Redistricting – The Central Committee Responds to the County Council Resolution

Howard County Council Resolution 112-2019 urges the County’s school system to implement a plan to ensure that all schools are “integrated by socioeconomic factors and remain integrated in future years.” In other words– the very words used in Council member Christiana Mercer Rigby’s press release–our Council has resolved to “desegregate” Howard County’s Schools… again.

The Council has no authority to control the redistricting process. Its attempt to influence the process might seem an empty gesture; but it’s also a red flag that the supporters of income-based and race-based redistricting are attempting to bypass the democratic process, making decisions based on what they, as self-appointed experts, “know” to be good for all of us.

The Attendance Area Committee (AAC) is responsible for making redistricting recommendations. Board Policy 6010 governs that process, and, until February, 2019, it mandated that the AAC would collect and review public input. The recent changes struck the public input requirement, allowing Martirano’s hand-picked committee to crowd the public out of the discussion.

More, Superintendent Martirano has stacked the AAC with people who will craft the plan that Council Democrats and County Executive Ball want to see. These people include the pastor of the Executive’s church, who was a member of the Executive’s transition team when he took office, as well as four other members of that same transition team. They have been part of a plan which ignores prior feasibility studies. It also puts a social justice political agenda first and the students, families & communities of Howard County last.

With this resolution, the Council is advocating to pull the rug out from under County residents who made significant investments in real estate based on school district, in a County known world-wide as a place parents come to find a great school, and in which school district largely dictates property values.

And there is absolutely no evidence it will help even a single student. There is only evidence (which follows on simple logic) that moving high-performing students to low-performing schools will raise the average performance in those schools. If the individual student’s outcome stays the same, it won’t matter, because the overall numbers will be better.

Every Howard County school has committed teachers. The difference between high and low performing schools is parents who are committed to education and have the resources of time and money to back up that commitment in the home.

We, as a community, need to help those parents and children who do not have those resources, and show to those who lack commitment the benefits of education. We do not need to insult them by telling them that their children would be better served by going to a school that’s less brown.

We call on the County Council, the County Executive and the Board of Education  to demonstrate that they believe in a representative government, where our elected officials take into account the desires and interests of their constituents, instead of lecturing us on what’s moral and governing us on a whim.

Howard County deserves better.

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