The meaning of the word forum according to the Free Online Dictionary is: A public meeting place for open discussion. Someone made the decision that the forum would be run like a Presidential Debate with presubmitted and screened questions and no discussion. Anyone who has watched any Presidential Debates in the last decade know this is not exactly the most effective way to encourage dialogue.
A Howard County father, Mr. Small, stood up and perhaps because he thought he was at a forum asked questions. Michelle Prumo, Dr. Dallas’ Chief of Staff, unwisely sent a security guard (hired for the event, but in reality an off-duty Baltimore County policeman), to confront the Howard County father because he was speaking too much.
Thank goodness someone in the audience took a video. First you see, Mr. Small, calmly speaking. The next think you know you see the security guard was looming over the father holding handcuffs in front of his face. Mr. Small never touched the security guard. The guard keep moving forward in an intimidating fashion and then grabbed Mr. Small's arm. Mr. Small said, “Is this America?” I guess this is what America has degenerated into. It is the police state we thought was fantasy when Orwell wrote 1984 64 years ago.
Unfortunately, Dr. Dance made no move to defuse the situation and the concerned father from Howard County was arrested for second degree assault and put in jail until 3:00 a.m. This absolutely crosses the line of common decency and common sense.
This instance of overreaction, put in motion by Michelle Prumo and unchallenged by Dr. Dance, will stand as another “black mark” on the implementation of the Maryland Common Core. The primary "black mark" is implementing common core curriculum that no one including parents and teachers have been prepared for.
Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe parents and the public will now question what their children are really learning in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) and whether the curriculum is being implemented with fidelity in every school countywide. Maybe parents will ask to see a side-by-side comparison of the current curriculum and the proposed core curriculum and a document explaining the changes from the current curriculum to proposed core curriculum.
When Dr. Dance arrived in Baltimore County just one year ago, there was a full BCPS curriculum posted on the front page of the BCPS website. That curriculum has been thrown aside by Dr. Dance and from what I have heard Dr. Dance has nothing of substance to put in its place.
Call Dr. Dance and tell him to put the curriculum that he discarded back on the front page of the website again. You will then be able to see for each grade and for each course what your children should be learning and have a perspective on the Maryland Common Core.
A new grass roots education advocacy group is forming. The name of the group is EXPECT. EXPECT is not a cute acronym, but rather connotes that members of the group EXPECT effective, equitable and quality public education for Baltimore County students Pre-K to 12.
Add your voice to the list of Baltimore County residents who want to be in the know about know more about public education and want to exchange ideas in an electronic forum and, hopefully, face-to-face sometimes.
To join EXPECT send an email to email@example.com. We will not ask for money. We will not ask you to give of your time unless you volunteer it. You can make a difference just by joining.
The website will be www.expectall.org. The website is still getting finishing touches, but it will be operational soon.