Monthly Archives: November 2013

Maryland Common core protest…

…Well attended by citizens

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A grassroots movement of Protesters lined the curb outside the Maryland State Department of Education building in downtown Monday, carrying signs denouncing corruption in Education. Others in the group were denouncing Common core and an array of other areas of concern in Maryland. The impressive showing in Baltimore city brought awareness to the issues surrounding a variety of matters including lack of transparency and accountability involving Maryland State Board of Education and its state Superintendent of Schools. The Activists came from many counties, including Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Cecil, Charles, Prince George’s and others. They included parents, grandparents, homeschoolers, and citizens who are democrats, republicans or independents.

The group of more than 50 assembled in front of the Maryland State Board of Education headquarters and had placards in their hands. They advocated for the Local teachers and school districts to determine the lessons and what textbooks and other materials will be used locally. Others protested loudly about the Maryland scandal and a variety of corruption related activity involving members of the Board of Education in Maryland.

The common core standards have become a flash point for both the far right and the far left who are against dishonesty in Education and the introduction of the standards in United States this year. >>>> Read more

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Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the county, state or Country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.

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Read more – Maryland ranking scandal

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DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

Maryland school ranking scandal.

…Md. excluded large number of special-education students in national test

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Maryland’s scores on a national reading test may have been inflated because  the state’s schools excluded a higher percentage of special-education students  than any other state, according to data from the U.S. Department of  Education.

The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test,  estimates that Maryland’s scores were 7 points higher for fourth-grade reading  and 5 points higher for eighth-grade reading because of the exclusion.

Maryland has always earned high scores on the National Assessment of  Educational Progress, and its steady increases in test scores over the years has  helped earn it the ranking of No. 1 in the nation by Education Week, an  often-quoted measure.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-naep-exclusion-rates-20131115,0,4258634.story#ixzz2l2l06wh6

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Dr. Lillian Lowery pictured here is presiding over deep-seated corruption and doing very little to investigate the many corruption allegations brought against her appointees and elsewhere in Maryland schools. She is currently without any oversight.

Open letter to Dr. Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes…

…regarding the transition panel

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Attached is an open letter to Maryland state Superintendent of schools Dr. Lillian Lowery and Maryland state Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes by an advocate citizen of change concerning conflict of interest in regards to transitional panel in Prince George’s County schools. >>> Open letter to Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes

Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes due to Maryland State Board of Education leaders involved in corruption and abuse of power.

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure.

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Teacher’s resignation letter:

…‘My profession … no longer exists’

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Increasingly teachers are speaking out against school reforms that they believe are demeaning their profession, and some are simply quitting because they have had enough. Here is one resignation letter from a veteran teacher, Gerald J. Conti, a social studies teacher at Westhill High School in Syracuse, N.Y as highlighted by Washingtonpost.: >>> Read more Resignation letter

OPINION

Freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition have long been celebrated as crucial to democratic government. United States Supreme Court decisions have, quite rightly, justified strong protection of these freedoms because of their crucial role in the functioning of American democracy.

The Supreme Court has often noted the crucial function of free speech and press for democratic government. In Stromberg v. California (1931), Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes’ opinion for the Court said “a fundamental principle of our constitutional system” is “the maintenance of the opportunity for free discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people. ” 1 In Roth v. United States (1957), the Court said that “[t]he protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.” 2 Seven years later, the Supreme Court decided New York Times v. Sullivan, a case involving an Alabama public official who sued the Times for libel based on an advertisement. The ad had criticized the way state government officials responded to civil rights demonstrations. The Court said, “the First Amendment . . . ‘presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than through any kind of authoritative selection. . . .’ ” 3 The modern Supreme Court has often quoted a famous concurring opinion by Justice Louis Brandeis in Whitney v. California (1927): the preferred remedy for “falsehood and fallacies” is “more speech, not enforced silence.” 4 In the United States, freedom of the press, in particular, has been celebrated for its role in checking government misconduct and informing the electorate.

As demonstrated here in Maryland and in Prince George’s county, Unable to counter sense, dissent and the struggle for more democratic space with arguments, the powerful make the messengers the culprits, abuse and demean them, and finally just censor or close them down instead of embracing good ideas enacted by teachers and other staff members within the school district.

Let us remember that in the absence of writing and exchanging good ideas, many staffers in this country are likely to leave in the absence of exposure. Many years ago, our media was the songs, stories and dance used to celebrate the achievements of the community. But the same songs and stories were also used to devastating effect as accountability tools, to criticize leaders when they went wrong, point out vices (especially of selfishness and greed) among prominent people, and satirise those who focused only on themselves rather than the community.

Freedoms are and have always been universal. So has the demand for them. And it is the oppressed and underdogs who always value them more than those in power.

Maryland State Board of Education leaders led by Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes who are involved in conflict of interest better be more careful with their actions including speeches lest they be remembered in the same breath as colonialists, slave-owners and supporters of apartheid.

Of course supporters of colonialism, slavery and apartheid also use these same freedoms to perpetuate their oppression. That is as it should be in democratic societies. But because they can’t win the argument, logically and rationally, they then resort to abuse, venom, and stigmatization. When that does not work, they eventually go down the road of strong-arm tactics like censorship, bans, illegal decisions, imprisonment and killings.

To them, the constitution is just a piece of paper which they embrace when it suits them and discard when it does not. People can no longer express themselves freely anymore and give proper solutions to society. This is not the Maryland we want our future generations to inherit.

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>>> Attend Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes due to Maryland State Board of Education leaders involved in corruption and abuse of power. (video)

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure.

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A furious storm.

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Matthew 8:24

‘Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.’

– Have you ever felt like this?
– Like a storm has come from nowhere and has overtaken you?
– God can use the storm to work within you and equip you for service.
– So don’t despise the storm, but look for His purpose in it all.

PRAYER: Lord, when we face the storms of life, it is not always easy. But we know that even in the storm You are there and You are working things out for our good. Amen.

Enjoy the weekend.

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Montgomery teacher starts petition against MSA.

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A petition started by a Montgomery County Public Schools teacher calling for the state not to administer the Maryland School Assessment tests this school year has gained hundreds of signatures from around the state.

Tiferet Ani, a social studies teacher in the Quince Orchard cluster, said that with the county — and state — implementing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers test and no longer looking to the MSA tests to track student progress, she thinks it is a waste of time and resources to administer the annual test to elementary and middle school students this year.

PARCC, which aligns with the Common Core State Standards, will be fully implemented in the school system next school year.

As of Friday afternoon, about 400 people had signed the Moveon.org petition titled “Cancel the MSA.” >>> Read More Gazzette

>>> Attend Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes due to Maryland State Board of Education leaders involved in corruption and abuse of power. (video)

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 Dr. Lillian Lowery, Dr. Charlene Dukes time to get a clue!

And the rest of the parents, teachers, and TAXPAYERS of Maryland – after you’ve signed the petition, contact your lawmakers, the state board of education, and the governor. This is a waste not only of time but of YOUR tax dollars

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure.

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Prince George’s is a “slum”…

Residents tell leaders that county needs more amenities, similar to other areas

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By Gazzette Writer:

“I go to Alexandria in Virginia for work every day, and it’s clean. There’s no trash, the homes are old, but the lawns are mowed,” Emily Hickey of Lanham told elected officials Wednesday night. “Then I drive through my neighborhood, and I see trash and Christmas decorations up all summer long … . Other people say Prince George’s is a slum.”

Hickey was one of about 100 residents who attended a forum at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt to voice concerns to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), state Sen. Doug Peters (D-Dist. 23) of Bowie and other officials. The event was Baker’s second “listening session” of the year, sessions where residents share concerns and ideas with officials seeking input to help form legislation before the Maryland General Assembly gears up in Annapolis in January. Officials do not address citizen concerns at the sessions but listen and take notes. >>> Read More Gazette

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Violation of the constitution and the laws of the land.

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure.

Two individuals in our opinion have emerged as the faces of this new tyranny in Prince George’s county – Dr. Charlene Dukes and Dr. Lilian Lowery.

We have one message for them – you are living in the past. Your modern day repressive tactics will collapse.

The constitutional rights that Prince George’s county citizens are enjoying are a product of their struggle. These rights are not privileges bestowed by the state but are inherent by virtue of birth. The transition Committee controlled by these two individuals are holding the county at ransom through instilling a culture of fear, manipulation and corruption. Only a despotic regime without legitimacy deploys such tactics.

Their actions may be a pointer that the regime being fronted is in no mood to obey the constitution and the laws of the land. The Executive has no powers to unilaterally take away the rights and liberties of Prince George’s county citizens. It must demonstrate to the satisfaction of all that Prince George’s County is a total disaster under severe threat and ascertains it in accordance with the constitution. Individual liberty is indivisible. A citizen or any other resident for that matter should only be deprived of liberty only after a proper judicial process but not because of a political decision.

Prince George’s county citizens should remember Edmund Burke’s words, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. It is the high time we took this emerging tyranny heads-on.

Please do not let Maryland go the way Prince George’s County Public Schools, (PGCPS) and the School District of Philadelphia, because they were caught off guard by the deceitful and conniving Board of Education. Parents, students, concerned citizens have to hold their school board representatives responsible. If they do not reform, let us show them the door. There is no future without responsibility and time representation.

This is a warning to Maryland citizens and Prince George’s County in particular – do not be complicit in the establishment of a dictatorship-in-the-making disguised as democracy. A tyrant cannot be a tyrant without a victim. Bystanders are necessary for the tyranny to emerge because thirst for power invariably accompanies one for publicity. Democracy is not about regular elections. Elections are necessary but not sufficient conditions for a true functioning of a robust democracy. What happens between elections and how the government of the day handles fundamental concerns of interest to the public matters greatly.

The new school leadership of Dr. kevin Maxwell – regardless of who is county Executive in the future – must demonstrate its commitment to getting rid of the rampant impunity which continues to undermine the rule of law, justice and security of Prince George’s county citizens. Dr. Maxwell came in promising to work with advocates of change and innovate the county through good ideas. However, the citizens who helped put him in power have been way laid and sidelined through unorthodox means.  Reforms which we advocated for seem to have effectively stalled and taken over by special interest led by one Dr. Charlene Dukes who is a suspect in corruption involving top leadership. To advance the cover up, PGCPS has enlisted the co-chair of Dr. Lilian Lowery Maryland state Supritendent of schools creating a conflict of interest.  Hence, advocates for good governance are being undermined by those who want to restore old order and emasculate changes. Maryland legislature must hold a hearing to verify what is going on. This must be their first task on their agenda in 2014. The time to act is now.

As articulated before,  We have got a runaway state board of education with no oversight, not subject to election, and doing reforms not subject to legislative review.  All without citizen input nor consent.  And wielding a billion dollar budget.

As expressed in the past, Mr. Rushern Baker’s biggest test is creating a smooth transition within the schools to include transparency and avoid appointing leaders from the old regime who caused problems in the first place. However, 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.

The elected officials – both at the national, state and county levels – must live up to their oaths of office in which they promised to defend and protect the constitution. They must ensure they engender policies which will ensure that all will access services without discrimination. The new leadership in Prince George’s County public schools led by Dr. Kevin Maxwell and mid-wifed by County Executive Rushern Baker must prevent human rights violations. Prince George’s County citizens in United States want a transformed county!

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Dr. Kevin Maxwell

>>> Attend Opponents Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes due to Maryland State Board of Education leaders involved in corruption and abuse of power. (video)

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“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” — Ben Okri

scholars blast Common Core…

… Catholic intellectuals in a letter to U.S. bishops

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About 130 Catholic scholars around the country have signed a hard-hitting letter to U.S. Catholic bishops denouncing the Common Core State Standards as doing “a grave disservice to Catholic education” and urging the bishops  to ignore the standards or, in the more than 100 dioceses that have already adopted them, to give them up.

The letter was sent by Gerard V. Bradley, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, to every Catholic bishop in the country, with 132 scholars from various disciplines and institutions signing on.

It blasts the standards, saying they are “contrary to tradition and academic studies on reading and human formation,” and accuses Core proponents of seeking to “transform ‘literacy’ into a  ’critical’ skill set, at the expense of sustained and heartfelt encounters with great works of literature.” (That last part is apparently a reference to suggestions by Core opponents that the standards require English teachers to dramatically cut back on teaching literature, which isn’t true.) >>>> Read more Washington Post

OPINION.

Catholic schools often succeed because they don’t jump on educational bandwagons, such as this one. They rarely adopt change without first trying it out, and that’s a very wise thing to do.

This beautifully written letter, speaks to the heart and soul of what so many in the field are sensing about the so-called reform movement, led in great part, not by scholars but by captains of industry–it sees children not as unique individuals who should determine their own destiny, but as the fodder to be sorted into the job market. The great, irony of course, is that no one can predict what the jobs of the future will be for the kindergarten students of today.

Thank you dear scholars, for so beautifully expressing what the soul of this educator knows. Our society needs and wants TRUE educators, Not brain-washed child psychology hacks.

As articulated before, in essence, Folks, there’s no more doubt. Maryland state Board of Education is its own worst enemy and living to the claims of a state agency. It does not have the capacity and the expertise to do what is right for the children of the state of Maryland.  The time to act is now.  We have got a runaway state board of education with no oversight, not subject to election, and doing reforms not subject to legislative review.  All without citizen input nor consent.  And wielding a billion dollar budget. The future of Maryland state Board of Education is either radical reforms or a funeral. We must say “NO” to the latest shenanigans.

When you see us pushing for these things, we hope you will understand where we are coming from. We have seen freedoms taken away and opportunities frustrated and killed and we have learnt that if we sit back, nobody will apologize and say sorry. The powerful just move on while the poor and the weak suffer.

>>> Attend Opponents Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes due to Maryland State Board of Education leaders involved in corruption and abuse of power. (video)   Here’s hoping you will continue reading, getting educated and educating others.

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Opponents to hold Common Core protest at MSDE…

…as part of national event.

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Opponents of Common Core and takeover of schools in Maryland will be holding a protest on Monday, November 18, 2013 from 10am to noon at the headquarters of the Maryland State Department of Education at 200 West Baltimore Street in Baltimore.

The event is part of a national protest against Common Core and public corruption in Education that will take place in states across the country. Some parents are against common core and others are driven by the fight against public corruption in Education here in Maryland. The chosen date has significance to the movement, being not only the first day of American Education Week, but also Revolution Day.

Organizers are encouraging parents, students, teachers, and others to attend.  More information, will be posted as it becomes available on the Facebook page “Stop Common Core in Maryland”. This is a bipartisan event involving people of different diverse backgrounds who mean well for their communities and the United States.

Above all, they want to see a greater level of accountability and transparency involving the Maryland state Board of Education which yields a lot of power. Many homeless students and other unfortunate students in the system are being left behind by the unmonitored standards.

The problem was created by a top-down philosophy; the solution will come from the bottom up. Many parents in PG County are supportive of  president Obama and Maryland Governor O’Malley but they want to see an end to corruption within Prince George’s County public schools and Maryland. Maryland state has  senior officers involved in discrimination starting with Dr. Charlene Dukes President of Maryland State Board of Education and Dr. Lillian Lowery Maryland State superintendent of Schools pictured below.  Please help spread the word and join us on November 18, 2013.

To join the fight against public corruption in schools, join the Facebook pages: Call your elected officials now and demand changes within the top school system leadership in Maryland. We must create accountability and transparency. Say “No” to corruption. This is because of entrenched ethnicisation and political manipulation, the ugly face of repression is raising its head. The system and its hirelings are already working hard to prop up a repressive system. Just like it happened many years ago in the state, the democratic ideals enshrined in the constituton are being betrayed by the conscienceless and unashamed clique of usurpers who are remnants of the former repressive regimes of Jack Johnson era. To them, the constitution is just a piece of paper which they embrace when it suits them and discard when it does not. People can no longer express themselves freely anymore and give proper solutions to society. This is not the Maryland we want our future generations to inherit.

In Maryland:

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure.

Our children cannot live on election promises, expensive hairdo’s, decorated buildings with their names and top of the line auto imports. Please let us focus on where our bread is battered. Performance, integrity and high values. When our kids succed, then you can go get your hairdo on – until then, please refrain from this unagreeable behavior.

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