Choudhury's Ethics are Running on Empty
Jan Greenhawk, Editor/Writer Easton Gazette
I'm a runner. Not a fast runner, but a runner nonetheless. I've run distances all the way from 5K to marathons. I've seen some fast runners, but not many were as quick as State School Superintendent Mohammad Choudhury's dash for his office as he avoided talking to a reporter about recent revelations that state test scores have been removed from the MSDE website. I think he set a new land speed record that test pilots would hold in awe.
When it was revealed last week that MSDE had removed poor scores from the State website, officials claimed that it was to protect the identification of students as the federal government requires. They called it "deidentification" which, by the way, is not a serious or real word. It's a word out of George Orwell's novel 1984.
What's worse is that the whole premise of the removal is an outright lie.
Apparently, someone who works at the Maryland State Department of Education has had enough of Choudhury's unethical behavior and temper tantrums and let the truth out. The scores were removed to protecting the Superintendent's job. MSDE blamed its internet contractor. The contractor blamed someone at MSDE who quickly blamed someone in Governor Moore's office. In the end, it all circled back to saving Superintendent Choudhury.
That's a lot of salvation. Choudhury has not only done a poor job, but he has also been rude to lawmakers, bullied employees, thrown temper tantrums, and attempted a full take over the jurisdiction of local school boards.
People have had enough of Mohammad. School boards wrote letters opposing a bill that would give him more power than any school official in Maryland has ever had. Even the State School Board wrote in opposition to that action. He flustered Clarence Crawford, the President of the State School Board, who couldn't support the takeover Choudhury desired. This was days after Crawford had clutched his pearls in one hand while writing a letter in defense of Choudhury with the other.
It's apparent that Maryland has a petulant man child in charge of our schools. This week, when Chris Papst of FOX 45 tried to ask Choudhury about the hiding of scores, the Superintendent ran to his office to hide like a scared bunny.
In his wake he left a bewildered Clarence Crawford to pick up the pieces. Clarence had a terrible, very bad day, the second of the Spring.
Choudhury is so intent on having total control of state education that he is interfering in communication and cooperation between the Maryland State Department of Education and the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board as the Blueprint is set to roll out this Fall. Members of the AIB have publicly expressed their frustration at the situation.
Today, the State Board of Education is meeting to discuss the extension of Choudhury's contract for two more years. Are the State Board and perhaps the Governor fed up with Choudhury's antics? Maybe.
This Superintendent hired during the Hogan administration is not only over his head but entirely out of his element. When one looks at his spotty job history, it's clear that Choudhury was not at all qualified for the job.
A State Superintendent needs to be a strong leader, someone who will inspire people to make schools better, someone who will promote accountability. Most important, a State Superintendent needs to be honest, communicative and ethical. Choudhury is none of those.
It's time for someone in the current administration and on the State School Board to look at the facts and accept that Maryland made a HUGE mistake in hiring Choudhury. It's time to cut our losses. Fire Choudhury, have him turn in the keys to his office hideaway, and send him packing.