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Howard County BOE Primary Results - Dyer Out

Incumbent Allen Dyer won't be on the ballot in November.

According to the Howard County Board of Elections, about 34,800 Howard County residents turned out to vote in Tuesday's primary election in which 15 candidates were vying for six slots in the Board of Education (BOE) General Election.

One of the most surprising results was that incumbent Allen Dyer did not make it to the next round.

By 8 a.m. Wednesday, the top vote-getters, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, were:

  • (Incumbent) Janet Siddiqui: 38.96 percent
  • Ann De Lacy: 27.94 percent
  • (Incumbent) Ellen Flynn Giles: 25.28 percent
  • Jackie Scott: 24.33 percent
  • David Gertler: 24.2 percent
  • Bob Ballinger: 20.7 percent

Dyer, who has sued the board several times over what he calls its lack of transparency, did not garner enough votes to make it to the ballot in November to vie for one of three BOE seats. 

Ann Delacy April 08, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Leslie, Peer Assistance And Review (PAR) has been used to evaluate teachers, administrator, and support staff for decades in Columbus, Ohio and for more than a decade in Montgomery County, Maryland. Google it. Isn't it time we expanded the conversation of accountability to supervisors, Directors and superintendents? How are they evaluated and who decides that a Depty Superintendent should receive a nearly $700 per month auto stipend? Leslie, as a former teacher, you are aware of the lack of influence teachers and support staff have in the decision-making process. It wasn't the teachers who decided to take reading as a stand alone subject out of the middle school curriculum.
Paul Lemle April 09, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I'm too tired to fight all you nuts. Bill, we're not leftists, statists, or any other -ists. We're educators. Even if we got every one of our recommended candidates elected, we wouldn't be in control of them or the school board. You are right--we're not interested in charters, vouchers, or privatization. We are VERY interested, however, in accountability. Owen, Jack isn't a racist to my knowledge, though he is a little crazy about Jackie Scott and Ken Ulman. Leslie, I'm going to move the discussion about effective teaching over to howardpubliced because it's a wee bit less hostile. I think. The long and short of it: in HCPSS last year, 22 teachers and zero principals earned an unsatisfactory evaluation. The union doesn't do evaluation--the administration does. The evaluation system needs an overhaul, and we are willing to be a part of it. Anybody who's not a believer, I'll go on record right now as supporting the peer assistance and review model discussed in the Fox News clip above.
bill bissenas April 09, 2012 at 11:24 AM
If the BOE candidates that the union supports don't intend to follow the union's goals, then why would the union support these individuals? "You are right--we're not interested in charters, vouchers, or privatization." QED I accurately predicted the union's position in this matter and yet it is my sanity that is called into question. Orwell indeed lives. This is the nature of the left, to marginalize any opposition to their agenda, an agenda that will ultimately fail to produce the desired results because they don't understand the problem, and they won't accept innovative solutions to fix the problem because it endangers their power. And so, the schools will roll along with the same problems. It's sad because many children will suffer as a result of the failed policies of the union and its adherents. It doesn't have to be this way.
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM
We can now watch to see how the BOE gets along with Dyer on his way out. Will he cause more hate and discontent before he is out of there? Remember, only half of the board was up for re-election.
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:10 PM
With new board members and a new superintendent, maybe they will clean house at Club 108 and get rid of so many cronies that are just sucking up budget dollars that should be going to the schools. There is way too much bureaucracy in the DOE. To many people with clothing and car allowances in their employment contracts, etc.
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM
@Jack, can you list a resource for your assertion? I know that with my two kids, they were far ahead of others when they were mixed with those from other parts of the country. To say that half need remedial ed is just not true. As for the 65% dropping out of college, that is no different than anyplace else. I think Howard County Schools does a disservice to the kids in pushing ALL of them to go to a four-year college, rather than community college, vocational schools or the military. Many are not cut out for college or to go away from home yet. HCPSS is more concerned with the schools' ratings with colleges than actually having the kids prepared for the real world. We need plumbers, electricians, mechanics and military people. But Howard County ignores that fact. Our kids have to go to Baltimore or AA counties to get vocational training.
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I will say, that our son did two years at Atholton and two years at River Hill. There was a huge attitude difference with the teachers. I will attribute this to the different principals. Atholton's was fantastic and RH's left a lot to be desired. Atholton teachers worked hard with kid's having difficulties and RH teachers' attitude was, "get him a tutor".
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:33 PM
@Jack, you have quite a reputation for outrageous remarks on Howardpubliced. You seem to always have a criticism and an answer to everything. Maybe YOU should have run for board since you have all the answers.
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Personally, I think getting rid of tenure would do more to increase teacher quality than just about anything else. Human nature is human nature. If you know you can't be fired (without and act of congress) its only natural to not bust your butt all the time. Nowhere else do workers have tenure. It you don't perform, its adios amigos!
Mark April 09, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Jack prefers to sit behind his computer monitor and attack those that are really out there trying to make a difference, union or not. He doesn't have the stones to physically show up at a meeting present his opinions.
JustABill April 09, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Everyone is yammering back and forth about one thing or another as if it is going to some how change the results of the Primary Election. What we need to do now is focus on the candidates we are left with and do everything possible to properly vet them on their qualifications, their vision for the immediate and distant future of Howard County Public Schools, and their past and present actions in the community as well as their workplace. I could never vote for Ms. De Lacey, the former president of the HCEA, because of my own personal observations of how she conducted herself at polling places on election day over the years and also because she is, was, and always will be UNION FIRST! I also cannot vote for Ellen Flynn Giles, who I have voted for in the past and Janet Siddiqui, because of their votes reducing literature education in middle schools when it is quite possibly most needed in a student's development. David Gertler will not get my vote simply because he or his campaign volunteers have no problem breaking the laws regarding campaign sign placement so how can I trust him to follow the law in other areas as well. Admittedly I do not know much about Jackie Scott except that she does seem to have strings attached to Ulman and the HCEA endorsement is almost enough to make me not vote for her but time will tell. This leaves me with Bob Ballinger and because he will definitely be a logical, independent voice on the BOE he will certainly have my vote in November.
Fred April 09, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Paul, thanks for the reference; however, it does not provide one piece of evidence to support your earlier assertion that "teacher quality is the most critical variable in student achievement". It does provide economic data on the cost of poor teachers and I support that analysis. Based on years of research directly relevant to this issue, it is likely that parents/home environment is the most critical variable in student achievement. This was/is the premise for Head Start-like programs and early intervention to prepare children to learn in school. The problem is that these programs cannot sustain the early gains they demonstrate because, like it or not, children go home to the same parents and the same home environment. And if , for whatever reason, these parents are unable to provide the educationally supportive environment that many/most affluent homes enjoy, then these gains are lost. What many affluent (i.e. educated) parents do is reinforce what was learned in school or, in many instances, teach their children what an incompetent teacher was unable to teach. When this is high school, that means teaching your children algebra, geometry, trig, chemistry, etc., subjects that many uneducated parents are unlikely to be able to provide this level of support.
Ann Delacy April 09, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Fred: "Based on years of research directly relevant to this issue, it is likely that parents/home environment is the most critical variable in student achievement. This was/is the premise for Head Start-like programs and early intervention to prepare children to learn in school." I agree with you, Fred. The entire "reform" theories based on the teacher being the most crucial factor in a student's life has lead to wrong-headed initiatives such as Race-to-the-Top, Teach for America and head-scratching to compute the value-added component of having a particular teacher. Universal pre-kindergarten for all children, irrespective of income, will do more to ensure that all children are ready by five than Head Start-like programs. My granddaughter, Lilly, was able to participate in such a program in Charles County and benefited by being in a stable, safe, learning-rich environment filled with nurturing adults. As a result, my daughter was able to work additional hours and become actively involved in the Parent Teacher Organization (different from the PTA). Parents not wishing to have their children participate could always opt-out. Age three would be, in my opinion, a good time to begin pre-kindergarten.
LisaBMrsS April 09, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Bob Ballinger will not be an independent voice on the BOE. He will be a Republican voice. So while he may be independent of Howard County's Democratic Party, he absolutely has loyalties to another group. If the strings attached to candidates matter to you, be clear about which candidates have which strings. Your comfort with a candidate's strings doesn't make them independent. The candidate's actions make them independent.
LisaBMrsS April 09, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Paul & Ann, can you talk about the obstacles to bringing a Peer Assistance & Review system to HCPSS?
LisaBMrsS April 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Loyalty to a group isn't necessarily a liability or problem, either. The idea of an "independent" candidate or elected official is really dependent on the context. Independent of whom or what? Bob Ballinger has a distinct vision for Howard County schools. That vision is, in part, shaped by his Republican philosophy and work in the Republican Party. I am not quibbling with Bob, but I am quibbling with the label of "independent".
Ann Delacy April 09, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Lisa, the major obstruction I encountered in even discussing PAR in HCPSS was Dr. Sydney Cousin. We are fortunate that Dr. Foose, having spent years in Montgomery County, is a strong proponent of PAR. It is expensive program but we could easily repurpose (a Leslie K. word) our staff and resources to make it happen. HCPSS has been resistant to change beyond the status quo and has been reluctant to involve stakeholder groups in real decision-making. If I am elected to the BOE, I will add my extensive education expertise to a group who unfortunately lacks the background knowledge.
Corey Andrews April 09, 2012 at 04:16 PM
LisaBMrsS, A "Republican voice"? Is he not allowed to participate in the political process with a political party and still be independent? Do you consider Janet Siddiqui, Frank Aquino, or Sandra French independent? Those three all have participated in the Howard County Democratic Party. Almost everyone in the race had SOME connections to a group (HCEA, Democratic Party, Republican Party, PTA, county government, Ken Ulman, the current Board, community organizations, etc.) that has an interest in the BOE. If you've participated in the political process in Howard County, you will most likely have connections to one of these groups. Of the remaining candidates, Bob would be, by far, the most independent.
LisaBMrsS April 09, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Yes, Bob Ballinger is a Republican voice. He is also a parental voice. He is also a taxpayer voice. Each candidates bring multiple facets to the conversation. Each Board member brings multiple perspectives to the table. I was not using "Republican" as a slur. Bob was the Director of Opposition Research for the Ehrlich campaign. He is a staffer for a Congressional Republican. I am quite certain that his personal political beliefs are Republican, not Democratic and not Independent. Let me answer your second question with a question. Do you consider Sen. Allan Kittleman to be a Republican, or an Independent? He doesn't always agree with the majority of his party. Did he stop being Republican when he supported marriage equality? No. So, I quibbled with labeling Bob Ballinger as independent because I interpreted that comment as meaning independent from the county's political majority. I'm interpreting your application of the label to Bob in the same way. If "independent" means not involved in local party politics, then no, Bob Ballinger, Sandra Frank, Janet Siddiqui, Frank Aquino, Brian Meshkin, Ellen Flynn Giles, and possibly Jackie Scott are not independent. But that should show you that the way we use the term "independent" is important. Involvement in local party politics should be neither a qualifier nor a disqualifier for election to the Board of Ed. Intelligence, empathy, and experience cooperating with different people to solve big problems should be the qualifiers.
bill bissenas April 09, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Great points Corey. And to add to that, the implication is that only the Dems can truly care about education, while conservatives, Repubs and their supporters can't possibly have the best interest of our children at heart. A double standard.
bill bissenas April 09, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I think the commenter's main point with regard to Ballinger's independence is that he will be independent of the HCEA and it's associated supporters and power structure. It may be that he is affiliated with the Repub. Party, but that matters less than the fact that he is not involved with the union mess that's been foisted upon us with the BOE elections.
JustABill April 09, 2012 at 07:39 PM
LisaBMrsS, I am sorry you felt the need to bring party politics into the conversation about a non partisan elected office. However, since you did I feel the need to point out that you missed the part of Mr. Ballinger's resume where he worked at the department of the environment under the O'Malley administration. By independent I simply meant Mr. Ballinger was not connected to the union or the Ulman administration unlike all of the other candidates. I would hope people vote for candidates because they are concerned parents of children in our school system and the best qualified to hold a position on the BOE. Not blinded by political party affiliation or loyalty to the union. I have nothing against the union but I do not believe you can be an unbiased member of the BOE if you have even the slightest connection or loyalty to the HCEA, the Ulman adminstration, or even the county council. Mr Ballinger is the only candidate for BOE that fits that bill and is therefore by my assessment an independent voice on the BOE as a representative of ALL concerned parents that simply want what is best for their children and the ALL of students of Howard County Public Schools.
JustABill April 09, 2012 at 07:53 PM
No LisaB you simply felt the need to point out his political party affiliation as if it was a crime to be both a concerned parent of students in Howard County and also a Republican and have the gall to run for a non partisan elected office. If it was not that big of a deal to you then why bother to not only restate the obvious but to list some of Mr. Ballinger's past jobs. As I said in my post above, he also worked under the O'Malley administration. To me that demonstrates Mr. Ballinger's ability to work across party lines for what he believes in and not just toe the line as most Democrats do in the county and throughout the state.
LisaBMrsS April 09, 2012 at 08:47 PM
JustABill, thanks for explaining the context and meaning of "independent" as you applied it to Bob Ballinger. I agree with that use of it. I'm sorry I upset you with my introduction of political party names in the discussion. I misunderstood your original meaning. I hope that everyone who votes decides what they want in a Board member, and their does their research into each candidate and chooses accordingly.
Fred April 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Ann or Paul (or someone in the know): Could you describe the critical elements of a Peer Assistance & Review system for me as I am not familiar with this but would like to learn - or provide me a reference so I can learn about it (and not a link to a Fox News videotape)? Thanks.
Brian Meshkin April 10, 2012 at 02:25 AM
To all, I really appreciated reading the comments. Interesting debate. Fred, here are a few links explaining the PAR program in MCPS. http://www.gse.harvard.edu/~ngt/par/practice/montgomery.html http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin224.shtml And then obviously, you can read about on the www.montgomerycountyschoolsmd.org web site. By the way, I too support greater evaluations of educators, administrators, and staff. I would like to see a program like PAR in the HCPSS. However, I also believe that everyone in the school system needs performance evaluations - including the Board of Education. I recently proposed to my colleagues that the School Board complete an annual evaluation of the Board itself, and I recommended that every member complete individually one as well. I will asking for this in the update to Policy 2000 on School Board Governance. Everyone should be held accountable and seek ways to improve in their performance. I can't speak for my colleagues, but I am far from perfect and I look forward to every day when I learn new things.
NK April 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Ann, Sorry, I realize this is an old post but I just saw it. Hopefully you will see my reply. I have to say I'm very skeptical about distance learning for anyone younger than college aged kids. I see that you mention that Virginia Beach uses it, but just because someone else is doing it, doesn't make it right. This is only my experience from being educated and seeing my kids being educated, but to me it's all about the personal interaction between the teacher and the student. The kid who already likes learning will succeed no matter how a course is taught, but for the rest of the kids who aren't thrilled by school (which, let's face it, is probably the majority) need that teacher there and supportive. That's just not going to happen via distance learning.
Fred April 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Amused, I'm not going to speak for Ann, but distance learning can involve direct interactions between teachers and students even if they are in different schools; teachers can see the students, students can see the teacher and questions can be asked both ways. The technology is there - just not being used. The beauty of this kind of distance learning is that you could better equalize the educational opportunities among our high schools. For example, if there are not enough students at High School "A" that are qualified/interested in taking a particular GT course then, through distance learning, those interested students at School "A" could be "plugged into" the course being taught in real-time be a teacher at School "B". HCPSS is way behind the curve in this area. And I recall Allen Dyer proposing such a solution when the school inequities issue came up at a Board meeting; but of course the myopic Board Chair at the time failed to pick up on this important point and an opportunity for innovation was lost.
Jack April 10, 2012 at 05:52 PM
From Parents_Coalition of Montgomery county Look here: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/development/resources/projover/docs/PARteacher.pdf http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/development/documents/sspgs/1869_06Growthbooklet.pdf Lyda
NK April 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Fred, Those are good points in terms of interaction at the group level for curriculum related questions. What I was going for was more where a teacher has person-to-person interaction before, after, and during class. Maybe he or she notices that a kid is off for some reason or has something he or she would like to briefly chat on a personal level with the child. Not having the teacher there in person to do that is difficult or impossible. I know with my son it has helped tremendously when a teacher takes even a brief interest in how he's doing. That said, as I think about your comments, distance learning would be better than not having the class at all, so there is an advantage there. Care would need to be taken to ensure that those who enrolled had a high enough maturity level to handle it.

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