Mutiny of the Counties in Maryland
State Boards of Education, Professional Education Organizations, and Parent Advocacy Groups Defy Actions of the State Superintendent
Someone send Mohammad Choudhury a lifejacket. He’s going to need it. He’s been set adrift by the Maryland educational establishment, much like Captain Bligh in the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Clark Gable and Charles Loughton, made in 1935.
If you have never seen the movie, you can find it somewhere, I’m sure. The movie is based on a true story of the mutiny of a crew against their dictatorial, cruel captain, Captain Bligh. The crew, led by the first mate, Mr. Christian, take over the ship and put Bligh and his loyalists adrift in a rowboat. It’s a classic story of fighting back against cruelty and tyranny!
Last week, after HB 119 was amended from giving the State Superintendent, Choudhury the power to mandate how local systems teach the Maryland Health and Sex Education framework and sought to give him full power over ALL curriculums, the dominoes began to fall.
It didn’t help that Choudhury had shown himself to be a petulant, arrogant tyrant demeaning and chastising state legislators and MSDE staff. The Concerned Parents of Carroll County, a county that had felt his wrath before, developed a petition to remove him from his post.
In a comment on that petition, one person said: “There are so many people who have left MSDE because of this tyrant. He is a dictator, a micromanager, and doesn’t trust anyone in the walls of MSDE. Many great people have left or have been made to leave and it is not because they wanted to. He is toxic.” The person added that Choudhury has hurt the reputation of Maryland education nationally, “Maryland used to be viewed as the top in all of the country for early childhood education and the initiatives we have to bring early childhood education to the forefront. Now the federal partners laugh at Maryland. ” As of Friday, March 17, the petition had 1600 signatures.
Another article on the above website detailed multiple complaints about Choudhury:
Choudhury’s attitude is nothing new. In interviews during previous employment, Choudhury expressed that he wanted to do things in education that no one in the future could undo. In his time in education, he has had three previous jobs, one in California and two in Texas. He left his job in California complaining that his bosses wouldn’t let him do things his way. He left a job in Dallas after the Superintendent who hired him left unexpectedly amid controversy, not the least of which was Choudhury’s efforts to block certain groups of students from attending charter schools. He left San Antonio to come to Maryland. Seems Choudhury doesn’t stay in one place very long.
Now local school systems, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, the Superintendents Association, and a long list of parent groups came out to oppose not only House Bill 119, but Choudhury’s continued employment. One by one, Carroll County, Baltimore County, Calvert County, Talbot County, Worcester County, and more came out against the State overreach into their duties, responsibilities and rights. Even the State School Board opposed the bill Choudhury so desperately wanted.
Mutiny in Maryland.
Choudhury, like Captain Blige, pushed counties one too many times, bullied them and legislators a bit too much, and alienated anyone at the Maryland State Department of Education that might help him. Apparently, he wants to rule the state education system completely without input from anyone else. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.
Sources tell us that staff he has hired have the same desire.
And now, he is in a boat with those few hires of his, trying to find a haven in rough seas. No one will rescue him. In fact, if he’s not careful, someone might put a hole in his boat. One thing that is true about government, when you demean people in power and overstep your bounds, the consequences are swift and undesirable. A life jacket might be useful, but not sure what one would look like.
At the very least, his reign has been severely damaged. Even if he keeps his job, people in education across the State dislike and distrust him. They will fight him on every attempt he makes to insert himself in local decisions.
The good news for Choudhury is that in the real Mutiny on the Bounty, Blige survived being set afloat and made his way back to England. Given the political climate currently, there are plenty of Progressive tyrants looking for someone just like him. He’ll land on his feet somewhere.
Just not in Maryland.
by Jan Greenhawk, Editor/Writer, Radio Free Oxford
March 18, 2023