R.I. needs a constitutional convention

This November, Rhode Islanders will vote on whether to convene a constitutional convention. Throughout most of American history, state constitutional conventions were a regular occurrence. But not one has been approved during the last 30 years, the longest stretch in...

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How the Next Superintendent Will Really Be Selected

We have recently observed Russia’s “democratic” takeover of Crimea.  As a democratically elected Crimean parliament holds a democratic referendum to join Russia, the stage-managing has been superb.  However, AACPS has demonstrated its ability to stage manage even more...

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Our Highly Politicized Board of Education

Members of our Board of Education love to pretend that they are above politics; that such behavior is reserved for County Council, General Assembly, and other public officials.  As for themselves, they claim all they care about is what’s best for Anne Arundel County...

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Court Likely to Let Leopold Run for Public Office

In January 2013, a local court convicted former County Executive John Leopold on two counts of misconduct in office.  In addition to requiring him to serve jail time, it banned him from running for elective office for five years.  In September, Leopold appealed the...

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Explaining the Capital’s Inane Political Reporting

Campaign finance articles are a staple of good journalism, as campaign contributions may signal to the public more credibly than campaign promises the type of interests a politician will represent once in office.  But good campaign finance reporting requires that a...

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More Misleading Education Reporting From The Capital

Yesterday the Capital ran a story on the results of the superintendent survey designed to elicit feedback on the characteristics the public wants in its next public schools superintendent.   From November 22 to December 12, 2013, AACPS encouraged the public to fill...

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The public, not the courts, should decide

Snider, J.H., The public, not the courts, should decide, Baltimore Sun, December 16, 2013. In countries such as Russia and Iran, the public can vote in elections, but the elections are often viewed as less than fully democratic because the courts can eliminate...

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Capital-Gazette Takes On AACPS

In the last few weeks, the Capital-Gazette ( Capital ) has flipped from years of mindlessly repeating AACPS talking points to a critical stance, including a news story with multiple, competing sources.  How well did it do? Consider, first, where it is coming from. ...

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Poll: Media Coverage of Superintendent Maxwell

Superintendent Kevin Maxwell's last day in office is tomorrow, July 31, 2013. On August 1, 2013, he takes over the helm of the Prince George's County Public Schools. The Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) spends a large fraction of County taxes and receives a...

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Maxwell’s Political Legacy: Not Pretty

After more than seven years at the helm of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS), Superintendent Kevin Maxwell will resign and become head of the Prince George’s County public schools, effective August 1, 2013.  What is his AACPS legacy? Many encomiums have...

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The Leopold case: bad behavior, vague crimes

Source: Snider, J.H., The Leopold case: bad behavior, vague crimes, Baltimore Sun, January 29, 2013. This type of conduct is common among elected officials, but the applicable rules are ambiguous and rarely enforced. Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney today found Anne...

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In the Dark About Early School Buses

Snider, J.H., In the Dark About Early School Buses, Education Week, January 4, 2013. Lots of apps, such as Transit Stop, iNextBus, and Embark DC, now let you track public-transit schedules. But they are restricted to public transit used by adults. Why can’t a similar...

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On gambling vote, what is meant by a 'majority'?

Legislature applies different interpretations according to its self-interest. What type of majority is necessary to approve Maryland's Nov. 6 ballot referendum to expand gambling? Maryland's Constitution says: "a majority of the qualified voters in the State" (Article...

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AACPS Creates Online Video Archive of BOE meetings

At long last, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education enters the YouTube age. In February 2009, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) began broadcasting select Board of Education (BOE) meetings covered under the Maryland Open Meetings Act (notably excluded...

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State ignores voters on constitutional convention

Majority voted in favor of con-con in 2010, yet it hasn't been convened. Many laws aren't enforced, including requirements that you pay payroll tax for baby sitters and clean your sidewalk after a snowstorm. But enforcing the Maryland Constitution, especially in...

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School Board Nominating Commission Update for 2011

Governor expected to make decision on nominees by July 1, 2011; bombshell announced in closing remarks at May 17 meeting. During the last four years I have closely followed the development and implementation of the Anne Arundel School Board Nominating Commission...

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The Chair’s "Weekly" Letter to Members

[This is a compendium of Jim Snider's periodic messages to Anne Arundel Countywide CAC members.  The original was posted on Anne Arundel Countywide Citizen Advisory Committee, 2010-11] To: Countywide CAC Discussion Forum Members From: Jim Snider, Chair, Countywide CAC...

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Can we strengthen the parents' voice in education?

On Oct. 28, Tom Frank, chair of Anne Arundel County's Countywide Citizen Advisory Committee, resigned. "I was under the impression that the role of the CAC was to meet with a representative of each school, other interested parents and citizens, and to bring their...

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A Historic Year for State Con-Cons

2010 marks a historic year for state constitutional conventions (con-cons). On November 2, 2010, four states (Maryland, Michigan, Montana, and Iowa) have referendums on the ballot asking voters whether they want to convene a state con-con. Never before in U.S. history...

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SBNC Update: Wrap-up for 2010

Introduction & Summary On May 11 and 12, the Anne Arundel School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) interviewed candidates for District 30 and District 31.  On May 17 the SBNC heard testimony on behalf of the candidates and then voted for two nominees for each...

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SBNC Update, Including a Bombshell

Since my last School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) update, there have been three major events: 1)      The candidate application deadline passed (April 30) 2)      Two field hearings were held (April 12 and April 19) 3)      The Attorney General issued a legal...

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SBNC Update

The Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) met to discuss administrative matters on Monday, March 1 at the Anne Arundel Community College. Attendance Ten of the eleven commissioners were present.  Commissioner Wayson has so far missed the two...

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School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) Update

The first meeting of the School Board Nominating Commission of Anne Arundel County (SBNC) for the 2010 election cycle will take place on Monday, January 25, at 7:00 pm at Anne Arundel Community College, West Campus (Arnold) in CADE 219.  This year the second term of...

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Maryland's Ballot Surprise

Voters in November will have a rare opportunity to shape the state's constitution. This November, Marylanders will have a once-in-a-generation chance to shake up the political process. Yet few know about it, and even fewer are talking about it. Maryland's Constitution...

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Is the SBNC illegal?

[Note: On October 21, 2008, this post was emailed to all elected officials representing Anne Arundel County in the Maryland legislature and in the Anne Arundel County Council] Dear Anne Arundel County Elected Official: It has come to my attention that Anne Arundel...

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SBNC Update: Leahy and Pruski Nominated

On the evenings of July 28 and July 29, the Anne Arundel School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) met to seek a replacement for the seat vacated by former school board member Tricia Johnson. On July 14, the SBNC announced it would hold hearings to seek a replacement...

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School Board Nominating Commission Update

As you probably know by now, school board member Tricia Johnson has been appointed to the County Council, thus opening up a seat on the school board for a 4 year term. The School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) has announced in a press release that it will accept...

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SBNC Update

As many of you undoubtedly know by now, the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) on May 27 nominated three candidates for the School Board. Ten candidates initially applied for the position, two dropped out, and several others only made a...

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SBNC Update

The School Board Nominating Commission’s deadline for candidate applications to serve on the AACPS Board of Education was April 1. As you probably know by now, ten people applied for the position: Shaun M. Brady of Davidsonville Kevin L. Jackson of Edgewater Michael...

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School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) Update

The School Board Nominating Commission of Anne Arundel County will hold field hearings “to solicit the public's opinion on education issues facing their specific district, the Commission's process and procedures, and qualities necessary for a successful Board of...

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SBNC and BOE TV Updates

SBNC UPDATE On January 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm, the School Board Nominating Commission (SBNC) will hold its third meeting of the coming appointment cycle for the AACPS Board of Education. The SBNC uses these low profile hearings to discuss critical procedural issues. At...

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School board nominating process taking shape

School board nominating process taking shape No limits on number of candidates sent to governor By ELISABETH HULETTE, Staff Writer Published February 21, 2008 The new committee that will select county school board members is placing no limit on the number of...

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Post mortem on the school board reform legislation

On April 9, the school board reform bill passed through the legislature with virtually no opposition.   Capturing what I believe was the general sentiment of the Anne Arundel delegation to the General Assembly, the Capital reported that the Speaker of the Assembly,...

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Time for policy to end gridlock on the streets

WASHINGTON - The National Governors Association reported recently that the annual cost to society of traffic gridlock is $72 billion in wasted time and fuel as well as 4.3 billion hours stuck in traffic. And gridlock is getting worse. Politicians know that traffic...

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“There is no political power without control of the archive, if not memory.”

Jacques Derrida

French Philosopher


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