Monthly Archives: December 2014

State delegate proposes bill calling for school board to ban credit cards.

delegatewashington

Delegate Alonzo Washingon (D-22)

For the second year in a row, a delegate from Prince George’s County will propose a bill to ban the use of taxpayer-funded credit cards by the county’s Board of Education, and the legislation has the support of at least one board member.

“I think there’s some members who used their credit card in an appropriate manner,” said Board of Education member Edward Burroughs, who does not have a board-issued credit card. “I think there’s some members in the past who have not used it in an appropriate manner. Taxpayer dollars are so important it’s best for no one to have a card.”

Delegate Alonzo Washingon (D-22) said he proposed the bill last year for transparency and accountability reasons, and he decided to propose it again this year.

Earlier this year, The Sentinel reported the Board’s vice chair, Carolyn Boston, and school board member Verjeana Jacobs used their credit cards for the most meals of any board members between January 2013 and May 2014. Boston purchased 114 meals totaling more than $5,500 and Jacobs purchased 87 meals totaling more than $6,200, according to credit card statements and expense reports.

Boston declined to comment and Jacobs did not respond to requests for comment.

“Unless there’s a policy change within the school system this year, I plan on going full steam ahead,” Washington said. “A lot of my constituents are alarmed by the reports. They’d like to see a change happen based on reports that came out. They’re absolutely right.”

Board Chairman Segun Eubanks said the school system conduct an internal review of its policy following reports by The Sentinel and other media outlets, but the school board does not have plans to ban credit cards completely. Details of the policy changes will not become public until January, Eubanks said, and the changes will mainly clarify certain things, like maximum daily meal allowances and frequency of meals.

Additionally, Eubanks also said the school board is not considering an external audit of the reimbursement policy because “there is no evidence that board members have misused the reimbursement policy with use of their credit cards.”

Read more >>> Prince George’s County Sentinel. 

***

images1

imagescalhguwb

Happy International Migrants Day!

International-Human-Solidarity-Day-2014- 8

On 4 December 2000, the UN General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world,proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants Day. On 18 December 1990, the General Assembly had adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

UN Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are invited to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection.

image

Background

Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.

This new era has created challenges and opportunities for societies throughout the world. It also has served to underscore the clear linkage between migration and development, as well as the opportunities it provides for co-development, that is, the concerted improvement of economic and social conditions at both origin and destination. >>> Read more

image

***

Educators Worried About What Md. Budget Deficit Means For Schools

image

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland educators are trying to gauge what the state’s budget deficit might mean for school funding.
Political reporter Pat Warren looks at some of the speculations.
It’s all speculation at this point because the new administration isn’t in office yet but it doesn’t take a math teacher to see the numbers don’t add up.
It has been an uphill battle in Baltimore to get a plan to build new schools and renovate others off the ground. Now school construction statewide is a concern in the face of a looming budget deficit that Governor-elect Larry Hogan is trying to cut down to size—and debate is brewing over whether school funding in general can continue at the current rate.
“We’ve got this huge shortfall and 81% of all the money we spend is mandated,” Hogan said.

The state faces a budget crisis of hundreds of millions of dollars. There is a projection that it will come up $300 million short this year and $900 million short in the next two years.
“This is going to be a subject of serious discussion,” said Delegate John Bohanan.
The Maryland State Education Association brought lawmakers into the conversation Monday in a Building the Future forum, who emphasized the importance of maintaining funding levels.
“We have to find a way to make the sacrifices to keep that commitment up,” said Senator Richard Madaleno.
Governor-elect Hogan is waiting for recommendations from his budget experts.
Hogan is expecting a list of budget-cutting recommendations on Monday. He has said he will not raise taxes to make up the deficit.

OPINION

We are glad to see a focused endeavor by our governor Elect Larry Hogan to fix the problems in Maryland. There is so much going on at the moment within the state which requires urgent intervention. We like the passion by the incoming administration to tackle these issues heads on – like the heroin epidemic and related crimes, we want to see them fixed rather quickly.  We also want to see problems at Sasscer administrative building dwelt with aggressively by the new administration and others. The Video below might give you clue on how Larry plans to govern and he has our support to make things right.

Time to start cutting back on waste in the county governments throughout Maryland. It’s time people of the state met the change we have been pushing for in Prince George’s County. It’s called working for a living through accountability and transparency.

We need to support our new Governor in his endeavors to get cooperation in the whole of Maryland.  We believe Larry can get people to work together if given a chance but we need to speak of cooperation and different ways to fix the problems currently in progress especially in Prince George’s County – epicenter of corruption under Rushern Baker III.  Let’s all help Larry our new Governor as we move forward unto the future.

***

seatc

***

Study: Quality of Teachers is Improving!

image

Reformers have framed their narrative around the myth of “the bad teacher, without whom all children would make A’s in every subject every year. With this false narrative, they have promoted lengthy, tme-wasting evaluations to find and fire these academic frauds.

The narrative itself is the fraud. Like every profession, there are good and bad practitioners. Some teachers are excellent in some settings, not in others. We count on qualified administrators–not algorithms–to evaluate their staffs.

But now comes another reason to doubt the reformers’ narrative. A new study shows that the quality of teachers has been increasing over the past 15 years.

The abstract says:

“The relatively low status of teaching as a profession is often given as a factor contributing to the difficulty of recruiting teachers, the middling performance of American students on international assessments, and the well-documented decline in the relative academic ability of teachers through the 1990s. Since the turn of the 21st century, however, a number of federal, state, and local teacher accountability policies have been implemented toward improving teacher quality over the objections of some who argue the policies will decrease quality. In this article, we analyze 25 years of data on the academic ability of teachers in New York State and document that since 1999 the academic ability of both individuals certified and those entering teaching has steadily increased. These gains are widespread and have resulted in a substantial narrowing of the differences in teacher academic ability between high- and low-poverty schools and between White and minority teachers. We interpret these gains as evidence that the status of teaching is improving.”

imageimage Continue reading

Former Pr. George’s housing official indicted…

…on wire fraud, conspiracy charges

0

A federal grand jury in Maryland has indicted a former Prince George’s County housing official and her husband on charges that they fraudulently obtained more than $100,000 in federal rental subsidies.

Carla and Raymond Carter, both 53, of Mitchellville are accused of participating in a scheme to funnel payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to properties they owned in Capitol Heights and Bowie.

Carla Carter was deputy director of the county’s Housing Authority between 2007 and 2012, when prosecutors say the alleged conspiracy was concocted and carried out, according to federal court records.

While overseeing Prince George’s housing policy, Carter failed to disclose that she and her husband owned two properties registered with HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, according to the indictment announced Friday.

The federal program pays subsidies to private rental property owners who provide housing for low-income families and disabled and elderly citizens.

The Carters enlisted the help of a co-conspirator to receive thousands of dollars in monthly checks through the program, according to the criminal complaint.

This person, who was not identified in court documents, falsely claimed to be the landlord and deposited the money into a bank account under the co-conspirator’s name, according to the filing.

For more than four years, the Carters then transferred those funds — a total of $109,823.98 — to a personal account they administered. Carla Carter also allegedly asked a housing employee to change the names of the listed owner of the properties from hers to that of her husband and the co-conspirator.

Federal officials also accuse Carla Carter of filing financial disclosure statements to the Prince George’s County Board of Ethics that omitted her ownership of the town houses.

The couple is facing 15 criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. They did not respond to a request for comment.

***

imagescalhguwb

***

20051011_Follow_money

***

The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.

President Obama took action earlier this year to launch My Brother’s Keeper — a new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead. Learn how you can get involved at http://whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper

Through this initiative, the Administration is joining with cities and towns, businesses, and foundations who are taking important steps to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class.

Read the initial report from the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which gives recommendations to the President on steps we can take to start expanding opportunity for boys and young men of color.

My Brother’s Keeper is focused on six milestones:

  • Getting a Healthy Start and Entering School Ready to Learn

All children should have a healthy start and enter school ready – cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally.

  • Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade

All children should be reading at grade level by age 8 – the age at which reading to learn becomes essential.

  • Graduating from High School Ready for College and Career

Every American child should have the option to attend postsecondary education and receive the education and training needed for quality jobs of today and tomorrow.

  • Successfully Entering the Workforce

Anyone who wants a job should be able to get a job that allows them to support themselves and their families.

  • Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances

All children should be safe from violent crime; and individuals who are confined should receive the education, training and treatment they need for a second chance.

Learn more about the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

Resources

Thousands take part in “Justice For All March”

US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-MARCH US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTS US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTS US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTS US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTS US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTS US-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTSUS-POLICE-RACE-JUSTICE-RIGHTS Protests-HP-slide-TBR1-jumbo RTR4HW4N-930x551

Thousands take part in the Justice for All March and Rally on Pennsylvania Avenue to the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2014, to protest the killings of unarmed African-Americans by police officers and the decisions by Grand Juries to not indict them.

***

Read more>>> March In Washington Draws Thousands Of Protesters Demanding Justice For All