Parent Controlled Schools vs. Union Controlled Schools.
I ran for the Board of Education because I felt students and parents had little representation. We are down to April Miller, Brad Young and Jimmy Reeder. Even with those three, I still have concerns; we need a fourth to protect parents and students.
I’ve requested that Frederick County Public Schools consider proposals that benefit parents and students. Setting aside the issue of text books for now, I have other concerns I believe the public would support regardless of political affiliation.
Recording committee meetings is one proposal. I’ve requested these meetings be recorded so parents see them. As it now stands, these meetings are in the middle of the day when most parents work.
You could get minutes of the meetings, but these won’t be an accurate reflection of what took place. The secretary can’t hear what everyone is saying; she sits behind them. I’ve witnessed her straining to hear. If you doubt this, sit in on a few. You’re out of luck if you want to know what went on.
Dr. Theresa Alban said they will not be recording committee meetings for several reasons. This is what she said.
1. Camera angles would be all wrong. (This is total crap. The Board of Education meetings are already recorded in the same room. Sit everyone up in front of the dais; aim camera; turn on microphones; record. No one asked for fancy angles and face shots, just an audible video recording.)
2. Committee meetings are meant to be “informal”. (Again, total crap! Decisions are often made during these meetings that are passed by the school board via the “Consent Agenda” and could affect budget, curriculum, etc. Parents deserve to know who is saying what and why, before it gets passed in the darkness.)
3. Documents can be found relating to the committee meetings on Board Docs. (Crap piling higher. See above comment regarding not-taking ability of the secretary.)
And here’s my personal favorite:
4. “Taping the meetings would also pull our TV staff away from other duties, such as professional development videos and videos for our schools.” (I’m the first person to admit I love watching Judith Gordon’s cooking show, but I’ll gladly forgo it for the chance to watch a Curriculum and Instruction Committee Meeting. The school system can record Judith; The Bookshelf where pre-k stories are read; In Focus, Dr. Alban talking about the school system; sCOOL, a Science, kids’ show; Where Are They Now? which showcases graduates; News Break and various other events. The school system can offer these programs, but can’t manage to successfully record school governance.
All the shows airing on FCPStv are interesting and watchable. However these programs are not prioritized, nor do they recognize or acknowledging what concerns parents and students. Before we learn to cook zucchini pasta, we’d like to know about the latest education program being discussed during a Curriculum & Instruction meeting or a school safety matter in Facilities & Finance.
FCPStv is propaganda. Think that’s harsh? You bet.
Our county schools want us involved, yet it doesn’t give us a complete set of tools to be become involved. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s damn frustrating.
Where is the transparency?
Another issue I’ve raised with the school system is the school-year calendar. In March I sent Dr. Alban a proposed calendar which would restore seven full days of academics, removing all half days. Granted I sent it after the 2012-2013 school calendar had already been adopted, but I believed it was still in time to be reconsidered.
I sent my suggestions in early March. It’s now late May and the calendar has not yet been printed.
Knowing how parents detest the half days and knowing how disruptive the half days are to actual learning taking place, I felt it had a chance. Sadly, their response was: it’s already been adopted, thanks for your input, we love that you’re involved.
In the same response I am told it’s too late; however the calendar hasn’t gone to print because officials are waiting to see how they will work in “conference days.”
Excuse me? I just suggested improving education and alleviating parent stress by restoring seven half days to seven full days of learning. For an “administrative” concern, our school officials can part the seas and hold up the calendar, but for an actual “student” matter, a resounding “not possible?”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ya, conference days are for the students. Let’s be honest; they aren’t juggling the calendar for the parents now are they?
Back to my earlier comment about curriculum. Social Studies Alive! Our Community and Beyond is still in the classrooms even though the reconsideration committee recommended its removal.
Why? Glad you asked.
It would inconvenience the teachers to remove the book now. Teachers have not said this, administrators has, totally disregarding the process that recommended it be removed.
Rant aside, and in defense of parts of the system, things are moving toward aiding parents in helping their children with math. It isn’t a reality yet, so we’ll see. I have hope and appreciate the efforts of certain school administration.
Frederick County Public Schools’ administration will move heaven and earth to placate administration concerns and union wants. However, when concerns are generated by parents and citizens they barely break a sweat.
If parents got the same level of acrobatics now being displayed to raise wages, we’d have little to complain about.
To be perfectly clear, there are segments of our school system’s hierarchy that do have the best interests of the children at heart. A thorough examination of behaviors and actions will tell you who is who. They are still the minority.
My observations are that the priorities of school system and Dr. Alban are still tilted toward administration, not students. I also observe that most everything the school system does is done not to interfere with union desires and contracts. Until that hurdle is removed, we will continue the status quo no matter who is elected to the board.
Until after the elections in November, my new tag line is going to be: “Parent Controlled Schools vs. Union Controlled Schools.” It’s your call, Frederick.