New Board Of Education Candidate?

Reliable sources indicate that a new candidate is considering a run for the MoCo Board of Education, most likely in District 2 but potentially in the at-large race. Oscar Alvarenga is the president of the Summit Hall Elementary School PTA, and he was recently voted the PTA President of the Year by the Montgomery County Council of PTAs. Here’s a video of Alvarenga’s reaction to winning the award from earlier this year.

In District 2, the incumbent is Rebecca Smondrowski, while the at-large incumbent is Phil Kauffman. Both have indicated their intention to run for reelection.

Another 2016 Campaign Begins

Just what you want, right? Another campaign? Not for Congress or Senate or Mayor, but for Montgomery County Board of Education. Shebra Evans, who narrowly lost a hotly contested at large race in 2014 to Jill Ortman-Fouse, is running again, this time for the District 4 seat currently held by Chris Barclay. No word on whether Barclay, who ran an ill-fated campaign for County Council last year, is running for reelection, but speculation has been rampant that he will not run.

Here’s Evans’ press release:

Longtime Montgomery County Education Champion Shebra Evans formally announced today that she has filed as a candidate for Montgomery County Board of Education for District 4.

“After many years working in the education community with and championing for the wonderful people of District 4 and throughout Montgomery County, I am ready to serve as an effective advocate on the Board of Education,” Evans said.
Mrs. Evans’ is known in the community as a collaborator. Her election will be important and impactful as she helps bring the Board of Education together by producing and eliciting ideas that will bring a diverse board and a diverse population together benefiting the entire education community.
Montgomery County is and will continue to be a great place for education as long as we keep our focus on classroom instruction. We should never forget that we are here to help all students achieve. Shebra wants the education community–students, parents, teachers and administrators–to excel. The education community excels with the closing of “opportunity gaps” and the expansion of “education opportunities”. Students excel when they are inspired by dynamic teachers. Parents and teachers excel by listening and working together. All excel with the hiring of and the retention of visionary administrators who view education through a lens beneficial to students, common to parents, compelling to teachers with a singular goal of making a Montgomery County education, the very best it can be. 
Shebra has done and continues to do the work needed to advance the education community. She has served in a number of capacities within the educational community. 
· PTA member and PTA Officer 

· Board of Directors for Montgomery County Council of PTA’s 

· MCCPTA Vice President – Educational Issues 

· MCCPTA Vice President — Programs 

· MCCPTA — Recording Secretary 

· Member of the Delegate assembly

· Coordinator Wheaton Cluster  

· MCPS – Operating Budget Review Workgroup 

· MCPS- Wheaton High Advisory Committee  

· MCPS- Math Exam workgroup

· African American Student Achievement Group — Co-leader

In addition to her work with the local schools, Shebra serves in the Children’s Ministry at her church and is actively involved with Girl Scouts of America.
Shebra earned her Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Economics and Finance.
Shebra resides in Silver Spring, MD with her husband, Lawrence, and their two beautiful daughters, Sydney and Sierra.  
For more information on Shebra’s campaign events, policy issues, and biography, please

Steve Schuh Ducks The High School Kids He Insulted

What a profile in courage that Steve Schuh is. First the Anne Arundel County Executive insults a number of students by calling them “dumb” and ignorant, and now he’s bailed on an appearance at a county high school, citing a “scheduling conflict.” Who does this guy think he is, a Republican governor or something?

Glen Burnie High School junior Carolyn Williams needed no warm-up Tuesday when, in front of dozens of her peers, she interviewed the county executive’s education adviser.

“All right, let’s address the elephant in the room,” she said firmly. “You are not the county executive. What happened, and why isn’t he here?”
Dozens of students listened intently as the high school student questioned Amalie Brandenburg, who visited Old Mill High School as part of the general assembly for the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils. Brandenburg was invited to the event in County Executive Steve Schuh’s place amid tensions between Schuh and students who voiced support for teachers involved in salary-related protests.
She said scheduling conflicts made it unable for the county executive to attend, but she wanted to clear up misconceptions
Schuh was criticized and declined to apologize for responses he sent students by email. In one message to an Arundel High School senior, he wrote, “Don’t believe everything you hear. You should have learned that by now as a senior in high school. And don’t be another dumb kid who contacts elected officials and parrots something some adult told you to say.”
Brandenburg told the gathering: “Email and texting are not always the best forms of communication. I think that given the opportunity to redo, he would send a very different email.”

And what important matter was Schuh attending to when he threw Brandenburg under the bus?

Schuh took a tour of the criminal investigation division of the police department during the time of the CRASC event, she said. He followed that with a visit to the department’s southern district office, where he attended roll call. He is scheduled to attend CRASC’s next meeting in March.

What a perfect example of faux courage from a GOP politician. He’ll go far in the party of “eek, a Syrian orphan refugee! Somebody help me!”

No School In MoCo On Eid-ul-Adha

It took too long to happen, but it was and is the right thing to do. The Sentinel reports:

Montgomery County public school students will no longer have to miss a day of school to observe the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Adha, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.

The MCPS Board of Education voted Tuesday to mark Sept. 12, the anticipated date of the annual Islamic holiday next year, as a professional day.

Bonus quote from friend of the blog and former delegate Saqib Ali, who’s pushed for this change for years.

Ali said he hopes other counties will follow the County’s lead in reserving the Muslim holiday as a professional day or another way to excuse students from classes on the holiday.

“We’ve gotten more equality in Montgomery County,” said Ali. “New York went before us and now Montgomery County. And now I hope the other counties in Maryland like Baltimore County and other places around the country will take this as a blueprint.”

Dems Continue To Hammer Hogan on School Funding

The war between Governor Larry Hogan and Democratic leaders from around the state over education continues unabated today in Annapolis.

Maryland Democrats continued to take aim Monday at Gov. Larry Hogan (R) for his decision to withhold $68 million in school funding despite the impact that they say the reduction in funds is having on the state’s schools.

“I’m here today out of the frustration that I and many in Baltimore feel that the state continues to deny important education resources, important funds, from Baltimore’s children,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake during a news conference at the foot of the Statehouse steps.

Rawlings-Blake was joined by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Montgomery County Council member Craig Rice and Frederick County Executive Jan H. Gardner.

They told Hogan to “stop playing politics” with education funding.

Hogan has repeatedly said he has no plans to release the money, which was at the center of fierce debate between Hogan and Democratic legislative leaders during budget talks this year. He said education remains a top priority but is also concerned about the state’s structural deficit over the long term.

Hogan continues to dig in, refusing to spend the disputed $68 million on education. He’s already agreed to similar increases going forward, so this is a one time expenditure, the withholding of which is causing real harm to real people – children – right now. He’s just being stubborn and annoying, not exactly traits to be admired in a governor.