Monthly Archives: May 2012

Demands for better County government must be heeded.

Board of Education members must heed public concern.

Public outcry at corruption, impunity and economic instability sent shockwaves around the world in 2011 and 2012. Protests in many countries quickly spread to unite people from all parts of society including Prince George’s County – Maryland. Their backgrounds may be diverse, but their message is the same: more transparency, accountability, transformation, innovation and change is needed from our leaders. Better yet, corrupt leaders must leave the office and create a way for new leadership.

The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that public frustration is well founded. No region or country in the world is immune to the damages of corruption. The vast majority of the 183 countries and territories assessed score below five on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean.) New Zealand, Denmark and Finland top the list, while North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom. In the United States, Prince George’s County Maryland is among the top most corrupt counties. The previous County Executive is serving time in Jail for corruption as we write this. (Read more).

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption. It is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.

The 2011 index draws on assessments and opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. These surveys and assessments include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts. Perceptions are used because corruption is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption. In this regard, we continue to focus our effort in the fight against corruption by advocating reforms for Prince George’s County school system (PGCPS).

Education reform efforts can no longer afford to treat all schools, staff and students as if they are beginning at the same place, both academically and socioeconomically.  The PGCPS system has no plan of action. The Board of Education must come up with a plan and must address communities’ present conditions. A holistic approach requires that we begin the process of making thoughtful school funding allocations and channeling resources to low-performing schools with the most need. By doing so, we improve struggling schools, increase student success, and bridge the achievement gap. The Corrupt administrators involved in extra marital affairs, selling of contra band and practicing discrimination must be shown the door! (see news realese US Department labor)

Although teachers play a vital role in educating students, parents also have a pivotal part in determining the educational success of their children. In a recent Gates Foundation survey of 10,000 teachers nationwide, 98 percent said family involvement and support have a strong or very strong impact on improving academic achievement.

Parents must attend parent-teacher conferences and extra-curricular events to monitor student progress and express concerns. They must also reinforce teacher directives about homework and studying. Teachers, parents, school leaders and public officials must collaborate and act in a concerted effort to fulfill our mutual commitment to educate our students. Corruption as a way of life as practiced by Dr. William Hite and his kitchen cabinet must be eliminated once and for all. (see entire list here).

“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. In Prince George’s County school system, we must demand for better change and transformations… talk about crooks, there’s an environment over infested with crooks taking from the children to fatten their own pockets in PGCPS!!!

Public sector governance that puts the interests of its citizens first is a responsibility that transcends borders. Governments must act accordingly. For their part, citizens need to continue demanding better performance from their leaders in the schools. Corruption begins in the schools and then spreads… said one concerned parent.

We must realize that teaching the information necessary to receive a proficient score on the Maryland HSA, MSA or any other high-stakes exam does not mean that the students have learned the critical thinking skills necessary for success in higher education or the job market.

PGCPS teachers stand ready to work with the Governor, County executive and BOE members to create the outcomes our students deserve. Despite the challenges we face, public education stakeholders must renew their commitment to create a community and a school system that honors and respects children’s natural curiosity while capturing their full potential. Above all, we must fight corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct in every way.

If we work together, the situation shown by this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index can improve. These are our countries (our communities) and our future. It’s time!

Finally as President Obama said recently during a graduation ceremony,  “Our founders understood that America does not stand still; we are dynamic, not static. We look forward, not back. And now that new doors have been opened for you, you’ve got an obligation to seize those opportunities……..

So don’t accept somebody else’s construction of the way things ought to be. It’s up to you to right wrongs. It’s up to you to point out injustice. It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely. It’s up to you to stand up and to be heard, to write and to lobby, to march, to organize, to vote. Don’t be content to just sit back and watch. ” We agree with the United States President and it is time to make changes in PGCPS.

Reform Sasscer Movement Secretariat for Prince George’s County.

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Letter to the Elected officials in Maryland.

Dear Governor O’Malley, Senate President Miller, Speaker Busch, Senators and other elected officials  el al:

We are writing to share our collective concern about the devastating impact corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct is having in two of our biggest school systems in Maryland i.e.; Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS). The so-called “doomsday” budget would be a perfect time to tighten the belt towards fiscal stability. We would like the funding restored. However, we are asking accountability measures be tied to the funding especially in these two troubled school Districts. Both systems perform poorly in state tests and are in the bottom of the ladder in the whole of Maryland. The main factor impacting PGCPS for example is corruption which has been present since time memorial. Baltimore City Public School recently spent $250,000 refurbishing an office. Surely that money could have been well spent helping students in the classroom. The amount of waste occurring in these two school district without proper oversight is off the hook.  Below is a summary of our survey conducted recently in PG County through our blog and tweeter feed.

We have established that, Poor coordination between various agencies, lack of specialized judicial enforcement authorities and a lack of political will to adopt a coherent strategy against corruption are the main flaws in Prince George’s County anti-corruption efforts. The school system led by embattled superintendent William Hite Jr. is most affected. We wonder why the accountability measures are not in place to combat these concerns. The answer to this question is obvious. They are refusing to act in order to mismanage and continue the status quo led by a few greedy adults in the top management especially the Superintendent and the chief legal counsel.

Corruption is ever present in the daily life of Prince George’s County citizens, who are assailed everyday by the media reporting new scandals of corruption, recurring obstacles in pending investigations, crimes that go unpunished and new anti corruption policies that have no effect on these issues because management starting at the top of PGCPS is covering up in order to maintain the status quo. This should be a concern to everybody and not just Republicans, Democrats, or independents.

The continuous public exposure of high profile corruption cases involving public figures starting with former county Executive Jack Johnson or private sector, combined with extensive media coverage of how successive governments have dealt with this phenomena, has undermined public confidence but at the same time given new hope that federal and state agencies are monitoring somehow.

The concerned citizens of PG County (CCOPGC) conducted a survey recently. The survey conducted a complete assessment of the country’s strengths and weaknesses in the fight against corruption. «The results show there’s a big gap between the legal infrastructure that’s in place and the way institutions conduct themselves in practice. The legal mechanisms are generally satisfactory, but the authorities’ effectiveness is hindered by the lack of a comprehensive and coherent prevention and enforcement strategy. The urgency of fighting corruption has made its way to the political discourse, but our leaders are not backing their words with action», a clear example is Mr. Rushen Baker’s promise of an Inspector General (IG) during his  campaigns in 2009-2010. He made a promise for an IG but after assuming power, he changed completely says a concerned parent.

More than just a diagnosis, the CCOPGC survey makes a set of clear and practical recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the fight against corruption in Prince George’s County. These measures include the following;

  1. Adopting a stronger system to monitor politicians’ personal wealth and conflicts of interest including the superintendent of schools;
  2. Introducing measures to reduce the influence of political appointees in Public Administration including the school systems; (There is a lot of nepotism).
  3. Strengthening cooperation between prevention and investigation authorities;
  4. Improving the scope and quality of public information made available;
  5. Creating a specialized agency to combat corruption, with broad powers and independence led by an Inspector General (IG).

«It’s not enough to just point fingers. Civil society has a responsibility to present specific measures that get to the heart of the problems. What the CCOPGC System survey gives us is a road map for change, so we can make a positive impact in Prince George’s anti-corruption abilities. This survey is only the first step in a larger work of advocacy and public pressure that begins today», says Francis Rajan.

According to 2010’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) data, most Prince George’s County citizens (83%) not only feel that corruption levels have increased since 2001, but they also consider that the Government is inefficient in fighting corruption. The percentage of citizens with this latter view has increased from 64% in 2002 to 95% in 2012.

The negative perception regarding the County Government’s role in fighting corruption and the evolution of this phenomenon in Prince George’s County can also be felt in the international context. Transparency International’s (henceforth, TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (henceforth, the CPI), which measures the perceptions of businessmen and foreign experts, confirms this trend. Prince George’s county is among the 1st in the CPI global ranking, and in relation to the whole of Maryland, Prince George’s County stands as the 1st most corrupt county and the school system (PGCPS) is the most affected. As perceived by the aforementioned experts and businessmen, Very few businesses want to invest in the county. (Read the top most priorities in PGCPS here).

Clearly, the time has come for the Rushen Baker administration and the Board of Education (BOE) to make a candid assessment and holistically resolve the issues facing schools. A comprehensive approach encompasses diverse methods of measuring student progress, increased family involvement, more stakeholder collaboration, thoughtful resource allocation and a thorough plan to address socioeconomic disparities without diverse treatment/ retaliation on everyone concerned .

Each day, many students travel to schools from some of the most economically challenged communities in Maryland. We must acknowledge that learning and school readiness extend far beyond the walls of the classroom and into students’ homes and communities. With a large percentage of Maryland children living in poverty — and more than half of those children in PG county experiencing extreme poverty — it is imperative that school leaders and policymakers consider the role and challenges high rates of homelessness, unemployment and poor health care present in education reform.

The socioeconomic disparities in Maryland and especially Prince George’s County and Baltimore City have a profound and undeniable influence on student academic achievement. To make the matters worse, Superintendent Hite, Chairperson of the  Board and other senior managers are  involved in questionable conduct.  The time has come to talk about innovation, fiscal stability and find a permanent fix together to address the concerns in the school systems.

Once again remember that, this is not a Republicans, Democrats nor independents idea. As President Barack Obama said recently,  “Those who oppose change, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, have always bet on the public’s cynicism or the public’s complacency. Throughout American history, though, they have lost that bet, and I believe they will this time as well. Don’t wait for the person next to you to be the first to speak up for what’s right. Because maybe, just maybe, they’re waiting on you”.

It’s time to address the issues heads on and let the chips fall where they may!

Best regards,

Morris Flecher Bayene –  on behalf of Reform Sasscer Movement secretariat.

https://pgcpsmess.wordpress.com/

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N E W S R E L E A S E

 Reform Sasscer Movement Statement on Corruption and cover up Report in PGCPS.

 Contact: Morris Flecher Beyene

 Reformsasscer@gmail.com

For Immediate Release:

May 05, 2012

PG County citizens know that corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct is the way of life in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and this culture of Malfeasance must be stopped immediately. The incarceration of former county executive Jack Johnson, a good friend of Superintendent Hite, has not created a reality check for Dr. Hite or his kitchen cabinet. Therefore, innovative ways to bring accountability in the school system needs to be explored and utilized including by the general assembly.

Above all, our school system is stagnant. Studies show a large majority of students entering two and four-year colleges are behind in math and English Read more:  In addition, the unemployment rate remains high with students and parents losing hope on finding jobs. It’s a clear declaration that PGCPS society as a whole and the educational institutions in particular are not providing for the welfare of its student citizenry. This in turn affects the morale of the staff and students alike.

It’s time to end Ms.Verjeana Jacobs, the Chairperson of the Board of Education and Dr. William Hite’s policies and get the County school system back on track to create fiscal stability. It’s time to create proper reforms at Sasscer Administration Building. The reforms include reduction in womanizing by Superintendent Hite and ending the culture of discrimination and harassment. Furthermore, the high suspension rate of students needs to be reduced, abolishing the Office of Constituent Services which acts as a campaign tool for Dr. William Hite and finally support teachers by advancing a reasonable empowerment policy. (See entire list here).

Chairperson Verjeana Jacobs needs to vacate the chair because her husband has been caught numerous times drunk driving. (See reports here, here, here and here). “This man has his hands in a lot, his wife is on the school board,” one concerned parent said. “He should be responsible and mature.” “He has enough money that he doesn’t have to drive if he isn’t able to.” she said. We agree with organized labor that staff should not drink on the job and a policy should be in place regarding drunken spouses and not delayed “until after the election,” according to the concerned parent. Unfortunately Chairperson Verjeana Jacobs hesitated in her support of this venture. The Prince George’s County educator association (PGCEA) and part of the ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 should not be in bed with PGCPS management. Otherwise, the unions become useless and members are trying to find ways to denounce their memberships because union leaders, staff and lawyers involved in protecting workers are corrupt.

Furthermore, Chairperson Verjeana Jacobs who supports corruption through a variety of ways including an illegal tender involving Thatcher law firm, needs to vacate the chair. The no competitive bind policy advocated by Verjeana Jacobs and Dr. William R. Hite Jr. is hurting our children’s education.  Thatcher Law firm was given a no competitive bind contract because of ties to Dr. William R. Hite Jr. and after Verjeana Jacobs was paid $8,000 hush-money towards her re-election campaign. It’s time to elect new leadership and cancel the $5 million no bind contract awarded to the Thatcher Law firm. Corruption in PG County is killing the future education of local kids. The Thatcher Law firm is involved in deep seated corruption and must be forced to repay back the money to PGCPS. (Read more)

PG County needs a school board chairperson who is not afraid to lead and take on the challenges facing the staff, students and parents. Chairperson Verjeana Jacobs no longer represents the interests of the citizens of PG County and Prince George’s County 5th district.  Her “corruption, corruption, hide, hide, nepotism, nepotism, pay to play, pay to play, cover up, cover up” ways and policies have contributed to the terrible and low performance of the Prince George’s County school system we have today led by the corrupt Dr. William R. Hite Jr.

Today PGCPS is on the bottom of the ladder in Maryland. We need Board members and a new superintendent who will step up and fight for our students, American workers and free enterprise, and work to facilitate job opportunities where all Americans can pursue their own American dream while being accountable – it’s time!

https://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/sasscer

Corrupt Dr. William R. Hite Jr. and Ms. Verjeana Jacobs are pictured below.

Dr.William Hite Jr goes Bonkers – finally loses it!

 Please anyone, calm this man down.Dr. William Hite Jr.

Reform Sasscer movement has always taken a holistic approach to promote good governance. Good governance requires strong institutions, a receptive regulatory environment, and an active citizenry that holds its government accountable.  Underpinning all governance reform efforts is the public’s right to information. Where information is accessible at all levels and transactions are conducted in a transparent and open way, citizens are empowered and opportunities for corruption diminish. Conversely, the lack of adequate access to information, whether in election, budget processes or procurement procedures, enables corruption to not only exist but to flourish.

Reform Sasscer movement experience has proven that improving in one area of governance –  For example PGCPS Budget reform – without addressing access to information leaves an imbalance which can result in a less transparent and accountable society like we are seeing under the  Student Based Budgeting (SBB) in Prince George’s County Public Schools ( PGCPS) under William Hite. Many parents and staff members are in the dark. This was demonstrated recently on May 30, 2012 during the District 6 citizen meeting at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School. Several concerned parents had no idea of how money is being spent.

It is in this background that we wrote to the General assembly on April 23, 2012 asking our elected officials to help push much needed reforms within PGCPS under embattled Superintendent Hite.  As a result of our advocacy, Dr. Hite reacted angrily over the weekend promising certain retaliatory measures. He refused to answer the concerns presented in our blogs by denying everything saying “these allegations are not only false, they are slanderous”. (See emails below and our response).

Greater transparency can be achieved in various ways, but one of the most efficient way is through a general right of access to official information. Access to timely, transparent and appropriate information within our school system is crucial to building accountable communities.  If William Hite cannot cope with this demand, he should resign hence forth. We have been demanding this for a while now on behalf of PGCPS and the larger community as a whole. Dr. Hite is and has been a distraction because he does not know the job and he is harrassing. The man was selected corruptly for the job.

Bottom line, in the age of social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc.), no leader or civil servant can afford to abuse power and plunder resources without oversight. The consequences can be adverse as demonstrated recently even with our own secret service. Nobody should be above the law in PGCPS. That goes for Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and anyone else involved in the public corruption including Chief legal counsel Mr. Roger Thomas.  We will continue with our advocacy until the issues are addressed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Reform Sasscer <reformsasscer@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 3:45 AM
Subject: Re: Allegations – A Response To Allegations in This Information
To: “William R. Hite, Jr.” <william.hite@pgcps.org>
Cc: “educationissues@hotmail.com” <educationissues@hotmail.com>, “paul.pinsky@senate.state.md.us” <paul.pinsky@senate.state.md.us>, “anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us” <anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us>, “douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us” <douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us>, “jim.rosapepe@senate.state.md.us” <jim.rosapepe@senate.state.md.us>, “victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us” <victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us>, “thomas.v.mike.miller@senate.state.md.us” <thomas.v.mike.miller@senate.state.md.us>, “joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us” <joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us>

Dear Senators, Board of Education members, elected officials et alia,

The reply received is typical of Dr. William Hite jr response to a public inquiry. First, Dr. William Hite jr is a public figure with responsibility and duty to be accountable to the public and yet he feels he is a king in charge and only accountable to himself. His response to Dr. Eugene Williams is contemptible and disgusting and revealing to his attitude towards accountability and transparency of public funds. Dr. Eugene Williams only asked for a simple clarification to an issue which is now public knowledge and what does Dr. William Hites jr do? He comes out with guns blazing and with a no take prisoners approach. Dr Hite immediately becomes a judge and jury all rolled into one claiming slander and terrorist – threatening unspecified retaliation measures. Could someone please bring this Dr. William Frankenstein Hite monster under control with a muzzle and tranquilizer? Such a so called learned man should learn how to respond in a civil and enlightened manner. Prince George’s County Public Schools (Pgcps) does not deserve or condone such uncouth and irresponsible behavior from a superintendent of schools.
Dr. Wiiliam Flantesntein Hite should tame his ego and lead by example. What kind of example does this dialogue serve? Are we supposed to bow and shudder to the all might self proclaimed king Dr. Wiliiam Frankenstein Hite? We hope he is not trying to start his own Friday the 13th horror sequel. Dr. Hite you don’t scare anyone. We will settle for nothing-less than the truth, transparency and accountability. Enough is enough. Your threats and witch hunt belong in a museum. They will never work. We will not be silenced or intimidated.
In addition, Dr. William Hite you can bark as much as you like but you need to have the common decency to the gentleman’s inquiry and answer the questions.  This is not a threat but a fact. There are more than 21 points to clarify. We will continue to post questions and concerns from Pg county citizens in the blogs. Parents and students deserves answers. Dr William Hite jr climb down from your high perch.
Finally, if you are a woman  who has been subjected to sexual harrassment, innuendo, unwarranted looks and comments and promises by Dr. William Hite jr, don’t be a victim of silence, you need to come out and save other women suffering the abuse silently. We are aware of numerous venues inluding Boston etc. Time has come to put a stop to this madness. Every girl and woman needs your protection in Pgcps – Speak up!
Regards,
Deputy spokesman – Fletcher Morris Beyene
Reform Sasscer Movement Secretariat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From: William R. Hite, Jr. <william.hite@pgcps.org>
Date: Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Subject: Allegations – A Response To Allegations in This Information
To: educationissues@hotmail.com, reformsasscer@gmail.com
Cc: paul.pinsky@senate.state.md.us, anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us, douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us, jim.rosapepe@senate.state.md.us, victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us, thomas.v.mike.miller@senate.state.md.us, joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us
Greetings Mr. Williams,

 Thank you for contacting Prince George’s County Public Schools. As a general rule, we do not respond to anonymous emails, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts. The school system has established numerous resources for individuals to voice their concerns and/or make formal complaints (http://www1.pgcps.org/internalaudit/index.aspx?id=20430).

However, rest assured that these allegations are not only false, they are slanderous. The individuals behind these hateful attacks seek to shred the reputation of our employees, students, school system and community. Hateful online speech (e-bullying or e-terrorist attacks) have real world consequences and should not be tolerated.

Finally, Mr. Williams, if you are the person responsible for these communiqués or if you know the individual(s) responsible, please let us know.

Thank you,

William R. Hite

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Eugene Williams,Sr. <educationissues@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Subject: A Response To Allegations in This Information
To: rosalind.johnson@pgcps.org, verjeana.jacobs@pgcps.org, donna.hathawaybeck@pgcps.org, william.hite@pgcps.org, educationissues@hotmail.com

Superintendent Hite and Board Members-

I recently retired from the school system, primarily because I did not feel that the the teaching environment was hostile and retaliatory to senior, experienced teachers. Moreover,  the alleged age and racial discrimination infuriated me, an experience, competent teacher who helped many students and brought national and international recognition to the system. For more abour my accomplishments and achievements, please see www.academicresourcesunlimited.org.

Now, an Evolutionary Elder, I am desirious of a response to the information in the e-mail I am forwarding to you. I receive such e-mails regularly. Are these allegations true? If so, how do you plan to address them?

Personally, as a citizen of the County, I have several other concerns about the quality of education some of our young people are receiving. I will share them with the Superintendent in a follow-up e-mail.

Thanks for a prompt response.

Dr. Eugene Williams, Sr.
301-768-8316
www.academicresourcesunlimited.org
Evolutionary Elder

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 12:43:06 -0400
Subject: Reforms needed at PGCPS -Sasscer.
From: reformsasscer@gmail.com
To: paul.pinsky@senate.state.md.us; anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us; douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us; jim.rosapepe@senate.state.md.us; victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us; thomas.v.mike.miller@senate.state.md.us; joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us

Greetings,
We are providing you with this update to make you aware of the conflicts of interest which is impacting Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS) as a result of  the actions of Superintendent of Schools Dr.William Hite and the outgoing BOE Chair since 2008 school year.
We are asking the members of the General Assembly to press for reforms at the Sasscer Administration Building and an end to the corruption being perpetrated by Dr. William Hite and his Kitchen cabinet. We request major cuts be pushed at Sasscer before any approval of the FY2013 budget..Our school system is faced with corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct and cuts are necessary to clean house. Any Budget approval should be tied to accountability and transparency of an inspector General (IG). Needless to say, this would act as a mint of fresh air to scandalous Budget AND money buried in the said budget for questionable activities by Dr. William Hite and Verjeana Jacobs (BOE Chair). (see the link below)
Deputy spokesman – Fletcher Morris Beyene
Reform Sasscer Movement Secretariat.