Category Archives: Education Forum

Md. test exclusion rate raises questions

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Maryland superintendent Lillian Lowery is on the spot for several bad things including poor leadership skills.

When Maryland officials recently trumpeted the performance of their students on national reading tests, they failed to mention one thing: The state blocked more than half its English language learners and students with learning disabilities from taking the test, students whose scores would have dragged down the results.

Maryland excluded 62 percent of students in two categories — learning-disabled and English learners — from the fourth-grade reading test and 60 percent of those students from the eighth-grade reading test. >>> Read More Washington Post

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

…regarding the transition panel

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

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

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

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

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Opponents to hold Common Core protest at MSDE…

…as part of national event.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Maryland:

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

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

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

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Maxwell addresses the Prince George’s County Council

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In his first public appearance before the Prince George’s County Council, Schools Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell said Tuesday that he is evaluating the district’s specialty programs, surveying underutilized schools and analyzing how grades are distributed in schools.

Maxwell said the district, which has experienced a drop in enrollment over the last several years, has a number of schools that are under capacity, and “there is some question of whether they should be closed.” >>> Read More Washington Post

OPINION:

School consolidation either fixes budget shortfalls and creates great schools or destroys a sense of community and adversely impacts local economies. An examination of the pros and cons reveals that each argument has it strengths and weaknesses. The issue of money and what makes a great school cuts both ways in the school consolidation discussion. We hope the agenda in Prince George’s County public school is not to sell any of them but to preserve as many as possible incase parents who have left with their children decide to come back. Closer examination sorts out the thrust of the pros and cons of consolidation.
1.      Education Quality
  • Proponents of school consolidation use the quality of education as a selling point. When two or more small schools consolidate, the resulting school will be able to offer more courses and hire more diverse faculty with teaching expertise in specialized areas. In particular, specialized courses that appeal to only a handful of students will likely generate interest from more students, allowing the school to offer them. This would include advanced classes in mathematics and science, and other areas of study such as drama or non-traditional foreign languages such as Russian or Japanese. Let us hope the Prince George’s County Public schools CEO and the Board members have a plan.

2.      Money

  • The ability to save money is another big selling point for schools considering consolidation. When schools are consolidated, unused school buildings can be sold or used for other purposes, and utility and maintenance costs are reduced, especially if the consolidated school is newer and more energy efficient. Transportation costs are also reduced as fewer school buses will be needed to cover overlapping routes.[I’d have to disagree on this one; most studies show an increase in transportation costs as students are bused past closed schools to the new one. -Ed] Employees needed for non-academic services such as office personnel, cafeteria workers and custodial services can also be reduced. That means, there is going to be job loses if the issue is taken heads on. We hope the Board of Education members will be transparent on this one.

3.      Loss of Identity

  • Local communities identify themselves with their school. Consolidation normally involves some smaller towns losing a school. While saving money is a pro, the loss of the school becomes a con. Parents want their children to attend the same small school they did. For community residents, the closing of the school they attended in the name of consolidation registers as a negative. They fear their children will be lost in the large consolidated school, and they feel they won’t be able to identify with the new school.

4.      Economic Impact

  • Some of the money saved as a result of consolidation is a result of cutting jobs. Small-town schools are often one of the largest employers in the town, and when a school closes it can have a negative effect on the community. School workers who are laid off will face much stiffer competition for those same positions in the consolidated school and face a good chance of not getting hired. David Thompson, a Kansas State University professor in education leadership, points out that the money spent on schools is partially returned to the local community as school employees spend their salaries at local businesses; by shuttering smaller schools, consolidation takes that money out of the small-town community.

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Maryland schools struggle…

…in new ranking under poor leadership.

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By The Associated Press
October 24, 2013 – 05:30 am
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – While Maryland’s school system has had the top spot in a  publication’s annual ranking of the nation’s schools for five years in a row,  the state is far from the top of a new report comparing eighth-graders in the  United States with other states and 38 other countries.
Massachusetts was the only state to score in a top rating in math in the study  being released Thursday by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for  Education Statistics. Only eight -states – Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota,  Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin – scored in a top  rating for science.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/10/maryland-schools-struggle-in-new-ranking-95847.html#ixzz2ig8QDtsO

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

Opinion concerning six-month plan….

…and the leadership involved in the process for Prince George’s schools

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Following the appointment of Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools and Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes as the Transition Team Chair and co-chair respectfully,  We find the decision to appoint them into these positions to be illegal, a conflict of interest and also very unaesthetic. What is going on? Is this the kind of revolution we advocated for? Time has changed and we are no longer in 1970’s to take this unethical practice lying down. Otherwise, if we do not react,  the school system will continue to suffer no matter who is put at the helm because the shakeup that’s needed the most is at levels well below that of the superintendent. Today’s world demands a culture of transparency and accountability. Our opinion as articulated in yesterday’s blog follows again below… We plan to follow up with more analysis in the future…. stay involved and please demand changes. A luta continua! The transition team is scheduled to finish its work in December and submit a report to the Board of Education. >>> Read more Washington Post

OPINION

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s county is challenging Prince George’s county citizens to be prepared to make sacrifices for their county and to protect the gains already achieved while they seek for more. We must make sacrifices to build on the gains achieved so far and learn from America’s experiences especially in the field of protection of rights and decentralization of power and resources.

Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington and others who fought for freedom knew that freedom is not given; it must be won through struggle, persistence and faith in the future.

As we have mobilized political leaders, we have been a witness to history. In our own small way, we have contributed to the history of our county. We have been a witness as the tide of history turned in our county as a model for others. As participants in some of the events that changed our county school system. As residents and workers we have pushed forward toward freedom and we can tell you nothing comes easy, and surrender cannot be an option at this time.

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

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Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation.

Now this brings us to the raging debate on why an appointment was made of such a large group (32) to review an issue which led to the appointment of Dr. Kevin Maxwell as the CEO of Prince George’s County public schools. Before he interviewed and accepted the job, we had already identified “the top priorities“. So what happened?   In our honest opinion, this appointment of two of the top leadership (Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes) to run the affairs of the county is dishonest, misplaced and hypocritical. First, Charlene Dukes who served as a previous Board member during a time of high levels of corruption should be viewed with a lot of suspicion.  Why would any leader thrive in the suffering of his or her people who either freely elected him or her or surrendered all authority to him or her to govern? What was the purpose of appointing the expanded Board of Education and their supposedly expertise of some of the new members? If a grievance arose of such a group who will resolve it given Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes are supposedly neutral of which they are not? Isn’t what they are doing illegal and creates a conflict of interest? Why appoint someone and then follow him to throw your power/ weight around? Where is the outrage?

The current group led by Dr. Charlene Dukes and Dr. Lillian Lowery is comprised of a bunch of people without a clue of what has been going on. While some of them are good men and women, How are they going to make recommendations to solve a problem within the county they do not even understand or believe in themselves? The people of Prince George’s County needs a chance to come up with their own solutions. Top of their list should be eliminate the current group (32) which has their own selfish agenda to derail the progress made so far. The Unions need to be reformed first, we do not expect them to shoot themselves on their feet. Do you? How about Mr. Dwayne Jones (President ASASP) mentioned in our blogs? Does anyone in their right mind expect him to reform the principal’s union? Mr. Jones does not even have time to add a message to his followers on the website. We do not think so…

The Washington post article mentions that, “The transition team is scheduled to finish its work in December and submit a report to the Board of Education.”  The poor unfortunate Prince Georges children and their parents deserve better than this. Take a look at some of those names on the “team”. Same people with the same philosophy. This is the ultimate definition of insanity. This was never about anything but raw political power to some of these people.

Power, they say, does not flow along the lines of an organization’s organograms; power is fluid and often asymmetrical.

Access is power, those who have unlimited access to leaders often tend to have more power and influence on decision-making processes than elected leaders holding seemingly powerful positions.

As political historian Hedrick Smith writes in his book, The Power Game – HowWashington Works’ access to a president means involvement in major decisions and actions of the State. Smith writes the most vital ingredients of power are often intangible. Information is power. Visibility around the president or his deputy is power and so is access to the inner sanctums of government.

The fear of political manipulation and arbitrariness in Prince George’s County Board of Education duties has led several Board members to question the new order of doing Business. They are correct.  The HB1107 did not create space to include such a large number of personal friends to investigate themselves.

A great deal of criticism should be directed at the Maryland state Board of Education by various parties as a result of several errors committed by the state agency in managing the affairs of the county and Maryland as a state.

In our view and consistent to those expressed by many others, beyond seeking justice, we must entertain self-preservation as a key motive of the Maryland state Board of Education. The Maryland state Board of Education must demonstrate results to funding county Boards and various interest groups. This motive raises the probability of miscarriage of justice and selective prosecution as is quite apparent in the several cases lately.

Under the current structure, Maryland state Board of Education is likely to continue losing support. Its scope of powers and especially the office of the Attorney General is too broad and wide open to political manipulation that it would be irrational to expect fair adjudication of justice.

Unless serious reforms are undertaken to ensure Maryland state Board of Education can be trusted to execute justice fairly, it will continue digging its own grave and in the process undermining justice.

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

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

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Let’s face it. Criticism has…

…become a dirty word.

CRITICISM. Magnifying glass over different association terms.

Pick up any thesaurus and you’ll find “criticism” in the company of “nit-picking, objection, disapproval, and objection.”

The truth is criticism doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

In the last several months now, we have given perspectives on Prince George’s county public schools whenever we can. This is in line with democratic ideals. A democracy is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Thus, the public opinion is an important aspect. The people in turn could hold the government accountable and change it, if they knew what they were doing is wrong. Our voice through the social media and this blog mobilized lawmakers and yielded HB1107.

In this regard, there is a need to inform the people of issues of concern around them so that there are proper checks and balances on the government of the day especially within the county and the Maryland state Board of Education. Media plays a vital role in this area and that is why we must keep advocating for the people through constructive criticism. So far there are several things of concern and we will be outlining our views shortly after our sincerity agenda to transform the county was hijacked by dark forces. The dark forces trying to take over our reform agenda here in PG county are on a revenge mission (Keep checking our concerns here in our blog). It is important to look at our work and appreciate our perspectives. We are not going to rest until proper changes are in place through criticism. This is what makes democracy work!

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

In a broader context, criticism is an assessment, review or observation that can even be in the form of appreciation. Nobody seems to ever talk about that one: When the criticism is good, we don’t call it criticism, we call it approval. We call it praise. We call it being appreciated.

And who doesn’t enjoy sincere appreciation for their work?

Anyways, for constructive criticism to occur three things have to happen: There should be interest on the part of the criticizer and the criticized, there should be bonding and trust that the discussion is for the right reasons, and the criticism should be presented as a discussion.

When the criticism meets these three criteria, there is a strong foundation for learning to occur, and for both members to benefit from honest criticism.

Here are the three advantages to constructive criticism:

Gives New Perspective & Valuable Insight

When someone invites our criticism, we have the opportunity to help that person by giving our perspective or insight into the situation.

For example, say someone asks us to check out an article they’ve written to get our opinion. Chances are the person really wants to know what we think so that they can make it the best it can be.

Our objective reading of the article can give the person valuable insight into how they can improve the article. If they weigh the importance or usefulness of the criticism, they can rewrite or revise the article to make it better

Thus, the writer and article become more valuable due to the constructive criticism.

Here’s the real kicker: different people have different perspectives and knowledge about the way the world works. Each person brings a unique perspective to the table. If we listen and try to understand their perspective, we can apply that perspective to our work to make it better.

Think about it. Say someone wants to improve the design on their website. Who could provide beneficial criticism? Web designers? Regular readers? Casual readers?

Everyone provides a unique perspective.

Furthers Bonding and Trust

If we’re able to give our honest opinion on something, and the other person finds it valuable, we can increase our bonding and trust with that person.

Giving constructive criticism shows the other person that we value his or her work. The result is an increased level of respect between us and the other person.

If we’re lucky enough to have really cool friends that reciprocate coolness, they will provide their valuable perspective to us.

Let’s say that we help our friend out by reviewing his article and improving the spelling and grammar so people can read it easier.

He says, “Wow, that sure is swell. I can’t believe I have such knowledgeable and cool friends willing to help me.”

So when we want to make sure one of our articles is near perfect, we can send it on to our friend and ask him for his honest opinion.

More than likely, he’ll return the favor to help us out.

As Jim Rohn said, “Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process.”

If we give our valuable perspective, others might be inclined to return the favor.

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Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated corrupt leadership and continues “a culture of pay to play” and manipulation.

No Hurt Pride or Resentment

So, when we offer even the slightest disapproval of others or their work without them inviting us to, we are basically asking for them to hate us.

Hans Selye said, “As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.”

Constructive criticism is different in that we only give it when we’re invited to give it. We give constructive criticism to people that we know and trust, and the people we are criticizing know our true intentions. We present constructive criticism as a discussion, and that our viewpoint is only one perspective and isn’t necessarily fact.

As well, constructive criticism is more about giving an overall view of things: what’s going well, what could be improved upon, etc.

In return, the people we criticize are thankful that we’ve provided valuable feedback to improve themselves or their work.

Your turn: In what situations do you think constructive criticism could be particularly helpful? How do we avoid people getting angry with us for offering feedback? When is it not appropriate to give criticism?

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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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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.

PGCPS finally hears our cry…

….concerning high suspension rates and outlines new disciplinary policy in student handbook to address the concern.

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In Prince George’s County Public school system, there were 15,615 suspensions in the 2011-2012 school year and 13,951 in 2012-2013, a drop of 1,664.

Prince George’s County schools (PGCPS) have a new discipline policy that officials hope will reduce the number of suspensions following our expose in corroboration with Washington post and keep students in school. The PGCPS school district has done a good thing by improving their disciplinary code for students. Enforcing too many days of suspension leads to students falling behind on their homework and many never catch up again. Since many students are punished for misbehavior, in many school districts around the country, this is a good improvement for sure. Zero tolerance should not be a base for disciplinary codes.

According to Washington post, …”The policy, outlined in a handbook recently distributed to the county’s 123,000 students, reduces the number of offenses that could include suspension as a punishment and places a maximum number of days a student can be kept out of class for a specific offense.”… >>Read more Washington post

Many schools across the nation report increases in the use of punitive disciplinary methods (e.g., suspension). As a result, many students on suspension become a problem to our society. The need for these disciplinary practices to address serious student misconduct is undisputed. However, what research has questioned is why some students seem to be suspended more often than others, what effects suspension has on students, and whether or when alternatives to suspension might be more effective practices than suspension itself.

In general, African-American male students are suspended at higher rates than are other racial/ethnic groups. While the reasons for the connection between race and school discipline is not clear, this relation likely occurs because of an interplay among many factors that cut across student-, teacher-, administrative-, policy-, institutional-, and community-level factors. Research suggests that school systems that incorporate comprehensive schoolwide practices that are positive, consistent, collaboratively regulated, and culturally sensitive are much more likely to have lower rates of suspension than schools without such practices. School systems that incorporate such comprehensive proactive policies are also much more likely to enhance their students’ current and future academic achievements as well as their broader life successes.

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We are like farmers. We plant seeds of thought and emotions in our lives. That which we plant will produce effects in which we must live. There can be no effect without a cause. The cause is what we believe, how we act and react to what we experience. The cause lies within us. It is the essence of our being, our spirit. ~ Iyanla Vanzant

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