Project Baltimore’s Reporting on New BCPS COO is Nothing More Than a Hit Piece With Misleading Information.
The recent appointment of Dr. Jess Grim as the Chief Operating Officer of Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) has been met with unfair criticism from Project Baltimore.
The reporter alleges that a mechanic said repairs were made to a bus when they were not. This was done while following him to his car in a dark parking lot. In November 2021 a former bus mechanic came forward, and the media outlet obtained pictures and inspection reports that showed buses with broken parts were passing inspection and carrying students. They also interviewed a parent of a student, who requires the use of a wheelchair, who was upset because her son was often unable to ride a bus because the wheelchair lift was broken.
According to the reporter, after their report in 2022, the “Maryland State Department of Transportation inspected all roughly 800 Baltimore County school buses and found 145 defects. The buses were repaired, and MDOT issued a list of recommendations to Baltimore County Schools to improve inspections.”
This is the scandal? According to their own reporting, the repairs were made. They are suggesting, here, that Grim was aware and ignored the problem. Maybe their reporting did bring this to light. Good for them. Does this mean Grim was responsible? The parent goes on to say she was upset because Grim was non-responsive and offers no other insight.
Attributing student discipline issues to Dr. Grim is misleading and factually incorrect. The Department of Transportation, which Dr. Grim previously oversaw, does not have any authority over student discipline matters. These complaints may be the result of broader challenges within the school system and should not be linked in any manner whatsoever to his performance as the Director of Transportation. Again, the department of transportation has absolutely no authority over student discipline.
It is important to consider the context of Dr. Grim’s promotion and pay adjustments. The decision to promote an internal candidate and provide them with an increase in responsibilities and compensation is a common practice in many organizations, including school systems. It is not unusual for someone to take on different roles within the same organization, and pay adjustments are often made based on the responsibilities of the new position.
Additionally, focusing on Dr. Grim’s salary increase without considering the broader context of his role is misleading. As the Chief Operating Officer, he will be responsible for overseeing various aspects of the school system’s operations, which is a critical and demanding position requiring experienced leadership.
It is essential to acknowledge that Dr. Yarbrough, the new Superintendent, made the decision to appoint Dr. Grim after careful consideration. As an experienced educator herself, it is reasonable to assume that she considered his qualifications, experience, and commitment to the school system before making her decision.
The refusal to discuss certain details surrounding personnel decisions does not automatically indicate an attempt to hide information. While transparency is a critical aspect of any public institution, it is also important to respect personnel matters that may be confidential. Some aspects of personnel decisions may be subject to privacy laws or internal policies, which the school system must adhere to.
There is no wonder why Grim, or anyone in education, won’t speak to this reporter. It is unfortunate because Project Baltimore has provided some top notch investigative reporting on education in the past. Unfortunately, this is just a hit piece with misleading information. I look forward to their next piece.
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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.