Category Archives: Future of the county

Future of the County –

…Heroes of tomorrow.

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 An Opinion.

Today we found ourselves visiting with several parents to monitor our children in several schools within the county to monitor progress made so far. We visited schools surrounded by people living in some of our most neglected communities in Oxon Hill, Capital Heights, Riverdale, Langley Park and Hyattsville. It is an interesting coincidence that got us thinking of the work that the heroes of yesterday began, and that our children and their children have to carry on with. Our county has had great men and women standing up at different times, but towards the same goal, of ensuring liberty, prosperity and justice for all.

The freedom fighters risked all to liberate us from the colonial yoke. After independence, another generation stepped in and risked everything when the very dreams that inspired the freedom fighters were being rolled back. These are the heroes of the first Liberation who faced numerous challenges including racism and segregation machines ultimately they reclaimed the rights and freedoms that were being taken away. For which they paid a great price. The heroes of our first, second, third, etc. Liberations have brought us this far. Some of these Heroes were Black, Indians, Whites, Latinos, and Asians amongst races. We are immensely indebted to them.

In July 2014 the United States of America turns 238 years old and counting. As we remember the heroes of the past centuries, we must focus on the next 50 years ahead and ask ourselves, who will be our heroes of that period and what will make them?

Listening to various leaders including governor O’Malley of Maryland, County Executive Rushern Baker, Senator Joan Benson of Prince George’s County speak about their challenges and promises of their respective areas, we found ourselves thinking of our country’s next fifty years, its old challenges that we have been unable to subdue and the new ones we are yet to start tackling.  It occurred to us that the heroes of the years ahead might be made in our county if we get it right.

Our county is certainly set to be the next theatre of action, opportunities, challenges and growth. That is why Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is  the most affluent metropolitan area in the United States. Prince George’s county in particular has been a magnet for international immigration since the late 1960s. It is also a magnet for internal migration (persons moving from one region of the U.S. to another). Many students in Prince George’s county bear great potential and promise for the future but they are never challenged for greater capabilities. What can we do to make their world mean something or rewarding?

In southern Maryland, NASA records the strongest all-round the year wind blowing in the same direction and capable of generating electricity for all of Prince George’s County. It has never been exploited. Like many other counties in Maryland, Prince George’s county is changing fast but transforming too slowly. The economy is growing, but so are poverty levels. Despite new challenges and new opportunities, outdated mindset  full of discriminatory tendencies persists. The heroes of the next fifty years of our county will be men and women who accept that we cannot create the future by clinging to the past. We should embrace diversity and work together for good of the county and the United States of America.

Prince George’s County and especially the County school system has a chance to open a new chapter with the coming of devolved units after HB1107. Already, a number of our county representatives are toying with grand visions but we should not let the old ways crop back in through the back door.

In the struggles of these representatives whether it is a senator, delegate or Board of Education member, we see a journey to determine the county’s future by expanding our county’s productivity. In this regard, the county carries great potential in determining our county’s next heroes. Unfortunately, the passion of the governor or other representatives or even the county Executive alone is not enough. Every defining moment in a nation’s history needs a champion at the center.  Abraham Lincoln stepped in to save the union that remains standing as the USA. He remains our country’s hero to date.

United States and especially Prince George’s County, needs people to champion and save devolution and secure our next fifty years. There is a simple logic that makes us passionate about the future of the county. The logic is that when we try to empower and make our neighbors rich, we create room for sharing, trading and making life rewarding for my neighbor, ourselves and myself.

Here in Prince George’s county, we still need to work hard to create better relations between our various ethnic groups. To win the battle against colonial powers, our founding fathers pulled together, in one direction. Today, we are falling apart at the seams. The heroes of the years ahead will be the men and women who will recognize this fact and act to permanently patch up the widening cracks between our ethnic groups whether white or black, Latino or Asian among other groups by addressing honestly and candidly the things that are setting various ethnic groups against another here in the county must be addressed. Let the leadership of the county Government be the model for others to follow. Let us challenge the state agencies like Maryland state Board of Education when they fail to perform in their duties properly and request proper accounting. Many of us paid a big price for advocating for change. We should not let the old ways of doing business continue unchallenged.

But we must also never forget that the struggle for freedom never ends. Future heroes will be men and women who remember the words of Ronald Reagan that…”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…”

Finally, whether we are ready for it or not, the world is moving into the era of innovation, science and technology.  Economists tell us that the world is getting smaller, but it is not coming together. The nations that innovate are going to rule the world.

United States as a whole has pioneered many things including planes, cellphones, internet, computers, etc. The planes are a unique United States contribution to the world. While it shows the capacity of United States to innovate, it may not be long before somebody comes up with something better. The heroes of the coming years will have to be men and women who keep United States of America on the front row through innovation, science and technology.  We live in an era when some corporations are richer than entire nations. We are confident that if we invest in them, the United States youth will give us the Sony, Citicorp, Philip Morris, Yahoo and Google of the next century and make them our heroes. The choice is ours.

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PGCPS submit report to MD lawmakers…

…on governance structure.

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The Prince George’s County school system — operating under a new governance structure for the past six months — has hired a new superintendent, gained six new school board members and is pushing forward with plans to reinvent itself, according to a new report submitted to state lawmakers.

Following last year’s overhaul initiated by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), the county schools now plan to reestablish a parent and community advisory council to increase parent engagement, hire a board liaison to work with the community and the administration, and work with the county government to create a legislative agenda and reduce spending. >>> Read more Washington Post

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tough questions on charter schools

Are they helping or hurting?

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Donna Montgomery, chief executive officer at Options Public Charter School, arrives at the school.

A senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board allegedly received $150,000 to help the former managers of Options Public Charter School evade oversight and take millions of taxpayer dollars for themselves, according to a new court document.

Jeremy L. Williams was the chief financial officer at the D.C. Public Charter School Board, responsible for monitoring the business practices of the city’s fast-growing charter schools. But at the same time he was entrusted with rooting out financial wrongdoing, he also allegedly joined in, according to the document. >>>Read More WashPost

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four-tough-questions-about-charter-schools >>> Read More Washington Post

Criticism of Teacher Unions in 2013.

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Anthony Cody a teacher who spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high school reviews his own sharp criticism of teachers’ unions during the past year for their support of the Common Core standards in 2013.

Cody questions why teachers have no one to support them when they question the validity of the Common Core.

He doubts that a one-year moratorium on high-stakes testing of the Common Core will matter much.

In a column that he cites, he wrote:

In effect, the Common Core tests will refresh NCLB’s indictment of public schools and teachers, with supposedly scientific precision.

Teachers – and union leaders — may feel as if they should get on board, to try to steer this process. However, I think this is a ship of doom for our schools. I think its effect will be twofold. It will create a smoother, wider, more easily standardized market for curriculum and technology. This will, in turn, promote the standardization of curriculum and instruction, and further de-professionalize teaching. The assessments will reinforce this, by tying teachers closer to more frequent timelines and benchmark assessments, which will be, in many places, tied to teacher evaluations. And the widespread failures of public schools will be used to further “disrupt the public school monopoly,” spurring further expansion of vouchers and charters and private schools.

We must move beyond not only the bubble tests, but beyond the era of punitive high stakes tests. Only then will we be able to use standards in the way they ought to be used – as focal points for our creative work as educators. I would be glad to have a year’s delay for the consequences of these tests, but I think we need to actively oppose the entire high stakes testing paradigm. The Common Core standards should not be supported as long as they are embedded in this system.

He calls upon the unions to exert leadership–not just in helping to impose CCSS–but in thinking critically about the corporate agenda and CCSS’s role in that agenda.

He holds out hope for change in 2014, a hope that we all share.

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Read more >> Union Accountability needed in PG County

Read more>>>Violation of the Grievance system

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Cartoon of Income Inequality

Happy Holidays!

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We all wish you a
happy holiday season
our sincere thanks for
your goodwill and loyalty
throughout the past year
we look forward to meeting you and being of greater service next year!

cheers!

~ Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County ~

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Maryland has far to go in testing…

…and teaching special education students

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Excluding children with disabilities from assessments artificially inflates  state rankings and reveals instruction issues

The Baltimore Sun gets high marks for uncovering the shameful fact that  Maryland ranks first nationally in improperly excluding  students with disabilities from taking the leading national test of reading  ability (“Md. excluded large number of special-education students in national  test,” Nov. 16). These exclusions inflate the state’s test scores. They also  deflate Maryland’s reputation as the No. 1 education state as ranked by  Education Week.

The exclusions help to reveal how certain practices ruin many, if not most,  chances that students with disabilities have for academic success. But they are  only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the lack of understanding — not  just about testing but about overall instruction of students with  disabilities.

Maryland has excluded so many students mainly because, under the rules  governing the test (known as the National Assessment of Academic Progress),  students with disabilities cannot have the test questions read aloud to them.  Without this “read-aloud accommodation,” as it’s known under federal law, many  students with disabilities would fail the test, lowering Maryland’s national  ranking.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-special-ed-20131205,0,3427384.story#ixzz2mgmn5mpS

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OPINION

  • Here is Prince George’s County we must emphasize that, real improvements in a school system like ours take time and hard work. Miraculous sudden improvements in student achievement reported today by Washington Post, when there were so many problems last year is likely the result of outright fraud or a rigged evaluation system designed to produce desired results.>>>> (Read More Washington Post )
  • We must demand election reform. We must move away from a system that enables elected officials here in Maryland  and party insiders to ensure that their preferred candidates always win down ballot races, such as elections for Board of Education members. Slates formed by incumbent elected officials and their “sample ballots” must go.  We deserve to have real elections where all candidates must sink or swim based on their own merits.

Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand investigations and initiation of changes… There is no smoke without fire!!

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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. Both leaders need to resign to create room for new leadership.

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Dr. Lillian Lowery Embattled State Superintendent is currently presiding over deep-seated corruption in Maryland school system. She has demonstrated a culture of discrimination and racism while on the job.

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Prince George’s BOE seat continues to remain vacant

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It took Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) less than a month to select Lyn Mundey to fill the school board seat vacated by Carletta Fellows (District 7) earlier this year.

After Donna Hathaway-Beck (District 9) resigned in late August, Baker quickly started accepting applications. Christian Rhodes, his education adviser, said at the time that the county executive planned to make an appointment by the end of September.

Three months later, the seat remains empty.

Baker has appointed four members on the 14-member board, which includes a student member.

Filling Hathaway-Beck’s seat would help Baker, who earlier this year sought a complete takeover of the school system, solidify his influence over the board.

So why has it taken so long for him to make the appointment? >>> Read More Washington Post

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