This image showed up on social media a few days ago and many in our community were not fans of the message from Columbia Academy in the mailer.

The wording “Worried about redistricting? We’re here for you.” on the front of the mailer had quite a few negative responses online. Many felt that this private school was taking advantage of the difficult redistricting process the HCPSS went through in 2019.


II highly recommend reading through the various comments to the tweet above.

Here is what I was sent showing what the back of this mailer looks like:

Here is a little bit about Columbia Academy from their about page on their website:

Columbia Academy is a premier private school in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area serving children from six weeks through eighth grade. With four preschool locations, a vibrant elementary school environment, and a top-notch middle school, we are uniquely equipped to serve families in Howard, Baltimore, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Carroll Counties. Our teachers use creative methods to engage and equip students for lifelong learning. During the formative years and beyond, students build upon prior knowledge in a way that fosters meaningful connections and a deeper understanding of the world around them.

What do you think of the marketing technique utilized by Columbia Academy? Let me know in the comments.

Scott E

26 COMMENTS

  1. No need to get upset over it. There are people worried about redistricting, just like there are people worried about getting fat. If a business send out mailers asking, “worried about getting fat,” are you still going to get upset over them “playing on ppl’s fears?” Come on…
    If their mailer still bugs you, then dont send your kid to their school. Simple. Protest with your wallet. They have freedom of speech just like any of us.

    • Well said. People need to grow thicker skin and stop finding “reasons” to always be offended. America is (at least used to be) about choice. Columbia Academy is being entrepreneurial.

  2. meh. For every person who is butthurt about the flyer, there is someone butthurt about the redistricting. So it cancels out. This round of redistricting has really hurt Howard County’s “brand” – education. There will need to be a next round, and it will be even worse. People move to Howard County and pick a neighborhood based on the school, they pay a lot of money, and they don’t like the politics of redistricting. The politics of redistricting boils down to “Parents who paid 2 million for a house don’t want their kids to go to school with kids whose parents only paid 700k.” Or (in my case), property values are going up (yay). First world problems, really. People who complain about the flyer, or redistricting, should be forced to send their kids to a Baltimore City school for a day. M

    • And those groups of people likely contain different people, so even more reason to not care about what a private business does. LOL

    • not really actually. First, MD disfavors secular private schools compared to most other states. Second, but more importantly, many HoCo schools are as good as private schools. People have the money to choose their schools by choosing their neighborhood and paying an exorbitant price for a house. That’s why home prices are sky high. I went to a private school and feel my kids got as good an education. Not that I have no complaints, but at the margin they are small. If I had to move out of the city and pick a neighborhood, i’d do it all again.

  3. Paying to go to a private school is a CHOICE that some parents make. We did with our 2nd child before this redistricting mess and he is very happy with the choice. For the first time in years, our child is treated like a human being instead of a piece of data, he has choices in his learning with fully stocked labs/classrooms and many learning paths to pursue. His teachers are happy and helpful and the whole school environment is orderly based on mutual respect between students and staff. No Common Core curriculum or teaching to the big standardized test and no pushing students into high level classes that they do not wish to take (the students have choices).
    Parents in HoCo have an ego problem when it comes to their children and their schools…..they fight over brick and mortar buildings based on some obscure test scores (that mean nothing but socio economic status -NOT INTELLIGENCE). The teachers are over worked and many are unhappy, the classrooms are overcrowded, the school environment is not respectful to students needs and the classrooms are devoid of the materials needed to make learning a joyful and meaningful experience. Common Core is the drudgery of the day and the kids are basically out of control and unhappy.
    Parents shouldn’t get their panties in a bunch about the flyer. Columbia Academy has every right to market their “product” and parents have every right to throw that flyer in the trash. Maybe if parents took a tour of some private schools and then went and really visited classrooms in HCPSS, they would see what is really lacking in the public schools and why so many parents are fleeing the public system and paying for a better CHOICE for their children.

    • That hits the nail on the head. Choice is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, MD is a more difficult state to provide educational choices. I work at Pearson right here in the Merriweather District. Pearson acquired Connections Education, which is a national K-12, virtual school provider that originated here in Baltimore a few years back. We can’t get into MD with our Connections Academy programs, but we have had great success around the country with many of these programs. These programs often times come at no cost to parents, meaning there is a true choice as it is not an additional cost heaped onto families already paying for public schools through forced taxation. By no means is this commentary meant as an advertisement. I simply want to highlight how the state essentially obstructs choices, and even when they exist, there’s an additional cost as we cannot get school waivers.

      So at the end of the day we are left with a state and counties that have guaranteed income through forced taxation, provide little choice, and arbitrarily dictate where our children are to receive their education. Who’d be bothered by that?!

  4. I’m upset that people are upset that people are upset about it. Wait, does that mean I’m upset about it? I can’t keep track anymore. I guess that means I should just stop getting caught up in the cycle of outrage culture and focus on things that are within my circle of influence and actually be a contributing member of society instead of a whiner behind a computer/phone screen. (Yes, this is tongue in cheek for those who still can’t tell the difference.)

  5. “Many felt that this private school was taking advantage of the difficult redistricting proc..”
    Well, good for them. In a free market society, any business can reach out to potential consumers who in turn can CHOOSE to patronize it. Oh wait, HCPSS is a monopoly so this pamphlet shines light on that and the usual union, social- engineering cartel do not like that at all. They are in a panic to lose their strangle grip on those education $$$ from taxpayers. Sounds far- fetched but remember DC was in a similar spot not too long ago and they had teachers begging for students to return to public with the great exodus of students to charter schools. With this kind of tinkering around, HoCo taxpayers may shift toward this safer bet. As someone mentioned, they both have the means easily (income) to do this and the reasons (forced redistricting). This could be a powerful force. Remember all it takes is a select group of redistricted kids in certain polygons to offset the discriminatory FARMS model. These moves would not only wreck havoc on those FARMS rates, but also rob HCPSS from the “sacrificial” students to implement this disaster policy. Maybe I should workout a business plan and see if some bank can loan me the $$$ for this.

    • Exactly. Just imagine what this public school district could be if the power of the wallet and freedom of choice for families fully applied…

  6. One thing to note is that for many families being redistricted C.A. is actually easier and faster to get to than the schools that they are now being assigned to.

  7. Howard County Schools really let down my late son who suffered from learning disabilities. I can never get that off my chest. If I had it all to do over, I would have sent him to Columbia Academy. Ho Co Schools are so hyped up with baloney that is totally false. Blue Ribbon Schools! Phony!

    • I’m sorry for your loss. You probably were unaware of the disruption of public education (since the Great Recession 10 yrs ago) by those who know nothing about education, so don’t blame yourself. The school system is a big “let down” for many students….even students who have no learning disabilities. The illusion of a great school system for every child was/is a way to drive expensive real estate and a higher tax paying base for the county. Not all schools are equal with more affluent zip codes definitely having better resourced classrooms, support staff and activities. It is unfair that ALL of our children are used as pawns to draw tax dollars and real estate deals to the county….they are treated as nothing more than a test score or data point. ALL children suffer when they are not treated kindly or respected as human beings capable of being more than a score on a test. Private schools are filled with parents fleeing public school systems because they want their children treated with compassion in a learning environment that is centered on the whole child while still providing the 3 R’s.

  8. These comments on this blog post are very refreshing as there’s much more reason applied here than in many of the emotional “I’m outraged, too” Twitter responses. As other posters here have said, private school is a personal choice. Be glad that the market, regulated as MD is with its education, at least offers a choice, regardless of whether you can or want to take advantage of it. That choice, unfortunately, stands in contrast with a school district that got on a social warrior path to “correct” problems beyond physical capacity concerns.

    My family lives in a comparably modest neighborhood when compared to areas such as Clarksville, River Hill, etc., but what right do I have to condemn families and advocate for changes that affect them when they are willing to pay a premium for a parcel of land and a house in an area they feel is best for their children to attend school? If I wanted to live in such a neighborhood, what keeps me from increasing my earnings, reevaluating my expenses, my priorities, and investing more into housing than I currently do?

    And somehow this county prides itself on how civil it is with those cute, little, green bumper stickers…

    • Because ALL schools in a public school district should be “good” schools. Shared tax dollars fund those schools and they should be as equal as possible. Affluent schools shouldn’t be getting rich and meaningful curriculum, while less affluent schools get test prepped all day and denied the resources needed to help the kids actually learn. I DO NOT believe in Charter schools as they suck dollars away from the public school system. Believe me, if my child’s public school were better resourced, Common Core was gone, the testing mania (PARCC…that’s your company Pearson!) gone, virtual teaching/blended learning/competency based learning were a thing of the past, I wouldn’t be paying for my child to attend private HS. HoCo used to have a great education system BEFORE education disruption occurred and all the privatizers (yes…that’s your company Pearson) were invited in by the politicians and allowed to ruin the system for monetary gain (free market). Yes, I like having a CHOICE of a private school and I DO NOT wish for the state to start pushing vouchers to fund my child’s education. When private schools start taking money from the state, they are obligated to follow the rules of the state and I chose to cut ties with the public system over CC curriculum, the nasty standardized testing (yes PEARSON/PARCC), the teaching to the test to game the test scores (PEARSON/PARCC), the data collection, SEL , blended learning etc etc. I like having a CHOICE and I don’t mind paying for that CHOICE.

      • More tropes about shared tax dollars. I gotta wonder if people are willfully ignorant about per-pupil spending in MD, or simply have an agenda.

        Money does not buy happiness or better schools. There are plenty of examples of that. If money bought better schools, kids in Worcester and Somerset should all be sending their kids to Ivy League colleges. Baltimore City consistently ranks among the highest per pupil. Howard Co usually comes in around 6th or 7th per pupil. People choose HoCo schools because they are better (despite the spending, or maybe *because* we do more with less and don’t have as high a tax burden).

        Blaming the budget is the mark of every bad manager. If the school cannot get good outcomes with what they have, the administration is to blame, not the budget.

      • I think we are actually a lot more aligned here than it may sound. As with any company, not all that Pearson does is well-received, and that’s ok, so long as there is a choice in the consumption of those services. Imagine how Pearson may react if these structures were not as locked in as they are, and market forces decided its fate. As I mentioned, I did not advertise any products or services for Pearson here. My role in the organization is to provide technology to our learners and staff to facilitate learning. That does not mean I fully endorse all practices. On the contrary, there are advantages with some of the products and services they do offer, and parents should have a choice in deciding to use them. Respectfully, your view of Pearson appears symptomatic, not problematic to me, as the underlying issue appears to be the education system forcing their choices onto us. Politicians, lobbying, etc. all play a role in that. You mentioned that Charter schools sucked money away from public schools. Why do I need to be forced to fund public schools if I disagree with the services they provide? My issue is that we are forced to supply these public schools via property taxes and are still not left with any choice and influence on how and where education is administered to our children, but we are good enough to foot the bill at an arbitrary rate that our properties are assessed at for these arbitrary decisions that the school board made. Hey, at least we got to vote for them…

        • Politics took over education at the signing of NCLB. Worst thing that happened to education and it allowed the free market to start it’s suck on the tax payer dollars used to educate children. And as for those tax dollars……I don’t drive on roads in many other counties in MD, but my tax dollars fund those roads anyway. Tax dollars are for the good of the community as a whole and I don’t deny fellow Marylanders the right to decent roads just because I myself don’t use those roads. I am happy that tax dollars provide for police/fire departments and trash removal etc. I don’t like what has become of public education and I’m sad that it has become so devoid of actual learning. Some people here think the education is great and I don’t deny them their public schools (tax dollars), but I don’t feel the same and I’m will to pay for the Choice.

          • I think you should be 100% entitled to choose to whom or to what cause you give your money. If you are willing – and I am assuming that’s what you mean by “I don’t deny” – to spend your tax dollars on public education and are also willing to spend your money on a private education, then that’s in complete alignment with free choice.

            What’s always interesting in these conversations is when the question of taxes not being compulsory comes up. We’ll find out pretty quickly then what people really consent to.

            I, for my part, would very much enjoy 100% choice, and I am bothered when my money is taken from me with little choice in how it is spent. I believe that’s a notion and principle that most everybody would agree with.

          • Contrary to your belief there always was and always will be a “free market” for education. Rich people can choose whatever neighborhood/school they want, in any state, and always will be able to. Charter schools simply allow low income brackets to access the free market.

            Yes, its true, public schools then need to compete. Competition means productivity i.e. better outcomes over time. If you produce a good product parents want, you should not be worried.

  9. “Yes, its true, public schools then need to compete. Competition means productivity i.e. better outcomes over time. If you produce a good product parents want, you should not be worried.”

    – That, 100%.

    • The greatest inhibitor of improvement is a monopoly on the product or service, and the state only furthers that.

      The state says “You must relinquish X dollars for our service – maybe you like it, maybe you don’t – but you can’t have those X dollars and apply it to a service of your choice.” Statements like that make any good consumer go cross-eyed.

      What happens next? The state provides about the same service it always has as it knows it has a forced X dollars come in year after year with relatively little risk, certainly no risk a free market competitor would experience.

  10. About this whole anti redistricting thing, I have read some racist comments about blacks ruining everything, no black people don’t ruin everything just like all white folks are not racist. Y’all (black, white, and everyone else) need to get over this and quickly!

    So those butt hurt about the flier, can be just that. They are a business, and all they did is offer you a choice. I am sure that if you are one of those who are butt hurt about the redistricting, you can more than afford to send your kids to this prestigious school.
    Don’t say “Don’t bus kids, keep them in their schools and with their friends” because some kids are already being bussed. Take a good look at the old map and you will see.

    A lot can happen with these kids that some of the uppity folks who are against the redistricting aren’t thinking about. Kids can change, give them a chance! Let them see how it is other places, it would enlighten the kids and surprise you. Change your perspective (adults) because when you have a closed mind, you have a closed heart. You become selfish and devoid of compassion for any one or anything other than what is yours.

    Parents your behavior, dictates your children’s behavior (most times), and as it has been said before it perpetuates things that have come before. HOCO claims to be a melting pot, but the financial aspect of the haves and have nots makes this community one very strongly racially divided community. And those numbers can be seen by the ratio of each ethnic group at the schools.

  11. we would not be having this robust discussion today if it were not for Howard County’s atrocious decision under this new County Administrator to disrupt a very good public school system. For example, there is a reason that 24% of the population of Ellicott City is Korean. Howard County schools and in particular in the Ellicott City area have a reputation as being very good schools. Korean families are aware of this and are committed to spending the dollars needed to come to America so that their children can receive a good education. More power to them! Most of these affluent families have the money to live anywhere in the United States when they decide to relocate here, but they choose places like Ellicott City in Howard County. Now, many of these parents will not be sending their kids to those schools but will be bussing them elsewhere in order for the social engineering that Calvin Ball and the Board of Education has implemented in our County to be carried out. I recognize that I am speaking in generalities and stereotyping to a certain degree our Korean neighbors. But in talking with many of them I found that a good, solid education for their children is a primary goal of theirs and hence, the reason they live in Howard County.

    I do not disagree with the comments that all schools in Howard County should have the adequate physical plants, effective teachers, and resources to successfully carry out their mission. However, the way to address that is to allocate funds to those in need and correct the deficiencies. All children, regardless of race, color, creed, or socioeconomic status should be afforded a good, solid education. But, bussing kids all over the place to achieve socio-economic equality is not the answer, and, is certainly why so many Howard County residents are up in arms. So, given that backdrop as many of us see it, good for private schools if they want to advertise their wares. Go for it and be blessed with the fruits of your labor.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here