County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov


Balt. Co. Auditors want Answers on School Spending on Laptops

Baltimore County auditors are pressing the public school system for answers on its laptop-per-student program, as well as the schools’ overall spending and other priorities for next school year — including whether parents could be given “an ‘opt-out’ alternative to digital learning environments” for their children.
In a May 16 memo from the Office of the County Auditor to Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance, auditors asked BCPS about the schools’ technology initiative, with planned “total costs” of $285 million in the first several years...

http://towsonflyer.com/2016/05/18/county-auditors-seek-answers-bcps-budget-tech-initiative/

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

approximately 300 routes were below 50 percent of MCPS’ bus capacity

From the 2016 Maryland State Office of Legislative Services audit of MCPS:


The account and password controls over network authentication and the student information and financial management system applications and databases did not meet certain minimum thresholds

From the 2016 Maryland State Office of Legislative Services audit of MCPS

Finding 10 Network, application, and database account and password controls were not sufficient to properly protect critical resources, as they did not meet minimum thresholds in accordance with recognized best practices. Analysis
Network, application, and database account and password controls were not sufficient to properly protect critical resources. The account and password controls over network authentication and the student information and financial management system applications and databases did not meet certain minimum thresholds, as identified in best practices prescribed by the State of Maryland
Information Security Policy.
For example, network authentication password controls were deficient with respect to password length, complexity, maximum age, and history. A similar condition related to network authentication and application password controls was commented upon in our preceding audit report.

MCPS Core Firewalls Not Configured to Properly Secure MCPS Network

This section of the 2016 Maryland State Office of Legislative Services audit of MCPS speaks for itself.


Audit: "MCPS paid the vendors approximately $1.3 million more than the contract amounts approved by the Board."

Whatever...clearly MCPS administrators do not care or pay any attention to Board of Education votes.  

This section of the 2016 Maryland State Office of Legislative Services audit of MCPS speaks for itself.

Montgomery County taxpayers, you pay for this. 


Parents, these dollars represent LESS teachers in classrooms.  Money spent without Board of Education approval steals money from classrooms and increases class size. 



Breaking: State Audit Flags Special Education Lawyer's Contract with Board of Education

MCPS "management" thinks not knowing what you are paying for is good money management.

This section of the 2016 Maryland State Office of Legislative Services audit of MCPS speaks for itself.  

Montgomery County taxpayers, you pay for this. 



Breaking: State Releases MCPS Audit Day Before Final Council Vote on Budget. No Bid Contracts Flagged!

Here's just a sample from the 6 year Maryland State Office of Legislative Audits report on Montgomery County Public Schools.   The 6 year audit is being released a week after the Montgomery Council already voted to raise Montgomery County citizens' taxes to support the alleged need of Montgomery County Public Schools for more money. 
 
Remember the Gallup Poll?

MCPS awarded a three-year $900,000 contract with payments totaling
$300,000 in fiscal year 2014 to survey employees without using a
competitive procurement process or preparing a sole-source justification
even though this service (conducting
surveys) is available from multiple firms.


Mont. Co. School Resourse Officer - Excessive Force at Prom - Assigned to SRO Job after Prior DUI #Sherwood



- A Montgomery County police officer is facing allegations of excessive force at a high school prom. FOX 5 has learned Officer Mauricio Veiga has been removed from his assignment as a school resource officer at Sherwood High School following the outcome of an investigation.
Montgomery County police are looking into the allegations and reviewing surveillance video from the prom held at a local hotel two weeks ago, which allegedly shows an altercation between the officer and a female senior student.

 Teachers at the high school who were present at prom filed the complaint against Officer Veiga, a 12-year veteran with the department, claiming he placed a female student in a headlock, tackled her to the ground and then holding her arms behind her back as if he was going to arrest her following a verbal altercation between the teenager and a fellow student...

...Officer Veiga has been charged with harassment in the past and was also arrested back in 2012 for DUI. Those charges were adjudicated...

 http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/144250107-story

Video: Students Sing Protest of Installation of Cell Tower Next to Their School

Published on May 11, 2016
Parents of children attending Monkstown Educate Together National School (METNS), Co. Dublin and local residents are challenging Vodafone plans to install a mobile phone mast on the roof of IADT College, located directly beside the primary school. They are also calling on the new government to strengthen existing legislation, which is in place since 2012 - a relaxed version of the previous guidelines put in place in 1996.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Board Member attempt to bully other Board Members for Asking Questions

Towson: 
...“It is the moral and legal obligation of every member of the board to provide oversight of our superintendent and the school system.  That is actually the “board’s work.”  Board members don’t make implementation happen.  We authorize it by our votes.  So, to say that oversight is getting in the way of the work of the board is a display of a lack of understanding of the proper role of the board,” Miller said in an email.
“Not only is oversight our responsibility, but reporting issues of suspected abuse or ethical violations is required by board policy of all employees.”

http://towsonflyer.com/2016/05/12/accusations-hate-lies-retaliation-bcps-school-board/

Monday, May 23, 2016

Agreement to reduce class size does not exist



Click on image to enlarge
The Council received your request under the Maryland Public Information Act (Md. Code, General Provisions (GP) §§ 4-101 to 4-601) for an agreement between the County and the Board of Education "that specifies that the Board of Education will use the FY2017 funding toward reducing class size". The Council does not have any such document. Though not specifically requested, I have attached 2 letters from Board President Durso that are relevant to this issue. 
SG §4-362 specifies the remedies for a person who believes that he or she has been unlawfully denied inspection of a public record.  You should consult §4-362 if you believe you have been unlawfully denied inspection of a public record.  
Sincerely,
Amanda Mihill
Legislative Attorney

Long Term Substitute Problems

Almost all students have had a long-term sub at some point or another. They are an interruption to the pattern of learning that students have become accustomed to. Each sub and teacher have different teaching styles, policies and even expectations. It is unfair that students are expected to transition over to a stranger teaching them without hesitation.
“Going from your teacher to a long term sub is difficult,” sophomore Jasiel Portillo said. “I don’t feel like I’m learning to the full extent and when the teacher returns to our class, we have to play catch up.”
When a teacher plans to leave for a period of time, they are able to find a substitute to fit their preferences and teaching styles, making sure that their students are left in good hands. They are have the option to make lesson plans, leave assignments and assign projects so that students can get straight to work when the sub is implemented.
“It took a while. It’s harder to find long-term subs than you would think …. There really is no protocol. MCPS doesn’t have a ‘go here to find people’ thing,” social studies teacher Caitlin Ulmer said. “Some teachers have sub recommendations, but many of them are on their own when making the decision.”...

http://www.rockvillerampage.com/opinion/long-term-substitute-problems/

Friday, May 20, 2016

Stop McTeacher's Nights

Can you believe that McDonald’s enlists teachers to sell junk food to their students? On “McTeacher’s Nights” across the country, teachers “work” behind the counter selling burgers, fries, and soda to their students and their students’ families. It’s a marketing ploy disguised as a school fundraiser. McDonald’s is exploiting the hard-earned trust, respect, and popularity of teachers to sell junk food to kids and create brand loyalty.
It’s shameful that McDonald’s is using the tragic underfunding of our public schools as a marketing opportunity. Teachers should never have to sacrifice their students’ health in order to earn a few extra resources for their classrooms.
Please tell McDonald’s CEO Easterbrook: No More McTeacher’s Nights!
To learn more, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org/action/stop-mcteachers-nights.

Petition:

 http://org.salsalabs.com/o/621/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18562