Collected by Jerome Dancis
Summary of SB 302. Establishing the Education Monitoring Unit in the State; providing that the Unit is an independent unit; establishing the Investigator General Selection and Review Commission in the Unit; requiring the Commission to appoint the Investigator General in accordance with certain procedures; requiring the Unit to investigate certain complaints; requiring the Unit to establish an anonymous electronic tip program; requiring the Unit to submit an annual report by December 15 to the State Board, the Governor, and the General Assembly; etc.
MD SB302 is sponsored by Senator Katherine Klausmeier [D] of Baltimore County and 12 Republican Senators and the governor. It would be useful to persuade Sen. Muse and other Democratic senators to co-sponsor.
There are no PolitiCorps discussions concerning the 2018 Maryland SB302 at this time. See https://legiscan.com/MD/comments/SB302/2018
Many concerned citizens provided cogent testimony before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on Feb. 7 in favor of MD SB302 calling for an Investigator General.
The hearing was taped. These presentations are on the website of the Maryland legislature at:
MD SB302 starts at 4:20. Here is a timeline:
4:21 Ali Keane, Governor’s office. She explained the bill.
4: 24 Edward Burroughs, III, member, BOE, Prince George’s County. He broke the news about the scandals in Prince George’s County. He and Bob Ross petitioned the governor for more investigations.
4:27 Christina Delmont-Small, member, BOE, Howard County. She was a Congressional Investigator for a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She spoke on the usefulness of inspector generals.
4:31 Janis Sartucci, Parents Coalition of Montgomery County, http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/ She has a 15 cogent bullet points presentation. She got thru only the first few at the hearing.
4:37 Sen. Paul Pinski, Vice-chair of Educational Committee.
The PGCPS Graduation-rate Audit reported no evidence of system-wide intimidation by PGCPS leadership or evidence of system-wide fraud as it relates to these allegations.
Jerry: Perhaps, if the private investigating firm was paid more money and provided more time, it would have found evidence of system-wide intimidation and fraud. Last month, a 2016 email surfaced from central office to Duval High School directing the school to graduate more students. (I make this point after 5:10)
4:39 Barbara Krupiarz, board member of Howard County Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC). She spoke about serious violations of FOIA. Her presentation is the attached file.
4:42 Gene Ryan Was on New Jersey state BOE. Now living in Howard County.
4:46 Gene Ryan data $2.8 million in special education services denied at cost of $777,000 in legal fees. Therefore considered cost effective by Howard County schools.
4:51 Julie Gaskins Baltimore City Mentioned Project Baltimore has been uncovering wrong doing, violation of civil rights and retaliation against staff.
The U.S. Dept. of Education – Office of Civil Rights found many violations including retaliation. Maryland Dept. of Education does not deal with retaliation.
4:54 Catherine Carter of Howard County. Her son’s double-vision was not considered a visual impairment, so school refused to provide doctor recommended vision accommodations. Nationally, most school districts are violating federal law.
The next three were less compelling.
4:59 Rubin Shaeffer
5:08 Ella Ennis Vice-president, MD federation of Republican Women
5:05 Sharon Mosel science teacher
5:10 – 5:15 Jerome Dancis
My written presentation was the same as my presentation, “[PGCPS Graduation] Audit Found Smoke; Now Need Investigation To Find Fires //
Time For Maryland To Do An Atlanta Gold Standard Investigation!” to the MD state BOE Dec. 2017 is on its website at http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/stateboard/Documents/12052017/PublicComments12052017.pdf
Search for “Dancis”.
At hearing, I also said that at the January meeting of the Maryland state BOE, state board members observed that the PGCPS Graduation Audit showed that the PGCPS has a culture of non-compliance with regulations. They asked the appointed BOE chairman and the appointed CEO (aka superintendent) what was being done to change to a culture of compliance with regulations. The appointed CEO and team chose not to discuss culture.
Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s team said that the main reason for late grade changes were parents complaining about grades. (Grades were changed after the deadline for changing grades for 5,000 out of the 15,000 graduates of PGCPS in 2016 and 2017)
Provided written testimony in favor, but did not speak:
* Bob Ross, President, Prince George’s County branch of NAACP
* Anne Miller, member, Baltimore County BOE. She is one of the four members of the Baltimore County BOE who are calling for a Special Review Audit by the Office of Legislative Audits. They can do a comprehensive, forensic investigative audits looking for fraud, waste and abuse. Not merely a compliance audit.
Relatedly, there is HB103 which would allow a BOE to fire its superintendent.
There were good presentations on this at the hearing this past Thursday. One was from the BOE of Howard County.
Colleen Morris, representing 6000 employees of Howard County Public Schools, said that the previous superintendent created an atmosphere of fear and retaliation.
Vicky Cutroneo, PTA Council of Howard County president, who uncovered mold problems in several of Howard County schools that was being hidden from the public (and for which she has loads of evidence to support that claim).
Christine McComas. She is the Howard County parent whose daughter’s suicide prompted Grace’s Law on bullying and cyberbullying. You will see, in the ombudsman’s report, the serious violations (and completely unethical and inhumane treatment) she received in trying to obtain her daughter’s records from HCPSS.
Below is the link to the Maryland Public Access Ombudsman’s report on Howard County’s significant violations of the Public Information Act:
Click to access Final%20HB%201105%20report.pdf
Unfortunately, the ombudsman also has no enforcement capability. There is a whole FOIA enforcement branch at the federal level and some states have enforcement capabilities for their state FOIA laws. Once again, there is no accountability in Maryland.
The benefit of your perspective will be appreciated.