Hogan and Franchot withhold $10 million from county in fight over school AC
May 11, 2016
Landmark status sought for Presbyterian Home in Towson
May 13, 2016
Show all

Accusations of hate, lies and retaliation on BCPS school board

At the close of the Baltimore County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night in which Superintendent Dallas Dance’s contract was approved, board member Marisol Johnson condemned some other members’ recent actions.

“We all have the right to create our little blogs or Facebook posts and chat rooms, to hold community meetings, public forums, to write and distribute many emails, to simply have your own opinions and share those with your family, friends and constituents,” Johnson said. “But when lies, confidentiality breaches, harassment, hate, revenge and rumors are at the root of all of your intentions, with the members of the public … at what point do you ask yourself, Are you a productive member of this board?”

When asked if her comments were directed at Ann Miller, who was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan and who has been critical of Dance and Common Core, Johnson said that some of her comments were directed at everyone.

“I truly feel we are doing important work. But we can only get the work done if we are moving forward and not constantly trying to logjam policies, or bring up issues that have been resolved, or use our position to fight individual battles,” Johnson said in an email. “However, Ms. Miller has been a voice of dissension from before her appointment. Which I’m fine with, I actually invite the conversation.

“But IN MY OPINION, she has ulterior and self-serving motives,” Johnson said.

In response, Miller said she will continue to raise questions.

Ann Miller

Ann Miller

“It is the moral and legal obligation of every member of the board to provide oversight of our superintendent and the school system.  That is actually the “board’s work.”  Board members don’t make implementation happen.  We authorize it by our votes.  So, to say that oversight is getting in the way of the work of the board is a display of a lack of understanding of the proper role of the board,” Miller said in an email.

“Not only is oversight our responsibility, but reporting issues of suspected abuse or ethical violations is required by board policy of all employees.”

She said she thought it was ironic that Johnson’s comments came in the wake of a discussion about retaliation within BCPS.

“It is a keen point that within an hour of the board passing a new anti-retaliation policy (Policy 8420) to protect whistleblowers, in response to widespread expressions of the need for such a policy, several board members engaged in what could be seen as a violation of that policy.  Marisol Johnson actually serves on the Policy Review Committee, which presented Policy 8420 to the board for approval,” Miller said.

“I believe her comments were made in a retaliatory manner to my involvement with the filing of an ethics complaint against Dr. Dance last week by a stakeholder and could be a violation of Policy 8420. I will continue to do my job as a member of the board, regardless of how some of the other board members react to it.”

Towson Flyer
Towson Flyer
News tip? Story idea? We'd love to hear from you! info@towsonflyer.com

Leave your comment below

33 Comments on "Accusations of hate, lies and retaliation on BCPS school board"

Email me when
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest
JoAnn Huber Swick

It is incredulous that Ann Miller was even allowed to comment (confuse) this time sensitive ammendment of the current heat policy. Im offended that she wasted meeting time undermining efforts of all involved, past & present. She had no knowledge of bus tiering or heat index times, dismissal times, etc. It was obvious that she had a hidden agenda. Health of the students was of no concern. We have danger of heatstroke, asthma & allergies. The eloquent student, Aislinn Bratt, was prepared with facts, and clearly stated the purpose of ammendment: to advocate for the health and safety of our children. And she accomplished that in a fraction of time that Ms. Miller wasted on negative rhetoric. I won’t believe anything Ms Miller says. I don’t trust her!

Excuse Me?

Really? Were you watching the same meeting I was? Ms. Miller and Ms. Causey were the ONLY two to stand up for the health and safety of our kids! (Yes, the student board member was awesome!) All the others should crawl back under the rocks from which they came. Including our esteemed superintendent.

Bcps parent

If a teacher made $275+k/yr and was handling the BCPS budget and spending millions of dollars to put 6 year olds on computers, yes I would. Especially if that same teacher was making extra money speaking for those same companies contracted to supplies computers and programs to support it.

Dave

That certainly is a very very very specific qualifier.

Which leads me to believe that this entire witch hunt is about Dr. Dance personally, and not really about any issues with the school system.

Maybe we need full disclosures and public records posted for all outside jobs that teachers and administrators have, along with a transcript of any outside talks they give to any outside organizations… Don’t we deserve to know what those employees are doing, especially since they deal with our kids every day! How can we prevent a conflict of interest unless the public has access to the outside activities that teachers are engaged in?

Would someone please submit a request for every teacher’s outside activities… we have a right to know!

bcps parent

You’re funny. What you wrote has nothing to do with what I wrote. I couldn’t care less about Dance- I want a superintendent who has my kids (and all kids) best interests in mind and I do not believe he is doing that. I’m as liberal as they come and I would rather have Ann Miller asking questions than Dance spout on about the benefits of computers for low income kids- it’s just not accurate.

Dave

If a board member submitted a request for information on a teacher or a principal that contained those same demands, would you all support that as well? Or is this just a witch hunt?

Dave

I see this website is inhabited by the same sorts of people we see on the facebook pages… It’s a shame that people here can’t have an honest discussion without all the petty downvotes and anonymous whining.

Grow up.

Concerned Parents

Many people have concerns about a superintendent and staff that have close ties, “awards” and sponsored trips from the very companies that BCPS is paying very large sums of cash to, or purchasing software and hardware from, related to the S.T.A.T. laptop program…Microsoft, Intel, etc. etc. Why is the school system using test-phase start-up company software curriculum and related–iReady or Quizlet–when there is tried and tested computer-based math and other curriculum, developed by Carnegie Mellon, Columbia or other universities? One has to wonder, and worry. The circle is too tight, thus questions about conflicts of interest that are being asked separately from Ms. Miller’s inquiries. After all, such companies sponsor events or moderate panels that feature BCPS, and the superintendent–and even public school third graders—are featured in promotional videos or live chats for the same cadre of for-profit companies. Where is the Baltimore Sun or other established media on this? This is basic, and much needed journalism: Potential conflicts of interest or financial misdoings.

Why is this important? Our children are test subjects under this program, as BCPS and the board of education have acknowledged. Our children, as young as 5, with developing minds and socialization needs. And our tax dollars are paying for these contracts. That means we, Baltimore County parents and residents, are the supervisors here, and questions need to be asked— and answered.

Dave

Then ask fair questions… and do the work.

As it stands, we have this wildly reaching list of demands from Ann Miller, which she presents as a Public Information Request, but is really just an outline for her conspiracy theories. That’s it… just a list of demands for other people to do work for her…

If you really are concerned with finding out what you want to know, then ask Miller to stop with the nonsense and get to work. She’s allegedly able to compile whatever information she has access to, and ask for those bits that are on record that she doesn’t…. what she can’t do is just make a laundry list of demands as a “private citizen” then abuse her position on the board to execute underhanded tactics like blocking the contract vote… she’s obsessed, and yet too lazy to produce anything of any real value.

Think on that if you really honestly believe it’s worth the effort to launch an investigation, and demand real evidence, not just a conspiracy theory and a list of wild accusations.

Dave

I think it’s about time someone called out Ann Miller on her nonsense.

Those public information requests were so far out on line and it’s obvious that she has a personal agenda. Of course, we knew going in that she was into conspiracy theories and that she’s very anti-public school, based on her blogging, so it’s no surprise to me that she’s failed to use her position for legitimate advocacy, but instead has decided to go off on her own and investigate her ‘theories’ …

And all this was brought up when it was announced she would be appointed. I suppose she’s proving her detractors right.

Seriously, do you know what an information request is? And have your seen the stuff she put into hers? It’s a laundry list of demands that are well outside the scope of an information request… demands to see every slide presentation that Dr. Dance ever used in any *outside* activities… demands for the school system to start investigations, demands that they create new reports… all of it targeting Dr. Dance specifically. She’s obsessed.

This isn’t serving, this is using her newfound position to continue her tin foil hattery.

Thank you Ms. Johnson for speaking up. We need more people to shed sunlight on the goings on of the board and the school system, and this is what truly serving looks like. Thank you.

Dave

Dirty tricks and ethics complaints being used as a “tactic” to stop a vote isn’t ‘serving the needs of the county’

Ann Miller and her conspiracy theory nonsense needs to stop disrupting the board. I find it amazing that she will DEMAND all this information, but has yet to lift a finger and do any work on it herself.

If she was working to get information, and acting on that information, I could support that, but a witch hunt based on conspiracy theories and underhanded tactics and the shear laziness coming from Miller is a disgrace.

And I honestly don’t see the point in you ‘anonymous’ commenters here trying to convince us that this conspiracy theory and witch hunt is valid…. In all these many moths, you haven’t come up with any real evidence… it’s all speculation and BS. The result of that nonsense is that if there ever was any real evidence of a problem that surfaced, folks will just assume that you tin-foil-hetters are making things up again.

You lose all credibility when you buy into Miller’s underhanded ways.

Another BCPS Parent

I totally disagree with you. The Board isn’t supposed to be a cheer leading squad, they are supposed to be the check on the superintendent. If they do not ask the hard questions, who will?

Frankly, I am not a huge supporter of Ms. Miller or the governor. But in this case, she is doing everything a Board member should be doing. Yes, she should be obsessed with getting to the bottom of all of Dr. Dance’s travel, speaking engagements and relationships with these companies. No one else has ever asked these questions, and they need to be asked and answered.

While my child sweats and suffers in her non-air conditioned school, the superintendent jets around the world and is wined and dined,. You bet I have a problem with that.

bcps parent
I disagree with your statement that her requests are “outside the scope of an information request”. They don’t have to supply her or anyone else with information they do not have. But, if they do have it, why should it not be made public? There have been many straight forward requests made by her and others in the BCPS community that have gone unanswered or made very difficult to get simple answers. Why don’t you think that his outside activities should not be privy to inspection by a BOE member? We are paying for his travels to these activities, right? Wouldn’t it be within a BOE member’s purview to find out what he is saying? From what we have seen, he started talking about how great STAT is at day 30 of implementation… there is still absolutely no quantitative data that the STAT initiative is doing anything that small class sizes would not do. And for those of us who do not want our kids staring at screens much of their school days, we don’t have the option of any other kind of education for our children in the current system. I think it is unfortunate that there is so little civil discourse among all BOE members and all the way up the chain to the Governor. That being said, not asking the questions is not the way to have discourse. I applaud all who continue to ask questions, it’s the only chance we have in influencing the only education… Read more »
Dave

She didn’t request information about his work related activities, he’s demanding the powerpoints from all his non-work related activities… You need to read the request.

parent

Even if we aren’t paying for the travel, it still presents a potential conflict of interest, and should be transparently reviewed by the BOE.

Dave

No… simply talking to other people or businesses is not a conflict of interest and these demands for a complete inventory of his activities is nuts. Would you submit to such an investigation by your employer? What if the school system started dossiers on teachers with the same scope – demanding access to their private powerpoints? Would you support that too? I mean, you never know where you might find a conflict of interest… let’s investigate EVERY school employee the same way.

Parent

Actually, my employer requires such disclosures and I submit them yearly. And slides and talks must disclose any potential perceived conflict of interest.

Betty Rubble

Teachers do not have fiduciary responsibility. The superintendent certainly does.
And most of are anonymous here, including you, Dave…

bcps parent

Yes, and it’d be nice to know if we are paying for it, wouldn’t it?

BCPS Parent and Tax Payer
BCPS Parent and Tax Payer

To Anne Miller: Did you get that? The rest of the board apparently wants you to just roll over and put your head in the sand next to theirs and not ask questions. Don’t make waves, don’t stir up trouble, just simply go along with everyone as if all it is some rose colored candy and there’s nothing to worry over. Wow. This opinion piece is utter nonsense. I’m beginning to believe that there are more people in Baltimore County who are scared of the truth, so much that they’re afraid to act. Maybe the board should just be dissolved and we can put up a bunch of card board cut outs with tape recorders that play “sure boss, whatever you want!” Cowards. Pure and simply cowards.

Tiffany L.

As a parent who has wrote to the Board of Education twice this year, once about a/c and another time about something I felt was inappropriate for a school assembly, Ms. Miller was the only person from the board of education that reached out to me and spoke to me personally on the phone about my second issue. She was also 1 of only 2 members that responded about my a/c concerns. At least she is listening when a parent has a concern and not sweeping it under the rug!

Eric

Thank you Ann Miller for being a check on waste. You may not have the support of the board but you have the support of every student, teacher and taxpayer.

Common Core is horrible!
Education should be between Parents, Teachers and Students. What does Washington know about Baltimore County?

Wasting Money…..
The waste in schools isn’t from, created by, implemented by teachers it’s from the top and everyone knows it.

Ann everyone knows a teacher that speaks up is dismissed from their position.

Ann thank you for being a voice for those who cannot speak up!

Anonymous

It’s important to note that she absolutely does NOT have the support of every student, teacher, and taxpayer. You’re entitled to your opinions, certainly, but do not be so bold as to put words in my, or anyone else’s mouth. The way with which she attacks each and every thing done by Dr. Dance has made it clear that she does not like him and opposes everything he stands for. She was placed on the board for that very purpose and has her vote, just like every other board member.

Anon

To Ann Miller- Perhaps you should have READ that policy, 8420, that was passed this week. It refers to board EMPLOYEES. Neither you nor Ms. Johnson are employees of the board, so nothing either of you says falls under that policy.

Eric

I am sure she has read it. She reads everything. She is using the system to fix the system.

Anon

I guess I should have said read AND understand. She may have read it, but if she thinks a document pertaining to board employees includes herself she has issues.

Betty Rubble

A voice here from the cave days. And you think we were uncivilized? It seems to me that Ms. Johnson’s remarks, once again, were inflammatory. It was very mean what she said about Ms. Miller and now she won’t even admit that she meant a fellow board member? I think the record speaks for itself. And she was talking about lies? But Ms. Johnson was being Ms. Johnson; she tends to be emotional in her responses and so she emotionally vomited all over the board meeting, in public and while being recorded. I remember at the public forum a few months back when she said something about people being unkind to the superintendent because he was “a young black man.” — At the 1 hour 41 minute mark: http://original.livestream.com/bcpslivetv/video?clipId=pla_04ab885a-3c59-4786-a4bf-776e8c8cb2f6&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb — Pow! Throw the race card on the table. Doesn’t get more emotional than that! But Ms. Johnson is young and has yet to gain the wisdom of the ages. And perhaps she really believes she is fighting a good fight. What is she so afraid of? Only people who are insecure act out like that. There is a difference between dissent and being a mean girl. Some things never change.

bcpsparent

At what point does Ms. Johnson ask herself in what way she is a productive member of the board if all she does is nod in approval of whatever the people she is supposed to double check and question as part of the system of checks and balances? This board has been a joke for as long as there have been democrats appointing yes men (and women). They haven’t done their jobs for years. Finally we get a member who DOES THEIR JOB and asks for public information and she is accused of hatred? Ms. Johnson needs to explain herself. Those were very strong accusations without merit. Why is anything that goes against the Kamenetz-Dance agenda hatred? Has anyone noticed what these 2 have done to our schools?

parent

I too was surprised by Ms. Johnson’s comments. I’m sure that i do not agree with Ms. Miller about a lot of things, as i am pretty liberal on almost every issue. And yet, she is one of just a few BOE members who are asking necessary questions. I wonder why all the members of the BOE haven’t been considering these ethics questions for at least the last six months. The BOE has had plenty of opportunities.

Anonymous

As a stakeholder I was perplexed by Ms. Johnson’s comments, which I watched live. Is the board being warned to just be nice?I think personalities can remain professional, of course, but the board’s role is indeed oversight. And the superintendent’s apparent actions, such as accepting paid trips from companies doing business with the schools, including edtech vendors, to events sponsored by the very same vendors, partners and potential providers–ASU-GSV edtech investors summit and a Microsoft-launched retreat/institute in Helsinki, Finland (!)—reveal possible conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts, which cause their own issues. Are these quid pro quo relationships? Are the speaking ‘jobs’ and related benefits the result of large contracts with BCPS, or could it be vice versa. Perhaps the superintendent doesn’t intend such, but it makes one wonder about the costly, over-the-top STAT tech initiative being pushed currently. That should be enough to make board members look twice, and to ask more questions—not less.

wpDiscuz