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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

June 9, 2017

School System to Parents: Take A Hike

Cindy A. Rose

Schools are no longer headed by teachers and parents. Social activists, business entities, philanthropists and professional associations have control over our policies and classrooms. If you aren’t a special interest group with deep pockets, or a bullhorn, you’re out of luck.


You only need to look closely at the standards, curriculum and recently crafted policies to see who has “control.” Frederick County Board of Education Policy 443 – “Creating Welcoming and Affirming Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” is the latest in a line of policies that ignore the rights of parents and students alike.


Policy 443 began with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the reaction of Maryland State Education Association UniServe Director Nicola van Kuilenburg. This is political activism and politicizing education in furtherance of a goal.


Policy 511 – “Assessments” was supposed to acknowledge our rights, but Board President Brad Young and Vice President Elizabeth Barrett are adamant that it does not. Board of Education Agenda items, available for public view on FCPS Board Docs ( clearly say “parents who refuse on behalf of their students,” that’s what we were lead to believe we were getting. Then we tried to refuse “on behalf of our children” and were told we cannot.


Regulation 500-39 – “Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Already in Use” – gave parents the ability to call for convening a book review committee of questionable or concerning resources if five or more complaints were received. When we successfully got ideologically filled Social Studies Alive removed as a primary resource, Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban immediately removed the section of that regulation that gave “parents” the ability to call for a committee in the future.


Regulation 400-82 – “Wellness” was rewritten to remove the ability of parents to send in home baked goods for their children’s birthdays and class parties but could still send in their home baked goodness for adult celebrations. Dr. Alban lied to the public saying changes were required by state law. Neither state nor federal law dictate FCPS create a policy forbidding parent supplied foods.


On June 28, 2017, FCPS will hold an annual local conference for administrators at Governor Thomas Johnson High School entitled “School Culture.” I wanted to attend because I’m interested in what our administrators are being taught about school culture.


My original request asked what the process for me to register since I’m a parent. It was met with a polite, parents aren’t invited. I responded with a request for an explanation of why I cannot attend. Weeks later Assistant Superintendent Mark Markoe will still not explain “why” I cannot attend. He merely says I can’t while refusing to provide me with an explanation.


I don’t know about you, but when people tell me I can’t do something without explanation, I want to know what they are hiding. It could be nothing, but when you can’t explain your reason for my non-admittance I grow suspicious.


As a parent of children in FCPS schools I believe I have a right to know what our administrators are being taught.


I think the attitudes of administrators at FCPS is summed up best in Dr. Alban’s Motion to dismiss my Ethic’s Complaint against her:


…quite clearly Ms. Rose has abused her right of access to such public information. While Ms. Rose is certainly entitled to make such requests … certainly demonstrates that she at least perceives herself as a sort of watch-dog over every detail of FCPS operations regardless of the toll it takes on FCPS…”


“Watch-dogs” need not apply, keep your nose out of “their” business.


Her response went on to say:


“Respectfully, much like someone who repeatedly calls 911 in circumstances that are unwarranted, perhaps the information act laws should be amended to permit we, the other citizens of Frederick County, to recover from the abuser the costs of such abuse.”


Dr. Alban thinks I’m abusing the system because I dare to ask questions of her regulations, practices and procedures. Dr. Alban has contempt for anyone asking questions.


Between her contempt for parents and the Board of Education’s belief they have a right to change social convention without public input, the Board of Education election of 2018 has high stakes consequences.


Will you continue to allow the majority to be progressives in support of outside control, or will you vote in four members who believe education belongs in the hands of parents and teachers?


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