Transparency, Faith and Common Sense are the ONLY Hope!
Jan Greenhawk, Editor, Radio Free Oxford
I’m not sure what they told Maryland State Superintendent of Education Mohammed Choudhury when he was hired in July of 2021. According to his latest actions and attitude, he seems to think he was told that if hired, he would be the king and almighty ruler of Maryland’s schools. It could be his California background. Based on what the interview committee said after they hired him, I don’t think THEY thought he would be a dictator of Maryland schools.
Here’s a quote from Clarence Crawford, head of that committee: “When we set out on our search for Maryland’s next superintendent, our goal was to identify and hire the highest caliber candidate to build the future of education for all Maryland children. Considering Mr. Choudhury’s outstanding transformative accomplishments, we are completely confident that we have hired the right person, one who deeply cares about children,” said Board President Clarence Crawford. “Mr. Choudhury distinguished himself by providing a fresh perspective, and his engaging high-energy approach brings the best out of the people he serves. He is a bold pioneer in the educational community, and we are fortunate to have secured his leadership as Maryland’s chief education officer as we continue to recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and seek to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Mr. Choudhury is an empathetic and collaborative leader and hard-working person who values input and diverse perspectives.”
They claimed he brings out the best in people. They used the words “empathetic,”, “collaborative” and the phrase “values input and diverse perspectives” to describe him. Doesn’t say authoritarian and tyrannical to me.
Did Choudhury forget that? Or did he hear what he wanted to hear? Maybe he didn’t listen at all. Based on his recent actions, I think the last one is true. He doesn’t listen to others.
Maybe he told the committee what he thought THEY wanted to hear.
At any rate, in the time between his hiring and now, Superintendent Choudhury has developed quite a different attitude from empathetic and collaborative. Here’s some examples:
The first example is Superintendent testifying for HB 119/SB 199 in front of the Senate. He is engaging with Senator Brooks, a well-respected, powerful Senator. Notice Choudhury’s rude, demeaning and arrogant response to the Senator when the Senator asks what the difference is between mandating a Health and Sex Education Framework, which Choudhury supports, and instituting a financial literacy curriculum requirement, which Choudhury doesn’t support.
Here is that text of that bill:
Not only is he demeaning and rude to the delegate, but he issues a threat if the framework doesn’t become mandated. He says he will find a way to force locals to do what he says.
King Choudhury is not happy.
And just like that, with the prospect that the Health and Sex Education Framework may not get passed, Choudhury got another dictatorial Democrat, Delegate Atterbeary, Democrat, Howard County, to devise a different scheme. Listen carefully as she describes how they will get rid of the HB 119 and replace it with a bill that allows the Superintendent of Schools to deny funding to ANY system that doesn’t do what he demands.
The arrogance of Delegate Atterbeary with the tyranny of Superintendent Choudhury combine to make a huge power grab. And she laughs about it. It’s funny to her. She even calls the new bill a “scheme” to force “bad actors” to comply. She views locally elected Boards of Education that have independent opinions as “bad actors.” Very telling.
The final clip is just an example of Superintendent Choudhury and his total unprofessionalism and disregard for people who dare to question him. This is reporter Chris Papst asking about complete academic failure in Baltimore City. He couldn’t get answers from education officials in Baltimore, so he went to the State Board of Education:
Did you have the same thoughts I did when you watched this? Did you wonder what is wrong with this guy? Is he REALLY that arrogant and dismissive of others? What is he hiding behind that useless mask? (Just a note. This mask he wears intermittently only seems to appear when he doesn’t want to answer tough questions.)
On top of that, the Baltimore City Schools and the State Department hide the facts and refuse to answer Mr. Pappes’ questions. Which brings up transparency. Not only do these so called “leaders” want to demean anyone who asks questions, they refuse to be honest and open with what is going on in schools, especially with the city system that spends over $18,000 a year per student.
If Choudhury gets his way, he will have complete authority to remove funding from any district he doesn’t see as compliant to his curricular demands. His actions will nullify the votes of citizens who elect local school board members. Sounds kind of like money laundering, doesn’t it? Or maybe extortion? At the very least coercion.
I’m sure the Mafia and Cartels would be impressed with his brazen threats to local systems.
This is how one destroys the public education in Maryland. The attitudes shown above will be combined with the onerous Blueprint for Maryland’s future which will put the state and local agencies in horrific debt for YEARS. Not only will property and income tax rates in counties increase by as much as 35% in the next seven years, but local systems will struggle to find and pay adequate staff to provide all the programs and facilities the Blueprint demands. Children will suffer under unqualified staff in overcrowded classrooms. Academics will be ignored for social emotional learning and other useless feel-good programs and CRT. While our competitors in China and other countries will teach their children useful skills, ours will be taught to question their gender and sexual preference, causing many of them to undergo dangerous body mutilating surgery and/or hormone therapies. Many of them will suffer permanent physical and mental damage. Some will commit suicide.
Sooner or later, parents will wake up and the public school system will crumble under the oppression of people like Choudhury and Progressive legislators who are willing to sell out our children’s future for favor from Teachers’ Unions and fringe special interest groups like GLSEN (glsen.org) and SIECUS (SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change) Parents who can afford private schools and homeschooling will leave. Those who are left will watch their children stay and suffer.
States where property and income taxes soar will lose population like New York, California, and other states have. Maryland is not far behind.
All because of the arrogance and tyranny of the Progressive Cult.
Is there hope?
I believe there is and I believe it exists in the honesty, transparency and humility of some of the local officials.
The other day, I met with our local Superintendent of Schools. It was one of several meetings we have had since she has been on the job. When I first met her last summer, I was impressed with her down to earth approach and honest desire to do the best for our students. With her arrival, the attitude at Board meetings, etc. has become more open and positive. There is no arrogance, no dismissiveness of parents and citizens.
In our conversations, we speak honestly and openly. We share ideas and thoughts about different things going on in the county and State. She communicated with our parents by attending one of our meetings. We hope to have her attend more.
She meets with many different groups in our county as well. She accessible and genuine.
In our last meeting, she said something that hit home with me. She said she wanted transparency and communication to be a crucial practice in our system. She wants input from many different groups. She wants our children to be successful academically. She listens to opinions.
Will we agree on everything she wants to do in the school system? Probably not. Will we ever disagree on issues? Probably so. When we have to disagree, we will. But, when we do it will be an open, honest conversation.
Knowing her and several other local officials, I believe she and people with her same attitudes and beliefs could be the saving grace for our schools, our children, and our communities. It won’t be easy.
There will be bumps in the road as locals try to negotiate between what the state requires and what the community wants. But I believe they will default to what is best for our children in any way they can.
These are the people we have to support. When the State gives them a hard time for doing the right thing, we need to stand up with them.
We cannot let arrogance and tyranny take over and destroy our children. We have to have faith in good people to do what is right. There are many others out there in other districts, other counties.
It’s the only way to save the public schools for the children who need them.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: In a recent letter drafted to be sent to the Legislature on behalf of several parent groups regarding Choudhury’s overreach, these are the last two paragraphs:
We see this as not only as an overreach of State government, but a new precedent that will eliminate the voices of parents and citizens in the counties of Maryland and nullify the electoral process they follow to choose their education representatives on their Boards of Education.
In many ways, this educational shakedown of the school districts of Maryland by the State Superintendent of Schools borders on the illegal as defined by State Statute 3-1202. It must be totally rejected, and the legislature needs to carefully examine the continued employment of a Superintendent who desires so much dictatorial control.
Jan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan is a retired teacher and a current Chapter Chair for Moms for Liberty, Talbot
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