PGCPS Head Start Had Previous Problems, Letter Says

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BOE Chair Segun C. Eubanks

Days after an investigation revealed that teachers allegedly abused and humiliated preschool children in Prince George’s County’s Head Start program, News4 has learned of past federal investigations that found issues with the program.

In 2013, a letter from Head Start to the Prince George’s County Board of Education listed several “non-compliances” within the program.

According to the letter, criminal background check files for 103 of 129 of the county’s Head Start staff were inaccurately kept and seven employees had no completed background check.

Half of the staff at the time also lacked required health exams or tuberculosis screenings, the letter said.

In addition, several classrooms had undesirable or hazardous materials such as cleaning chemicals, un-insulated hot radiators and broken toilet seats. The letter also states Prince George’s County Head Start was not properly reporting meals and snacks provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The program managed to keep its funding after all of the issues were corrected by January 2014.

The county’s Head Start program lost a $6.5 million federal grant on Aug. 17 after a federal investigation allegedly found poor instructor training and abuse of students.

On Tuesday, the county’s school board defended Head Start and vowed to find funding for the program.

Five school board members are calling for Board Chair Segun Eubanks and Vice Chair Carolyn Boston to step down and say the chair and vice chair did not inform the board about the investigation until just before federal funding was terminated.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said he has faith in Eubanks and Boston.

Source: NBC 4.

On Saturday, June 1, 2013, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III appointed Dr. Segun Eubanks as the new Prince George’s County Board of Education Chair. Dr. Eubanks was sworn-in by Prince George’s County Clerk of Circuit Court Marilynn M. Bland in the Office of the County Executive at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro. Video of the swearing-in of Board Chair Dr. Eubanks can be seen here.

Since Segun Eubanks became the chairperson, the school system has gotten worse and there many aspects of cover up rather than address the issues heads on.

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5-Year-Old Shouldn’t Be Expected to Walk Mile to School, PGCPS Parent Says

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A Prince George’s County father contacted News4 after learning his 5-year-old son would have to walk a mile to school and cross dangerous roads. News4’s Chris Gordon reports.

A Maryland school district said a little boy who just started kindergarten lives too close to his new elementary to ride a bus, but his father says he is too young to walk alone on busy streets.

Five-year-old Anthony Flowers Jr. started kindergarten in Beltsville, Maryland, on Tuesday. His father said he has tried since July to get Prince George’s County Public Schools to assign his son a school bus, but they refused. The family lives in the walking zone, within 1.5 miles for elementary schoolers, PGCPS said.

Having Anthony Jr. walk a mile to school alone on streets with no sidewalks is not an option, his father said.

“No kids play in the street here because they know it’s dangerous. So what makes them think that a kid can walk to school on his own, especially at this age?” he said.

Anthony Jr. also said he thinks the streets are not safe enough for him to walk.

“It’s dangerous. There’s no sidewalk and it’s downhill, so cars are, like, flying down the road,” he said. “If cars are parking [on] two sides of the road and one’s coming, then you could get hit.”

Flowers drove his son to school Tuesday morning and then left work in the middle of the day to pick him up.

News4 contacted PGCPS. A superintendent with the transportation department went to the Flowers’ neighborhood to look at Anthony Jr.’s route.

“He told me to give him until Friday. He’ll see what he can do,” Flowers said he was told.

In nearby Montgomery County, parents who let their 6-year-old and 10-year-old children walk a mile home alone from local parks was investigated by Child Protective Services for neglect. Danielle and Alexander Meitiv’s parenting style was labeled “free-range.”

Source: 5-Year-Old Shouldn’t Be Expected to Walk Mile to School, Maryland Father Says | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/5-Year-Old-Shouldnt-Be-Expected-to-Walk-Mile-to-School-Maryland-Father-Says-391091281.html#ixzz4ICZtuZFV
Follow us: @nbcwashington on Twitter | NBCWashington on Facebook

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Board members are also criticizing PG County School’s CEO Kevin Maxwell for a lack of leadership and proper vision for the whole School District.  This stems from the federal Head Start funding program scandal. Last week, the federal government terminated the grant for the Headstart program in Prince Georges County because of several instances of corporal punishment or humiliation of students by Headstart teachers. But there are other issues including interferences of ongoing cases within the court system and grievances involving employees who filed complaints to help fix the issues.

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Segun Eubanks – Brother in Law to County Executive Baker is involved in a conflict of interest involving the Teacher’s Union as an Employee of National Education Association (NEA) and as the Board of Education Chair Person. Mr. Eubanks appears to be undermining grievances and does not seem to care about the well being of the youth and the staff. 

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County Executive Rushern Baker III is a man under siege and presiding a county with major trash problems this year. Rushern Baker III appears to have taken over the entire school District for personal gain and to reward his friends as the rest of the county citizenry suffers under heavy taxation under his regime. Poor leadership on several fronts including interference with the courts and grievances involving employees who filed  complaints.

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5 board members call for resignation of chair, vice chair of PGCPS Board.

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Segun Eubanks – Brother in Law to County Executive Baker and the board have requested biggest budget to date without accountability initiatives as part of the matrix to the State and the County Council. 

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) — Five members of the Prince George’s County School Board are demanding the resignation of the chair and vice chair of the school board on Tuesday, according to ABC7 News reporter Brad Bell.

A letter from the board members was submitted to Rushern L. Baker III, the Maryland County Executive:

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https://www.scribd.com/document/322002955/Letter-From-PG-School-Board-to-County-Executive

Board members are also criticizing PG County School’s CEO Kevin Maxwell for a lack of leadership. This stems from the federal Head Start funding program scandal. Last week, the federal government terminated the grant for the Headstart program in Prince Georges County because of several instances of corporal punishment or humiliation of students by Headstart teachers.

The county executive says he will not ask for their resignations and he has full confidence in their leadership. The chairman of the board of education similarly says he is working on making sure the head start program continues.

Prince George’s County school system faces challenges as classes begin:

This latest development Tuesday took place as students began their first day of classes in Prince George’s County.

At Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School there is excitement about a new school year, a new day, and a fresh start.

A warm greeting for a visiting reporter and Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George’s County Schools in one class. And in teacher Angela Cunningham’s room, a whirring blender, signaling a treat for her young students.

In the hallways, students are reminded how to move in single-file lines as school routines begin anew in Maryland’s second biggest district.

During an exclusive visit to Wood’s Elementary with Dr. Maxwell, he speaks of higher standards and expectations for the New Year.

“Parents will see teachers who are really well trained and really well planned,” Maxwell says.

But in this school which last year was embroiled in allegations of child abuse at the hands of a volunteer teacher’s aide, Maxwell also speaks of the challenges his system faces, including the loss of federal Head Start funding because of teacher misconduct.

“I would remind everyone this represents a tiny number of people in our 20,000 person organization, and it is a shame that a handful of people can make things look so bad for everyone else,” Maxwell says.

Maxwell is promising better from his 10,000 teachers for his 130,000 students.

“Our faculty and staff understand very clearly their responsibility,” Maxwell says.

>>> Via WJLA

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Board members are also criticizing PG County School’s CEO Kevin Maxwell for a lack of leadership and proper vision for the whole School District.  This stems from the federal Head Start funding program scandal. Last week, the federal government terminated the grant for the Headstart program in Prince Georges County because of several instances of corporal punishment or humiliation of students by Headstart teachers.

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Carolyn M. Boston Vice Chairperson of the Board is being asked to resign for keeping her colleagues in the darker

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County Executive Rushern Baker III is a man under siege and presiding a county with major trash problems this year. Rushern Baker III appears to have taken over the entire school District for personal gain and to reward his friends as the rest of the county citizenry suffers under heavy taxation under his regime. Poor leadership on several fronts including interference with the courts and grievances involving employees who made complaints has been clear.

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Petition to County Executive Baker for trash removal Currently Underway!

Full trash bins in Prince George’s County

The petition which has already attracted over  5,481 supporters reads in part:

The decision to reduce trash pickup to once a week is having a negative effect in our community.  The smell of rotting garbage, neighborhood filled with overflowing trash receptacles, and the attraction of animal life is not what we the taxpaying citizens of Prince George’s County want or deserve.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen services and incentives for business such as National Harbor increase, while the services for our families such as leaf collections, school repairs, and now trash pickups have been cut back, without even having us be a part of the decision making process.  It’s time to have our voices be heard by the County Executive, and the Prince Georges County Council.  Not just at election time.

Sign up here >>> https://www.change.org/p/county-executive-rushern-l-baker-iii-we-want-trash-collection-in-prince-george-s-county-md-to-return-to-a-twice-a-week-schedule

Wusa 9 and NBC 4 previously covered the trash mess in Prince George’s County  as shown here and here.

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County Executive Rushern Baker III is presiding a county with major trash problems this year.

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Full trash bins in Prince George’s County

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PGCPS Board member weighs in on Head Start allegations and Cover up.

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Edward Burroughs III said it’s absurd and he isn’t backing down from his previous claim that there is possibly a cover up.

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD (WUSA9) – After the Department of Health and Human Services announced its decision to suspend federal funding for the Head Start program in Prince George’s County, many were outraged.

One member of the county’s Board of Education, Edward Burroughs, called for an external investigation into a possible cover up within the system.

“I want to know who knew what when. How long has this been occurring, what are the other instances,” Burroughs said. “And I’m not confident that we have the level of integrity necessary to do this investigation in house.”

Burroughs contended that members of the board were not informed of the investigation, but now the chair, vice chair, and another board member are pushing back on his claims.

RELATED: Child abuse alleged in Prince George’s Head Start program, federal funding suspended

In a statement, Chair Dr. Segun Eubanks and Vice Chair Carolyn Boston said, “it is categorically false to imply or state there were attempts by the Administration or other board members to mislead the entire body.”

The two also said in the statement that all board members learned about the investigation and the accusations at a Board of Education meeting on April 15.

Additionally, they said everyone had access to meeting minutes from the Head Start Program Policy Council which talked about the pending federal review.

None of the board members are listed as attending the meeting, but Wallace said everyone could see the information because it was “posted publicly on our board docs notification system.”

Wallace said while he wasn’t at the meeting, he accessed the documents and read it from the online system.

Burroughs said it’s absurd and he isn’t backing down from his previous claim that there is possibly a cover up.

He said no one directly addressed the board, and the minutes from policy council meeting did not include adequate information.

“They’re alleging that the board found out in April. Did the board mandate weekly reports on the issue? Did the board mandate that we fix these issues and did we monitor it?” Burroughs said. “The answer is no. Because we didn’t know about it.”

via WUSA9

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Department of Health and Human Services announced its decision to suspend federal funding for the Head Start program in Prince George’s County due to ongoing misconduct involving the county staff

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PGCPS Board swears in new student member

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Juwan Blocker, a rising senior at Parkdale High School, officially took his oath on Aug. 9 before a packed house in the board chambers inside the Sasscer Administration Building in Upper Marlboro.

UPPER MARLBORO – Summer is almost over. School is about to start up again, and with a new school year comes the swearing in of a new student member on the Prince George’s County Board of Education.

Juwan Blocker, a rising senior at Parkdale High School, officially took his oath on Aug. 9 before a packed house in the board chambers inside the Sasscer Administration Building in Upper Marlboro.

“I think it is fantastic that students have an opportunity to serve on the board of education. I think they learn so much about how the school system functions,” said Kevin Maxwell, chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools. “I think it’s great. The one year turnover gives them a pretty heavy learning curve, but I think that it’s just a wonderful opportunity for them.”

Blocker was well represented at the ceremony as family, Parkdale staff and supporters surrounded him while he took his oath. Even a Maryland delegate and city council members attended the ceremony.

Blocker said it was amazing to have such a great support system turn out for him.

“It felt good,” he said. “You know, it takes a village. You know, we hear that all the time, some call it corny, but it really takes a village.”

With so many there to support him, it took Blocker nearly 45 minutes just to get through photographs, handshakes and hugs. He said he credits much of his growth to his teachers and advisors, who helped him think outside of himself and outside of the small area he lives in.

Before turning to politics, Blocker was a spoken-word poet. He said without the guidance of a few “great men,” he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“I credit God, of course, my parents, my family, but Neville Adams – he has been instrumental in my life,” Blocker said.

SMOB 02When Blocker took the oath of office last week, it put an exclamation point on a two-year journey to become the student member of the board position. This was the second year he had run for the office, but when he lost the race to Ava Perry in 2015 he was not discouraged.

Blocker said there are a lot of people who would have stopped when they lost, but he was not one to give up, and he had a mission. He wanted to get to the board of education because he feels he has a lot to do for the students in Prince George’s County.

“I told the students when I was campaigning the first time that, no matter what happens in the first election, I will be back and I will be fighting for the students,” Blocker said.

He said he thinks he did a good job keeping that promise and with keeping such a big promise comes great pressure. But, Blocker said there is pressure in everything and he will take it in stride.

“At the end of the day, as long as I remember that I am there for the students, and only the students, I think I’ll be fine,” he said.

This year the board will take on a wide array of topics including the chief executive officer’s contract, continued capital and maintenance projects, implementation of ongoing projects and policies and, of course, the budgeting process.

Blocker faces many decisions going into this school year, but said he is not going to do it on his own. One of his biggest ambitions is to create a Student Member of the Board (SMOB) Advisory Council, where he will pull together students from all over the county to research issues prevalent to students.

“I want more students involved and engaged in school board decisions,” Blocker said. “And I also want more students involved period. I think that’s very important.”

He also wants to create a school-police initiative to have the local law enforcement and school resource officers interact with students on a more frequent basis. Both ideas are still being developed, Blocker said, but are projects he is passionate about.

Board member Edward Burroughs III, who said Blocker is like family, said the student member will take away a great amount of knowledge from this experience on the board. And he would know, since he held the student board position twice.

“This experience will benefit him for the rest of his life, no doubt,” Burroughs said. “I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t had the same experience.”

Burroughs said he has had many conversations with Blocker about his upcoming service to the board and his biggest piece of advice was “vote your conscience no matter what.”

“When I look at Juwan, I’m reminded that our young people are talented, capable and our county is in good hands,” he said.

Via Prince George’s county sentinel 

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Blocker was well represented at the ceremony as family, Parkdale staff and supporters surrounded him while he took his oath. Even a Maryland delegate and city council members attended the ceremony.

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