The first bill aims to provide parents with essential information about schools in St. Mary's County. It addresses concerns raised by parents and teachers regarding behavior and violence in classrooms. My research uncovered a comprehensive datasheet mandated by the Federal government. It includes data on test scores, graduation rate, student population, class size, suspensions, crimes on school property, student arrests, incident reports, and other helpful information for parents. Unfortunately, this report is buried on the state board of education website and is five years old.
Educational professionals often fear sharing negative information about our school system, but I disagree. Adults can handle the truth, and parents deserve up-to-date information. For example, the data sheet below displays incidents of violence at local schools. Notice Spring Ridge Middle: there were 30 reports of sexual assault (other than rape) in the 2017-18 school year. https://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/DataDownloads/2018/2018/CRDC/2018_18_Climate.xlsx
My theory is a simple one. If parents know what is happening in their child's school, they are much more likely to get involved. If you knew there were 30 sexual incidents at your child's school, do you think you might volunteer at the next middle school dance? If you were a parent who cared, do you think you might show up at the next PTA meeting? Many of the problems we face can only be fixed at home with parental involvement. Shouldn't parents know this information?
My legislation will require that St. Mary's County Board of Education (BOE) proactively share the comprehensive datasheet with the County Delegation and our County Commissioners as well as display it prominently on their website for easy parental access. The legislation also requires the Board of Ed to submit an annual report, including additional data fields like "student overdoses and drug arrests."
This legislation aims to empower parents by providing them with essential and transparent information about their child's school. If our schools are doing great, let's be proud of that. If there are problems, parents are part of the solution to any problem our schools face.