Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Resolutions and Me

A reporter asked me today, why I voted against the resolutions. I assume if a reporter had a question about it, the public might as well. Below is my response.

It would be best to access the meeting board minutes when this occurred for an understanding of why the board as a whole voted against the resolutions. I believe it was September or October 2004. I am not the chairman, so I cannot speak for the entire board. However, I do have my personal reasons for the vote, and I will be happy to share them with you.

One of the main reasons I voted to withdraw several of the resolutions is because we had multiple resolutions recognizing a select few job categories in our system. The list of those job categories receiving recognition was much shorter than the list that did not receive recognition. One of our resolutions was American Education Week. The contributions of ALL the system's employees were recognized. One group was not deemed more important than another. I thought it unfair to specifically go above and beyond the American Education Week resolution and pick out some jobs as worthy of recognition while the vast majority go unnoticed. I most certainly understand and well appreciate the contribution secretaries, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers (those whose resolutions were discontinued) make to the overall system. However, we also have electricians, accountants, lawyers, janitors, painters, personnel specialists, telephone operators, computer specialists, occupational therapists, librarians, nurses, and curriculum writers, to name a few, that also contribute significantly to our system and the students. Is a bus driver more worthy of special praise than the janitor that warms and sanitizes the building, the accountant that keeps accurate records and maintains the flow of funds, or the computer specialists that fix the hundreds of computer glitches on a daily basis? Perhaps some people are happy with empty, unsupported words on paper. But, to recognize each and every job category would be an extremely time-consuming task and would impede our ability to conduct board business. We only meet once or twice a month. In other words, we would spend so much time handing out resolutions, we would have precious little time left to conduct business.

Secondly, every year many Americans make resolutions on New Year's Day. They are often stated as new actions one will undertake in order to improve one's life and the lives of those around him. I see our board resolutions in the same light. WHAT specifically will we/have we done recently that will/has improved the lot of our students and employees? We can say we appreciate people all we want, but what do we actually do on a day to day basis or in a new initiative that will prove our words accurate. In my opinion, our resolutions were symbolism over substance. And, in my opinion, that's not the way to conduct business. Hence, my vote to eliminate certain resolutions.

While these resolutions may appear to be innocuous, I contend that that they are divisive and nothing more than a pacifier to those who are seeking a pat on the back. They thwart the efforts of those who are working for true change, not just a fancy piece of paper with empty promises. It's a pacifier. I am not one to pacify or patronize someone with a piece of paper if there is no substance behind it. We say we appreciate bus drivers, but when was the last time they were given a raise? We say we appreciate Fine and Performing arts, but why is there never enough money in the budget for arts? We say we value young children, but why do we take their recess away? We say we value our secretaries, but what NEW initiatives have we taken to make their jobs easier; how are they treated on a daily basis and not just Hallmark's Secretary Day? We say we value Women's History month, but when are historical contributions of women addressed outside of the month of March? We say we value nutrition in our schools, but have we as a board taken the initiative to reduce the amount of transfats in the cafeteria foods; are we serving fresh fruits and vegetables and high quality protein in our schools, or are our children served highly processed canned fruit cocktail, donuts, pizza, and Captain Crunch? Our students and employees deserve more substance and less symbolism. The more they are pacified with mere symbolism, the less likely they will be to receive the substance they deserve. The pacifier stops the whining. I was elected to make changes.

Notes from Board Work Session, 2/26/07

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes. Please follow-up for official minutes upon approval. For copies of printed reports presented visit BoardDocs.

Public Forum

Board Meeting Times

  • Wise - General public agrees to time change according to the survey
  • Pederson - Concurs. Requests staff input
  • Discussion by all. Wade asks for suggestions
  • Abell - Consider moving recognition to another night; work session nights. Public interested in recognition, and public forum and forum needs to be before action items. Makes for a late night.
  • Wise - 4- Executive Session; 5 Recognition; 6 Dinner; 7 Public Forum
  • Balides - Cut out staff reports and get them weekly in updates
  • Bailey - 4:30 Employee Recognition; 5:00 Student Recognition; 5:30 Executive Session; 6:30 Public Forum and remainder of meeting
  • Abell - according to the survey people don’t know about the meetings; possible to use the new phone/email system to notify them.

* Vote - Pederson motioned and seconded by Cook to adopt a new meeting time beginning in the month of April and continue until January 2008 in which time we will revisit. The agenda will be as follows: 4:30 Employee Recognition; 5:00 Student Recognition; 5:30 Executive Session; 6:30 Public Forum and remainder of meeting. In addition, electronic phone calls to households having children in the system will be made as a reminder of the meetings.

Policy Amendments

  • Cook - public not happy with the delay in getting the minutes. Suggests Draft minutes
  • Pederson - Concurs. Should be available in one week
  • Discussion by all.
  • Abell - asked for consideration of her policy revisions, especially those in Policy 9338.3 involving Board member access to closed session minutes. Cited numerous legal cases including those in the Open Meetings Compliance Act. Concern that a majority of the Board withholding minutes from one member could lead to a lawsuit.
  • Schwartz - Agreed we are always open for a lawsuit about anything but doesn’t believe the member would win the case because the Annotated Code of Maryland protects us.

* Mr. Schwartz Policy Amendments will move forward next month as an action item.

Unfinished Business

New Business

  • Richmond - spoke about combining technology for Commissioners and Board of Education. Shock to him. Discussed with Cooper years ago, briefly. Does not agree with hiring an outside consultant, too premature. Discuss with them at retreat
  • Richmond - suggests additional agenda items for retreat with Commissioners.
    Capital Improvement Program
    Renovation of Existing Facilities
    Budgets - Operational Budget for five years out
  • Cook - Resolutions previously removed. Wants reinstated. Emergency vote since some occur in March

* Vote - Pederson motioned and seconded by Cook to reinstate the following resolutions: Womens History Month; Fine and Performing Arts; Professional Secretaries Week.
Yes - Bailey; Carrington, Cook, Pederson, Wade; Wise
No - Abell

  • Wade - recommends we have the retreat with the Commissioners in the county
  • Richmond - Offers the Boardroom
  • Pederson - suggests neutral ground
  • Wade - will suggests to the Commissioners on Friday during his meeting with them
  • Abell - Discuss 08/09 Calendar
  • Hettel - Currently getting input from various groups and will present at the next Board meeting.

Study: College Students More Narcissistic

AP National Writer

Today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.
"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."

For the complete article, click here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

REMINDER: Board Work Session, Monday, 2/26/07

On Monday February 26th there will be a Board Work Session at North Point High School at 7:00 pm (immediately following student recognition).

The agenda includes:

  • Results of survey and discussion on Board Meeting Time
  • Policy 9000 Changes (board minutes)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Higher Grades Contradict Test Scores

This week on YahooNews...

High school students are getting better grades and taking more challenging courses, but that apparent progress is not showing up on national math and reading tests.

"The reality is that the results don't square," said Darvin Winick, chair of the independent National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the tests. Scores were released Thursday.

Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors scored below the basic level on the math test. More than a quarter of seniors failed to reach the basic level on the reading test. Most educators think students ought to be able to work at the basic level.

Read the complete article here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

School Board Minutes Takes Weeks

An article in the Maryland Independent today reports on the inordinate amount of time it takes for Board Minutes to be available to the public.

View the article here (link to be posted when available).

Just an idea...
maybe a good compromise, just to start with, would be for the Board to approve the minutes from the Board meeting at the work session. For example, the minutes from 2/13 Board meeting could be approved at the 2/26 work session. They could then be available to the public by the end of the month and prior to the next Board meeting where action items or voted on. I will attempt to make suggestion at our discussion at the work session.

In addition, contrary to a statement in the article, DRAFT minutes ARE made available to the public when they are posted on the agenda for the Board meeting. Unfortunately, this is done only a few days to a week prior to the meeting. My point being, if the DRAFT minutes are being posted as DRAFT minutes on the agenda a few days prior to the meeting, why couldn’t they be posted as DRAFT minutes a few weeks before the meeting?

UPDATE: Sorry for the misinformation. The minutes are NOT posted for public on the agenda until AFTER the Board approves it. Anyone out there with any legal background? Is there any legal issues preventing the Board from posting DRAFT minutes?

Charles County Cafe

I don't normally do this, but I wanted to bring everyone's attention to another great, informative website for Charles County residents. The Charles County Cafe is a group blog with several contributors from a variety of backgrounds. The focus is on Charles County and to provide a forum to present public information and to explain and discuss various issues with a variety of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Animal Rights
  • Arts & Music
  • Books
  • Celebrity
  • Charity & Volunteer
  • Civil Rights
  • Crime
  • Cultural & Race
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Events
  • Environment
  • Government
  • Headlines
  • Health News
  • Human Rights
  • Politics
  • Maryland News
  • National News
  • Religion
  • World News

International comparisons are more than a 'horse race'

An excerpt from an article by the National School Board Association

According to news reports, U.S. students are losing their edge in international testing. In reality, “American students aren’t ‘failing’ as some overwrought headlines suggest,” said Patte Barth, the director of NSBA’s Center for Public Education. “But they don’t win, place, or show on any international test of knowledge and skills, either.”

In fact, U.S. performance varies considerably depending on the subject area being tested and the age of test-takers,” said Barth. She spoke during a session at NSBA’s Federal Relations Network Conference Jan. 30 about a new packet of information from the center titled, “More than a Horse Race: A Guide to International Tests.”

For the complete article click here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wireless Schools

An excerpt from an article in TechLEARNING.com about CCPS.

Wireless connectivity in schools is all the rage, and many school systems have at least gotten their feet wet with a wireless lab or a few portable laptop carts. But Bijaya Devkota, the chief information officer of Charles County Public Schools, has done what many school systems only dream of—implemented universal wireless access throughout his district, including data and voice services. Mr. Devkota shared some of his district’s experiences in rolling out universal wireless, and the lessons and best practices learned throughout the process, as well as thoughts on the benefits of implementing wireless capability.

Mr. Devkota is clear about the intent of Charles County Public Schools to pursue a wireless initiative. “We had a vision for years to get a wireless network in place, and we’re now the first school system in the United States to have wireless end-to-end,” he says.

For the complete article, click here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Preventing Childhood Obesity

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) literature review of 53 articles on childhood obesity and factors affecting levels of physical activity reinforces the need for schools to have Coordinated School Health Programs (CSHPs) to help decrease obesity among children and youth.

Among the eight components of a CSHP model are Physical Education and Family and Community Involvement. GAO studies show that the program strategy identified by experts as most important to prevent or reduce childhood obesity is "increasing physical activity," and that parental and social support for physical activity is associated with increased physical activity

Access the literature review here. To learn more about CSHPs and how schools can apply this model in the fight against childhood obesity, visit NSBA's School Health Programs.

Following the FRN Conference, there is a momentum building on Capitol Hill to improve education legislation. Read the story online.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Follow-Up: Who is Gifted?

As a follow-up, additional information in response to a previous post Who is Gifted?
The Gifted Identification Process has been a two-year project.

  • 05-06 - Researched & collected data on national, state and metro area trends in regards to identification of and services provided to gifted students. In addition, stakeholder groups including parents, teachers, and administrators were surveyed.
  • 06-07 - Formed a county-wide committee to review the research and collected data and develop Gifted ID procedures for CCPS.
  • By May 2007, an Identification Procedure will be developed for elementray and middle school students.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Policy 9000 Amendments

There has been numerous emails sent to me regarding Policy 9000 revisions. The particular portion in question regards how the Board handles it's minutes. The concern in the emails regards the presentation of Ms. Young's suggestions back in November, my suggestions in January, and the staff attorney's (Mr. Schwartz) suggestions. The four concerns are not the content as much as the lack of transparency by the new Board, a platform that we all campaigned on during the election.

  1. Neither Ms. Young's recommendations or mine have been posted for the public to view.
  2. Ms. Young's (no longer a Board member) suggested changes have been dropped from discussion.
  3. Only Mr. Schwartz's recommendation is available for public view.
  4. Policy is a Board function, not staff's.
I wanted to let everyone know I did question our Chairman about the inavailability of the members recommendations to the public and an excerpt from his response is below:

...The procedure for posting is that the report item is posted. Board members then have the opportunity to discuss changes, additions, deletions or content during the report time. Your proposals, along with the proposals from all other Board members, will be discussed during an open, public session on Feb. 26.

... the appropriate time to post any changes to the report item is after thorough discussion among all members so that the changes reflect the thinking and opinions of all Board members and not one individual.

So according to Chairman Wade I guess we will be discussing the revisions at the Board Work Session on February 26th, NOT at the next Board meeting in March. Links to the various renditions to Policy 9000 are listed below. Please provide your feedback.

Current Policy 9000 -Go to Policies; Click on 9000
Mr. Schwartz Recommendation - Go to Board Meeting 2/13/07; Click on Reports; Click on Policy
Abell's Recommendation - Just click

Friday, February 16, 2007


Do you ever wonder...

why does it take so long to get anything accomplished?

why people don't trust politicians?

why do politicians get such a bad rap?

why do politicians do what they do?

where do politicans come up with these promises?

why don't politicians keep their promises?

why politicans think they have to be manipulative?

what would happen if a politician refused to play the game?

who actually has control?

what would the public think if they were fully aware of EVERYTHING?

What Research Says About the Power of Homework

The Latest from the Center for Public Education

Homework has gone in and out of fashion since the 19th century. Does homework help or hinder student learning—and which students, under what conditions, does it help or hinder? Do students get too little or too much homework—and how can parents tell? Find out what the research tell us about the pros and cons of homework.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Notes from Board Meeting, 2/13/07

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes. Please follow-up for official minutes upon approval. For copies of printed reports presented visit BoardDocs.

Public Forum

  • Gentleman spoke about the Piscataway Indians; museum property on Bumpy Oak Road; frustrated over loss of property CCPS took and gave to Sheriff. Coffey stated he will not use it.
  • Student spoke against summer required reading assignments. Summer is for free time, free reading, family and enjoyment.
  • Woman spoke on the need for CCPS to have an open door policy for visitation. Statistics show majority of sexual offenses on students happen from staff NOT parents
  • Gentleman spoke on the FASEB program offered at the college

Action - Approval of Minutes from 1/9/07

*Vote to approve minutes

Correspondence/Board Member Updates

  • None

Report – EACC – Bill Fisher

  • Opposes the use of HSA as a graduation requirement. General Assembly will be addressing.
  • Teacher workload; use creative talents vs. test preparation
  • Read Across America on March 1st at Old Country Buffet
  • FEA members attending annual conference in San Diego
  • Discontinued resolutions in Sept. 2004 need to re-adopted
  • MSTA Reading contests

Report - Student Board Member – Andrew VanWoerkem

  • CCASC meeting – stuffed legislative folders for delegates
  • MS meeting – reviewed parliamentary procedure
  • Legislative session – two reps were chosen for state board. Workshops included choosing a SMOB and Constitution review. Numerous compliments from other counties regarding the conference and North Point
  • Bills reviewed and supported include: Register to vote at 16, not to vote just register; Prohibit colleges from raising in-state tuition; Drug and alcohol tests on students only for reasonable suspicion; Elementary school students mandatory 150 minutes of Physical Education every week

Report – Superintendent – Ron Cunningham

  • Visits schools weekly and gets most of his ideas there.
  • New teacher breakfast once a month
  • CISCO projects. Brainstorming session took place on new high schools. TelePresence conference 5/23
  • Vital source – electronic curriculum filmed teachers for marketing
  • Rotary Club donation to foundation will help with the My Library program
  • New high school advisory group met.
  • CIP appeal – complete fund Davis MS; increase funds for Neal
  • CAC and PAC met 1/30. Report on meeting time survey will be presented at 2/26 work session
  • Job Shadow Day success
  • Tri-County Superintendent Meeting
  • Spelling Bee, Science Fair, Mock Trials Destination Imagination, JROTC Drill Meet, band and choral festivals
  • Matula 2007 MD Characters school in running for national
  • $5,000 donation to Stoddert for Accelerated Reader
  • McDonough Marching Band participated in the Governors inauguration
  • American History Month

Report - CIP

  • Hagis – Davis 81% complete; on schedule for August 2007 opening. No foreseen problems
  • Hagis – Smallwood Boiler Project still underway
  • Hagis – Gwynn Center new roof top units. Will complete before warm weather
  • Barret – Elementary School site in Pinefield. They are wetlands. Plans have been redone to accommodate wetlands, school, and fields.. Emphasised renovation of existing schools.
  • Wineland – Article 13-203 regarding the cross botony as an ornamental pole topper. Determined it is nor required byt MAY be used. CCPS is in compliance
  • Bailey – Questions regarding IAC funding decisions worksheet

Report - Technology Update – Laura Bennet & Paul Balides

  • Video conferencing – interactive communication; principals have cameras for video conference call.
  • Middle and high schools have one unit; elementary have two units sytem wide for checkout
  • Virtual field trips, meetings, training, and classes.
  • Pedersen – Reassueance that we are not doing away with actual field trips.
  • Bennett – Definitely not.
  • Carrington – Unit costs?
  • Balides - $6,500
  • Richmond – Possibility of using this technology to offer AP courses system wide that would otherwise need to be cancelled due to low enrollment at a single high school

Report – Curriculum – Early Childhood (Birth – 5 years) – Judy Estep and panel

  • Panel includes Southern Maryland Tri-County Action Committee, Charles County Judy Center, Title 1 Coordinator, Specialist in Early Childhood Education
  • Review of programs available
    3’s Spring Forward
    Even Start
    Kindergarten (Half day and full day)
    Judy Center
    Head Start
  • Pedersen – Questions on enrollment and availability.
  • Estep - If there is an opening, non-eligible parents/students cannot attend due to federal funding guidelines.
  • Cook – PreK enrollment
  • Estep – Based on need first (free and reduced lunch)
  • Abell – Clarification on enrollment for Pre-K. Isn’t it based on medical need also.
  • Estep – First financial need and secondly medical need.

Action – Personnel

* Vote to accept staff recommendations

Action – Superintendent FY08 Proposed Budget

  • Bailey – Is there enough money in the budget to perform the vision of the Board?
  • Richmond – Yes
  • Wise – Motion does not include supplemental budget, correct?
  • Richmond – correct
  • Cook – Date for meeting with Commissioners to discuss budget
  • Balides – at the retreat in March
  • Pedersen – Thanks to all. Request a cheat sheet for board members to use when discussion budget with commissioners.

* Vote to accept staff recommendations

ADJOURNED – Due to inclement weather

  • Abell - requested clarification as to when the remaining items would be addressed.
  • Wade – Staff presentations/reports would be heard at the next Board meeting (March); all other items could be addressed at the board work session on 2/26.


Report – Budget – Paul Balides


Report – Human Resources – Keith Hettel
Calendar for 08-09; Daycare

Report – Legislative – Eric Schwartz

Legislative; Policy Amendments

Unfinished Business

New Business & Future Agenda Items

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fourth-Grade Slump

In an article in Newsweek...

In the pressure-cooker world of the nation's elementary schools, it's hard to be 9 years old.

Terri Bollinger, principal at the Ridge Central elementary school, has noticed a troubling trend. Her third graders are doing incredibly well. Most of them meet or exceed Illinois state reading standards. But her fifth graders aren't showing the same kind of improvement—and in 2005, their reading scores even dropped a little. Bollinger thinks she knows why. For complicated reasons, some kids lose their mojo when they get to fourth grade.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

REMINDER - Board Meeting Tuesday, 2/13/07

Just wanted to remind everyone there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, February 13th at 1:00 pm. To see the full agenda and/or individual report items, please visit

Friday, February 09, 2007

Schools Picked to Pilot Sex-Ed Lessons

In the Washington Post today...

Montgomery County has decided to introduce the topics of sexual orientation to students in eighth- and 10th-grade county health classes at six schools. Current curriculum allows teachers to broach the topic only in response to student inquiries.
Three citizen groups are fighting against the new curriculum.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Acceleration Lets Students Excel

In an article in Queue, Inc.

…School districts in Ohio were required by law to adopt an acceleration policy for this school year for advanced learners, allowing them to move through traditional curriculum faster than usual.

The state offered a model policy that districts could adopt or allowed districts to adopt a similar version. The policy covers early entrance into kindergarten, single-subject acceleration, whole-grade acceleration and early graduation. Click here for the model.

Much resistance from educators occurs because of an outdated and unfounded notion that kids who skip a grade will be harmed psychologically, said Tom Southern, a Miami University educational psychology professor who has studied acceleration
for 20 years.

In fact, Southern said, research shows that kids who are
accelerated do much better, academically, in terms of achievement.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Child's Day: 2003

Quick facts and statistics according to a report on children’s well-being and daily activities titled A Child's Day: 2003

  • Seventy-five percent of students 12 to 17-years old were academically “on track” (at or above the grade level for peers their age) in 2003, up 6 percentage points since 1994, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Jan. 11.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 children ages 12-17 were in a special class for gifted students or did advanced work in an academic subject.
  • Eleven percent (2.7 million) of children 12-17 had been expelled or suspended from school at least once in 2003. Boys (14 percent) were more likely than girls (8 percent) to have been suspended.
  • Aside from normal progression within a school system, 24 percent of children ages 6-11 and 41 percent of those 12-17 had changed schools at some time since first grade.
  • About 30 million children participated in the national school lunch program in 2003, including 1.6 million children under 6, 15 million ages 6-11, and 13.4 million ages 12-17.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Open Meetings Compliance Board Opinion

On February 5, 2007, the Open Meetings Compliance Board issued it's opinion on a complaint filed against the Charles County Board of Education. You can view the complete findings here.

The conclusion...

We find that the County Board did not violate the Act in connection with notices of closed sessions or the process by which meetings were closed, except that we are unable to reach a conclusion about the timeliness of the required written statement preceding the closing of a meeting. We are also unable to opine about the lawfulness of closing the August 8, 2006, meeting. With regard to minutes, the County Board violated the Open Meetings Act when it failed to approve minutes of closed sessions that were subject to the Act and did not adequately disclose required information after many of these closed sessions. The County Board did not violate the Act by denying individual members access to minutes of closed sessions or failing to report to the public its votes on motions to unseal minutes of closed sessions.

NCLB Plan Includes Vouchers

In an article in the February issue of School Board News

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spell­ings said the Bush administration will seek to incorporate private school vouchers and expanded charter school options into the No Child Left Behind Act.

Many of the administration’s proposals for the reauthorization of NCLB revolve around the approximately 1,800 schools that have failed to improve student achievement to acceptable levels over the last six years and are in “restructuring” status.

Also included is a plan for charter schools, grants, and promise scholarships.

More information can be found in an article in todays Washington Post.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Maryland Association of Student Councils

A meeting of the Maryland Association of Student Councils took place Saturday at North Point High School. The 800 student delegate attendees picked two nominees to represent Maryland's million students on the State Board of Education. The two students chosen were from Prince George's County; Renford Freemantle of Beltsville and Haywood Perry III of Accokeek. Gov. Martin O'Malley will appoint one of the two nominees to the board.

In a quote taken from the Washington Post article

Roberta "Bobbie" Wise, the newly elected vice chairman of the Charles County Board of Education, said she was blown away by the student leaders.

"Those kids were impressive," Wise said. "My God, I wish I had that composure when I was campaigning."

Although I couldn't personally attend the meeting, my congratulations and compliments to the Charles County Association of Student Councils for a very organized and informative event.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How does Southern Maryland Compare?

In an article today in the Washington Post, they discuss the scores of Southern Maryland students on the Maryland School Assessments. Clearly, Calvert County middle schools outperform state averages in every Maryland School Assessment category. Where is St. Mary's and Charles? Unfortunately, Charles scores rank last of the three counties in five of the six areas. But on the good side, maybe, we ranked at or better than the state average in five of the six categories as well.

Southern Maryland students' scores on the Maryland School Assessment exams are listed below. The scores represent the percentage of students taking the exams who performed at the proficient or advanced levels.

St. Mary's.............73.4...........73
State average..........71.9...........65.6

St. Mary's.............76.9...........65.1
State average..........71.1...........60.1

St. Mary's.............69.7...........53.2
State average..........67.............55

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Open Thread Saturday!

I will begin posting an "Open Thread" every Saturday for visitors to tell me what you would like to see on my site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly or topics you would like to see discussed in the future. So here you go, give me your feedback.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Student Progress Lags in Area Middle Schools

According to an article in todays Washington Post, one student in three attending a middle school in Maryland lacks proficiency on the Maryland School Assessment, a standard all students are supposed to meet by 2014.


School boards across the D.C. suburbs are talking about fixing middle schools. There is fairly broad consensus that they represent the weak link between comparatively prosperous elementary and high schools. There is pervasive talk of middle school reform.
Only 14 of 124 middle schools in the D.C. suburbs achieved at least 90 percent proficiency in reading and math on the 2006 MSA, according to an analysis of data for grades 6 through 8. The analysis includes schools in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and St. Mary's counties, as well as a limited number of schools in Prince George's that serve grades 6 through 8. (Many middle schools in that county do not have sixth grade.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Public-Private Partnerships Right Model to Build Public Schools

The Examiner has an interesting little editorial today. I wonder if Charles County will ever look outside the box?

BALTIMORE - Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed to hike spending on school construction from $323 million in 2007 to $400 million in 2008. He suggests reductions to $250 million annually in following years.
That’s a lot of money. Many obsolete and dangerous schools clamor for replacement or additions. The need to update or rebuild in most districts is not at issue. The issue is how they are replaced.
School districts in Maryland routinely build and operate schools. They don’t have to. And it doesn’t make sense. School administrators do not earn degrees in real estate development and construction management. Other states and other countries routinely partner with private developers to cut the time it takes to build schools and save money. It’s time Maryland started the practice, too.