Monthly Archives: September 2013

Open Letter to Mr. Rushern Baker…

…Concerning nomination of Robin Barnes-Shell As acting executive director of the Office of Ethics and Accountability.

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RUSHERN L. BAKER III, County Executive

Office of County Executive

County Administration Building, Room 5032

14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 – 3070

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Mr. Baker,

On behalf of the entire membership of the Reform Sasscer Movement, a nonprofit education and advocacy group, composed of several thousand responsible citizens in PG County, we are writing to express extreme disappointment in the decision to nominate Ms. Robin Barnes-Shell, as the head of PG County’s Office of Ethics and Accountability in effort to battle corruption. This position is intended to “honor those employees who exemplify commitment to principles of good conduct and courage.” We fail to see how Ms. Barnes-Shell will head the office. Previously, Ms. Barnes-Shell prejudiced employees by conducting unfair hearings or none at all, covered up corruption, proffessional misconduct  and other acts of abuse against employees, students, etc.  We fail to see how Ms. Barnes-Shell can be held as a role model in the school system.  In light of the facts, Ms. Barnes-Shell is closely acquainted with the very people involved in the same thing she is supposed to fight – corruption. This is a bad decision in that respect. It is especially ironic and inappropriate that Ms. Robin Barnes-Shell be given this recognition to run such an office which demands a high-level of integrity.

Please consider the ramifications of this nomination and the importance of leading by example. Ms. Barnes-Shell does not hold true to “transparency and accountability”. We remain hopeful that she will continue to attempt to redeem herself through words and actions in other areas of the county, but as of now, we feel strongly that she deserves neither recommendation nor reward of such a high office given her conduct in advancing corruption, proffessional misconduct, nepotism  in PGCPS and also what she did to others within and outside of the school district.

We, members of the Reform Sasscer Movement, are kindly asking you to reconsider the nomination of Ms. Barnes-Shell. Additionally, our efforts as a group have previously endorsed you taking over the entire PG county school system.

Sincerely,

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

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Back to school: It’s worse than you think in Philly.

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Philadelphia public schools are opening for the new school year today Monday September 9, 2013 without many of the basics any reasonable person would expect. Paper, for example. Guidance counselors. Nurses.

Amid an agonizing financial and leadership crisis, the appointed School Reform Commission, which has run the district since the state took it over a dozen years ago, passed a “doomsday” budget this past summer that included cuts so drastic there was no money for schools to open this fall with funding for things such as paper, new books, athletics, arts, music, counselors, assistant principals and more. Teachers were laid off. This came after the closure of a few dozen schools.

How did this happen? The state government has financially starved the district for years, and the city’s public school system has been subjected to one reform experiment after another.

How bad is it? Superintendent William Hite made some accommodations to allow schools to open, but parents say the answer to the question is this: Worse than you think.

According to our own considered opinion, it appears Dr. William Hite et al organized a secret plan to promote charter schools as a solution to the Philadelphia public school problem, making the situation ungovernable as he did in PGCPS through the Unions and others. This way, he can advance corruption in Philadelphia public schools and rule by decree while simponing money through the back door using his conspirators. The collapse of rule of law in the Philadephia public school management under Dr. Hite is most egregious scandal in the United States. Only this time it is bigger than PGCPS MESS

We strongly feel that this is all by design to defame high salary teachers and dismiss them through a coordinated effort using newly hired staff from PGCPS. Many of these teachers and staff being fired are not part of the “good old boys club” which is patently obvious in many district-those teachers who went through the district or are married into it (or are lower in the salary scale) are given the best students and those that are not of the former are given students who need more help. Is there any recourse many have? We are convinced that the local, state and national unions will only afford one a token gesture of support to teachers in their plight for the sake of politics including in Maryland. Time will tell….

(Read more)

(Read more)

Hite

Dr. William Hite Jr

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Md.’s teacher certification law criticized…

…Study says requiring a master’s is causing teacher shortages in key subjects

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By Liz Bowie,

The Baltimore Sun

7:20 p.m. EDT,

September 6, 2013

After a stint in the military and on his way to earning a bachelor’s degree  in physics from the University  of Maryland, Baltimore County, Rory Holderness decided he wanted to become a  high school teacher.

He enrolled in Towson  University‘s graduate program for teachers three years ago but soon became  frustrated with classes that he believed were more aimed at grooming elementary  reading teachers than someone who hoped to be teaching physics to 16-year-olds.  He dropped out.

“The whole system was pretty frustrating,” said Holderness, who might have  ended up with a career in a classroom instead of working for AT&T had he  found the route to becoming a licensed teacher easier.

A recent report by the Calvert Institute for Policy Research found that  becoming certified to teach in Maryland is so burdensome that it is causing  teacher shortages in key subjects such as science, math and special education.  And the report suggests that the state should alter some of its teacher  certification requirements to open up the field to a larger number of  candidates.

“Maryland’s teacher certification policies are ill-conceived and  counterproductive, particularly when compared to many other states’  certification policies,” said Christopher Ryan, the report’s author.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/bs-md-teacher-certification-20130829,0,5261314.story#ixzz2eFuzT4rq

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Hispanic leaders upset over representation…

… demand better representation in Pr. George’s County as part of Change Management for the big pie.

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Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk

Upset that there are no Latino members on the newly reconstituted Prince George’s County Board of Education, some Hispanic leaders have demanded that the county devise a plan to increase the number of Hispanics considered for board appointments and county jobs.

Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s) said Hispanic leaders have asked Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) to create a task force to examine whether Hispanics — who make up more than 16 percent of the county’s population and about 25 percent of the school population — are properly represented in the county government and the school system. The task force also would offer recommendations on how to boost the numbers. (Read more Washington post, ~> The sentinel

On the same token, African leaders are requesting County Executive Rushern Baker to consider appointing a few Africans in top positions in the county as part of change management. If you look at the numbers based on the current immigration trends and the students in the schools, Latinos and African students are very high. In this regard, administrators and staff from these groups needs to be considered as part of transformation management to help create a great future for everyone.

“We’ve got to be more competitive in the marketplace by embracing other groups. ” a concerned parent said recently. “It’s mission critical.”

“The community has to have a voice and feel listened to by all concerned. That’s why Latino, African  Communities in PG County needs to be listened to,” Another parent said. “Large school systems, because of their size, feel unfriendly, and we need to work hard against that.”

We still have an achievement gap, and economically disadvantaged students are the most significant group and our greatest challenge,” another parent said recently.  “We should make that a priority as we move forward into the future.”

“It’s unfortunate that the dynamic of the debate like advocating for other groups within the community pits school leaders against advocacy groups. We have to own some of that,” one county staffer said. “We can never forget that we’re about serving young people and what’s best for them. We can never lose sight of the children in all what we do. Besides, this debate is not about who is here illegally or not. It’s about looking out for what is best for the county unto the future.  If we can demand the same of the white people, we should demand the same of each other as minorities in a civil way in order to fight discrimination within the county.

“By educating PG County citizens and American taxpayers about PG County’s long and well-documented history of rewarding failure, we hope to enlist citizen’s help in our quest to end the culture of complacency that is contributing to many of the county’s most serious problems and especially within the schools.”

What we should not miss out are the challenges facing PG County citizens, be it in Largo, Bowie, Capital Heights et al. All the people of PG County want to see is improvement in their personal safety and security, they want their children to access affordable and quality education, and want to live a descent life which embraces diversity as opposed to abject poverty in which the majority live today in isolation.

Yet politicians are only divided when it is time for elections, when their political life is under threat. Once they surmount election hurdles, they unite and vigorously wage fierce battles to fight for their self-interests, emoluments or entitlements.

Paradoxically, this is where the behavior of a politician and a common citizen is at crossroads. The common aspiration of all PG County citizen is to have a prosperous county.  It is on this premise that the Maryland legislature overwhelmingly voted in support of the  HB1107 which sadly is now the center of controversy as some groups attempts to find its true platform in the new legal environment.

Unlike politicians, ordinary citizens are ever divided in matters nation building.

You cannot be mistaken; the PG government is a government managing transition. County Executive Rushern Baker and his cabinet must know they are at a historical high point, overseeing PG County Government moving into the future.

Mr. Rushern Baker’s biggest test is creating a smooth transition within the schools, but if he wants to pass this test, he must persuade every single PG County citizen that he has sincere intentions that transcend his own political interest, for the wellbeing of the County to include other groups into the change management with the New CEO.

If PG County is to attain its aspirations for modernity, its politicians must see value in balancing county and national drivers of growth. This way, they can create enabling environment for Businesses to flourish while embracing other groups as part of the county system.

A weak corporate sector cannot alone drive the county or the national agenda. County governments and private university owners are not going to build and equip excellent engineering and medical schools without proper balance. As the county gets consumed by the frenzied competition on who will commit more resources to the county, the ability of the national government to keep its promise of husbanding transition to a medium income economy starts ringing hollow. On this note, we must play our parts well and demand proper changes from our unions and other players. Success can not come if our institutions are used by some of our leaders for selfish motives.

Successful change management is more likely to occur if the following are included:

  1. Benefits management and realization to define measurable stakeholder aims, create a business case for their achievement (which should be continuously updated), and monitor assumptions, risks, dependencies, costs, return on investment, dis-benefits and cultural issues affecting the progress of the associated work
  2. Effective communications that informs various stakeholders of the reasons for the change (why?), the benefits of successful implementation (what is in it for us, and you) as well as the details of the change (when? where? who is involved? how much will it cost? etc.)
  3. Devise an effective education, training and/or skills upgrading scheme for the organization
  4. Counter resistance from the employees of companies and align them to overall strategic direction of the organization
  5. Provide personal counseling (if required) to alleviate any change-related fears
  6. Monitoring of the implementation and fine-tuning as required

Change -

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Baker accepting applications to fill seat on PGCPS board.

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Mr. Baker

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) is accepting applications for a seat on the Board of Education — again to help us grow even stronger!

This is the third time this year that Baker has taken applications to fill a seat on the school board.

Baker’s office will accept applications until Sept. 19 to fill the seat vacated by Donna Hathaway-Beck (District 9).

Hathaway-Beck announced recently that she was resigning after serving nearly seven years on the board. She said she wanted to spend more time with her family. Today September 6, 2013 is her last day as a Prince George’s County Board Member of Education and we wish her well.

In July, Carletta Fellows (District 7) resigned from her seat. And earlier this year, Baker accepted applications from across the county after he was given authority to appoint three new members to the reconfigured board. Ms. Lyn J. Mundey has since been chosen to replace Ms. Fellows.

Applicants interested in the latest opening must live in District 9. Applications are available on the county’s Web site or at the County Administration Building.

Baker plans to name a replacement by the end of the month, according to Mr. Christian Rhodes, the county executive’s education adviser.

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Prince George’s County substitute teacher dies in school.

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A substitute teacher died Friday morning at a Prince George’s County high school after suffering a medical emergency, according to a school official.

Max Pugh, a spokesman for county schools, said no Largo High School students were in the stairwell when the man collapsed about 7:45 a.m., just before the start of school.

A vice principal called 911, but emergency workers were unable to revive him, Pugh said.School officials said the substitute teacher had worked for the school system since 2003. Friday was his first day at Largo.

Pugh said the school will send letters home with students about the incident. Students were kept in their first-period classrooms until 11 a.m. after the medical examiner came to the building.The school system did not release the substitute teacher’s name or age. Officials were waiting until the next of kin were notified. (Read more NBC News)

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ASASP Lawsuit in Greenbelt Federal Court Dismissed.

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ASASP Union Case Terminated.

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County “Movement” has established that, law suit filed in Federal court last year, (See details here ~~>asaspunion-complaint) has been dismissed. Many members of ASASP and others within the county system expressed dismay since as it turns out, the suit was more of a cover up than anything else. Following our explicit account almost two years ago, previous President Mr. James Smallwood resigned but then was replaced by his friend Mr. Dwayne Jones who is engaged in the same diabolical conduct at Laurel High School. Mr. James Smallwood still sits in the same Board of Association of Supervisory and Administrative School Personnel (ASASP) and has been calling the shots behind the scenes in retaliation.  Mr. Smallwood’s name is not published in ASASP Website in order to deceive members that he is no longer a member of the Board of Directors but he is. Something needs to be done to create a strong accountability mechanism on these guys. On this note, Someone needs to ask them to do the right thing and step aside to allow proper investigations to occur. The above lawsuit appears it was more of a publicity stance and concealment of illegal activities by Dr. William Hite, Ms. Monica Goldson, Mr. James Smallwood and their conspirators committed while in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).

The time has come to demand accountability from these same Unions which appear to have lots of money to dupe innocent members while paralyizing the school Disctrict for their own personal motives. We have had enough with the corruption involving unions here in PGCPS and other entities who might be benefiting from the same. The cycle of corruption must be eliminated or minimized somewhat. We therefore should never rest easy.  In our own considered view, the suit was never intended to fix any problems whatsoever other than cover up the bad guys. Enough is enough.

Time has come for new leadership involving ASASP and other Unions in PGCPS engaged in wrongful conduct which includes bribing attorneys in conspiracy with the Thatcher Law Firm and other players. We must demand an end to these shenanigans and other pranks within our PG county system ASAP! We hope the Board members and other government officials will look into the activities of these selfish individuals with a view to making proper changes for the benefit of the communities and future generations. We cannot be a butt of all manner of jokes without taking action against the fire!

As articulated before, Corruption flourishes when someone has monopoly power over a good or service; has the discretion to decide how much you get or whether you get any at all, and where transparency and accountability are weak. So, to fight corruption we must reduce monopoly, reduce discretion, and increase transparency in many ways. (see ~~> ~~> Reduce corruption ~~> Audit and Accountability)

Corruption = Monopoly + Discretion – Transparency

Enhancing accountability means many things, and creative leaders use a remarkable variety of methods. One way to improve accountability is to improve the measurement of performance. Leaders can work with their employees and clients to create new systems for measuring the performance of agencies and offices—and then link rewards to results.

Accountability is also increased by inviting outside agencies to audit, monitor, and evaluate.

What about ethics and morality? Successful leaders set a good example. They sometimes create training programs for employees and citizens. Nonetheless, in the success stories I have studied, what might be called “moral initiatives” are not the key feature of the long-term reforms. The keys are systems that provide better incentives for imperfect human beings to perform in the public interest—and to avoid corruption.

Subverting Corruption

When corruption has become systemic, it resembles organized crime. It has its own parallel system of recruitment and hierarchy, of rewards and punishments, of contracts and enforcement. This parallel system has some inherent weaknesses. For example, in no country of the world are bribery and extortion legal. Therefore, they must be kept (somewhat) secret. The money gained must be hidden. One cannot openly recruit new members. The mechanisms for enforcement are illicit.

How can these corrupt systems be subverted? Obviously we cannot count on members of organized crime to clean themselves. Instead, we must analyze the corrupt systems and ask, “How might they be destabilized?” Who is “we”? It can be a new president and his or her team, or a new mayor or head of a public enterprise. But it can also be you and me as members of civil society. Around the world we see new examples of citizen activism, of business groups entering into “integrity pacts,” of intellectuals and journalists and religious leaders going beyond lectures and sermons to analyze corrupt systems and work together to subvert them.

Finally, according the FBI, Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts…to the quality of our roads, schools, and other government services. And it takes a significant toll on our pocketbooks, wasting billions in tax dollars every year.

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If you and I are not part of the solution then we are simply part of the problem. ~ Anonymous

Judge’s order ~> show_temp.pl

ASASP’S ~> voluntary dismissal

Management analyst – Lyn J. Mundey tapped to fill BOE vacancy.

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Ms. Lyn J. Mundey

Reform Sasscer Movement “RSM” has learned and pleased that County Executive Baker filled the vacancy on the Board of Education for District 7 previously held by Board member Carlletta Fellows who resigned in June 2013. We look forward to working with Ms. Mundey to ensure accountability and transparency initiatives are implemented fully and  the county meets the needs of the students, parents and teachers in District 7.

Above all, we look forward to engaging in the process with the County Executive Rushern Baker and the Board members as the County Executive Baker prepares to fill another vacancy on the Board created by the resignation of Donna Hathaway Beck, of District 9.

Under House Bill 1107, passed by the Maryland General Assembly last spring, the Prince George’s County executive has the authority to make an appointment to a vacant seat for the remainder of the term, should a seat become vacant.

Mundey is a 2000 graduate of Bowie High School, has a daughter in the seventh grade at Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy in Suitland and is an active member of the school’s PTA.

Baker education adviser Mr. Christian Rhodes was quoted as saying, Ms. Mundey brings a unique perspective to the board.

“Because of her multiple connections to the school system, first as an alumna and now as a parent, tracking her daughter as she’s moved up through the school system, she’s able to see the school system from a very different perspective,” Mr. Christian Rhodes said.

Mundey has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s of business administration degree from Strayer University. She is employed as a management analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, overseeing the agency’s operating policies and privacy program. (Read more Press release, Gazette)

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