Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Railroaded again

Looks like MCPS is railroading parents and elected officials again.

MCCPTA President Jane de Winter has alerted new School Board President Nancy Navarro about the latest antics from the superintendent's office.

This time, it's about middle school reform. MCPS is now getting sneaky with deadlines, sending out policy issues before the cutoff date for public comment.

De Winter writes about how authorities have been keeping the PTA and the public in the dark: "For several years parents have yearned for substantive middle school reform. They have been anxiously awaiting the recommendations of the Middle School Reform Steering Committee as well as the revisions to Policy IEB. MCCPTA has been represented on the Steering Committee for close to two years. There have been no interim reports or other documents which could be released to MCCPTA or the broader parent community. Information shared and input given on middle school reform has been informal since there is no official list of recommendations on which to comment though hundreds of recommendations have been discussed within the Committee. The Committee had a preliminary list of recommendations in early June but opted not to release them to the public.

"Now it is time to submit comments on this revised Policy IEB and we have very little information with which to evaluate the proposed policy changes and to place them into the proper context. We have been able to deconstruct the meaning of many sections of the revised policy based on explanations from our representative to the Steering Committee and those to the sub-committees, yet we have many remaining questions regarding definitions and interpretations and the intent of the Board's vision; these follow in the second section below. The comments and questions were generated by several MCCPTA committees and were presented to our delegates who engaged in thoughtful discussion, added some points of their own, and endorsed the comments contained in this letter.

"MCCPTA strongly believes that the Board should not have put Policy IEB out for public comment before the Middle School Reform Report was issued, or even completed. It is our understanding the Middle School Reform Report is currently a draft that is missing numerous specifics. It might be fair to say that the current driver for the Middle School Reform Report is the need to submit a specific budget request to the County Council in February rather than the revised Policy."