Category Archives: Corruption and cover up Report in PGCPS

Former Interim Super now Interin in Alexanderia.

…Dr. Alvin Crawley pictured here almost abandoned ship at sea…

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Dr. Alvin Crawley who took off to the hills after HB 1107 was enacted into the law in Maryland has been selected to serve as Alexandria’s interim superintendent.

Alvin Crawley, who most recently was the interim superintendent in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will begin his appointment Monday. He will serve while the city searches for a permanent replacement. He has had a troubled tenure when several of our students died from violence in 2012, after he failed to perform the proper duties as a Superintendent. He was brought in specifically to cover up corruption by the previous regime which was then led by Dr. William Hite Jr.

According to Doris Reed (ASASP Director of the Prince George’s principals union), she was hoping for a change agent to take the reins of the school system when Hite left, Doris said Crawley’s leadership style during his short tenure did not live up to her expectations.

The Alexandria City school board bought out the contract of previous superintendent Morton Sherman in August amid conflicts between Sherman and the school board.

Sherman was the second consecutive superintendent whose contract was bought out by Alexandria. Rebecca Perry departed as superintendent in 2008 in the wake of an extended controversy over a drunk driving arrest.

Crawley spent most of his career in Arlington. He left Prince George’s County as control of the system shifted from the county board of education to the county executive Rushern Baker. >>> Read more Washington Post

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“We are building the plane as we fly it”

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Many of us have heard this expression hundreds of times. “We are building the plane as we fly it.”

Sometimes at staff development meetings, they show cartoon figures building a plane in mid-air.

Note that the engineers are wearing parachutes.

Note that the passengers–students and teachers–have no parachutes.

Bear in mind that the idea of building a plane as it is in mid-air is insane.

The next time you hear this expression, do one of these things:

Get up and walk out.

Hiss loudly (no one ever knows who is hissing).

Boo loudly (riskier than hissing).

Do not quietly sit by while your leader spouts idiotic platitudes.

This leads us to Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance and what he did which troubled several parents while working closely with the Maryland State superintendent of schools Dr. Lillian Lowery.

As was widely reported elsewhere, Baltimore County Public Schools and Maryland State Department of Education held a Common Core forum recently. When a video was posted concerning Mr. Robert Small being arrested for asking a question out of turn at the local school board forum on Common Core, the video received national attention and garnered a million YouTube hits. Dr. Dallas Dance, the Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent and Dr. Lilian Lowery State Superintendent of schools were presiding over that meeting. (The charges against Robert Small were later dropped after a public outcry.)

In the meantime, Jason Schmidt of Beaverton, Oregon was inspired by the video and decided to stand up and not be “cattle”, to coin a phrase by Robert Small during the encounter. He took the photo shown here and posted it on a website for the cause.

With a rally cry of “Stop Common Core! Save our kids!” the concerned citizens of Beaverton School District held a protest last Thursday before a school board sponsored forum on Common Core. The protest was a success… Mr. Schmidt said in a post,

Here in Maryland, a Baltimore Sun article last week highlighted the perspective of Dr. Dallas Dance concerning complaints from teachers about the new curriculum and it contains the following passage:

Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance acknowledged problems but expressed confidence the glitches would be worked out, and that teachers and students would adjust.

“We are building the plane as we fly it,” he said, adding, “but let’s be clear our passengers are safe.”

Insofar as what they’re doing is destined to fail – except to the extent that they are willfully destroying the public schools, in which case they are far too successful – the analogy holds.

Other than that, it would have been better to say they are building sweatshops/work camps, and using the heads of students and teachers as hammers.  A picture of such a plane as advocated by Dr. Dance and Dr. Lillian Lowery is insane, something one would say to discredit the whole operation not to credit it. Who would want to board such a plane having that kind of knowledge the plane might crush anytime?

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Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance.

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has shown poor leadership skills in several ways and received an F grade for Common Core meetings recently.

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 (>>See the video <<)

Who’s minding the people…

…who are supposed to be minding the schools?

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chief executive of Options, Donna Montgomery

By Valerie Strauss, Published: October 3 at 5:00 am

Who’s minding the people who are supposed to be minding the schools? Let’s look at two debacles involving schools, one on the West Coast and one on the East, that are symptomatic of problems around the country. My colleague Emma Brown wrote in this story that  three former managers of the Options Public Charter School in Northeast Washington — the city’s oldest charter school — have been accused of enriching themselves with at least $3 million of public money that was supposed to be used to help some of the District’s most troubled teens and students with disabilities. The managers created for-profit companies that won contracts from the school and charged very high prices. A civil lawsuit alleges that they did this with the help of a senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which is a non-elected entity that has financial oversight over charter schools in the District of Columbia. Charter schools, which operate outside of the traditional public school district, have their own administration and boards. They now enroll more than 40 percent of D.C. students and get more than $500 million in public funds every year to operate. And it turns out, according to the lawsuit, that salary and bonuses for the chief executive, Donna Montgomery, during 2012-13 was at least $425,000, with her base salary at $240,000. Even the base salary is a lot of money for a school with about 400 students. Brown notes that Kaya Henderson is paid a base salary of $275,000 as chancellor of the traditional D.C. school system, which has about 45,000 students. Officials of the charter school board said they were sure that problems were limited to this one school. But look at the timeline of how the board came to know about the problems at Options. From Brown’s story:  >>>Read More Washington Post

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Superintendent John Deasy – Los Angeles Unified School District

Over on the West Coast, in the Los Angeles Unified School District, there’s an ongoing debacle with a $1 billion — yes $1 billion — initiative to get iPads for every student in the country’s second largest school system. There’s been one mistake after another. When the initial planning was done, everybody forgot about the keyboards that kids would need, an oversight which now could cost the district nearly $40 million.

Officials began distributing iPads to some schools and within a week, student hackers figured out to bypass the security system and kids began using the devices to check Facebook, download music and do other personal activities. The Los Angeles Times then reported that more than 70 iPads were “missing” from a pilot program.

And now, Steve Lopez of The Times wrote in this piece that he looked at some of the software programmed into the iPads by Pearson Education and he was less than impressed:

…For all the hype about students taking a magic carpet ride into the future on these tablets, I missed the wow factor. One eighth-grade math lesson included a video of some guy on a treadmill going faster and faster, with a question about how to graph his movement. But no matter how you answered, there was no feedback, and no right or wrong answer.

Lopez asks why school board members let Superintendent John Deasy make such a huge commitment without more oversight. One member, Steve Zimmer, told him that board members “are not equipped … to micromanage.” Wrote Lopez:

I’d have to disagree with him there.

We’re talking about a superintendent who’s in a race to spend $1 billion, counting bringing Wi-Fi to classrooms. And let’s not forget that Deasy was featured as a pitchman in a commercial for iPads, and Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino (who just resigned in a snit over the tech implementation) once worked for the parent company of Pearson, the firm hired to provide curriculum for the iPads.

So, yeah, do some micromanaging. Hold people accountable. Ask questions.

 It makes you wonder who’s minding the minders.

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iPads initiative  – Los Angeles Unified School District

OPINION

They say you never know the worth of water until the well is dry.  We think that is what the article reveals has brought home the message we have been trying to convey here in Prince George’s County.  Seemingly little – but indispensable – things appear meaningless until they are lost. Gone. Our point is that the corruption cover up reports has dashed the sense of reform and mundane expectations. There is no doubt the men and women of the Prince George’s County Public schools (PGCPS) are heroic.

But there’s no longer the “guarantee” the government will give your loved ones credible – and unambiguous – answers should another catastrophe strike like what happened to previous county Executive Jack Johnson. Which begs the question – what went wrong, and we have the answers… what lessons have been learnt?  Whither from hither? Many of the old ways continue to linger in the some parts of the whole district even after pointing out the problems.

Sadly, it seems like there is a never-ending story along these lines nowadays; one embarrassing story after another.  It all boils down to greed and self entitlement.  Poor/handicapped children are being affected by these kind of schemes and there is a growing number of homeless youth. What will it take to stop this and other stories like this from happening again especially here in PG County?  If the management put the effort into helping the children who attend these schools instead of thinking up the schemes to bilk millions of dollars from the system, life will be so much better.

There is no question after reading the above article that, the charter school movement is being taken over by grifters.  When you see a group of legislators jumping on that bandwagon you can be pretty sure someone has plans to get rich using unorthodox means!  And all of you folks who sincerely believe that the free market has a solution to the problems of the public schools? Time will tell. Unless we get involved and demand answers, some of the people who actually get the contracts, are well connected to the leadership.

As time goes on and unless something is done to change the status quo, this illicit activity will continue unabated for many years to come; in the last few years especially here in Prince George’s County, we have seen officials and administrative personnel living lavish lifestyles beyond what they truly earn or deserve.

It is very sad that, this activity is peppered throughout Washington DC region.  Here in Prince George’s county, it was taken a notch higher by Mr. Jack Johnson (Previous PG county Executive) now serving jail time. However, it began with the Barry administration in Washington DC, getting exposed for lavish vacations of “Friends of Barry” in the Virgin Islands, to the fraud in The Department of Taxation, to this and even more in the future.

The Barry Ideology: “We, as a people, have suffered; and now we’re going to be rightfully paid for our suffrage.” Also known as: The Jesse Jackson Jr. Syndrome.

This illegal activity is not only affecting charter schools, small, semi-private special education schools and the Public schools are also affected.  Good, experienced administrators of these very complex entities are difficult to find, so it’s relatively easy for an unscrupulous and/or inept administrator to take over. The large salaries plus expensive benefits some of these people make while making their staff miserable and the students ill-served is truly despicable.  We must put an end to this. Our Districts deserve better and we must continue to demand more accountability and transparency in many regions, not just in Prince George’s County Public schools.

How do the unscrupulous administrators get away with it? The staff is generally held hostage during times when decent jobs are few, the parents are afraid to say anything even if they pick up on what is happening. A very good example in PGCPS is Monica Goldson and Thatcher Law Firm who are known to strike deals behind the scenes with corrupt BOE members.  For many special education parents and their children, the neighborhood school where corruption is taking place might be their last chance and so many might be scared stiff. Maryland State Board of Education is led by incompetent administrators and Board members whose oversight tends to be lax as most parents are just happy to have some place to send their children.

As indicated in the blog, “corporate education reform” every teacher is subjected to unbelievable micro-management based on being forced to teach using horrific cookie-cutter methodologies. And when they “fail,” they are tossed out and public schools are closed. Yet, nobody looks twice at those who set the horrific education policies. Superintendents basically do a lack-luster job (but as long as they follow corporate “education reform” they are “good”). And when they want to increase their salaries, they just leave their “destruction” behind and are able to tow the corporate line elsewhere for a much greater salary… think about what Dr. John  Deasy and William Hite Jr (both PG County Maryland!)  What did they do to their previous School District before they left? Teachers’ salaries get cut along with the pensions they pay more and more into but the “management” gets richer. Teachers ask the question nowadays… WHEN are they going to  be allowed to Teach!

“In order for schools to change, the central office has to change. We believe the best way the system can change is to trust educators to do their jobs. Hold them accountable, but trust them. The malignant and rotten cogs must be pulled out – root and branch – without pity. The cancer must be excised before it sinks deeper. This is one reason why we wanted a competent administrator to come in with the view of making proper changes.

As we move forward into the future, we suggest that multiple bodies carry out inquiries of what caused PGCPS MESS – so that no cover up is possible. The legislature must commence its own independent bi-partisan inquiry without any fear or favor.

Party affiliation, regional and ethnic biases, and power plays must be suspended to uncover what happened so that these problems do not revisit themselves. The Executive should not investigate itself. That’s why a judicial commission of inquiry into the PGCPS MESS must be convened pronto. This does not mean the executive and the security services should not do a penetrating investigation of what went wrong. They must.

In addition, whatever happens, the local county intelligence and security services must be depoliticized. There’s a perception that too much time is spent trailing dissidents and critics. What’s lost in translation is that critics are the backbone of democracy, not its nemesis. The time wasted on surveiling legitimate domestic political activists the world over only takes valuable resources away from tracking and preventing possible corrupt groups and other malevolent clusters.

We know that complete depoliticisation is not possible, but paranoia and harassment of genuine democracy activists must be a thing of the past. Professionalizing intelligence and security services – and the police – cannot be gainsaid.

They are key to preventing future problems of various kinds. This will require killing criminal and corrupt rackets within the state.

Moreover, the apex of the security state must have a streamlined structure with competent men and women in charge. The PGCPS MESS proved the exact opposite. Previous Board Chairperson and her successor either contradict each other, or seemed at sea.

While the measures we have outline here are a core necessity in any country or county wishing success of its citizenry, PG County must move into the future with the prospect of the youth and venerable PG County families in their mind for the wellbeing of the county.

Prince George’s county Board of Education and the Maryland State Department of Education should refrain from retaliatory activities by clamping down on civil liberties. PG County Executive Rushern Baker, Board Chairman Segun C. Eubanks, PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell, Maryland State Superintendent of School Lilian Lowery and others involved in management of public resources should banish all thoughts about ethnic profiling, racism, other forms of discriminatory conduct etc. To do so would fuel hatred among different ethnic groups like we have seen in the last few years. These illegal activities do not help anyone in the end. Let’s take the high road. That is how the Prince George’s county and the United States as whole will defeat poverty and corruption in the future!

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PGCPS Welcomes New Officer…

…For Diversity ~ will respond to the academic and social needs of the diverse ethnic groups of constituents.

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Maritza E. González, Ph.D.

UPPER MARLBORO, MD — Following our recent coverage concerning lack of diversity among top management in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and pressure from the Latino leaders,  PGCPS recently appointed Maritza E. González, Ph.D. to fill the key position of Officer for Diversity, Latino/a Affairs. In her new role, Dr. González will respond to the academic and social needs of the diverse ethnic groups of constituents served by the school system. She will also work to increase organizational awareness and develop communication and outreach strategies with a special focus on Latino children, parents and communities.  Reform Sasscer movement is particularly keen to see promotion of new initiatives by the new officer in bridging the gap to address  MS -13 problems and to increase transparency and communication. The delivery of services in the new era of accountability is not only important for our students but to the parents as well. >>> Read more PGCPS Press release. >> Washington post

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MSDE Forum in PG County 10/1/2013

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On October 1, 2013, Dr. Lillian Lowery Maryland State Superintendent and her company will be touring our beautiful county to answer questions related to common core.  After a firestorm of charges from parents in other parts of the state that questions from the attendees were screened and reworded at the Common Core meeting in Baltimore County on Sept. 19, the MSDE will repeat the same format at the Prince George’s County forum during the meeting at Springdale.

Bill Reinhardt, Public Information Officer for MSDE, said, “We tried it with open mic the first time [in Talbot County] and we got about half the questions answered.”

The Prince George’s County meeting will be the final of four Common Core meetings in the state.

When questioned on how they would address the concerns of parents who said their questions were screened and reworded, he said, “Some of the cards went 4-5 paragraphs, so they were re-worded.”

So, instead of answering half the questions, the MSDE is opting for half-answering the questions.

Please call the office of MSDE Superintendent Lillian Lowery at 410-767-0462 and request that the format of the meeting be open mic instead of written questions.

The Common Core forum in Prince George’s County as indicated is tomorrow October 1 from 7-8:30pm at Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale as indicated above.

Don’t be a cattle! Ask tough questions.

STAY INFORMED: Subscribe into our blog to receive free email notifications each time we post a new article.  Thanks for supporting reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County in Maryland!

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has shown poor leadership skills and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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Don’t Be a Cattle!” is a newly formed group that began after the arrest of Robert Small for asking a question out of turn at an MSDE forum on Common Core.  In just one week, the group has amassed a Facebook following of more than 3,500 members and growing.

“Many parents in attendance at the school board meeting on Sept. 19 were growing increasingly frustrated by the screening and rewording of the questions which were required to be submitted in writing.  At no time in the ‘forum’ were parents allowed to ask direct questions, follow-up, or clarifications,” said group founder Ann Miller, whose YouTube video of the incident garnered national attention and has received a million hits.

The MSDE adopted Common Core in June of 2010 in exchange for a quarter billion dollars in federal incentive funding through a Race To The Top grant which was conditioned upon adherence to Common Core.  In all that time, when the MSDE could have been asking for public input and educating parents on the standards, instead there was an information blackout.  The public is only just now, upon its implementation and after the expenditure of untold taxpayer dollars, even learning about the new overhaul to our education system.

Instead of putting out propaganda videos that avoid direct questions, “Don’t Be Cattle!” calls upon Superintendent Lilian Lowery to finally answer direct questions from parents, teachers and the public – openly and honestly without editing.

The list of questions below was compiled by parents who attended the meeting in Towson and feel their questions were never addressed.  They are only a few out of many unanswered questions.

The group is also requesting the protocol of the Question and Answer portion of the meeting be changed to open mic, rather than written questions.

The final MSDE Common Core forum is on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 7pm at Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Prince George’s County.

A Sampling of Parents’ Unanswered Questions on Common Core

  1. All of the academics on the validation committee for Common Core refused to sign off on it.  What evidence do you have that Common Core will even be effective in improving education?
  2. How is selling out our local education system to national standards in the best interest of our children?
  3. Why are we going backwards in adopting a one-size-fits-all set of standards?  What about special needs and GT children?
  4. Why are we adopting Common Core when testing standards have not rolled out yet?
  5. What are the costs to the state of implementing Common Core?
  6. How will MSDE prevent data collection from being shared with outside entities in light of the NSA and IRS scandals?
  7. With nearly 35% of the States that adopted Common Core making motions toward rejecting the standards, is it wise to gamble with the future of Maryland’s children’s education by moving so swiftly to implement Common Core?
  8. If Maryland schools were ranked number one in the nation, why are we spending millions to abandon what was working?
  9. Can parents view what data is being collected on their children?  How can parents opt out?
  10. What is the policy when parents refuse to allow their children to be subject to Common Core testing as permitted by law?
  11. The push to align the SAT and other tests to Common Core standards will affect even private schools and home schoolers.  How does this contribute to school choice?
  12. What guarantees do parents have that the requirements for further grants will not become increasingly over-reaching each and every year?

It is time to remind the Maryland State Board of Education that the parents pay the school taxes and entitled to ask questions and God forbid the statement or question is longer than two (2) minutes..

Beginning next year, We are going to do the right thing and start putting people in office that will respect the law and stand up to power hungry unions and beaureaucrats, and their dictatorial ways. It’s time!

We must get our act together, for goodness sake!

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PGCPS Board of Education partners…

…with Panasonic Foundation

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According to Washington Post, The Prince George’s County Board of Education, facing a rocky start in a new era of school governance, has entered into a short-term agreement with a corporate foundation to help ease its transition from an elected board to a hybrid board with government oversight.

Board Chairman Segun Eubanks said the school board voted Thursday night during a closed session to partner with Panasonic Foundation, which works with urban school districts to implement education reforms. He said the partnership is designed to “move [the county’s] agenda forward. “Reports reaching reform Sasscer Movement  according to Mr. Edward Burroughs (District 8), said,  “the new structure has created a situation where there is no accountability to the board because board leadership is appointed.” He said, “for example, that a member of Baker’s administration received a presentation from Panasonic, but most board members were excluded. Still, the board was asked to vote on the agreement.”  Further Mr. Edward Burroughs’s District 8 lost substantial funding due to recent corruption in which money ($1.4 Million) was sent back to Annapolis.  Reform Sasscer movement is against side deals being conducted at night and away from the public. This is the reason why we lobbied lawmaker to create the current Board with a great hope things were going to turn out for the better >>>Read more Washington Post

OPINION:

Without mass media, openness and accountability are impossible in democracies. Our prayer is to make sure that, what we advocated for is a dared to within the school system. We want the medium to be transparent to vision so that we can accurately view what is on the other side. As articulated before, 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. One can well understand why politicians would want to divert attention from information that is detrimental to their interests as open expressed by Mr. Burroughs and others recently. Our interest as media blog is very different as we are interested in transparency and accountability issues on behalf of everyone.  Indeed, the media’s interests are quite different from those of politicians. Nevertheless the media’s collective efforts also subvert the political values of transparency, even – and perhaps especially – when media and politicians view each other as adversaries.  BOE members who caused problems in the first place must be encouraged to resign to create a smooth transition.

Most individuals have only limited time and attention to devote to public issues. Political values of transparency do not demand that citizens spend all of their time on public subjects. Rather, they make information available to individuals so that they can use it if they so choose. But when there is too much information, filtering necessarily occurs. This filtering occurs both in terms of what media decide to cover and what individuals decide to watch. Media companies must pick and choose among hundreds of possible subjects to discuss especially as we move forward in the new era of accountability. Individuals must choose among thousands of hours of potential coverage of public events and we plan to do this in the future.

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Mr. Edward Burroughs whose district is affected by corruption.

Federal judge allows ADA lawsuit…

…to go to trial in November 2013.

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Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Failure of Prince George’s County Public Schools to Accommodate

GREENBELT, Maryland — Judge Alexander Williams of the U.S. District Court of Maryland’s Southern Division denied motions for summary judgment filed by Thatcher Law firm on behalf of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County recently.  Information reaching Reform Sasscer movement indicates that after a careful analysis, the judge allowed the case to proceed for the jury deriberations this fall.

Plaintiff William Wilson an algebra teacher who possesses Maryland special education certifications faced a number of discrimination conduct within PGCPS.  During the 2011 – 2012 school year, Mr. Wilson was employed by Prince George’s County Public Schools and assigned to Dr. Henry Wise High School.

Mr. Wilson suffers from a permanent neuropathy in his left foot.  He experiences severe pain if he stands or walks for extended periods.  His leg pain is chronic and constant.  Mr. Wilson had surgery to relieve his leg pain, however, the surgery was unsuccessful.  Mr. Wilson has a “Virginia Permanent Disabled Parking Placard”.

In early November 2011, Mr. Wilson complained to his immediate supervisor, Dawn Brodus-Yougha, about the foot pain he was experiencing due to his disability.  Dr. Brodus-Yougha said to Ms. Wilson, “if you have a disability I need to see a doctor’s note.”

Mr. Wilson provided Dr. Brodus-Yougha with a note from his doctor, dated November 11, 2011, which said, “Pt will need frequent episodes of sitting and minimal standing”.  Dr. Brodus-Yougha then instructed Mr. Wilson to give a copy of his doctor’s note to Principal Carletta Marrow.  Mr. Wilson provided Principal Marrow with a copy of his doctor’s note.

Nonetheless, Dr. Brodus-Yougha ordered Mr. Wilson to stand in front of his classroom each morning  for hall duty, which meant 20 minutes of continual standing.  Dr. Brodus-Yougha would not allow Mr. Wilson to sit down during hall duty, even when he complained about pain.

Mr. Wilson’s foot pain became so unbearable that he began to experience panic attacks, he could not sleep at night, his blood pressure rose to dangerous levels, and he began throwing up before school.

Doctor’s notes that restricted Mr. Wilson’s standing to five minutes continued to be ignored.  On February 14, 2012, Dr. Brodus-Yougha ordered Ms. Wilson to stand outside the school at the end of each day and escort his students to their buses.  The task involved 30 to 45 minutes of additional standing and walking.

On February 26, 2012, Ms. Wilson informed PGCPS officials that the constant standing and walking was so harmful to his health that he was resigning from his $90,840 a year position. PGCPS_-_Wilson_Complaint_filed_July_13_2012

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PGCPS loses $1.4 million…

…for school construction.

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CROSSLAND AND POTOMAC HIGH SHOOLS AMONG THE SCHOOLS AFFECTED.

By , Published: September 25

The Prince George’s County school system was forced to return $1.4 million in state funds this year after it failed to approve school construction contracts within a two-year deadline.

The county lost the funding in May after it failed to sign agreements with contractors to handle upgrades to science classrooms at Potomac and Crossland high schools, according to David Lever, executive director of the Maryland Interagency Committee on School Construction, which oversees school projects in the state. Lever said it is unusual for a school system to miss such a deadline and lose funding. >>>Read more Washington Post

ANALYSIS

“The county lost the funding in May after it failed to sign agreements with contractors to handle upgrades to science classrooms at Potomac and Crossland high schools.”  Both schools are in District 8 which is part of southern Maryland.

$1.4 million dollars is a great deal of money lost for schools which need help. This lose of money meant for PGCPS should be a concern for every Prince George’s County citizen.

Although there were Superintendent leadership challenges, the Board of Education Member Mr. Edward Burroughs III  for this district remained the same and should have had a way more watchful eye on this funding. We are very disappointed with what happened here. In the next few weeks, we will try and find answers for our followers and we should be reporting back soon in this blog.

Problems continue to rigor in PGCPS and some of the changes we advocated for have not been enacted as yet. PGCPS leadership needs to revisit our top priorities and fix the issues heads on. Personnel at Sasscer mentioned in our blog and connected with the old regime for advancing corruption needs to step aside including the Thatcher law firm. We are watching!

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State Super has Md parent arrested…

… at Common Core forumparent, parent becomes cause celebre.

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Last week in Maryland a parent was arrested and charged with second degree assault on a police officer after speaking out at a town hall meeting organized by the local education board and Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Lillian M. Lowery.  Like most town hall forums, this meeting was a sham, where the officials would only answer pre-selected, politically correct answers that they approved of. Questions from the audience of about 160 people, which consisted of parents, PTA members, teachers, and school administrators, were submitted on cards prior to and during the 1-1/2 hour meeting for the Q&A period which lasted about 40 minutes.

The meeting was about a new style of curriculum that is being implemented at public schools called “common core”.  Many critics have accused this new curriculum of dumbing down the material, which would go along with the progression that we have seen over the past several generations.

Robert Small, age 46, was one of the only parents with the courage to speak up, despite the fact that many other parents cheered him on.

“Look, I am being manhandled and shut down because I asked inconvenient questions,” Small said. “Why won’t they allow an open forum where there can be a debate? We are told to sit there and be lectured to about how great common core is.”

As he was being taken out, Small said, We’re sick of this. This is not a CNN political game. This is a public town hall… Listen, don’t stand for this. You’re sitting here like cattle. You have questions.  Confront them.They don’t want to do it in public….Parents, you need to question these people….Do the research,.Then he said, “Is this America?”  Research on common core can be found >>here<<

Mr. Small was arrested after being removed from the auditorium and charged with second degree assault of a police officer and a second charge of disrupting a school function.

The video clearly shows that, if anyone was aggressive, it was the security guard, not Mr. Small. What may have happened out in the hall however, is unknown.

In the second video clip (click here), you can hear multiple parents call out how their question was not read and they were ignored.

There will be one more out of four Common Core meetings hosted by county school boards in Maryland.  This one is on October 1 in Prince George’s County.  Click here for more info.

ANALYSIS

Proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they’ve never even heard of Common Core.  Arguments for and against the new standards have had little impact on public opinion because, according to a Gallup survey of public schools, 62 percent of Americans have never heard of the Common Core. With the debate now shifting to the alignment of high-stakes tests to the Common Core Standards, people on both sides of the issue agree that the battle for the hearts and minds of parents will be crucial.

As you have seen in the video the questioning from Mr. Small was for the better of the community. However, he was cut short and forcefully removed plus charged with criminal offense. There was no need for leadership to act that way. The Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE) is out of control and it is accountable to no one in the State.  What has really gotten stuck in our craws most has been the imperial, patronizing manner in which the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE) leadership has been conducting its business. Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery arrived more than one (1) year ago spouting transparency and community engagement, but what we’ve mostly gotten has been something far less. Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE) President Dr. Charlene Dukes and the MSBE set the stage by surreptitiously hiring full time staff members to lobby the state Legislature to increase the power of the MSBE to impose working conditions to cover their own diabolical acts because they are not elected but selected. So far they have succeeded and this trend must be reversed.

The MSBE and President Charlene Duke’s leadership and their cohorts are like a junta ruling by fiat, disconnected from the community denizens. They are not elected by anyone and aren’t fooling everybody with their placating, after-the-fact patchwork rationales that diametrically contradict their own actions. The only transparency that has come to light is that they think that teachers, parents and the public are that gullible, or just not as smart as a third-grader. In the process, they appear disingenuous and are only losing credibility and fomenting distrust.

The person who should have been charged in the above video was the security guard. He had no right to be pushing the speaker. Also, he was getting in his face like a typical thug who wanted to fight. The parents whose rights are violated like this should take a stand and sue them for violating the law. If we do not start standing up to these people, they will assume more and more power. Tax payer dollars made that meeting public. People can leave if they are bothered by his questions.

The hearings have been taking place been between 7pm- 8:30pm as indicated below in the past schedule. A word of  caution though, the meetings may not be teacher-friendly, but we certainly hope for the presence of retired teachers and other professionals to turn out in the last meeting on October 1, 2013.

If you want change to happen, stay engaged with the Maryland State Board of Education system and ask tough questions. Elected officials definitely needs to get involved and demand changes concerning transparency and accountability initiatives in the State level. As seen here in Prince George’s County, corruption is the order of the day in the State level and involves money meant to help the children but has been directed elsewhere. Maryland State Board of Education is the mother ship of corruption and discrimination. Parents and Elected officials must create accountability mechanism and demand tough changes to roll back the trend. For those who missed their chance, the October 1, 2013 meeting at Charles H. Flowers High School in Prince George’s County is the last one, here has been the schedule:

Easton High School in Talbot County on Sept. 10.

Forums will also be held  Sept. 16 at South Hagerstown High School in Washington County

Sept. 19 at Ridge Ruxton School in Baltimore County.

The final discussion will be held for the Washington DC region on October 1, 2013 at Charles H. Flowers High School in Prince George’s County.

Read more >> Examiner >> Washington post

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has shown very poor leadership skills and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

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Pr. George’s school leaders…

…need to keep faith with parents

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Pr. George’s school leaders

By Keith Harriston, Friday, September 20, 11:29 AM

Here’s some unsolicited advice for the Prince George’s public schools chief executive, Kevin Maxwell: Let those who work for you in central administration know that misleading parents is bad policy.These days, parents with children at Judith Hoyer Montessori think that deception is school policy. (For transparency: I have a child at the school.) Why?

In late 2011 and early 2012, the school district held public meetings to discuss new school boundaries. The plan included moving Judith Hoyer to the former Oakcrest Elementary building about four miles away. Such a move to a larger facility, officials told Judith Hoyer parents, would allow the school to expand to include grades seven and eight. That would leave families in central Prince George’s with a full kindergarten-through-eighth grade Montessori program and put them on equal footing with public school Montessori programs that serve families in northern and southern Prince George’s. >>> Read More Washington Post

ANALYSIS

Traditional liberal concepts of democracy and citizenship rely on an informed citizenry to hold governments accountable. If they do not contribute fully because of their disappointment with government failings, and as a result withdraw from the political and democratic processes, some Politians might like it. When citizens withdraw, it is not the politicians that suffer but rather the people and their fellow citizens that do. While politicians might play the political game merely to win an election, this does great harm to their communities and nations all over the world. In this case, this how former county Executive Jack Johnson  was able to pull off through a reign of terror for many years without accountability. We should never let such a scenario revisit itself  here in this county. On this note, we applaud the parents of Judith Hoyer Montessori for demanding transparency. Parents in the other schools should do the same thing. This is the only way to keep the leadership in check.

“Winning elections only matters if the governing that follows progresses the county and the nation. The nation only progresses where citizens as a group are better off after the elections than before.”

Whether citizens are better off or not, it is a matter of judgment on the part of citizens and not necessarily what political factions assert. In the end, in an open democracy, the wisdom of the citizenry wins out.

We believe trust in government will not be restored by what citizens expect but by what they inspect within their local governments. There is a great need for politicians, at both the national and local levels and especially here in Prince George’s County, to be forced to submit themselves to greater inspection, scrutiny and accountability.

Politicians, should be scrutinized both before and after they are elected. Parents needs to get involved with parent teacher Associations (PTA) in their neighborhood schools.  They need to subject their leaders to rigorous scrutiny as to their thoughts about governing and their conduct in the governing process. The issue is to get at the heart of their policy content, intent and execution.

Only an alert, attentive and active citizenry can ensure this level of inspection. It is much to ask of people caught up in their everyday lives and the burdens of making ends meet, but when politics matters to the quality of everyday life, then involvement is mandatory.

While an active change in governing structure is important, the media cannot do it alone:  “It is not enough to leave the media to this inspection alone.  The media must play its rightful role, but an active media and active citizenry can make for a powerful inspection mechanism for politicians. If you want to make an inept politician shake, tell him or her that both the press and his constituents are demanding to speak with him or her and have some tough questions to ask.”

Sleeping voters and a passive media are an ill-intentioned politician’s dream.

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

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

Our world needs drastic improvements in governance structure especially here in PG County under County Executive Rushern Baker III. If any improvement is to come, alert, attentive and active citizens must rise up and demand for it. The more alert, attentive and active, the greater the improvement is likely to be. Schools in the county are not going to progress if we do not get involved in the process and demand accountability. It’s our moral duty.

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“The collapse of good conscience and the absence of accountability and public scrutiny have led to crimes against humanity.” ~Nelson Mandela.