Monthly Archives: December 2018

“American Capitalism Isn’t Working”

20150927_capDavid Leonhardt, columnist for the New York Times, explains his conviction that American capitalism isn’t working. It’s puzzling that someone who is so clear-sighted about the economy and the damage done by rapacious corporate greed is so bamboozled by charter school mythology.

He wrote:

The October 1944 edition of Fortune magazine carried an article by a corporate executive that makes for amazing reading today. It was written by William B. Benton — a co-founder of the Benton & Bowles ad agency — and an editor’s note explained that Benton was speaking not just for himself but on behalf of a major corporate lobbying group. The article then laid out a vision for American prosperity after World War II.

At the time, almost nobody took postwar prosperity for granted. The world had just endured 15 years of depression and war. Many Americans were worried that the end of wartime production, combined with the return of job-seeking soldiers, would plunge the economy into a new slump.

“Today victory is our purpose,” Benton wrote. “Tomorrow our goal will be jobs, peacetime production, high living standards and opportunity.” That goal, he wrote, depended on American businesses accepting “necessary and appropriate government regulation,” as well as labor unions. It depended on companies not earning their profits “at the expense of the welfare of the community.” It depended on rising wages.

These leftist-sounding ideas weren’t based on altruism. The Great Depression and the rise of European fascism had scared American executives. Many had come to believe that unrestrained capitalism was dangerous — to everyone. The headline on Benton’s article was, “The Economics of a Free Society.”

In the years that followed, corporate America largely followed this prescription. Not every executive did, of course, and management and labor still had bitter disputes. But most executives behaved as if they cared about their workers and communities. C.E.O.s accepted pay packages that today look like a pittance. Middle-class incomes rose faster in the 1950s and 1960s than incomes at the top. Imagine that: declining income inequality.

And the economy — and American business — boomed during this period, just as Benton and his fellow chieftains had predicted.

Things began to change in the 1970s. Facing more global competition and higher energy prices, and with Great Depression memories fading, executives became more aggressive. They decided that their sole mission was maximizing shareholder value. They fought for deregulation, reduced taxes, union-free workplaces, lower wages and much, much higher pay for themselves. They justified it all with promises of a wonderful new economic boom. That boom never arrived.

Even when economic growth has been decent, as it is now, most of the bounty has flowed to the top. Median weekly earnings have grown a miserly 0.1 percent a year since 1979. The typical American family today has a lower net worth than the typical family did 20 years ago. Life expectancy, shockingly, has fallen this decade.

The great stagnation of living standards is a defining problem of our time. Most families do not enjoy the “rapidly rising level of living” that Benton called for. Understandably, many Americans are anxious and angry.

The solution will need to involve a return to higher taxes on the rich. But it’s also worth thinking about pre-tax incomes — and specifically what goes on inside corporations. It’s worth asking the question that Benton asked: What kind of corporate America does the rest of America need?

Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator, is now rolling out a platform for her almost-certain presidential campaign, and it includes an answer to this question. It is a fascinating one, because it differs from the usual Democratic agenda of progressive taxes and bigger social programs (which Warren also supports). Her idea is the most intriguing policy idea to come out of the early 2020 campaign.

Warren wants an economy in which companies again invest in their workers and communities. Yet she doesn’t believe it can happen organically, as it did in the 1940s, because financial markets will punish well-meaning executives who stop trying to maximize short-term profits. “They can’t go back,” she told me recently. “You have to do it with a rule.”

She has proposed a bill in the Senate — and Ben Ray Luján, a top House Democrat, will soon offer it there — that would require corporate boards to take into account the interests of customers, employees and communities. To make sure that happens, 40 percent of a company’s board seats would be elected by employees. Germany uses a version of this “shared-governance” model, mostly successfully. Even in today’s hypercompetitive economy, German corporations earn nice profits with a philosophy that looks more like William Benton’s than Gordon Gekko’s.

Is Warren’s plan the best way to rein in corporate greed? I’m not yet sure. I want to see politicians and experts hash out her idea and others — much as they hashed out health care policy in the 2008 campaign.

But I do know this: American capitalism isn’t working right now. If Benton and his fellow postwar executives returned with the same ideas today, they would be branded as socialists. In truth, they were the capitalists who cared enough about the system to save it. The same goes for the new reformers.

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rapacious corporate greed is so bamboozled by charter school mythology.

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Florida: Charter School Closes Without Notice to Parents or Students or Teachers

imagesThe Unity Charter School suddenly closed, without any advance notice to parents, students, or teachers.

Parents at Unity Charter School are having to look for new arrangements for their children after the school suddenly closed Thursday and is being foreclosed on. Parents received an automated message Wednesday evening reporting that there would be no school Thursday, due to circumstances beyond their control. Calls and emails to the school on Thursday received no response.

A bank foreclosed on the property for nonpayment on the mortgage. The property will be auctioned off in a few weeks.

School leaders had some personal financial issues involving misuse of school funds that turned up in an audit last year, but none rose to the level of criminal acts.

Isn’t “School Choice” wonderful (not)?

Charter schools open and close like day lilies. The entrepreneurs lobby legislators to get money and tax breaks. They pay teachers as little as they have to. They siphon money away from public schools, which are stable fixtures in their community.

And the Florida Legislature, controlled by choice zealots and by people who have a direct financial interest in charters, are diverting more money away from real public schools to benefit charters. Nearly half the charters in the state are now run by for-profit operators.

Real public schools don’t close without a struggle to keep them open. Real public schools are the heart of their community. Real public schools don’t close on a whim of their corporate owner, because they are public schools, not charter schools.

Make no mistake: the growth of the charter sector in Florida is driven by greed, not by the needs of children.

In Maryland, charter schools have been out of control where they have existed since 2003. In 2003, the General Assembly passed legislation authorizing charter schools in Maryland. The legislation outlined the parameters for applicants, authorizers, employees, the application timeline, and the review and revocation of charter agreements. Since the passage of the law, charter schools have been opened in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties and Baltimore City. The majority of charters are found in Baltimore City, where 38 of the state’s 52 charter schools operate and more than 10,000 of the state’s 17,000 charter school students are enrolled.

Charter schools provide an opportunity for focused learning using innovative curricula and instructional methods with the goal of enhancing student achievement. They have the potential to facilitate education reforms and develop new and creative teaching methods that can benefit children in all public schools.

However, research has shown that charter schools are not a panacea for every problem plaguing students despite public corruption plaguing them at very turn within their ranks. The state of Maryland is not doing enough to curb public corruption within the schools. If anything, the state officials have been busy covering things up. College park academy raised eyebrows when it was launched in 2017. Public Corruption tied to it continues to this day.

Time has come to stop the charter school movement from spreading further in Maryland at the expense of the public schools. A few public school officials involved in malfeasance must be exposed and let go.

#GreedNotNeed

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Breaking: PGCPS Students, driver injured in school bus crash near Upper Marlboro

clintonbuscrash _OP_1_CP__1544196269505.jpg_6497557_ver1.0_640_360 (1)By Reform Sasscer Staff

Upper Marlboro – The driver of a school bus and more than a dozen students were hospitalized Friday morning in Prince George’s County after two buses were involved in a major collision heads on.

The crash was reported around 9:30 a.m. on Wooyard Road and Dower House Road in Upper Marlboro.

Officials say 32 students were on both buses. Of those students, 19 are being transported or taken to the hospitals by parents themselves. All injuries appear to be non-life-threatening. A bus driver was also transported with minor injuries.

The buses crashed near James Madison Middle School in Clinton, Maryland. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

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A lesbian PGCPS student was left with broken ribs after being attacked at school

Northwestern_High_School_insert_by_Anthony_Bailey_via_Wikimedia_Commons

Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Md. (Photo by Anthony Bailey via Wikimedia Commons)

An attack on a lesbian high school student has been exposed after the mother of the student, Lidia Reyes, contacted the Washington Blade to protest about the school’s response to the incident.

The 11th grade student claims to have been beaten by four male students in March of 2017. The student said she was attacked in the school’s auditorium but the school says an investigation showed the auditorium wasn’t open on the day of the incident.

The assault left Reyes’s daughter with broken ribs and no perpetrators have been identified. School officials say they can’t identify the alleged perpetrators because they don’t know where the attack actually happened.

The teen is a member of the school’s U.S. Navy Junior ROTC program and wears a masculine presenting uniform. She thinks she was vulnerable to bullies because she has a “boyish” look.

Principal Elaine Carlene Murray of Northwestern High School told the Blade, “It was brought to our attention the next morning. We did a thorough investigation”

Murray went on to say, “We did the best we could. We gathered all the information we could gather.”

According to the student’s mother she and her daughter are immigrants from Guatemala and that her daughter’s English-speaking abilities could have interfered with her ability to report the attack efficiently.Northwestern_High_School,_Hyattsville,_Maryland.jpg

We reprint the entire report – Suspects unidentified in attack on lesbian at Hyattsville high school – by Washington Blade below.

By Lou Chibbaro Jr.

The principal at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Md. says a school investigation into the March 2017 assault by at least four male students on an 11th grade lesbian student, which resulted in the student suffering three broken ribs, has been unable to identify the attackers.

Lidia Reyes, the mother of the lesbian student, contacted the Washington Blade about the incident last month, saying the attack came after her daughter had been the target of bullying and harassment by fellow students. She said school officials weren’t taking adequate steps to address the problem.

Reyes said her daughter reported the attack occurred in the school auditorium on March 23, 2017. But Principal Elaine Carlene Murray told the Blade the auditorium was not open on that day and school security officials could not confirm exactly where the incident took place.

“It was brought to our attention the next morning,” Murray said. “We did a thorough investigation,” she said, adding, “We did the best we could. We gathered all the information we could gather.”

John White, a spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Public Schools, of which Northwestern High is a part, said school security officials and P.G. County police, who also looked into the incident, could not identify the students that Reyes’ daughter claimed assaulted her.

White said the P.G. school system has a strong policy of nondiscrimination that covers sexual orientation and gender identity. Murray said Northwestern High School has an LGBT student club.

Reyes said her daughter, who is openly gay, believes she was being targeted for bullying because she has a “boyish” appearance. Reyes said her daughter is a member of the school’s U.S. Navy Junior ROTC program.

According to Murray, Northwestern High has a mandatory school uniform policy in which all students wear the same uniform. She said there is a separate uniform for students in the ROTC program.  Given that Reyes’ daughter wears the same uniform as all other students, Murray said she doesn’t believe the student could be targeted based on her clothing.

Regardless of the reason for bullying or harassment, Murry and White said the school does not tolerate such conduct and would take immediate steps to intervene if the student reports being subjected to such behavior.

Reyes said she and her daughter moved to the U.S. from Guatemala several years ago and her daughter’s English language skills were limited. She said her daughter was taking an English as a second language class but that the language issue could have been a problem when school officials talked to her daughter about the attack last year.

Via Washington Blade

OPINION

Parents and employees within the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) say that, “fights between students have gotten so out of control that even motorists, students, staff and teachers are at risk”.  This comes after we publicized reports at the end of October showing a pattern and how the problem has gone out of control and now a risk to the public.

The following PGCPS High Schools lead in the level of disrespect and the school fights according to the reports received from concerned parents:

  • Crossland High School.
  • Dr. Henry Wise High School.
  • Duval High School.
  • Suitland High School.
  • Central High School.
  • Potomac High School.
  • Surrattsville High School.
  • Friendly High School.
  • Laurel High School.
  • NorthWestern High School.
  • Others..

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Senate passes Ashanti Alert Act in honor of former PGCPS student

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Ashanti Billie was a Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) former student and native who moved to Norfolk, Virginia.

By: Reform Sasscer staff

 – The U.S. Senate has taken another step toward creating a system to help save adult kidnapping victims.

The Ashanti Alert Act passed Congress in September, and on Thursday, it received unanimous support in the Senate.

The legislation is a step toward creating something similar to an Amber Alert for adults who may have been kidnapped.

It’s named in honor of Ashanti Billie, a Prince George’s County Public Schools former student and native who moved to Norfolk, where she was kidnapped and murdered in cold blood.  The 19-year-old, who graduated from Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Prince George’s County, had moved to the area for culinary school.

Billie was found dead near a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, around two weeks after her disappearance.

Evidence suggested she’d been kidnapped, but no mechanism existed to expedite finding her.

The Ashanti Alert Act would help install a system to help law enforcement coordinate to find people suspected of being kidnapped.

The bill needs to return to the U.S. House of Representatives before the legislation heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

Kimberly Wimbish, a spokesperson for Ashanti Billie’s family, announced in early November that U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) would officially introduce the act to the Senate.

In September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the Ashanti Alert a federal law. The vote marked one year since then-U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) got involved in the Ashanti Billie case and announced his plans to push for a vote to take the alert national.

The Ashanti Alert was signed into Virginia law in June in honor of Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old who was abducted from her job at JEB Little Creek in 2017.

At the time, Billie was too old to be considered for an AMBER Alert, which is designed for abducted children, and too young for a Silver Alert, which is for senior adults.

After the House’s vote in September, Ashanti’s family says the Ashanti Alert will not only be a way to remember their daughter, but also a way to keep her greatest passion in life alive: helping others.

“It will be like a hug from her. Every alert will be a hug: ‘Hey Mom, I’m here. I’m helping people, Daddy, I’m here; I’m helping someone else.’ It was her passion,” said Brandy Billie, Ashanti’s mother.

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PGCPS Mother upset after she says staff didn’t intervene in school fight timely.

still1009_00001_1507584222975_4312126_ver1-0_640_360 (1)Warning: The links contain videos and pictures which are grisly and very distressing… For the faint hearted do not open.

By: Reform Sasscer staff

Upper Marlboro – Several horrific fights at Dr. Henry Wise High School  were caught on camera and posted to Twitter recently after first exposure on October 31st. The disturbing videos have parents and school leaders shaking their heads in disbelief.

One mother of a Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) student is upset after she claims the principal and staff are not doing much. In this specific fight, staff did not intervene timely in a fight involving her daughter.

Several incidents have happened recently at Dr. Henry Wise High School. In one incident,  a teenage student told her mother she was attacked in the hallway. When her mother saw the video, she email our blog including our social media account upset about the fight and the lack of timely intervention by school staff.

It happened right in the hallway with many students watching, including someone holding a camera.

In the background, an adult walks up to the fight, but in another video staff doesn’t stop the fight and it continues and moves away from him.

The teenage student hits the ground and then she is pulled by her hair across the hallway like a sack of maize.

“When I saw that tape, my heart went numb,” said the girl’s mother. “I was so angry.”

This mother, who does not want to be identified, said she was concerned because her daughter told her two adults were there, but did not break the fight up. In the video, you can see other students jump in trying to separate them. Security staff finally shows up.

But the mother said she was told after the fight, staff members cannot put their hands on students — only security personnel can.

“I understand that,” she said. “You are not supposed to put your hands on them, but there should be some type of protocol that if you see something going on, call for help. Children get out of the way. Break it up. You can walk towards it [and say], ‘Excuse me, this is not going to happen.’ Say something.”

The mother said fortunately her daughter is okay, and thankful for the students who jumped in to help. But she wonders if the adults could have done more.

The mother also expressed her frustration because the administration does not seem to care even after writing to Interim CEO Monica Goldson on several occasions.

We reached out to the school’s principal to ask her about the fight, but she was not available and could not talk about it.

Prince George’s County Public Schools has no policy in place that tells teachers and staff members to not break up a fight. There is also no policy in place that instructs them to get involved.

Here is another major brawl that happened at PGCPS in which the principal hit a student with a walkie talkie. In that incident, the parents at the school were not notified  and only found out by a video on twitter.

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Public Ask BOE to take Action On Bullying and Bus Driver Work Conditions

UPPER MARLBORO — Teachers, staff and students convened at the last Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Board of Education meeting of the year to urge the board to take action regarding bullying from teachers and administration members and to address the poor working conditions of transportation staff on Nov. 28.

The bulk of the meeting was spent hearing comments from those that were attendance followed by the approval of various budget items.

Jerome Phillips, an 11th grader at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, got up to tell the Board of Education (BOE) of the detrimental effects he has seen bad teachers have on students at his school.

Phillips said that these teachers at Roosevelt have been allowed to fail students without evaluation, degrade students without consequence, over-complicate assignments out of spite and set students up for failure.

It is considered normal when a student is suspended for minor infractions while a teacher’s actions and shortcoming are hardly given any attention at all.

“These teachers are those given too much power and too much responsibility,” Phillips said. “Students are often left defenseless to those teachers. It’s gotten to the point where in order to succeed some students are often expected to be forced to behave with more dignity than the adults in the classroom.”

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PGCEA President Theresa Dudley speaks during a recent Board of Education meeting. Photo by Jessica Ricks/Prince George’s Sentinel.

He said that teachers like these are a liability to the school system and stifle the growth of students.

In contrast, Prince George’s County Educators Association (PGCEA) President Theresa Mitchell Dudley explained how much of an issue the same type of bullying is, but from the perspective of the teachers.

“When you’re treated badly it’s transferable,” she said. “Right now we’re feeling awful, and we’re feeling awful that we’re not treated like professionals.”

Dudley said that everything Phillips said about teachers, she could interject about administrators who are allowed to treat teachers cruelly without any consequences and ask teachers to do an unreasonable amount of work. Her solution was for the more accountability when it comes to the way teachers are treated and the development a bullying policy for staff members.

In addition to the ongoing strife of teachers and students that was brought up during the meeting, a group of bus drivers, led by 10-year PGCPS bus driver Roland Roy, brought to the board their grievances with their working conditions.

Roy told the BOE how they were short on drivers because many had left due to pay issues. Because of this, the buses are always running late to pick up kids, and the new bus tracking app does not work properly, leaving parents to complain.

Their bus trailers are in bad condition, such bad condition that the Goddard Bus Lot where Roy reported to was infested with black mold. They were then moved to the Robert Goddard Elementary School lot and have had to stay there for three years.

Older, less able-bodied bus drivers are made to wash their own buses, and there are no proper restroom facilities in many of the lots.

“Drivers are not being paid what they deserve, that’s why they are not answering the radio and transportation needs help covering runs, and the kids are suffering from it,” Roy said. “Buses are running 30 minutes, sometimes an hour late picking up kids in the a.m. and p.m. Taxpaying parents do not deserve this kind of service.”

After taking comments from the public, the Board of Education approved proclamations to recognize Maryland Emancipation Day on Nov. 1, American Education Week to celebrate public education to take place from Nov. 12 to 16, Native American History Month throughout the month of November and Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 3 to 9 to encourage students to take interest in computer science.

They approved final payments for various school repairs such as the air conditioning in Allenwood Elementary School, fire alarm replacements in Bowie High School, Laurel High School and High Point High School and roof replacements for Gwynn Park High School and Benjamin Tasker Middle School.

Finally, they approved a request for the third renewal of the EXCEL Academy Public Charter School.

However, three board members, Raheela Ahmed, David Murray and Edward Burroughs, abstained from voting as they felt that there was not enough information provided on the student achievement data, justification for a geographic preference area and clarification on the amount of funding the school would get for its Free and Reduced Meal Service (FARMS) students to go forward with the request.

Board Chair Segun Eubanks also took the time at the beginning of the meeting to thank Lupi Quinteros-Grady, Carolyn Boston and Dinora Hernandez, who will be departing from the board, for their service during their terms and allowed them to give parting speeches.

The three of them will be replaced by Joshua Thomas, Belinda Queen and Pamela Boozer-Strother as they will begin their term on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Via Prince George’s County Sentinel. 

OPINION

Parents and employees within the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) say that, “fights between students have gotten so out of control that even motorists, students, staff and teachers are at risk”.  This comes after we publicized reports at the end of October showing a pattern and how the problem has gone out of control and now a risk to the public.

The following PGCPS High Schools lead in the level of disrespect and the school fights according to the reports received from concerned parents:

  • Crossland High School.
  • Dr. Henry Wise High School.
  • Duval High School.
  • Suitland High School.
  • Central High School.
  • Potomac High School.
  • Surrattsville High School.
  • Friendly High School.
  • Laurel High School.
  • NorthWestern High School.
  • Others..

call_for_action_after_school_fights_spread_on_social_media.jpg

 

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Prince George’s Co. taps education Past Board Chairman to lead school board

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Dr. Alvin Thornton was chair of the Prince George’s County school board for three terms in the ’80s and ’90s, and he’s back to serve again. Thornton brings decades of experience in county schools. He takes the lead after previous board chair Segun Eubanks stepped down.

Upper Marlboro — Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks has named Alvin Thornton to serve as the chair of the county’s board of education.

According to the information received, Thornton led the 1999 state commission that came up with the Maryland state education funding formula that’s still in place today. State lawmakers still refer to the arrangement as “Thornton plan” when discussing education spending plans and distribution of cash.

“He’s legendary. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that about him,” Alsobrooks was quoted as saying.

She added that she consulted with school officials and the members of the county school board before announcing her selection.

“And to a person, they all thanked me for the appointment. That is unusual,” Alsobrooks said.

That’s an understatement. For years, there had been fault lines on the board, with several members critical of past Chair Segun Eubanks, as well as past schools CEO Kevin Maxwell.

At one point, tensions boiled over when Eubanks was accused of shoving and threatening school board member Edward Burroughs after a heated exchange at a meeting in July. The charges were later dismissed in conspiracy with the Assistant Attorney for Prince George’s County. Eubanks had called them false and reckless and later threatened to sue Edward Burroughs.

When asked about Thornton’s appointment as the new school board chair, Burroughs told the press, “I’m ecstatic.”

Burroughs said Thornton, who worked at Howard University where he was chair of the political science department as well as associate provost, “has demonstrated commitment and leadership, and has shown to make a big difference” in education in Maryland.

Alsobrooks said Thornton will join the school board at a critical time for Prince George’s County’s schools. A new education plan from the Kirwan Commission is about to be released. Like the Thornton Commission decades ago, the Kirwan Commission, formally known as the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, has been working on the funding formula for the future.

Next on the agenda for Alsobrooks: naming the new CEO for the school system.

Maxwell, the former CEO, left after a series of major scandals and was given a settlement of nearly $800,000. Currently, Monica Goldson holds the job as interim CEO. Alsobrooks said Goldson has been getting “rave reviews” for the job she’s doing now, but didn’t go further than that. There are reports the establishment is trying to keep Goldson as a CEO following all the corruption she has been able to cover up for them.

At the moment the entire school district is experiencing  out of control fights never seen before and other forms of corruption.  Many teachers and staff are afraid to engage students for fear of retaliation.

Dr. Thornton comes to the Board following an exposé involving University of Maryland College Park and the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) which has continued to be a cash cow for some in an organized version, Current Chairman Segun Eubanks has announced plans to finally resign. According to a letter sent to the entire board and later shared with the press, the letter details Eubanks’ plans to leave his post by either January 1 or whenever Prince George’s County Executive-Elect Angela Alsobrooks decides to appoint his replacement.

Since 2016, Prince George’s has reeled amid controversies. The PGCPS personnel and other parties tied to illegal activities in the county should resign on their own terms before its too late.

To Dr. Thornton, do what is right and don’t tolerate a culture of cover ups and embezzlement. You are familiar with the issues some having been presented to you in the recent past. The inclination to complain as one ages is natural enough. The growing malice of inanimate objects and the fact that the ground gets further away are both annoying.

But there are times when change really is for the worse, sometimes alarmingly so.

Only the young and foolish would have scorned complaints from their elders that the country was going to the dogs in the last days of the Roman Empire – for it was.

History is littered with states in actual or potential decline or collapse when the voices of experience and age were ignored, no doubt with comments that the old always grumble anyway.

The authors of this blog plan to sit down with the new Board chairman Dr. Thornton after review on how he ruled the county Board in the past. The idea is to see how he plans to govern and help fight corruption in progress in the county.

To Dr. Thornton and the youthful board members, the duty of the youth is to challenge the corruption in the society. Whichever way you look at it, corruption is crowding Prince George’s County’s shining star, threatening the possibility of a better life for the young generation and future ones. Corruption is one of the greatest evils that shakes the backbone of any society. More than a matter of need, corruption has become a subculture, a common practice and a necessary evil, at least to some people. Faced with this trouble most people here in Prince George’s County have grown used to it, it is part of everyday life. That’s the reality but it has to change. If this evil is eradicated from the society, the greatest threat to development is over.

Corruption takes birth in a society when its citizens fail to believe that the society such as Prince George’s county is a common property of all its citizens and the generation yet to come. Every situation, where you leave truth, you are giving birth to corruption, no matter how simple or how complicated is the matter. Everyone is watching you!

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Suspicious New PGCPS audit boasts improvements but some ‘strain credulity’

C4LMY12XAAAjorO.jpg-large-1780x1002.jpegPrince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is well known for bribery schemes which includes paying off lawyers and law firms as part of organized schemes. Prince George’s County will only be built by the willingness of the county citizenry and that will have to be informed by deliberate decisions towards greater transparency.

The private sector must commit to be at the forefront in the fight against corruption in the county. To be meaningful, this commitment on the private sector side must go beyond the companies pledging not to pay bribes or be bribed as happened to several law firms recently. The next logical and necessary step is for the county government and private sector to implement internal policies, procedures, and mechanisms to ensure that the risk of improper payments is minimized. There are reports the firm hired by the state to review the issues might have been interfered with to make a favorable report while shielding the major shenanigans.

We reprint the report by WTOP below.

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A follow-up audit of Prince George’s County Public Schools graduation rates states that improvements have been made but more oversight is still needed. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Wittayayut)

By William Vitka and Kate Ryan

follow-up audit looking into allegations that Prince George’s County Public Schools had been changing grades in order to allow more students to graduate determined that, while improvements have been made, more oversight is still needed.

And some are voicing concerns about the improved numbers.

In a Tuesday statement that boasts how grade accuracy and certification have gotten better in the last six months, interim PGCPS CEO Monica Goldson acknowledged that the Maryland State Department of Education-commissioned audit found that “we must provide more oversight and support to enforce attendance-related grading requirements and ensure data accuracy.”

“We will review the new audit findings and submit a plan to MSDE by January 11, 2019,” she wrote.

The new findings, conducted by Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services and focusing on the class of 2018, echo a report from November of last year that also hinted at problems with a lack of oversight.

A news release claims A&M found evidence that 38 out of 40 recommendations in the original audit had been fully or partially implemented. The company reviewed 1,085 students in its sample, concluding that 98.9 percent of students graduated without any grade change or transcript violations, according to the release.

“PGCPS greatly reduced the degree to which grade changes were used and misused,” the study noted.

Others, however, are concerned about the validity of those graduation numbers.

At a Tuesday meeting, Maryland State Department of Education Board member Rose Maria Li said there seemed to be a dozen schools with “unbelievably great improvements” of 20 or more percentage points in graduation rates.

“What’s the process in terms of having somebody check that these numbers are valid? Are we just taking these numbers as given?” she said.

One of Li’s colleagues, David Steiner, took pains to say he didn’t want to pour cold water on good news.

“Sometimes it’s deeply earned,” he said.

But Steiner was more skeptical of other data.

“When, for example, Crossland Evening [High School] goes from a graduation rate of 18.4 percent to 52.8 percent in one year, I imagine there has to be a powerful explanation,” he said, referring the jump in numbers from the initial audit.

Citing the number of schools recording leaps in graduation rates over the span of one year, Steiner said, “That strains credulity.”

Prince George’s County Public Schools, meanwhile, says it has been taking numerous steps to correct the situation and any lingering issues.

“Parents, employees, community members and especially students must have confidence in high school diplomas awarded by Prince George’s County Public Schools. My job is to continue our focus on doing right by those who matter most,” Goldson said.

Allegations of grade-fixing first made headlines in June of 2017.

In other news, 83.6 percent of the county’s public schools (168 altogether) received 3-star to 5-star marks on Maryland’s new accountability system.

Eighty-four schools (55 elementary, 16 middle, nine high and three charter) received three stars. Seventy-five (61 elementary, five middle, four high and six charter) received four stars. Nine (seven elementary, one high and one charter) received five stars.

Read more on the audit at PGCPS’ site.

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Fiasco as PGCPS system Accidentally Double-Pays Employees

113018+cash+in+wallet+shutterstock.jpgOkay, let’s say you work for either a large school district, local government, company or government…

That you had been getting pay stubs and direct deposit; however, for one pay period somehow you got several checks instead of a pay stub, AND you got a direct deposit, too.

Hence, you were over paid several times.

That this what happened at Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) system a few days ago. Bad news: You have to give the money back. For some; however, they appear to be keeping everything as others salivate.

Prince George’s County Public Schools accidentally double-paid all 18,000 employees who use direct deposit, a school district representative confirmed. Employees received the extra funds on Friday, according to an email.

“Many employees may or have observed multiple transactions on their banking accounts,” according to an email sent on behalf of Chief Financial Officer Michael Herbstman.

Herbstman urged employees not to spend the additional funds. Reversals of the payments will be made between Friday and Monday, depending on how the employees’ banks process the transactions.

Anyone who has already spent the extra money will owe it back to the school district by December 14th. Employees on social media responded differently. Their reports are reprinted below:

  • One stated … I had three transactions posted to my account yesterday, payroll deposit, payroll deposit, withdrawal in the amount of the payroll deposit.”
  • Another stated ……”Send a message to the CEO so she can hear about the disappointing way her teachers feel after she put out her happy message about the County Schools. We must speak up to her and the board to ensure them that WE the Teachers are feed up. We should have a strike vote to set the climate for the up coming negotiations to mandate good faith talks.”
  • Another read…….“They reversed mine immediately. But I’m wondering whether they’ll screw up next payday and keep my check. I just don’t trust them anymore. And I will walk the hell out of school very dramatically while Facebook living. 😂”
  • Another teacher said……”They took both. So I’m annoyed at on the 95th level of passivity to the 55th power of annoyance”
  • Another stated ……“I used to think that the folks at Sasscer were just incompetent. Now I believe that they screw up on purpose. When they screwed up my pay, I called them and they told me to call my union. My response was, “why would I call my union, they didn’t screw up, you did.” I’m convinced that they screw up to force the union to waste our staff time and resources on cleaning up their messes instead of organizing and responding to our members’ needs. It makes our members mad at us, and divided instead of unified and strong. Be angry, but be angry at the right people. There is only so much our staff can do when Sasscer is so F’d up.”
  • Another stated…… “They reversed the second direct deposit. My co-worker had THREE deposits and they have not reversed even one as of right now. We will see Monday what happens.”
  • Lastly…….”Corrupt at best. This was done on purpose I can bet on it. You won’t know until you review the previous consequences. Five years from now, this screw up might be something different on paper.”

It was not immediately clear why the error occurred. The allegations appear that it might be a strategy to pay off friends as part of culture of corruption which is currently in progress in the whole district. Others have speculated that there is a bigger scheme in progress to swindle the county system employees as part of wage, Theft schemes which are well known. The double pay has happened before in the past. The problem continues to grow. Sasscer sign

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