“Normal was not good enough” – new headmaster of Md. School presents ambitious plan

Mohammed Choudhury, the new Maryland Public School superintendent, spent his first few weeks on the job speaking with principals, and he spoke with the OMCP about reform, recovery from the pandemic and taking office at “an exciting time”.

Mohammed Choudhury, the new Maryland Public School superintendent, spent his first weeks on the job speaking with principals, and he spoke with the OMCP about reform, recovery from the pandemic and taking office at “an exciting time”.

Choudhury was named successor to Dr Karen Salmon, who stayed a year beyond her four-year contract as Maryland faced the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, to oversee the education of more than 882,000 students in the state’s 24 school districts. He was previously Associate Superintendent at the San Antonio Independent School District, Texas.

When Choudhury was appointed to his post in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying Choudhury was “nationally recognized for his groundbreaking work and leadership in educational reform.”

The new superintendent has said he enjoys looking beyond the way things have been done in the past, going so far as to speak of a possible “silver lining” in the impact of the pandemic.

New ideas in education, Choudhury said, are often dismissed as impossible. When the pandemic struck, “overnight, with the stroke of a pen, the X, Y and Z rules came out and we came up with new rules,” Choudhury said. And these new rules, he said, can “serve students better.”

Reform coming to Maryland

Choudhury takes over as the state moves forward with the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a 10-year, multibillion-dollar effort to expand preschool programs, increase teacher salaries, add money to schools with a high concentration of poverty and create an accountability board to oversee the implementation of reforms.

Senator Paul Pinsky, chairman of the Maryland Senate Education Committee, said he was eager to see how Choudhury is working to implement education reform and “how bad” Choudhury’s approach will be. true to the intent of the legislation.

Choudhury called it an “exciting time” and said of the sweeping reform effort, “no other state – I can say it with confidence – has passed a 300-page law devoted to in-depth examination of all the educational aspects of its state and instructing its stakeholders to carry it out.

Learning loss

Choudhury said Maryland’s 24 school systems need state support to try to address learning loss, but he doesn’t want to focus only on what students may have missed out on. learning at home.

Educators, he said, need to both correct and speed up. You can’t just say, “We’re going to make up anything that the students didn’t understand. You also have to move them forward.

Chaudhury’s goal is to speak with all 24 school systems and said he has had introductory calls with around 10 school district leaders so far.

Study programme

As school systems across the country face challenges over how history and equity issues are taught, Choudhury said he didn’t expect this to become an issue. “in large scale”.

Choudhury said that “Maryland’s state curriculum has been recognized nationally” as setting the bar high for student learning, and although he expects local challenges, it does not provide for blanket objections to what is covered and how it is covered in Maryland schools.

Expect excellence

Looking ahead to next year, Choudhury said, “I don’t expect rigor to ever take a hit, either in distance learning or blended learning,” but the plans of courses that could have introduced five new concepts in one week might need to be adapted: “You may need to adapt and dig into two things for this week. “

Choudhury said he knew people were anxious to “get back to normal”, but he didn’t like the expression.

“I think par was not good enough,” Choudhury said. “I can pull data from pre-pandemic days and show you how there were gaps in student learning.”

“As we move into a post-pandemic world,” he said, “we really need to reinvent and build school systems that take the best of what we know to work” as well as add new elements “that really help children to thrive ”.


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Norma A. Roth