Blog Moving Announcement!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Use this letter (http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfkxdpwf_33hpm3k4gz) as a template and email them. Make a STRONG online presence to make our voices heard.
2. Call your Senator
During lunch (if you're allowed) tomorrow or after school tomorrow pull out your cell phone and call your Senator to tell them how important this bill is. Nothing annoys your Senator more than having to do their job.
3. Be in Annapolis on Thursday!
Thursday in the Miller Senate Building in Annapolis, the Montgomery County Delegation will be taking up this bill. Be in Annapolis and bring signs to make your voices heard! Carpools will be arranged so if you need a ride please feel free to contact me.
Senator Rona Kramer (D-14): Paint Branch, Damascus, Springbrook, Sherwood, Gaithersburg, Blake
Phone: 301-858-3625 / 410-841-3625
Senator Rob Garagiola (D-15): Wootton, Poolesville, Churchill, Clarksburg, Damascus, Northwest, Seneca Valley
Phone: 301-858-3169 / 410-841-3169
Senator Brian Frosh (D-16): Whitman, BCC, Walter Johnson, Churchill
Phone: 301-858-3124 / 410-841-3124
Senator Jennie Forehand (D-17): Rockville, Quince Orchard, Richard Montgomery, Wootton, Gaithersburg
Phone: 301-858-3134 /410-841-3134
Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18): Einstein, Kennedy, Wheaton, Blair, BCC
Phone: 301-858-3137 / 410-841-3137
Senator Mike Lenett (D-19): Magruder, Blake, Kennedy, Rockville
Phone: 301-858-3151 / 410-841-3151
Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20): Blair, Northwood, Wheaton, Edison
Phone:301-858-3634 / 410-841-3634
Senator Nancy King (D-39): Quince Orchard, Northwest, Magruder, Watkins Mill, Seneca Valley, Gaithersburg
Phone: 301-858-3686 / 410-841-3686 "
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tomorrow the Senate will be voting on a bill that would significantly alter politics as usual in Maryland. For the past three decades, students from across the county have fought for voting rights for their student member. While, Maryland is famous for its commitment to student advocacy on local Boards of Education, it’s time for Montgomery County to lead the way for the next generation and send a strong message that your opinions should be valued.
Currently, I, as the student member, am not allowed to vote on issues relating to the budget, boundaries and redistricting, school closings, and firing personnel. This year, I have made it my goal to change this and allow your representative to vote on the $2.2 Billion Budget and $1.1 Billion Capital Budget. Why? Because that's the way real change gets done. During the election you told me you wanted better teachers, you wanted programs, you wanted better schools - but all these things take money. And right now your representative can not vote on ANY of it.
The SMOB can’t enact real change unless they're given the opportunity to do so! My hope is that this bill passes and future SMOBs will be a powerful and resounding voice for the students. If the County and the State are truly committed to improving the educational system of Montgomery County and placing the interest of the students first, especially in these tough budget times, it must affirm and respect the contributions of the student voice by granting this right.
The words “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union” are echoed throughout the years within our government classes – in an attempt to get our youth politically involved, yet for students – these “People” are often associated with those that make decisions, the adults, and students are left outside the gates of the decision making process. Under this current system, students are fundamentally excluded from the process. We are the largest stakeholder in the system, and yet we have the least representation in our own education. I can’t accept this, and neither should you. Next year, will be a tough budget year for us, and now more than ever we need a powerful on-the-ground student perspective on the issues that relate to us. But I need your help.
Currently, there are those who say that students are too inexperienced. That they don’t have the knowledge or the skillset to be able to handle the kind of work or pressure it takes to be a full board member. That they’ll be manipulated by the powers that be. And there are those who continue to disrespect the student voice and deny them an opportunity to be heard. But let me ask you a fundamental question: what is a school system without its students? What is the purpose of the educational system if not to prepare students to have the very skillsets that they are denying?
Your county student governments, your teacher’s union, almost every single Delegate in the Montgomery County Delegation, your County Council, your County Executive, your Board of Education, parents, and community leaders have all come out – together - with overwhelming support for this bill. But tomorrow, I’ll need your help. We need to make calls, write letters, sign petitions to tell our State Senators how important it is that we get the representation that we deserve.
This year, we have the opportunity to make history. Young people are no longer apathetic when it comes to policies that affect them. That is why I am here today, as a voice for you all. This issue is not just about voting rights; it is about our generation’s ability to raise political efficacy among the youth, to improve our government, and to spark innovative and generational leaders. We have one of the biggest opportunities as a community to truly change the world we live in, and this is our opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of our youngest citizens. Ultimately, this issue boils down to one question: do our elected officials trust and respect the student voice? That answer should be a resounding yes. And with your help, I am confident that we will be able to accomplish all our goals. Thank you.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Hello and welcome to "Meet the Candidates." My name is Tim Hwang and I am your current Student Member of the Board of Education. Although I can hardly believe it, my term is almost over, and the time has come to elect a new SMOB.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for electing me last year. It has truly been a gratifying experience serving you on the Board of Education and look forward to the rest of my term.
I am proud of the successes we have had thus far. In this one year, we have been able to initiate a pilot program to allow cell phones in high school lunches, start the long process of eliminating the unfair LC policy, and continue an effective environmentally friendly school system that has allowed MCPS to win numerous awards. Furthermore, with our top AP scores, #1 ranking in graduation rates, and new integrated curriculum we have been able work towards closing the achievement gap, work on several policies including a new bullying policy, and I personally have started a new communication system using new media like youtube videos, twitter, facebook, and a blog while opening up a new representative committee called SMOB 2.0.
Students can now receive email newsletters to stay informed on the Board of Education’s activities and share their opinions with MCPS by signing up at www.MCPSQuickNotes.org or joining any one of my new media outlets online. In the spirit of all of this, I have made an attempt to get MCPS more technologically savvy while still doing old fashioned school visits to most of your schools and holding county-wide town halls.
I am also in the process of getting your student representative the ability to vote on the budget so that they can be allowed to make changes to programs and budget issues from here on out and make the SMOB an equal position on the Board – a right that we have been fighting for 30 years. In the midst of all of this, I also created a taskforce to look at many of the county’s problems such as Youth Voter Registration, Crime, Gangs, Poverty, Hunger, Healthcare, Mental Health, and the Environment through the eyes of student engagement.
Finally, I, along with the rest of the Board, am continuing to lobby the County Council and the State government hard to get full funding for all of our programs and services in our budget like our buses, teachers, and other important items. Through the “Campaign For Our Future” hundreds of you throughout the county were able to come together in a grassroots campaign to fight for full funding of our education. And your elected officials are beginning to witness the power of the youth voice, as seen by the hundreds of you who packed the County Council’s Youth Town Hall.
However, much work remains to be done. We face the problem of retaining the very best teachers, closing the achievement gap, and maintaining the programs we currently have in place. The contract of the superintendent is set to expire and your next SMOB will be choosing a new superintendent who will set the direction of MCPS for the next several years, and overcrowding continues to plague many of our schools. In the current economic state our country is in, all of these goals and ideas will continue to become more difficult. With Federal Stimulus funding running out next year and the budget gap at the county and state increasing at over $700 Million in the County and $2 Billion in the state this year alone, now more than ever you need a SMOB who will fight for the programs you believe in. The next SMOB will have to confront these and other challenges during the next school year.
Every January all sophomores and juniors across Montgomery County have the opportunity to apply for the position of Student Member of the Board of Education. In March, a nominating convention is held where delegates from every middle and high school across the county listen to speeches and responses from all the candidates and then vote to narrow the field of candidates to the final two.
On Wednesday, April 28th, you will have the opportunity to voice your opinion and vote for one of the final two candidates for SMOB. This person will represent you on the Board of Education for the upcoming school year. The school board member you pick will help make important decisions affecting not just your own education, but public schools throughout Montgomery County. Before you vote, please watch the rest of this video, and read the voter's guide that is provided for all students. The voter's guide gives important information about each candidate's background and where he stands on issues that affect you. To give all students a chance to review this information, the Guide is available not only in English, but also in Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
In a few moments, you will meet the candidates and have an opportunity to listen to their answers as they address questions posed to them by several of your fellow students. Then, on Wednesday, April 28th, it will be your right and responsibility (and yes, that includes you, seniors) to vote for the candidate you think will most successfully represent you and the students of Montgomery County. Thank you and good luck.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Note: This video does not represent everything the SMOB does. Just a glimpse into some of the most memorable moments. Music at the beginning is the Theme to Chuck by NBC.
- Political Efficacy
- Poverty/Hunger/Youth Entrepreneurship
- Healthcare/Teen Pregnancy/Mental Health