Letter to the Interim State Superintendent of MD Schools With Response

Dedrick Moone Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 7:39 AM
To: Jack.Smith@maryland.gov

Cc: Cynthia Vaillancourt <cynthia_vaillancourt@hcpss.org>, bess_altwerger@hcpss.org, lt.governor@maryland.gov, boyd.rutherford@maryland.gov, larry.hogan@maryland.gov

Sir, Good morning,

I am reaching out to you as a concerned citizen and parent. I am certain that you have heard the various reports in and about the Petition to not Renew Dr. Foose’s contract.  Whether you believe those concerns to represent a small population of Howard County residents is neither here nor there. Whether you believe my families personal story regarding rampant bullying and the trauma that my daughter endured at Longfellow Elementary is trivial. What’s more, whether you believe the downward trend in [HCPSS] employee satisfaction is pertinent and credible is also neither here nor there.

What is key, is the climate created by Dr. Foose has had an extremely detrimental effect on teachers, students, and families.  As a matter of fact, news of these issues has reached as far as North Carolina, New York, and California where friends and family have called me to inquire what’s going on in HCPSS. My response has been that HCPSS purports themselves to be the best school district in the state of Maryland. My being a single parent is the essential reason that I chose to settle down here as I aspired to give my daughter the best educational experience possible. Sadly those same individuals have remarked, “Well if HCPSS is the best, I’d hate to see the worst.”

I understand that you are extremely busy. Heck I am too as I am a Systems Engineer who is in charge of helping maintaining nationwide infrastructures.  Nevertheless I made time to read the comments brought on by teachers, students, parents, and other Howard County Residents (Please see attached). I was completely appalled and disheartened by what I found. How can we as a community allow such chaos to occur in our school systems? Are we truly putting the children and families of Howard County first when we allow such chaos to be created by 1, 2, or perhaps 5 individuals. The stated Vision of the Howard County Public School System is, “Every student is inspired to learn and empowered to excel.”  The 2018 Vision is, “Fulfilling the promise of preparation.”  The resulting Mission is, “We cultivate a vibrant learning community that prepares students to thrive in a dynamic world.” With that being said, it appears that Dr. Foose is failing to meet not only the current Vision/Mission but also the 2018 Vision.

I reached out to the HCPSS Board of Education on January 14, 2016 in asking them to place their egos and relationships aside in making the best decision for children, families, and residents of Howard County in not renewing Dr. Foose’s contract. My plea was regrettably ignored like that of so many other concerned Howard County citizens and parents. Hence I followed up in meeting with David Lee, Howard County Director of Constituent Services and Community Partnership on February 2, 2016 to express these same concerns. While Mr. Lee was empathetic and compassionate, there’s little that the Howard County Executives Office can do as HCPSS is an independent entity under the auspices of the state. As a key point of note, the HCPSS Board of Education voted to renew Dr. Foose’s contract on February 2, 2016 by a vote of 5-2. While I would ordinarily have no issue with such decisions, I am appalled that the HCPSS Board of Education did not allow or afford an opportunity for public commentary prior to taking the vote. I am further appalled that the HCPSS Board of Education did not allow or afford Ms. Altwerger nor Vaillancourt to express and discuss the concerns that were brought forward to them by parents prior to reaching a decision. I am further appalled that HCPSS filled the room with teachers and faculty so as to dissuade and prevent concerned parents and citizens from even being able to enter the room. The preceding statement is ever more damning considering that had a security detail posted at the entrance to prevent public entry.

I am begging you to please place children, families, and citizens first in rejecting the renewal of Dr. Foose’s contract. I am imploring you as a professional to deny the renewal of Dr. Foose’s contract as I would hate to find myself on the wrong side of the US Department of Education and history. Nevertheless whatever you decide to ultimately do is up to you.

Thank you for listening and considering.

V/r

Dedrick L. Moone

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning ~ Bill Gates

The sun challenges us to shine, the clouds remind us to move, the birds tell us we can too can fly and the sky tells us that there is no limit to dreams and goals ~ RVMMD State Superintendent Response - Renewal of Contract

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