On November 6th Marylandreporter.com published an opinion article by Delegate Trent Kittleman (District 9A). The article is titled “Opinion: In Howard Co., moving students for ‘socioeconomic integration’ makes no sense“. Based on the title you can guess what her thoughts on the redistricting proposals are at this point. I recommend you give it a read.

Now Delegate Kittleman is not the first Howard County Delegation elected official to weigh in on this process.

  • We have had two members of the Delegation provide testimony to the board as part of the public sessions (More and more)
  • We have had all three State Senators from Howard County provide a public statement
  • We have all 4 members of District 12 provide a public statement
  • We have been told there are at least four bills headed to Annapolis (from members of District 12) related the the school system that you can tie directly to this redistricting process (This and this)

Let us not forget that the Howard County Council has also got involved in the redistricting process with bills like CR112-2019 and CR134-2019.

I find it interesting that local elected officials (not on the Howard County Board of Education) are so involved this year in the redistricting process. I am not saying they should not provide statements, opinions or legislation when they find it appropriate…just wondering what effect it will end up having on this process this year.

In my opinion this is becoming very political (see all of the stuff above as to why I have that opinion) and I am not sure that is in the best interest of this process.

What do you think?

Scott E

2 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t mind that the discussion has become political. The education system is failing and deserves the attention. As an aside, I found Delegate Kittleman’s opinion article simplistic, elementary and rife with anecdotal evidence and emotion. Her attempt to use that one study to support her opinion was unconvincing, because the study was actually attempting to address the “churn” in school students that often occurs in lower socioeconomic areas of unstable households, sometimes linked to apartment living — these families continually jockey to pursue greater stability, better jobs and housing. But, I’m glad she made an attempt.

  2. As a trained and experienced educational researcher living in Howard County who has worked with many school districts, I respectfully agree with Carol Aliprando’s analysis (above) that Del. Kittleman’s opinion article included “research evidence” that was not appropriate or supportive of the points she attempted to make. The research included in the article was, indeed, about “student attendance churn,”
    https://www.renniecenter.org/condition-education/indicator/churn-mobility-rate
    and therefore irrelevant to the current HoCo issue of redistricting for the dual purposes of 1) rebalancing the distribution of student population to better utilize existing building facilities and capacity to minimize/avoid new taxes and 2) use the redistricting opportunity to more effectively rebalance the distribution of students to address integration/desegration goals.

    In all due respect, Del Kittleman may not be aware of the body of research evidence that SUPPORTS the OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE EFFECTS of students being educated in highly integrated schools.

    In fact there is ample evidence that SCHOOL INTEGRATION significantly BENEFITS PARTICIPATING STUDENTS’ 1) academic and cognitive achievement, 2) provides significant civic and social-emotional benefits, and 3) promotes significant economic benefits.

    The attached report — “The Benefits of Socioeconomically and Racially Integrated Schools and Classrooms” — briefly SUMMARIZES the important findings of multiple high quality research studies.

    https://tcf.org/content/facts/the-benefits-of-socioeconomically-and-racially-integrated-schools-and-classrooms

    And I can personally attest to the veracity and strength of these research findings for students, having had the OPPORTUNITY to personally attend a highly integrated urban school (Omaha Central High School) in Omaha, Nebraska where the WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) was definitely in the minority. We were students in highly integrated classrooms, after school activities, sports, plays, etc. Studying and creating together we students quickly learned to look past the highly limiting “external stereotypes” of skin color, religion, gender, and socio-economics of families to work constructively and creatively with many others that came from different backgrounds than our own. In its urban setting, Central High School produced dozens of National Merit Scholars every year, a much higher than average number of students that went on to graduate college, many achieving professional degrees and becoming civic, business and government leaders, and generally earned more money over their lifetimes since they had the ADVANTAGE of being able to work effectively and seamlessly with many types of people and personalities.

    In fact, despite Omaha’s most famous citizen’s (Warren Buffet-the Oracle of Omaha) significant wealth and his ability to send his 3 children to any school he wished, Buffet sent all three of his children to PUBLIC SCHOOL — Omaha Central High School
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha_Central_High_School
    — CHOOSING TO BUS THEM MILES ACROSS TOWN to downtown Omaha. Also, Buffet’s business partner at Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger, graduated from this URBAN HIGHLY INTEGRATED SCHOOL. Many families choose Central HS BECAUSE the school was both academically rigorous and highly integrated.

    Buffet, Munger and others saw that the integrated urban school offered children INVALUABLE LIFE, SOCIAL and INTERPERSONAL LESSONS at an early age for learning how to make friends and get along easily with others. I believe that they, like me found that going to a highly integrated school that offered strong academics, helped to take the unconscious “cultural blinders” off our eyes and removed many stereotypes thereby allowing us to be more effective citizens and leaders later in life, and opened the doors of exploring a challenging world as well. The Buffets and Mungers and many others are still highly active in supporting Omaha Central High School even today as alumni.

    Therefore, I strongly believe that Howard County Public Schools’ REDISTRICTING PLAN offers HoCo students the same SIGNIFICANT Academic, Social, Civic and Economic ADVANTAGES that the body of research has establish exist with integrated education and my person education at OmahaaCentral High School as affirmed and provided me many years ago.

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