HoCo Families for Education Improvement published the following information on Facebook last night:

FEI Legal Committee Update: Lorraine Lawrence-Whittaker and her firm just filed a Petition for Injunction and Request for Immediate Emergency Hearing to stop the Redistricting (due to the OMA violations). Read the filing here: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track…

Remember: “As stated by member Coombs on November 21,
2019 and further admitted by Chair Ellis on December 17, 2019, each and every one of these boundary adjustments are interwoven and interdependent and if one vote fails, the whole plan falls apart. Thus all families affected by the redistricting at every affected school are affected by the illegal actions of the Defendant BOE. “

Please give to support our legal challenge and HOLD HCPSS BOE Accountable. Thank you. https://www.aplos.com/…/FamiliesforEducationImprove…/general (designate your donation for “legal” costs)

Here is that post:

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The stories just continue to come relating to those opposing the decisions made by the HoCoBOE relating to redistricting or related to the Open Meetings Act violation. Here is a summary of what I know about (and have written about):

So dealing with all of this is the Circuit Court of Howard County, Maryland State Board of Education and the Open Meetings Compliance Board.

I expect some of the items above to have decisions soon while other may last a while (those in Circuit Court).

Stay tuned…I will continue to track these items as I receive new information.

As a reminder: FEI to host Redistricting Legal Update and Q&A Session with Lorraine Lawrence-Whittaker on January 8th. So not only do I expect the discussion about the 6 petitions filed to the SBOE to be discussed but also now this filing in Circuit Court.

Scott E

11 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry, but these people are just sick. These same people would be fighting to get their kids into a “bad” school turned “Magnet STEM” school and they wouldn’t think twice about an hour bus ride for their children (each way). If these people really want a private education for their children, I suggest that they pony up the money and pay for it. I pay for it…because I’m a parent of children who never went to a fully resourced, uncrowded school and because of test based accountability and mediocre scores, my children were test prepped (that’s not learning, folks!) the whole school year. These parents don’t like that the lies and deceit of the past HCBOEd are being revealed for all to see. HCPSS has been nothing but a smoke and mirrors scheme to drive expensive real estate for a higher county tax base. ” Look at us….we’re rich and our children are smarter than yours” should be on those green bumper stickers that the county so loves. I can’t wait to move out of here….although my neighbors tell me that it really IS a nice county once your children get out of the school system?

  2. LisaM,

    As you identified, the problem is that the county is focused on test scores and not learning. Redistricting does nothing to foster learning – and may even hinder it as kids are separated from the neighborhood schools on longer bus rides. (Magnet schools on the other hand may foster a unique type of learning that may be worth the longer bus rides). They are using redistricting to meddle with school test scores to give the appearance that learning gaps between schools have been reduced. The superintendent’s report actually has a table of predicted school test scores before and after redistricting. The problem is the learning gaps will still be there but they will just be hidden inside the school averages. Closing the gap requires significant time and resources – and merely shuffling students around does not solve it. The other reason people are so upset is that the process was arbitrary and opaque. During the meetings polygons were moved, moved back, and then moved somewhere else with little regard to community feedback.

    • Personally, I think the the tests should go away. One CANNOT deem “intelligence” from the score on a standardized test, especially when that test is so narrow in scope. Parents seem to like the tests because it makes them feel that their children are “smarter” than others. The tests are designed to make schools look like failures when in fact, the only thing that the scores are able to do is predict the socio economics of the children within the building. The tests are rooted in the Eugenics Movement and are still “normed” the same way. Some schools in the county (the more affluent schools) have a very different curriculum for their students than schools in the less affluent (lower test scores) areas. Why is it that each school has a different %score to get into the GT ES program? At my kid’s school it was a 70%, yet at another school that score was 92% and at another it was 97%. My kids scored well above the 70% to get into GT and yet received very little GT education…….because the emphasis was on getting the poor students to pass the test and my kids would always pass the test because they had support at home, food to eat, medical care and a stable household situation. If the BoEd made sure that all schools saw to the needs of all the children and was concerned about education and learning as opposed to stupid test scores and skewed data, you wouldn’t have parents moving around into expensive real estate to try and get a pseudo- private education for their kids at tax payer expense, there wouldn’t be “bad” schools, and there wouldn’t be this need to redistrict so widely. I think it’s a crappy situation for everyone….parents, children, teachers AND current BoEd members who are left to clean up the mess from the past 10-12 years. To continue to fight for “privilege” and “socio economic status” is just awful and it really sends a wrong message to ALL the children. All HoCo schools are not equal and that is a shame.

      • > Personally, I think the the tests should go away. One CANNOT deem “intelligence” from the score on a standardized test, especially when that test is so narrow in scope.

        Tests in school are not designed to measure intelligence. They’re designed to measure academic performance: memorization, retention, critical thinking, analysis, problem solving, inference, and to determine overall aptitude of the student in specific areas of education.

        > The tests are rooted in the Eugenics Movement and are still “normed” the same way.

        We’re raising our children to be competent and conscientious citizens. Tests are one measure of evaluating the academic competence of students, and to track their progress through that education process. If this, ultimately, leads to the selective promotion of more competent individuals in our society, I have zero problem with this. However, equating “tests” in elementary schools to “Eugenics” — it’s insane. We’re interested in promoting independent, competent, intelligent, hard-working citizens in the country.

        No-one ever said that all schools should be equal, however the curriculum is equal in Howard County (equal opportunity vs. equal outcome). I would challenge you to provide any evidence to the contrary that what is being taught at Wilde Lake is different than Marriotts ridge. The results may be different, but I guarantee the curriculum available (outside of GT courses) is the same. Teachers regularly rotate between schools, specifically to address the concerns you have expressed.

        Finally, you’re conflating issues: academic achievement and socio-economic status. Socio-economic status is a fairly reliable predictor of academic achievement, there’s plenty of literature that covers this. But what you seem to fail to understand is that academic achievement is function of socio-economic status — not the cause. Therefore, no amount of redistricting will solve the problems of low achieving students due to poor socio-economic status. Those problems are at home, with the parents. You can argue lack of time, money, etc., but how is the the fault of parents who earn more?

        Finally, even the poorest performing schools in Howard County are extremely high performing compared to the national average. The only problem I see here is a government attempting to solve a problem by adjusting the symptoms, not the cause. “Some people have a cold, therefore, everyone (sick or not) is now required to have a slightly runny nose so that it will be equitable.”

        • I like most of what you said. Except your last paragraph: the actual performance of the poorest performing schools is masked by our incredibly high performing schools. More accurately, our poorest performing schools are relatively equal to high performing schools in Baltimore City. Shocking but true. This information is hidden.

        • The curriculum in HCPS is NOT equal….hence some parents fleeing to more affluent areas with expensive real estate to get away from the “bad” schools. The standardized tests tell how well the common core curriculum is being implemented in the classroom but common core is nothing but a skill set….no real learning required (NONE!!). Same with AP/SAT and ACT. There is no critical thinking, competency or problem solving with CC curriculum, therefore the test is not measuring something that is valued. The tests measure socio economic status….period. This isn’t about money and how it’s doled out….it’s about making the good opportunities and rich curriculum available to ALL students in ALL schools. Not just for students whose parents have money and think they can buy those opportunities for their own kids…but to hell with those other kids. Parents posturing for status is all that this is. I’m dippin’ out on this conversation…my rant is over….and my remaining child in HCPSS is graduating this year…..after attending schools that were well over capacity, under resourced and a trailer village of classrooms. I have nothing good to say about HCPSS and I am happy to pay for child #2 to attend a private HS that values a real education over test scores on a standardized test and skewed data.

  3. Again great discussion. I hate the tests also, but one a year is necessary – but only if scores are presented as percentiles and are then translated to grade level equivalency (this regarded as a blasphemous statement in the educational system complex). Why? Because the parents never really understand and the fact is hidden in current performance reporting – that their children are one, two or three years behind and made need extra attention, patience and many more repetitions of material at home for the child to reach their potential. A child scoring at the 40th percentile has scored as a year behind. The parents deserve to know this information rather than being told this child has “approached expectations.” and worse, “proficient.” “Met expectations” is on grade level, but designated as a Level 4 – looks like way above average to most parents. For 10 years, “Advanced” actually meant average – and the public never knew. Shoot, neither did the teachers nor the principals, for that matter. Couple this information with inflated grading. *** doing the Jedi mind trick *** “your child is doing fine” “there is nothing to be concerned about here”

  4. @LisaM, which private schools do you like? I’m getting fed up with HCPSS, and we are looking at other options.

    • @Kristin, My son is enrolled at Calvert Hall (all boys) and loves it there (he’s a Soph). The days are terribly long for him because of the bus ride to and from school, but he doesn’t mind it because for the first time he really loves school, his teachers, and classes. The teachers respect the students as human beings (not test scores or data points) and in turn the students are respectful of the teachers and staff. No Common Core, no standardized testing mania, no cell phone use within the school, no sitting kids in front of computer screens all day, fully stocked science labs, art/ music/sports are valued and activities galore. Many of the teachers are former public school teachers. Lots of the students are public school children fleeing the system. I’m not trying to teacher bash HoCo teachers….but the mandates placed upon them to have children produce high test scores have a negative effect on many students and the learning environment in general. Good luck with your choice.

      • I completely understand and agree! Sadly, public school is turning into busy work and handouts because there are just too many students to control. Thank you!

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