NEWSLETTER REPORTS

During my time of service to the Kensington Heights Citizens Association (KHCA) and the Montgomery County Civic Federation (MCCF), I wrote numerous newsletter articles. While many of these were 'internal status reports', some contained information of more general interest. I have excerpted these and post them here (as pdf files in reverse chronological order).

Changes (Part 2) - the June, 2007 MCCF newsletter was the last for which I contributed an article. I used that final 'column' to summarize what our committee had done and what major challenges remained. I also spoke about the connections between the challenges facing our school system and those confronting society as a whole. And, after restating my belief that all citizens can and should serve the broader democratic society, I thanked the MCCF delegates for the opportunity to have served them.

Changes (Part 1) - in the May, 2007 MCCF newsletter I posted the first of a 2-part discussion of how the Education Committee had functioned under my chairmanship and what 'guiding principles' I would urge my successor to consider.

Reminders - my article in the February, 2007 MCCF newsletter was a combination update (on past, but unfinished, business) and a restatement of several common themes, including the notion that all members of the community need to engage in the public dialogue about public education, as well as a frequently-repeated request for more delegates to join the Education Committee.

New BoE, Old Challenges - my article in the January, 2007 MCCF newsletter was a follow-up regarding the new members of the Board of Education, a reiteration of some of the challenges facing the school system, and another attempt to convince others to participate vigorously in the public dialogue about the goals and actions of the BoE/MCPS.

Election Results and Education Challenges - also in the December, 2006 MCCF newsletter I commented on the results of the Fall elections that had changed the composition of the BoE and the County Council, but not the range of challenges facing the public education effort in Montgomery County. I also returned to a favorite theme: the notion that our system could only work if all citizens pay close attention to what is going on and offer constructive criticism to elected officials, rather than simply voting out ones who are deemed unsatisfactory and voting in ones who are expected to do better.

BoE and Unneeded Land - in the December, 2006 MCCF newsletter I reported that the BoE/MCPS had ignored our earlier resolution opposing the surplussing of school system lands and asked the delegates to approve a second, more detailed resolution.

Transparency from BoE and MCPS? - for the October, 2006 MCCF newsletter my focus was on reasons why we might hope for more transparency from our school system. But, with elections coming up, I reminded our delegates that all citizens must not only carefully select for whom to vote, but also monitor the actions of elected officials and provide them with frequent feedback.

FAA, FAA-RA Redux - for the April, 2006 MCCF newsletter I prepared a long synopsis of the process by which Policy FAA had been revised and citizen input on FAA-RA had been gathered. A shortened version appeared in the newsletter, but I have posted the initial (longer) version here.

Confessions of a BoE Junkie - in the March, 2006 MCCF newsletter I posted an article subtitled "Budget Daze 1", in which I discussed why some of us follow the BoE/MCPS budgeting process so carefully and why others should do the same. Part 2 of this discussion may be found in the Articles in Newspapers folder (it appeared later in March 2006).

We Can Do Better - writing as an individual, I used the January, 2006, issue of the MCCF newsletter to urge my fellow delegates to join me (and my colleagues in MCEF) to work for a more equitable (and higher quality) education of all the children in Montgomery County. I explained my concerns about 'tracking', the Grade 2 Global Screening process, and the myth of 'gifted and talented' as defined by MCPS. My article got very little response, most of it negative. It was this event, and a number of other factors, that moved me towards my decision, in 2007, to resign from MCCF and refocus my advocacy for public education elsewhere.

BoE Structure - in the December, 2005 MCCF newsletter I provided the delegates with an overview of Board of Education structure and regulation, as well as a brief history of how the current 'rules' had come about.

The Peary HS Site - my article in the October, 2005 MCCF newsletter discussed the MCCF emergency resolution opposing sale of the Peary HS site and connected this matter to the difficulties that arise when volunteer organizations with limited resources attempt to 'monitor' the actions of an ever-more-complex government system.

More on Policy FAA; grading MCPS - in the June, 2005 MCCF newsletter I reported for the third time on the Revision of Policy FAA, linked the controversy to other problems facing the BoE, and proposed a report card for the BoE/MCPS.

FAA Follow-up - in the May, 2005 MCCF newsletter I reported on the continuing friction over revision of Policy FAA and commented on the growing disconnect between BoE perceptions and community concerns.

Candidates Needed - in the May, 2005 KHCA newsletter I urged others to run for positions as KHCA officers and opined that our officers did not need to be as fanatical as I had been while president.

FAA Story - in the April, 2005 MCCF newsletter I posted the earliest of a series of articles about the BoE process of revising Policy FAA and community concerns about the real intent of the BoE/MCPS in this matter.

Update on Seven Locks ES - in the March, 2005 MCCF newsletter I provided our delegates with an update on the controversy surrounding the upgrading of Seven Locks ES and commented on the pernicious effects of growing mistrust of various public agencies.

On the Public Education Font - in the February, 2005 KHCA newsletter I reported on some current issues countywide and urged KHCA members to become informed and involved.

Vote Yes on C - in the September 2004 KHCA newsletter I explained why I (like many members of the Civic Federation) was a strong supporter of a ballot referendum that would restructure the electoral basis of County Council delegates.

Growth Policy - in the February, 2004 KHCA newsletter I discussed ongoing efforts to revise Montgomery County Growth Policy and explained why we were headed toward having NO such policy.

Panel to Discuss "Three Sectors of the MCPS Student Body" - in the May, 2003 MCCF newsletter I announced an upcoming panel discussion around the notion that dialogue about improving public education often needlessly pits one segment of the community against another.

Downcounty Consortium - in the May, 2003 KHCA newsletter I attempted to explain plans for the (then) upcoming Downcounty Consortium of High Schools.

Pedestrian Safety & Snow Removal - my March, 2003 MCCF newsletter piece arguing for a more rational approach to snow removal, including the notion that we need to re-balance our priorities.


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Last modified: Tuesday, April 28, 2009