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Midterm State of Wicomico County Public Schools in The 1st Qtr of The 2020-2021 School Year

Updated: Oct 12



It’s midterm for Wicomico County Public Schools (WCPS), and the progress according to the WCPS Recovery Plan appears to be less than desirable, falling short of what was promised or could be hoped for as far as expectations. The Recovery Plan shows the number of hours of synchronous (live learning) which is required, while the asynchronous (offline) is not required and students do not adhere to a set schedule. In the end, “asynchronous” really means “homework” to do outside of live teaching. This means that students are only receiving half of what they would receive on a normal school day. In addition, they are missing out on receiving a full year’s worth of core subjects. Instead, they are receiving minimized content from a lesson plan to be completed in half a year (as a semester). These facts are troubling. Equitable education means a quality education based upon Maryland State-approved standards, not a half portion of the whole, or a smaller ration.


During the last two marking periods of the 2019-2020 school year, students had to work from home and were assigned “busy work.” A far cry from a lesson plan, students did not learn anything but to be kept busy. Many were assigned work that they had done in the past, and below grade level. For example, an 8th grader had 5th/6th grade material. It was a disaster.


According to the WCPS Recovery Plan, assessments of students were to take place at the beginning of the school year in order to discover learning gaps as a result of last year’s interruption of the school year due to COVID-19. For the 2020-2021 School Year, WCBOE decided to implement semesters. This meant that a full school year worth of courseware was to be implemented in half of the time (like a college). However, the majority of students don’t have the capacity to work at the pace of college. As a result of being short changed last year, the freshmen that came in this year are really still eighth graders. They were then thrown to the sharks in a sink or swim environment, by having to adhere to a semester model.


As we predicted in our past article before school began, we knew that something had to give. There is no way that the school system could accomplish this without stripping down the curriculum and lesson plans to fit their condensed timeline. Being at the midterm mark, we have made inquiries and see no sign of student assessments. If assessments are quietly being done behind the scenes, the first semester will be over and students will be out of their classes before any discovered gaps can be addressed and remediated. Their hope may be that parents won’t notice.


Parents are still contacting us and stating that their child does not have a properly functioning computer, poor Internet connectivity, and missing classes because of dropped connections. Many students have a letter grade of “E” in one or more subjects, and it’s not due to the student’s performance. The Wicomico County Board of Education must get it together, and skewing grades in attempt to hide this fact is not an option. We’re watching very closely.


With students forced to work in the virtual learning environment on a shortened timeline, there is no time to be wasted. Yet, the school system is using this time to indoctrinate our students with political activism throughout its curriculum and lesson plans. We have gathered evidence of students receiving politically-motivated materials based on critical race theory, social injustice, and clearly see the school’s agenda on socialism based on the foundation of cultural Marxism. There’s too much to discuss in this article, and will be addressed soon. To understand the nature, you can read this article on WCBOE indoctrination published from what we gathered in the last school year. We have to point out the fact that this is happening, and the school system is using precious educational time with a focus on indoctrinating students. Politics do not belong in the Maryland Public School Curriculum. Education is not based on political opinion or personal views, but well-established fact, accrued over the history of man. This is where the foundation of our knowledge comes from. Public Education should be neutrally focused on Math, Science, English, and unaltered History.


The Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition is making preparations to assess groups of students. After the first semester, these students will be assessed using high-end, paid assessment tools paired with professional educators. This will not only be done to identify any learning gaps, but will also reveal the proficiency in the core subjects for the classes that each student recently completed. For example, if a student completed Algebra 1 for the semester, the student will be assessed for demonstrating proficiency in the subject. The assessment will not only find the learning gaps of the student, but will also expose the teaching gaps which have resulted from the reduced period of instruction according to their plan. Contact us know if you would like to have your child assessed.


The real solution is to open the schools. For those parents that don’t feel safe enough for their child to return to in-person instruction, they should have the option to continue working in the virtual environment. The WCBOE and Dr. Donna Hanlin, Superintendent of Schools need to reopen schools now. To date, the WCBOE has attempted to justify their decision to keep schools closed by misreporting and inflating the COVID-19 positivity rate to be above 5%. On September 13, 2020, Dr. Hanlin last reported the positivity rate of the county to be at 7.02%. On October 1, 2020, the Wicomico County Health Department reported that the positivity rate dropped to 3.88% in Wicomico County. As of Oct 1, 2020, the positivity rate in the State of Maryland has dropped dramatically to 2.88%. When the Positivity Rate is equal to or less than 5%, school reopening is to be "considered" according to the Recovery Plan. We are now well below 5%. The question is, what does the positivity rate have to be in order for WCBOE to open our schools? Must it be 2%, 1%, or 0%? Why have they not reopened schools to all students with the rate as low as it is? What’s really going on?


Ironically, page 48 of the WCPS Recovery Plan includes the Educational Equity Policy INS-SCH-PL-038 as shown below:

The policy states that the Wicomico County Board of Education is to ensure each student the opportunity for success in the school system. It also states that the school will provide access to the same educational resources and rigor to maximize a student's academic success and social/emotional well being. None of this is happening, so WCBOE is violating their own policy right before the citizens of Wicomico. They hope nobody will notice this very simple fact. Not only does the WCBOE violate their own policies, but they are also violating the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 as well as Title VI of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 42 through their racial discrimination as exposed in this article. In addition, the WCBOE identified small groups and allowed them to return to in-person learning. By doing so, the WCBOE discriminated against others by not allowing those who they identified as being "different" as compared to these small groups who were allowed to return.


On page 16 of the Recovery Plan, it reads "Wicomico County Public Schools prioritizes the ongoing study of data to ensure student success. This recovery plan is grounded in our commitment to equity and the analysis of data as we measure the impact of virtual and/or hybrid learning on our most vulnerable students. We will continue to use program and policy analysis through equity-lens guiding questions to identify groups that may be impacted by

current policies and programs as well as decisions that are made relative to plans for

student learning in a virtual and/or hybrid learning environment." This "equity lens" they speak of is a tool to profile, discriminate, and segregate students in both policy and procedure. The fact is, ALL students are vulnerable right now.


WCBOE is not being transparent or honest with the public. The citizens are learning the absolute truth, and the people are not as ignorant as the school administrators and elected school board officials assume them to be. This information of the daily positivity rate is available and can be verified by contacting the Wicomico County Health Department. Meanwhile, private schools all opened since the first day of school, and have successfully and safely maintained operation without issue. Some sports have been quietly reopened for practice in Wicomico. The bottom line is, life must go on. Enough is enough.


We encourage you to contact the WCBOE board members to let them know how you feel on the state of the schools, which they oversee.

WCBOE Board Members

Donald Fitzgerald - dfitzger@wcboe.org

Gene Malone - gmalone@wcboe.org

Allen Brown - abrown@wcboe.org

John Palmer - jpalmer@wcboe.org

Tonya Lewis - tlewis@wcboe.org

Michael Murray - mmurray@wcboe.org

Ann Suthowski - asuthowsk@wcboe.org


If you are not already a member of the Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition, we encourage you to join. Membership is free, and you will stay informed of what’s really going on in the schools.

Fellows & Editors

October 9, 2020 Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org



References

1) WCPS Recovery Plan https://handbook.wcboe.org/recovery/


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