Monthly Archives: November 2014

BOE member calls for special education audit.

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Edward Burroughs told the media “I’m willing to protest school board meetings to get this through.”

UPPER MARLBORO – School board member Edward Burroughs called for an external audit of the school system’s special education department at a Board of Education committee meeting on Thursday, but some school board members say they need more information before they make a decision.

“Honestly, the special education department is a mess,” Burroughs said. “Students in special education programs are the most vulnerable students. They’re not completely getting services.”

In the past two months, Burroughs hosted three listening sessions to hear about parents’ concerns relating to special education.

“As chair of the policy [committee], I knew I wanted to enact some proposal. But I needed to hear firsthand from the community to get an idea of policies to create,” Burroughs said. “There are so many issues, in so many different areas.”

At the listening sessions parents expressed concerns about a lack of communication, lack of accessible schools and difficulties getting children recognized to participate individual education programs (IEP). Parents also said they observed school staff being unsupportive or disrespectful to students with mental or physical disabilities.

School Board Chairman Segun Eubanks said he wants more information before considering an external audit of the special education department.

“I don’t think we have anywhere near enough information for a board about what is or isn’t working in our system,” Eubanks said. “We should address the full range of policy options to address special education.”

Board member Curtis Valentine said an audit of the special education department should not be based on anecdotal experiences alone.

“Are we basing it on the loudest 50 parents at a hearing?” Valentine said. “Special education is incredibly important, but if we go from that notion to auditing an entire system because you believe it’s broken without having data to substantiate it, it’s going down a slippery slope.”

However, Burroughs said a full external audit by special education experts could help influence policy the school board can propose.

“I’m not saying an audit will fix everything, but it can explore what the issues are,” Burroughs said. “To say we need a million presentations to say the system needs reform, we’re losing students.”

Ronetta Stanley, executive director of Loud Voices Together, an educational advocacy group based in Temple Hills, said she thinks an external audit would be a good idea.

“I think that is a wonderful step in the right direction to remedy some of the concerns,” said Stanley, who attended two of the three special education listening sessions. “It would create transparency, now that problems are open to view. What are we going to do now that issues are exposed?”

Loud Voices Together will host a conference to educate parents and educators about special needs students in April 2015, Stanley said.

“Coming off the energy of the three sessions, we know there’s a need to empower parents so they can have a voice,” Stanley said.
Burroughs said he will do whatever it takes to get an audit done.

“I will go to the fifth floor of the county administration building with angry parents and be taken out, handcuffed and arrested,” Burroughs said. “I’m willing to protest school board meetings to get this through.”

>>> Read more the Prince George’s county sentinel

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OPINION

Once again, after analyzing the whole situation carefully, What surprises most of us is that, now Monica Goldson, the queen of questionable activities, ethnics, and back door deals who also lacks the skills to do anything successful in the system, continues to be the Chief operating Officer (COO). She works closely with  Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Monique Whittington Davis who manages millions of dollars geared for Special Education students in Prince George’s County public Schools (PGCPS). Dr. Monique Whittington Davis who is part of the epicenter of corruption is married to Delegate Dereck Eugene Davis who is a close friend and confidant to Mr. Rushern Baker III (County Executive).  The Chair of the Board of Education Dr. Segun Eubanks reports to Mr. Rushern Baker III who is his the brother in law. Lately, all of them appear to be running to the banks for whatever reasons.

Dr. Monique Whittington Davis reports to her husband a delegate who represents district 25 for Maryland in the general assembly. She also reports to CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell who in turn reports to Rushern Baker III and Dr. Segun Eubanks engaged in the same practice in various ways including the unions.  Surely, something does not smell right in the special education department within PGCPS and the county in general. What ever happened to common decency? Are manners no longer part of US culture?

One of the issues we brought to the attention of the current regime when they took over power within the system was the role of Ms. Monica Goldson. See our top priorities here points numbers 5 and 21 F. If that’s not the fox guarding the hen house together with the Rushern Baker III regime. We don’t know what it is.

Way to go Mr. Rushern Baker! It just gets better with you at the helm. Maxwell has brought a whole new element of banditry with him and we pray they will all be exposed one day by others.

Many of us are wondering if there is a cloud over Dr. Kevin Maxwell and his Administration! Above all, We better watch his Deputy too a politically connected friend through her husband to Mr. Rushern Baker!  Recently, previous CFO Colby White and his wife filed a claim about a stupid diamond ring. To think they were so dishonest and liars to have filed that “same” claim earlier. What people will do for money? How can these people be brought to PGCPS and expect Students to be honest and to pass the exams.

Now look at how quickly both of them were placed on Administrative Leave for fraud with “pay“. Is that looking out for the public? What happened to Simpson-Marcus and Principal Dwayne Jones? The last time we checked She was still walking around Largo High while Staff, Students, Parents, and the Community are looking at how well protected and bold she has become. Given, the fact that she has declined to step down, or even sought to transfer to another school District together with ASASP President Mr. Dwayne Jones, tells us that, they are all failures as educators and as leaders, and that they cares far more for themselves and their career than for the children in their charge. Monica Goldson, Simpson-Marcus, Dr. Monique Whittington Davis, Dr. Kevin Maxwell  and others involved in this questionable activity are not the type of leaders we would want to see influencing our children in the critical high school years.

It’s amazing how much money these public officials are making at the expense of the county citizenry. Yet, the Teachers who make the Schools look good barely get a decent salary or even enough material for the classrooms. You will be surprised how many PGCPS Teachers have to work a second job or other jobs just to make ends meet.

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Fox guarding the hen house in PGCPS while poor students suffer.

Read more >>>>Call your Elected Officials now and the Media.

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Segun Eubanks  - Laughing all the way to the Bank.

Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III involved in mega-corruption involving PGCPS) listens to parents and staff speak. He has been laughing all the way to the Bank recently while poor students and staff suffer… What ever happened to common decency? Are manners no longer part of US culture?

Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

Rushern Baker III Current County Executive for Prince George’s county – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights.

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International Day to End Violence against Women 2014.

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The Issue

To raise awareness and trigger action to end the global scourge of violence against women and girls, the UN observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follow (ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day) are a chance to mobilize and raise awareness.

Public life

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.

Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

On 20 December 1993 the General Assembly, by resolution 48/104, adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

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Message of UN Women Executive Director

In her message for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2014, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stresses that violence against women can and must end by addressing its root cause – gender inequality. >>> Read more

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Pr. George’s school board approves its legislative agenda

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Charter schools, school construction and school safety are among more than a dozen topics that are a part of the legislative agenda for the Prince George’s County Board of Education that was recently approved.

As the school district prepares for the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session in January, the school board and Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell unveiled the schools’ platform, which provides the district’s positions on various areas that impact education.

For each subject, the board offers the type of legislation it could support and the type of bills that it would oppose.

For example, the school system supports the development of a plan by the county to provide money over the next decade to eliminate its school construction backlog; legislation that provides specific procedures for dealing with a charter school’s assets and any state measure that support programs that reduce the number of black and Hispanic youths in the criminal justice system for minor offenses.

It opposes any further effort to shift additional teacher pension costs to local boards; legislation that permits “virtual charter schools,” which promote home schools, and providing state tax credits to individuals or corporations who donate money to charitable groups that provide scholarship programs to students attending private and parochial schools.

Dave Cahn, an education advocate, told board members during their recent meeting that he supported the agenda, but had concerns about the level of authority it would give to the school district’s lobbyist.

“The way you intend to use this is very dangerous,” Cahn said. >>> Read more Washington Post

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Every Teacher in the U.S. Should Post This Statement in their Classroom

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This is the executive summary of the statement of the American Statistical Association on the use of value-added assessment to evaluate teachers. Please share it with other teachers, with principals, and school board members. Please share it with your legislators and other elected officials. Send it to your local news outlets. The words are clear: Teachers account for between 1 and 14% of the variation in test scores. And this is very important to remember: “Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.”

ASA Statement on Using Value-Added Models for Educational Assessment

April 8, 2014

Executive Summary

Many states and school districts have adopted Value-Added Models (VAMs) as part of educational accountability systems. The goal of these models, which are also referred to as Value-Added Assessment (VAA) Models, is to estimate effects of individual teachers or schools on student achievement while accounting for differences in student background. VAMs are increasingly promoted or mandated as a component in high-stakes decisions such as determining compensation, evaluating and ranking teachers, hiring or dismissing teachers, awarding tenure, and closing schools.

The American Statistical Association (ASA) makes the following recommendations regarding the use of VAMs:

  • The ASA endorses wise use of data, statistical models, and designed experiments for improving the quality of education.
  • VAMs are complex statistical models, and high-level statistical expertise is needed to develop the models and interpret their results.
  • Estimates from VAMs should always be accompanied by measures of precision and a discussion of the assumptions and possible limitations of the model. These limitations are particularly relevant if VAMs are used for high-stakes purposes.

 o VAMs are generally based on standardized test scores, and do not directly measure potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes.

o VAMs typically measure correlation, not causation: Effects – positive or negative – attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors that are not captured in the model.

o Under some conditions, VAM scores and rankings can change substantially when a different model or test is used, and a thorough analysis should be undertaken to evaluate the sensitivity of estimates to different models.

• VAMs should be viewed within the context of quality improvement, which distinguishes aspects of quality that can be attributed to the system from those that can be attributed to individual teachers, teacher preparation programs, or schools. Most VAM studies find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions. Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.

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Largo High top choice for English language learner school.

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A new school for English language learners will likely be placed within Largo High School, even though community members say it might heighten tension between students.

Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell said that although the location has not been finalized, Largo High is currently the top school under consideration for the site of one of two high schools being designed as an option for students whose native language isn’t English.

“Right now, it’s our first choice, and we’d like to find a way to make it work at Largo,” Maxwell said, citing the school’s proximity to public transit and Prince George’s Community College, as well as its current 62 percent enrollment.

Opponents to the school being located at Largo spoke out during the Nov. 13 school board meeting, which included a presentation on the new schools.

School board member Zabrina Epps (Dist. 1) said the schools should be a starting point for conversations around equity in the school system.

“How do you think the students at Largo will feel knowing and seeing their colleagues getting all of this, and they get nothing?” Epps said.

According to data provided by the school system, the vast majority of the system’s 19,240 ELL students are native Spanish speakers, 86.8 percent, followed by French speakers, 2.1 percent, and speakers of Tagalog, 0.6 percent, a language spoken in the Philippines.

Valerie White, Largo High PTSA president, said she would like to see Largo High’s current students receive the same amount of resources and support as students at the ELL school.

“We’re asking for our students to get the same quality education, and not be left behind,” White said.

Read more >>> Gazzette

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Parents question charter school official about revamping admission process

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Parents on Thursday night peppered the chairman of a charter school that has ties to the University of Maryland, after they recently learned of an effort to revamp the lottery system for admissions and to reclassify the school.

Some parents at the College Park Academy PTO meeting said they were shocked to learn of a the request by state Sen. Jim Rosapepe, who serves as the school’s chairman, that children of College Park residents employed by the university be given special consideration when they apply to the school.

As a charter, enrollment is open to the public school. Parents enter a lottery system for admission.

Prince George’s County schools chief Kevin M. Maxwell told Rosapepe in a letter that reserving seats for a segment of students is not allowable under Maryland charter rules.

Rosapepe said he is exploring changing the school into a “contract school” after the charter’s agreement with the school system ends.

Parents said Thursday that they were upset to learn in The Washington Post that members of the board of the charter school, which opened last year, was having discussions that could affect where their children attend school.

“What is a contract school?,” a parent asked.

“What is the time frame?,” asked another.

Rosapepe said the board, city and university want the children of College Park residents to be able to use the school. The city and U-Md. want to make living in College Park attractive to university employees, he said.

In Maxwell’s letter, in which he rejects Rosapepe’s request, Maxwell said Rosapepe wanted to reserve 50 percent of the school’s seats for children of U-Md. employees who live in the city.

Rosapepe told the group of parents that the percentage was not set in stone and that the children who already attend the school would not be affected, implying that a change in percentage would apply to new students at the school.

Because Maxwell denied the request, Rosapepe told the parents that he would like to make the school a contract school, which would not have to adhere to the state charter school rules regarding admissions.

Rosapepe said he worked with Maxwell when he was the school superintendent in Anne Arundel County on creating a contract school that is run by the Children’s Guild.

Prince George’s County does not have any contract schools.

>>> Read more Maxwell rejects admission request by charter school with ties to U-Md.

>>> Read more Dr. Kevin Maxwell takes a bizarre turn!

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Segun Eubanks  - Laughing all the way to the Bank.

Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III involved in mega-corruption involving PGCPS) listens to parents and staff speak. He has been laughing all the way to the Bank recently while poor students and staff suffer… What ever happened to common decency? Are manners no longer part of US culture?

Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

Rushern Baker III Current County Executive for Prince George’s county  – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights.

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The River is Here.

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“Down the mountain the river flows. And it brings refreshing wherever it goes…..” is a song written by Andy Park  a musician, worship leader and author who is associated with Vineyard Music. He was born in 1957 in Los Angeles, California. He studied at UCLA, earning a bachelor of arts.

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The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres, running from the mouth of the Sandy River to the mouth of the Deschutes and spanning southern Washington and northern Oregon – United States of America. The Gorge is unique in its natural and cultural history, as well as its designation as a National Scenic Area.

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Security breach reveals personal data on PGCPS employees

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According to Washington Post , the Prince George’s County Public School System notified employees on Friday evening of a possible security breach involving employees’ personal data.

“Your personal information may have been potentially exposed to others,” Deputy Superintendent Monique W. Davis wrote in an email. “Please be assured we have taken every step necessary to address the incident, and that we are committed to fully protecting all of the information that you have entrusted to us.”

Davis said a report that contained employees’ social security numbers, birth dates and employee identification numbers was emailed outside of the school system. A spokeswoman for the system said the outside addresses to which the material was sent were the personal addresses of school staff members. Recipients have been contacted, said the spokeswoman, Lynn McCawley.

The school district apologized for incident in a statement released on Friday evening.

“Keeping sensitive employee information confidential and safe is a top priority for the school district,” McCawley said. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and concern this incident has caused to employees, and we are working to ensure this does not happen again.”

McCawley said about 10,000 of the district’s 23,785 employees were affected.

Edmund Harris, a library media specialist at two schools in the county, said he was surprised to receive the email from the district’s human resources department.

“I just couldn’t believe this had happened, especially since it involves the social security numbers,” he said.

Theresa Dudley, a teacher at Benjamin Tasker Middle School, said data breaches have become commonplace, noting the security breaches at Target and Home Depot. She said she believes the school district is doing its best to handle the situation.

“It’s the age we live in,” Dudley said. “This kind of thing is happening more and more.”

But Harris said unlike Target and Home Depot, where millions of customers credit card information was stolen, the school employees’social security numbers were revealed, which could “cause a wider realm of possible mischief.”

School officials said sensitive data was inadvertently included in a routine monthly report that was shared internally by email last Friday.

When school officials became aware of the information, which was emailed to a group of principals, the district instructed its information technology staff to suspend the email accounts while they removed the email from the in-boxes.

During that process, they discovered that some of the information was sent outside the school system, according to Davis’ email to employees.

Davis said in the email that the school district will provide one year of free credit monitoring to anyone who was affected.

The following letter was sent to employees of the Prince George’s County Public School System notifying them of the breach.

Dear PGCPS Team Member:

A few days ago we learned that a report was generated and sent via e-mail to a select group of principals. When we became aware of the issue, the recipients’ PGCPS e-mail account was suspended so Information Technology staff could remove the email from their PGCPS in-boxes.

As part of that work, it was discovered some of the information was disseminated outside of the PGCPS e-mail domain. The report contained your Social Security Number, date of birth and employee identification number (EIN).

As a result, your personal information may have been potentially exposed to others. Please be assured that we have taken every step necessary to address the incident, and that we are committed to fully protecting all of the information that you have entrusted to us.

PGCPS is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all affected persons. Please be sure to look for the information on how to enroll in a notice that will be mailed to your home address in the next business day.

We regret this error and please know that we have taken aggressive steps to ensure an incident of this type does not happen again.

Sincerely,

Monique Whittington Davis, Ed.D.

Deputy Superintendent

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Dr. Kevin Maxwell seemed like a good fit in the very beginning but has proved himself to be something else. He is clearly being used by Mr. Rushern Baker regime and others for selfish motives including for high salaries at the expense of poor children and for improper influence within PGCPS District. Every time he gets criticized for making mistakes, the county leadership or some other external forces promotes him for some kind of an award to confuse the public everything is ok.  In the meantime, kids are suffering through endless fights and everything is being kept hush hush as scandals swell.  Is the high salaries being paid to these gentlemen worth it?  Where is the outrage?

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Mr. Rushern Baker –The current County Executive for Prince George’s County is known not to be a man of his word according to Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter and is deeply involved in the scandal comprising Dr. kevin Maxwell. Lately, he appears busy lining up his pockets. It makes us sad with Some of the things going on in the world today especially in Prince George’s County  “just ain’t right.” Individuals, educators and political leaders don’t seem to be using “common sense” in dealing with people or in their decision making. We don’t treat people with the common “decency” that we should expect in our lives. We are trying to determine, even if only for our benefit, whether or not we as a civilized society truly use common sense and exhibit common decency in our everyday lives and in our decision making. It’s not at all a scientific undertaking but primarily our own personal experiences and opinions. Feel free to agree or disagree with our views and opinions and possibly you’ll start observing and thinking about some of these things as well. Don’t you think we can all use more common sense and decency in our everyday lives and change the world?

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Democratic officials in Prince George’s must work with Republican governor

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UPPER MARLBORO—County officials remain optimistic after Republican Governor-Elect Larry Hogan won the general election this month over current Lt. Governor Anthony Brown.

Hogan is the first Republican elected to the governor’s office in Maryland since Bob Ehrlich in 2002. Hogan’s campaign focused on fixing Maryland’s economy and lessening the tax burden on residents. According to unofficial results from the Maryland State Board of Elections, Hogan got 51 percent of the vote. Results will become official when all absentee and provisional ballots are counted.

Prince George’s County remains strongly Democratic, with all of the elected positions, including the County Council, county executive and General Assembly seats, being held by Democrats.

Mel Franklin, chairman of the Prince George’s County Council, said the council looks forward to working with governor-elect Hogan.

“The council is optimistic about the fact that Governor-Elect Hogan has so many Prince George’s County roots,” Franklin said. “We think that bodes well for the county and for a great working relationship over the next four years.”

Hogan’s father, Lawrence Hogan, served as Prince George’s County Executive from 1978-1982. >>> Read more the Prince George’s County sentinel.

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