Travel to Sister Cities in Ghana and China

Travel to Sister Cities in Ghana and China

Would you like to visit some of Columbia’s sister cities? These two 2019 trips will allow adults and families to visit Tema, Ghana, and Liyang, China, on tours organized by travel agents who are members of our Tema and Liyang sister city committees. They are reasonably priced and offer the opportunity to travel with people from this area.
10-day trip to Tema, Ghana — August 12-23
15-day trip to Liyang, China — October 16-31
Information sessions will be held from 7-8:30pm at Columbia Association Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, on the following dates:
Ghana — Wednesday, May 29
China — Tuesday, June 18

Promoting Student Diversity in Schools

This is the presentation delivered to the school board by Mr. Mark Blom, General Counsel. He presented this at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference on Promoting Student Diversity through Student Assignment Initiatives.

Promoting Student Diversity in Schools by Mark Blom

There is a survey data on this topic and very interesting.

pew survey on school versus diversity

Here is another post related to Mr. Blom’s article.

https://chaowu.org/2019/04/05/a-roadmap-from-desegration-to-diversity-in-americas-public-schools/

 

HCPSS Seeks Members for Policy Development/Revision Committees

HCPSS Seeks Members for Policy Development/Revision Committees

Applications Due by May 31, 2019

Ellicott City, Maryland —The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) invites citizens to take an active role in developing and revising school system policies as members of policy development/revision committees.

HCPSS is currently seeking candidates for membership on the following 2019-2020 Policy Development/Revision Committees:

  • Policy 1050 Tobacco-Free Environment/Policy, and Policy 9230 Alcohol, Other Drugs, Prescription Medication and Over the Counter Products (one committee will review both policies)
  • Policy 4010 Donations/Policy 4020 Fund Raising (one committee will review both policies)
  • Policy 4030 School Activity Funds
  • Policy 7000 Workplace Diversity
  • Policy 7120 Coaches and Advisors of High School Extracurricular Activities
  • Policy 8080 Responsible Use of Technology and Social Media
  • Policy 9010 Attendance

Each committee will include one member representing the General Citizens stakeholder group. Each policy committee typically meets 3-5 times, beginning in August or September, to discuss and make policy recommendations regarding educational programs and school system operations. Selected citizens will be contacted by July 1 with tentative committee meeting dates.

The knowledge, experience and perspective shared by community stakeholders are used to improve the policy review process and ensure transparency at every stage of the committee’s work. All current HCPSS policies can be viewed online.

Howard County citizens interested in participating may submit a statement of interest online, or contact the Policy Office at policy@hcpss.org or 410-313-8954. Please complete and submit a separate statement of interest for each policy committee of interest. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 31, 2019. 

Tough choices

Make tough choices and share the burden together

I would like to tell a story: A poor family had five kids. One year,  there was a shortage of food because of the natural disaster. They had to make a tough choice:

  • Every family member had less food and work through the tough year together.
  • Give two children to other families such that with less people they can have more food for each remaining family member.

This was a true story happened in my “Wu” family two generations ago. Due to severe food shortage, one of my grandfather’s brother was given to another family and even changed his family name. It was 70 years ago. My great grandparents regretted that decision when the family condition changed for better later. Now all of them experienced that passed away.

Now 70 years later in Howard County, we are facing a very tough budget shortfall. At the same time, we are facing a tough choice. Are we going to surplus our teachers out, who are our best assets and make our classrooms even more crowded, or all of us stay together and find a way to get through the tough time? Or every stakeholder shares the burden collectively?

Cuts and Savings, HCPSS FY 2020 Budget Update

Wednesday afternoon’s work session on the FY2020 school budget was tough. After the discussion, here are some highlights:

  1. After the discussion, increasing class size by 2 and surplusing teachers (123.7 cut: elementary technology teacher from 62.2 to 42; music teacher from 52 to 26; GT elementary from 79.5 to 42; GT middle from 60 to 20) and para-educators (104 cut: elementary paraeducator from 216 to 132; middle school math paraeducator cut 15, middle school reading paraeducator, cut 5),  are on-hold with a 10 million dollars deficit. There are a small number hiring increase (para-educator) in several areas too because of cutting teachers.
  2. At the same time, we are increasing the health care deficit with another 7 million dollars to 44 million dollars next year. We are creating an operating budget deficit for FY2021 since we are using a 10 million fund balance to fund incurring operating cost.
  3. We are not able put extra fund on the student mental health and well-being, restorative and inclusive support. program innovation, deferred maintenance and balancing capacity and changing school start time.
  4. We are now waiting for the county council to give us extra 10 million dollars if they can.
  5. The school budget discussion will be difficult for this year and many years forward.

Here is document: 05 08 2019 Budget Work Session Document

The link is here:

https://go.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/files/BBYRJY6E4AC8/$file/05%2008%202019%20Budget%20Work%20Session%20Documentss.pdf

 

HCPSS 2020 operating budget update

The board received many emails about the school budget proposed by the County Executive. In those emails they talked about a 30 million dollar increase on the operating budget over last year. This is not true. The increase is 0.9% percent and the amount is 5.14 million dollars. 

Here is Howard County Proposed. FY2020 budget: https://cc.howardcountymd.gov/Portals/0/FY2020%20Proposed%20Operating%20Budget-web.pdf

On page 22, we have the numbers:

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 11.26.52 PM

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

It is a tough year for the school board and the county government. Since the county executive’s operating budget was out already, we need convince the county council to allocate extra money for the school system.

The school system needs to balance the budget. Here are some big numbers: 

  1. There is a 37 million dollar deficit in the health fund which we need pay off. In 2020 we need spend extra 7 million dollars on the health care fund in order not to increase the deficit.
  2. There is an increase of around 800-1000 new students into HCPSS. For each student, the county spent around 11k ( total is around 15,476 per HCPSS student) and the total net increase on spending by the student enrollment increase is around 11.5 million dollars (10.3 M for staff increase and 1.2 million for transportation) .
  3. We have FY 2019 negotiated salary increase for teachers which is 6.7 million dollars. This has to be honored.
  4. We have another negotiated salary increase (@3%) for teachers which is 19 million dollars. For the same reason, we have other salary increase for non-teachers which is 3.1 million dollars.
  5.  We have non-public placement for special education(new enrollment?), which is 3.8 million dollars.
  6. Other materials of instruction and operations of  plant are around 2.5 million dollars.

I can assure you that increasing the class size will be the last choice for the board. Increasing class size by one will save 6.5 millions dollars.

The board will have another work session on May 8th, Wednesday 4:00-6:00PM.

Stay tuned.

Columbia Association: Five-Year Strategic Planning Process

Columbia Association: Five-Year Strategic Planning Process

Planning for the future

Columbia Association, under the guidance of its Board of Directors, develops a strategic plan every five years that identifies goals and initiatives and sets the direction for CA for the next five years and beyond. The current strategic plan began in fiscal year 2014 and culminates with the close of fiscal year 2019 on April 30.

We began the strategic planning process for FY2020-24 in fall 2018, hiring a consultant to help guide CA through the process of creating a new plan. His comments on CA’s FY2014-19 strategic plan are available here. We are currently in the phase of the process where a draft mission statement, vision statement, and strategic goals have been developed and are being provided to the community for feedback.

Our community has already served as an important resource during earlier stages of this process. We gathered input from a wide range of perspectives, surveying thousands of residents as well as our employees. Additionally, we held focus groups with village chairs, advisory committees, and other local stakeholders and leaders. A summary of those responses is available here.

Timeline

  • CA’s Board of Directors met with CA’s senior leadership team for strategic planning sessions on March 9 and March 30, discussing the considerable input already collected from the community and drafting the mission, vision and strategic goals.
  • Further input will be welcomed during Resident Speakout at the CA Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, April 25 and work session on Thursday, May 9. If you are unable to attend, we are also gathering input on our draft mission, vision and goals using the comment box below. Community members also may share their comments with their representative on CA’s Board of Directors.
  • It is anticipated that after further discussion by CA’s Board of Directors at the meeting and work session noted above, the board will vote on the strategic plan on Thursday, May 23.

We have crafted an initial version of the FY2020-24 strategic plan. An excerpt is below; to read the report with the overview, please click here.

 

CA board members can be reached at Board.Members@ColumbiaAssociation.org

HCPSS School Start Time repo

There have been continuous investigations/discussions on the school start time over the years. The cost of implementing a new high school start time later varies a lot. Here is a summary for various proposals. The starting time proposals ( elementary, middle and high) are different from one to another. 

The difficult part for this discussion is “what is the better school start time and what is the cost”. I will continue engage in this conversation and put our student’s health and growth in the center of the focus. 

The following cost is the extra money we need spend on the current $40 million dollars school transportation budget. 

In the 2014-02-20 report, the estimated cost is $20 million dollars (high schools start at 8:15).

In the 2015-06-11 report, the estimated cost is 13.8 million dollars.

In the 2015-10-22 report, four models were discussed.

  1. Model 2 costed extra 9.3 million dollars,
  2. Model 3 costed extra 12.6 million dollars,
  3. Model 4 costed extra 4 million dollars. 
  4. Model 5 costed extra 12 million dollars. 

In the 2016-11-17 report, four new models were discussed (all four models start elementary schools at 7:30-7:45. There were the four models where I established a parent group and testified on behalf of them ):

  1. Model 1 costed extra 1.7 million dollars. 
  2. Model 2 costed extra 0.9 million dollars. 
  3. Model 3 costed extra 5.3 million dollars. 
  4. Model 4 costed extra 3 million dollars. 

In the 2017-12-19 report, four models were discussed (All start after 8:00)

  1. Model 1 costed extra 6.3 million dollars. 
  2. Model 2 costed extra 7.62 million dollars. 
  3. Model 3 costed extra 9.3 million dollars. 
  4. Model 4 costed extra 8.36 million dollars. 

———————————————————————

Here is the list of usual historical documents for your info.

—————-begin———————–

February 20, 2014

June 11, 2015

October 22, 2015

April 28, 2016

November 17, 2016

January 12, 2017

February 7, 2017 Public Hearing

February 23, 2017 – Internal Audit – Costs of Later Start & Dismissal Times

February 23, 2017

December 19, 2017

—————-end———————–

 

HCPSS policy 1060 bullying, cyberbullying, harassment and intimidation

Policy 1060 – Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation

The purpose of this policy is to establish expectations for maintaining a safe and respectful school climate and workplace in the HCPSS where bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation are not tolerated. This policy also provides standards for identifying and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, harassing, or intimidating behavior, as well as intervening and supporting students and employees who are exhibiting bullying, cyberbullying, harassing, or intimidating behavior or who are targets/victims of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation.

The full link is https://www.hcpss.org/policies/1000/1060-bullying-harassment/


HCPSS will not tolerate any kinds of bullying, cyberbullying and harassment and intimidation. What has been reported by Baltimore Sun to one of our students is really tragical. We will make sure proper and prompt actions will be taken to help the victim and help the bully accountable.

2019 Spring Board Corner

2019 Spring Board Corner

By. Dr. Chao Wu

Board Member of Howard County Board ofEducation

This article represents only my personal view. It does not represent the Howard County Board of Education. This article was revised by Tess Yu.

It has been a totally new experience for me after winning the election in November 2018. I have strived to work hard for our students, parents, and school system from this important position. I read all the documents and prepared for board meetings, joined many community and school activities, and visited many schools in my cluster.

This is my first attempt to write an open and quarterly letter to communicate with our community members on what has happened in our school system.

Budget

The first large and most important agenda came to the board was the HCPSS 2020 operating budget. HCPSS superintendent Dr.Michael Martirano proposed a nearly $1 billion, comprehensive school budget aligned with his “A Strategic Call to Action,” which defined the needs and priorities for our school system as determined by Dr. Martirano. During the budget discussion,I realized that HCPSS was not able to provide sufficient resources to support our students due to budget constraints, among other things, that have occurred in the past. On Feb. 19, 2019, the BOE board approved the school budget after six work sessions. The budget is now under the county government and county council’s hands for evaluation and approval. Here are some of my take-aways from the work sessions:

  • After the whole process, I believe the budgeting process needs improvement. For example, without knowing how much HCPSS will receive, the school already signed contracts with several parties. We promise many programs and contracts without money at hand. The superintendent, the BOE, the county council and the county government need figure out a better way to work together on the timeline of the budget in the future. An earlier negotiated range of budget increase/decrease will be better for the budget process. It will reduce the pressure on our staff to manage the whole progress, detailed budget book and a following-years’ planning.
  • At the end, the board and the community have to realize that we are not able to afford many services we have before. The state legislature created a formula which does not favor our county in terms of funding. The local economy is growing slow and highly relies on the property taxes and personal income taxes, and our county tax is the third highest in Maryland. For people living in Columbia, there is an extra 0.67% annual charge too. Our county needs find a way to attract more business and diversify its’ revenue channel.

  • Our need in the school is changing. Every year, we are going to see another extra 800-1000 students into the school system. Among the new enrollment, about 20% students are students with special needs while right now on average around 10% HCPSS students are of special need. In the last several years, the percentage of Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) student population is increasing, now reaching around 22%. We need more resources and a more efficient and effective method to support our special needs students and low-income students while maintaining a robust academic curriculum for our students. We need a partnership with the community members to address this fast changing scenario. I also see technology and innovation can help to improve the delivery of our   education service to our students.

  • Our employee health care cost is facing two pressures. One is from the existing 37 million dollars’ deficit accumulated over the last several years. The other is the quick increase (over 10%) per year, which means more than 10 million dollars increase each year for the moment. I have already advocated that we should look at more flexible health care plans for our employee and other ways to curb the quick increase of health care cost.

 

Others in the agenda

  1. The board approved the schematic design on High School 13 on Mission Road, which is set to open in2023.
  2. The board also approved the renovation plan for Hammond High School, which is set to finish in2022.
  3. The board is interested in another comprehensive redistricting due to several crowded schools. We are going to hire a consultant company to do the work. The HCPSS feasibility study will come out in June, the Area Attendance Committee will start to work in in summer and the board will host public forum on this infall. The new changes, should they happen, will take place in 2020 fall.
  4. The board is also interested in the “starting high school later” initiative.
  5. The board is working with the county to install “STOP” sign camera on our school bus. On average every day, there are 290 drivers who do not stop while our school bus is stopping on the road. This is a great safety hazard for our students.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Chao Wu, Board Member
Howard County Board of Education

www.chaowu.org

chaowu2016@gmail.com

2019 HoCo APFO Amendment Fiscal Impact Analysis


Howard County hired Urban Analytics to calculate the potential fiscal impact on the 2019 APFO amendment.

Summary from the report:

New development in Howard County “pays for itself” and generates net surplus to the County
• Amended APFO results in a net loss to Howard County compared to the General Plan scenario; in other words, bring
less net gains to the County
• Land use decisions by policy makers have consequential short and long term economic and fiscal implications to the
County

Here is the presentation you can download.

Committee of 100 Condemns Chinese American Racial Profiling

Committee of 100 Condemns Chinese American
Racial Profiling


Contact: Christina Lu, National Program Director
media@committee100.org or 212-371-6565


  (New York, NY, April 7, 2019) – The members of the Committee of 100 — all United States citizens — are compelled to stand up and speak out against the racial profiling that has become increasingly common in the United States where Chinese Americans are being targeted as potential traitors, spies, and agents of foreign influence. Even as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our non-profit organization, committed to our dual missions of a constructive U.S.-China engagement and the full equality and inclusion of Chinese Americans, our community has come under attack again. In the last few years, a few high American government officials, respected media outlets, and opinion leaders have stated or suggested that all Chinese persons in America should be suspected of wrongdoing. Overzealous criminal prosecutions in recent years of innocent individuals such as Sherry Chen and Xiaoxing Xi, like Wen Ho Lee before them, have embarrassingly fallen apart, while ruining lives for no reason. Such targeting of individuals based on their ethnic heritage or national origin violates our shared American ideals. It simply has to stop.

More than a year ago, the Director of the FBI testified before Congress to the effect that all Chinese students and researchers represented a “whole of society” threat to the American way of life. Although he had a chance to clarify, he chose to reiterate that he meant what he had said: in his eyes, every person of Chinese descent was to be distrusted. Likewise, some leading China watchers have expressed similar sentiments. They have warned that Chinese American organizations may be used by China’s government for illicit activities. The more sophisticated have disavowed any intent to stereotype. For Chinese Americans, however, the impact has already been chilling and negative: in scientific, business, political, academic and government circles, Chinese Americans are reporting being subject to greater scrutiny and discriminatory treatment in their work and daily lives. Racial profiling is wrong and un-American in our nation of democracy. It is imperative that those who are committed to the civil rights of all Americans disavow this kind of broad-brush racial stereotyping and fear-mongering.

Since normalization of relations between the United States and China four decades ago, we have witnessed an economic transformation in China never before documented in the annals of human history that has understandably led to some anxiety for Americans. There are legitimate concerns that the United States, and we, as Americans, can have and express about China’s policies and practices. There also are instances of inappropriate, even illegal, conduct by persons of Chinese heritage. The American ideal, however, is the presumption of innocence, due process, and the right of all individuals to express themselves without fear of guilt by association, especially on a racial basis. 

The Committee of 100 was established in the belief that Chinese Americans could play a unique role in bridge building. As Americans who appreciate China through our heritage, we can and will continue to facilitate the constructive engagement which has defined U.S.-China relations since “ping pong diplomacy.” We will also continue to fight for Chinese American equality through civic engagement and speaking out against discrimination and injustice. By standing up and speaking out for what is right and just, Chinese Americans can help lead the way in answering the call that is always before us as Americans: to embody more perfectly the ideals and principles of this great nation we call home. 


The Committee of 100 (C100) is a non-profit U.S. leadership organization of prominent and extraordinary Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. Founded by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei and internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, among others, it is an institution of U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage. For 30 years, C100 has served as a preeminent organization committed to the dual missions of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life and constructive relations between the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org ###

百人会谴责针对华裔美国人带有种族偏见的刻板定性

(美国纽约州纽约市,2019年4月7日) – 作为美国公民,我们百人会的成员必须站出来反对正在美国不断蔓延的带有种族偏见的刻板定性。如今,一些华裔美国人被有针对性地当做潜在的叛徒、间谍和外国势力的代理人。作为一个的非营利组织,百人会的双重使命是推动美中两国的建设性交往以及为华裔美国人争取平等权利并融入社会。然而,即便在百人会庆祝其成立三十周年之际,我们的社区依然持续遭到攻击。在过去的几年里,一些美国政府的高级官员、广受尊敬的媒体和意见领袖均曾表示或者暗示所有在美华人都应被怀疑有不法行为。近年来,如陈霞芬和郗小星这样无辜的人都像在他们之前的李文和一样遭到了不公平的刑事起诉。虽然这些刑事起诉最终都以令人尴尬的方式被撤销,但是却毫无缘由地摧毁了当事人的正常生活。这种基于种族或国家来源的针对行为违背了我们公认的美国价值观。这一切必须停止。

一年多以前,联邦调查局局长在其对国会的证词中表示所有来自中国的学生和研究人员对美国的生活方式都带来了全面性的威胁。他本有机会对此进行澄清,但却选择了重申这一说法。在他看来,所有华裔都不值得被信任。同时,一些知名的中国观察者也表达了类似的观点。他们告诫大家华裔美国人的组织可能被中国政府利用以从事非法活动。一些更为精明的人甚至否认了这是带有种族偏见的刻板印象。然而,这些言论对华裔美国人所带来的负面影响令人不寒而栗。在科学界、商界、政界、学术界和政府圈中的华裔美
国人纷纷表示他们的工作和日常生活遭受到了更严格的审查和歧视性的对待。在我们这样的民主国家中,带有种族偏见的刻板定性是错误并有违美国价值观的。所有致力于维护每个美国公民权利的人都应坚决反对这种一刀切的种族偏见和制造恐慌的行为。

美中关系正常化四十年以来,我们在中国目睹了人类历史上前所未有的经济转型。这在一些美国人心中引起焦虑是可以理解的。对于中国政府的政策和行为,美国政府和作为美国公民的我们可以有合理的担忧并表达看法。个别华裔确有不恰当甚至非法的行为。然而,最基本的美国价值观包括了无罪推定、正当程序以及所有人都能够自由表达而不必担心因为连带关系和种族偏见而被判有罪。

我们建立百人会是因为我们相信华裔美国人可以成为独特的沟通桥梁。作为因传承而更擅长解读中国的美国人,我们能够并将继续推动自“乒乓外交”以来美中关系搭建的建设性交流。我们也将通过公民参与和为歧视以及不公平待遇发声继续为华裔美国人的平等权利奋斗。华裔美国人应该站出来为正义和公正疾呼,作为先驱承担我们作为美国公民的使命,更完美地展现这个我们称之为家的伟大国度的价值观和原则。
 


百人会(简称:C100)是由杰出美籍华人组成的非营利组织,成员来自商界、政界、学界及各艺术领域,由蜚声全球的建筑大师贝聿铭及大提琴演奏家马友友等人发起成立,会员依据个人杰出成就凭邀请入会。成立近30年来,百人会汇集其杰出会员的集体力量,始终致力于其两大使命,即推动美籍华人在美国社会生活中的全面参与,促进美国及大中华地区间建设性关系的发展。更多信息: www.committee100.org.

Chinese Schools in Howard County

There are three Chinese schools in Howard County.

1: Howard County Chinese School. They have Saturday’s class at Centennial High School and Sunday’s class at Howard Community College. Their website is https://www.hccs-md.org/

2: Peiying Chinese School. They have Saturday’s class at River Hill High School. Their website is

http://www.peiying-md.org/contact-us/

3: Chinese Language School in Columbia. They have their Sunday’s class at Howard High School. Their website is http://www.clscweb.org/

Now it is the registration season if you or your child are interested in learning Chinese language or culture. There are classes for students as young as four year old without any prior Chinese knowledge.

HCPSS High School Grading Policy

  • The markup copy includes original language from the current policy. The charter for the committee was presented to the Board on May 4, 2017; an update report was conveyed to the Board on May 3, 2018; the committee’s recommendation was submitted to the Superintendent’s Cabinet on February 11, 2019; and a public hearing will be held on April 11, 2019.

Here is the policy for you to review. Public hearing is on April 11, 2019. The board welcomes your feedback at boe@hcpss.org.