News Brief: November Current Events

MCPS Reconsiders Problematic School Names

by Joon Baek ‘23

Following petitions by community members and student activists, MCPS approved a resolution in early October to determine whether to rename six schools named after Revolutionary Era individuals who owned slaves. The school names under consideration are the high schools Richard Montgomery, Thomas S. Wootton, Zadok Magruder, and Montgomery Blair, and the middle schools, Francis Scott Key, and John Poole.

Those who wish for the changing of the schools’ names point towards the importance of banishing what they see as the county’s racist past, while those who oppose the change argue that slavery was a norm during the Revolutionary Period as well as that the schools were named in honor of the founders of Montgomery County. In announcing its plan to update the criteria by which names for MCPS schools and facilities are evaluated, MCPS stated that considerations should take into account that individual’s ideals and core values. These values should be in line with those expressed in Board policy, some of which being nondiscrimination, equity, cultural proficiency, and diversity.

Meet the Candidates of the Maryland Midterms

by Lauren Frank, Sydney Wiser, Alexis Booker ‘23

The 2022 midterms are approaching on November 8 and some seniors are entering the first election cycle when they can vote. The Maryland races that are drawing the most attention are the gubernatorial election, where Governor Larry Hogan has reached his term limit, the House races in congressional districts, and one Senate seat.

The candidates for governor are Democrat Wes Moore and Republican Dan Cox. Climate change is a significant part of Moore’s agenda, and he wants to create job opportunities for people whose work will contribute to a greener and more eco-friendly environment. Additionally, Moore wants to tackle the racial wealth gap and protect abortion rights. On the other hand, Cox supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Cox also wants to ban undocumented immigrants from entering Maryland and combat what he sees as Critical Race Theory and gender indoctrination in schools.

For the House, the District 8 seat is likely what Sherwood students are voting for based on their residence. Democratic incumbent Jamie Raskin is facing a rematch against Republican Gregory Coll. Raskin has been the District 8 representative for six years and serves on numerous committees, most notably the January 6 committee.

The Senate race has incumbent Democrat Chris Van Hollen against Republican Chris Chaffee. Van Hollen has worked at the national and state levels to enact gun control legislation, while Chaffee is a defender of the second amendment. Van Hollen has also advocated for legislation that would combat climate change like reducing energy usage in homes. Chaffee prefers to spend federal dollars elsewhere like on the opioid crisis and for American energy independence.

Sub Shortage Strains Teachers

by Katie Gough ‘23

Teachers at Sherwood continue to struggle to find subs to cover their classes when they enter their absences in the MCPS substitute system. According to the “Daily Bulletin” sent out to Sherwood teachers by e-mail every morning, anywhere from 4-10 teachers regularly are listed as having ‘No Sub’ each day. As a result, other teachers frequently are asked to cover classes, often with same-day notice.

Science teacher Glenn Miller, who is on the Board of Directors for the MCPS teachers’ union, explains that the problem comes from either a lack of subs or subs choosing not to pick up the job. “Either way, each class [for the absent teacher] needs an educator in the classroom,” said Miller.

MCPS teachers have two non-instructional periods, during which they “can be assigned what is called an IRA, or Instructionally Related Activity, such as covering class, or attending a meeting,” Miller said. Typically though, he uses these periods like many teachers do, for instructional planning and preparation.

Teachers who frequently have to cover classes during these periods lose valuable time to coordinate and plan lessons for their own classes. Furthermore, questions have been raised over whether teachers are compensated fairly for covering others’ classes, for which teachers this year are paid about $15 before taxes, a rate significantly lower than their normal pay, Miller explained. He believes this compensation is unfair, saying, “teachers are highly educated professionals and the system is not valuing their educators’ time.”