Sunday, June 15, 2008


I just love this headline about Howard County public schools in the Baltimore Sun: "Educators relish a year of fewer headlines, more progress".

The article goes on to discuss how this school year was better than last year because last school year there were three teachers that were busted for sexual abuse and one that was busted for having cocaine in his car on school grounds. Oh, and a Hammond High School student brought a loaded gun to school. Luckily none of that stuff happened this year but, according to Superintendent Cousin, students "continue to make progress" (I don't even know what that means, but it at least excludes the possibility that students became dumber having attended public schools).

The scariest part of the article is the part where both Superintendent Cousin and school board member Diane Mikulis basically say that HoCo public schools are becoming to big to be managed. Get a load:

"When we have 8,000 employees and nearly 49,000 students to deal with, this is an extensive operation we have to maintain, there are going to be some bumps in the road." [Cousin]


One of the biggest challenges for Mikulis was the renovation plan at Mount Hebron High. The school has been the source of frustration for top system officials as a renovation plan has been debated for two years. In April, the school board approved a $57 million construction plan to expand and renovate the school.

"It was even more intense this year," she said. "That took up a lot of time."

Mikulis also said the budget was tougher this year because it was larger.

Great! I am glad to know that the folks in charge of a $737.5 million school budget are so confident in their abilities.


jim adams said...

In reference to Mt Hebron, they should either @%^#&#^ or get off the pot.

The school system should be ashamed of it's self.

An education should provide the student with the skills to make decisions. So did the people involved with the Mount Hebron renovation miss those classes when they were students.

2 years, no more like in excess of 10 years. It's the top system officials who should make the decisions, are they frustrated by their own lack of decision making, I think so.

When they start the renovation I bet they will not do any competative bidding, I bet the funding will be cut for some school in Columbia, just the way funds were cut for the Miller libary branch, and if any one traces the money a lot of waste will be identified.

Should I mention that this issue frustrats me.

Anonymous said...

WHY is Mt. Hebron getting a renovation AND an expansion. There are two schools that need that more than any others. But once again, the school board spends the money not where it is needed but where the votes (read: money) are.

What two schools? Try Hammond and Reservoir.

The shape that Hammond is in is a disgrace to the county. Hammond is over crowded, dirty, dingy, smelly and with inadequate HVAC, lighting and athletic facilities. While every other school in the county has two gyms, Hammond has only one. This forces their basketball teams to practice until after 10 because they have four teams that need to share it with 2 hours allotted to each (2:30-4:30, 4:30-6:30, 6:30-8:30, and 8:30-10:30).

Meanwhile Reservoir, one of the newest schools in the county is already overcrowded and adding MORE portables bringing the total to seven. This school is only 7 years old and just another example of the great planning done by our elected officials. I can’t wait to see the number of portables required when Maple Lawn, which surrounds Reservoir, is completely built.

jim adams said...

Everyone thinks they are entitled to more. The people at Mt Hebron are working hard and long to accomplish their goals, so if you think they are getting more because of money or votes, think again.

If you were to look at the history of the parents of Mt. Hebron children, you would find that many of them moved from Baltimore Co. to the Mt Hebron area because they knew they wanted a better education for their children then what Baltimore Co could offer, they also knew that they would have to be involved in the school to keep the levels high.

The people with Mt.Hebron have been working long and hard to improve the school. The most important ingrediant in a child's education is the parent, not the school, not the teacher, but the parent.

So don't worry about Mt. Hebron, if your child goes some where else, worry and more importantly work at and get involved with your child's school. It's the parent not the politician that makes a difference.

"Ask not" what the school can do for your child, ask yourself what you are doing for your child's education. You can make the difference.

Freemarket said...

The HCPS/County Council should consider offering school vouchers worth $X thousand per kid. That way, if parents are disappointed in the public school system they will have the option of going elsewhere for their child's education.

You can't please everyone all the time, and education is not a one size fits all commodity. Vouchers would absolutely improve the level of education in this county by putting parents, not the county, in charge.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Right - if parents had vouchers you'd see an overnight shift in favor of respect for children and parents.

And the vouchers don't even need to be as much as the per-student cost today. Many parents would be happy with 70% of what the public school system collects per child. I'd be happy with 1%.

The private schools just do a much better job working with parents and focusing on the success of each child - without careers and egos interfering.

And, private schools do a much better job managing money.