MSDE hosts Common Core forum…

…Chaos and poor leadership leave parents in the dark.

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has shown very poor leadership skills and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

About 18 people protested outside the common core forum on October 1, 2013 hosted by the state Department of Education at Charles H. Flowers High School – Largo. Some of the protesters were carrying posters and distributing pamphlets from the Worcester County Tea Party  about “why [Common Core] is bad for your child, your family and for Americans.” Others from Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties were protesting bad leadership of Dr. Lilian Lowery and the Maryland State Board of Education for lack of transparency and corruption.

Similar to the other sessions that have been held, there were outbursts inside the auditorioum from some who are opposed to the new standards. Others were opposed to the way the forum was being run. One parent repeatedly yelled for the Pledge of Allegiance to be done. Others tried to yell out follow-up questions which were ignored. The public was asked to submit their written questions, which would be answered by Lowery or local education officials present. The Maryland PTA President,  Dr. Lilian Lowery, Monica Goldson did not help with matters any how. They kept answering questions from a single person “Vicky” and these actions made the crowd more hostile.

There are critics on the left and the right to the new standards. Some on the left are opposed to standardized testing and some on the right consider it a federal takeover. “This is not a debate,” Lowery told the crowd before taking questions. “This is an informational session.”

One parent in the group said, “Maryland State Department of Education is a crumbling edifice, wrecked to the seams by corruption, bad leadership, ethnicism, racism, parochialism, sectarian intolerance and childish political recrimination.” He then concluded, is this America?

Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery  did mention though that “Common Core standards will bring consistency to the educational system, ensuring that the standards are the same whether a child lives in Maine or Maryland. She said the state has not changed curriculum. It has changed how subjects are taught. Maryland decided three years ago to join a consortium of states to do away with differing standards and creating new standardized tests to align with the standards.” However, she could not answer some of the questions and passed them on to her aides or Maryland PTA president.

No one was arrested, unlike an earlier forum when an Ellicott City parent interrupted Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance and complained that the new standards were not rigorous and were instead preparing students for community college not top universities.  Charges were later dropped against Robert Small, who was accused of  second-degree assault of a police officer and disturbing a school operation, after being escorted out of the forum by a police officer.

Many parents see the Maryland State Board of Education as a crumbling edifice, with massive corruption and characterised by bad leadership. There are no elections of the Maryland State Board of Education members, sweeping changes are made to our education system without parental input or notification or involvement of the legislature.  The biggest portion of our state budget goes to education, to the tune of nearly a BILLION dollars  and there are very few checks and balances to ward off corruption.  On this note, greater transparency and accountability is needed.

To make Maryland State Board of Education accountable, We must implement principles of good governance in order to provide clean and corruption-free Educational functions. In fighting corruption, the most important thing is prevention rather than punishment. Therefore this should be the main focus in the fight against corruption within the Maryland State Board of Education and elsewhere.  On this note, for an institution to foster a corruption-free environment, it would require strong leader to set an example for the rest of the officials. We feel that Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes (a previous board member in Prince George’s County public schools), are not role models to help with this transition after what they have done to others recently and they must go.

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Dukes

Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated corrupt leadership “a culture of pay to play” and manipulation.

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