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23

Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 23, 2024 11:13 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included the future of MCPS Superintendent McKnight, alternatives to Joe Biden, adults who haven't learned how to drive, and paying for in-law's mortgage.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Board wants Monifa to step down". Posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum, the title refers to a report in the Washington Post that the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education has requested that Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight step down from her position. According to the Post article, McKnight contends that the Board has not previously communicated any concerns about her performance and has no cause to remove her from office. Therefore, she plans to remain in her position and contest efforts to force her out. McKnight has been controversial from the start. While she was serving as Interim Superintendent before officially being hired as Superintendent, the Montgomery County Education Association — the teachers' union — passed a vote of no confidence in her. Her efforts to address the fallout from the covid pandemic have not won her many fans and significantly increased criticism of her leadership. More recently, a controversy involving the promotion of Joel Beidleman, a MCPS middle school principal who was promoted to high school principal while under investigation for bullying and sexual harassment, has raised questions about her involvement in events. McKnight has denied any knowledge of the charges against Beidleman but several top administrators have been found to have been involved. This has led to the classic conundrum that if McKnight knew what was happening, she was malfeasant and, if she didn't know, she was incompetent. But, much of the discussion in this thread focuses on the school board. Many posters call for board members to step down along with McKnight because the board has approved all of McKnight's actions. Moreover, many posters see the board as mishandling McKnight's dismissal. If the board has indeed not communicated grounds for her removal and McKnight is unwilling to go quietly, there will likely be a significant financial payout to get her to leave. Months of unwanted controversy regarding this issue can also be expected. A sideshow debate in this thread involves how McKnight is addressed by posters. There has long been a tendency in the forum to identify the superintendent as "Monifa" — something that happened even in the thread's title. Several posters object to this, believing that the frequent habit of referring to women in general and Black women in particular by their first names is lodged in sexism and racism. I have noticed this propensity, frequently as it relates to Vice President Kamala Harris, and I also agree that the use of first names in such instances are posters' efforts to diminish these women. Loudoun County went through a major controversy leading to the removal of Dr. Scott Ziegler as schools superintendent and never once do I remember him being called "Scott". Neither was former Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent Dr Scott Brabrand referred to with that name during his controversial tenure.

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