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Herald-Mail Forums

May 07, 2007

Last week's question:

Many posters to a recent question implied that Washington County School Board has "rubber-stamped" the superintendent's ideas. Which of her ideas should the board have rejected?

· To begin with, the elected BOE members should not have embraced the assertion of a "world class" school system without any measurable standards in place to certify this claim. This claim still continues, though the results on national tests by Washington County students tell a completely different story. So why don't the BOE officials tell us why they think they are "world class?"

· Totally agree with the first comment. You know how meaningful the Oakland Raiders claim of "Commitment to Excellence" has been. You can claim whatever you want, but in the end you need to be able to back that claim up.

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· A great example of a rubber stamp is the new Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. On the list of school construction/improvement projects for the upcoming years, that school was listed as No. 18. Now this school that is wanted but not needed has been moved to the top of the list.

It has bypassed construction for the new Eastern Primary, the new Antietam Academy, the new East City High School and the Bester Elementary replacement school. It has also bypassed major renovations for Boonsboro Elementary, E. Russell Hicks and Fountain Rock.

Please, one of our elected officials, tell those from schools that were bumped down the list why they are not as important any more.

· In what "world class" school system does a supposedly privately-funded football stadium take precedence over the desperate need for the existing school buildings to be upgraded to some semblance of decency? An arts academy taking precedence over academic buildings? The wealthy side of the county getting all the goods, while the rest of the county gets the leftovers? These people need to sort out their priorities.

· I would like to know from our elected officials: Who said that we wanted a new school for the arts, anyway? I have three children in the school system and I was never once asked whether any of my children would be interested in attending such a school.

If I have it right, the students will be attending classes at the University System of Maryland downtown facility and they will be using Washington County Free Library for their library. So it looks like we will be spending $10-$15 million for some stages and studios. It's not even a complete school. Could we fix things here in Greenbrier and other places first that need it before the superintendent builds her art school?

· Too bad the newspaper did not list the superintendent's ideas - the paper does have an education reporter. I submit: Staffing at the BOE building; magnet schools and academies; fragmenting the curriculae; school maintenance; portable classrooms and there must be a whole lot more. Now is a good time for WCPS employees to express themselves anonymously so they don't get fired or transferred.

· WCPS employees would not get fired or transfered for expressing themselves. Another unsubstantiated claim by our resident expert.Please give an example of fragmented curriculae and, again, what you have personally done to better Washington County government or the schools?

· My kid is in a magnet school and while the concept is a good idea, the whole selection process is a blamed joke! If you're going to do something like this, at least do it right, not by having parents fill out this laughable excuse of an "application." Test these kids, make the process to get into the program appropriate for what the program is supposed to be: An enrichment program for students that fall into the gifted and talented category.

· When I went through this system (back when Wayne Gersen was in charge), if you had the grades, you got merit placement. It was as simple as that. Now, because we're so concerned about students not having their feelings hurt, the programs are losing credibility as accelerated programs. Either do it right or forget it.

· Merit programs do not require any application. As for gifted and talented, this label is overused. While there are many highly able students in the magnet programs, there are very few truly gifted students. The problem is that everyone thinks their child is a genius!

· The magnet programs. This whole concept was established several years back with the Fountaindale School for Arts and Academic Excellence. Unfortunately, the name change has produced neither. The school is currently near the bottom of all measurable testing programs, but it is at the top of the list for in-school suspensions.

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