Best to Follow the Rules
By Brad Botwin
I am puzzled by the sleight of hand decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education (MCBOE) to make Eid-ul-Adha, a Muslim holiday, a day off for all County students. Instead of standing tall and promoting the education of our children, our elected MCBOE folded like a house of cards to outside Muslim organization pressure for an unnecessary holiday.
There is a well-tested process in place for determining religious holidays. It involves tracking student and staff absences on the day in question and comparing absences to other school days. Year after year, including 2015, the Muslim holiday Eid fails to make a ripple in student or staff attendance.
Yet because of relentless pressure from the radical group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and their local representative, former state delegate Saqib Ali, the MCBOE switched a teacher professional day for this seemingly not well followed holiday.
MCBOE Jill Ortman-Fouse voted for the loophole because of “equity” and stated, “We have a large and growing population (Muslim) in our schools that have been asking for many, many years for equity. Our Muslim students contribute equally to our schools as academic support, PTA leadership and committed educational partners”. What? Even the MC Association of Administrators and Principals opposed this unnecessary Muslim holiday.
Is Ms. Ortman-Fouse effectively stating that our other well represented religions (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Baha’i, etc.) are not worthy of respect and equity unless we give them a loophole holiday as well? Do these other religions need to have radical pressure brought to bear on the MCBOE as did CAIR via Mr. Ali?
Some advice for the MCBOE. How about focusing on your elected jobs? Because while you were finding loopholes, Montgomery County student test scores continue to plummet and our students remain in overcrowded trailer classrooms as the County Council and Executive conspire, uncontested by the MCBOE, to bring in more illegal alien students and Syrian refugees.
This article originally appeared as a guest commentary in the Montgomery Sentinel as “Better to Follow the Rules.”