Category Archives: MONICA GOLDSON

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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Jury awards $90 million in Prince George’s County wrongful-death case

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By ,

Apr 14, 2013 10:44 PM EDT

The Washington Post Published: April 14

A Prince George’s County Circuit Court jury has awarded $90 million to the family of a 13-year-old girl who died four years ago after she was struck by a car while trying to catch a school bus. The family of Ashley Davis, who was a freshman at Crossland High School, sued the Prince George’s County Board of Education after she succumbed to her injuries two weeks after the Sept. 1, 2009, crash. A six-member jury handed down the wrongful-death verdict — one of the largest in the court’s history — this month. Read more ~~>Jury awards $90 million in Prince George’s County wrongful-death case

Prince George’s County Government leaders  in 2009 school year when this incident happened:

County Executive: Jack B. Johnson 

 Board of Education Chairperson: Verjeana M. Jacobs.

 Superintendent of School /CEO: Dr. William Hite Jr.

These are some of the issues Reform Sasscer Movement has been trying to have the Board of Education (BOE) members see clearly and fix without success. The amount involved here is not the issue.  It will take care of itself. It always does. The real concern is a wonderful, innocent child died, who would have been 17 and a Sr. in High school this year. This family lost a very much loved member of their family; and others lost a very cherished friend. Quite possibly the world lost a future scientist with the cure for cancer, a doctor who perhaps would have saved your grandchild’s life one day!

However, the open discussion this case has triggered is a healthy start to perhaps changing policy to prevent this from ever happing again to our school aged children that must take public transportation to get to school. It’s unfortunate that this had to happen, but the bigger tragedy is it took a jury hitting the PG County school board upside the head with a 2 x 4 before anyone would take notice and even have a discussion on this matter. The corrupt and inept PG County School Board is only costing its residents more money. Surely, the arrogant BOE lawyers could have settled this case a long time ago, but they chose to drag it for their own selfish motives after being rewarded $5million “No bid” contract.

No amount of money…no amount of time passing will make that heartache go away. The only way to get some folks attention and force change is to show them how outlandishly dilapidated they were in their duties. This PGCPS transportation system has been in dire need of an overhaul for a long time. It is very sad but some of the bus drivers are involved in childish political games within the system. When The WaPo printed a story about a 5 year old who was put on the wrong bus, then dropped off in the middle of nowhere and left to fend for herself, there was little outrage. When there is little outrage, there is little inspiration or motivation to make improvements. It’s not about the money as we said before. The jury send a message. Now, perhaps the Prince George’s County District school system needs an overhaul. They now have about $90 million reasons to get motivated to fix what is very much broken.

Many thanks to the eight jurors for their selfless service to the county and its citizens on this case; and for the tough decision they had to make as well. We are sure it was not easy having to sit and listen to a testimony in such a landmark case for the county, or the nation for this matter. Urgent action will be required to address various issues currently affecting children, employees and families at Sasscer (PGCPS HQ). We are sure much progress will be made once the new BOE Chairperson and Superintendent comes on board. (See Highlights of HB1170 signed by Governor O’Malley)

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi”

Why unions are problematic in PGCPS District.

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As much as we would rather not accept it, while unions have done a lot of good and have helped workers avoid exploitation, they also seem to have helped senior administrators including superintendent of schools and other senior administrators within the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in several cases exploit workers. Perhaps it has been a gradual shift over time, with some Unions slowly accumulating more and more power and colluding with management in many cases to abuse employees within PGCPS School District and elsewhere.

Unions in many cases can have the power to impede an organization’s ability to compete and thrive. A school District might be in desperate trouble, yet its unions may be unwilling to bend or compromise in order to help the systems survive. Many school districts around the country are finding themselves left very inflexible when they have Union contracts to abide by which might be good for workers. However, what is happening in PGCPS is driven by pure selfish greed among the Union personnel who are involved in corruption especially within Maryland State Educator Association (MSEA).  The PGCEA attorney involved in the grievance procedure a Mr. Damon Felton from MSEA (Pictured here on the right)  has been acting  in conspiracy with others engaged in corruption with regards to processing Damon_mediumgrievances and other matters. The grievance system in PG county has failed in accomplishing its initial mission and in this scenerio, students and families of Prince George’s County suffer. There is a direct corelation with the mal-practice by the union staff which has led to increasing discontent within the entire school District. This dissatisfaction, if not dealt with appropriately, ends up boiling down to an uncomfortable situation and an unpleasant word called ‘stress.’

“Stress is a normal physiological response to ‘danger’ as perceived by the body or brain. The factors that lead to stress can be self-induced as well as induced by the surroundings. Employee stress shows a direct impact on an organization’s business. While from the business angle it can affect productivity, client service, profits and team work, from the individual’s perspective it can lead to deteriorating morale and self-esteem, low confidence levels, health hassles and a troubled personal life.

In many cases, the Union staff involved in negotiations has been busy lining their own pockets or involved in illicit acts as shown in other areas as well  for example ACE-AFSCME Local 2250, ASASP,  SEIU  and PGCEA Unions to the dismay of many members and the community at large. The Union staff members involved in this activity have been violating their oath of office in several ways. They have been acting in questionable ways including lying, bribing select candidates for the local board office among other issues. (The Board members who are the target of bribery and back door campaign contributions are well-known). These issues need to be addressed or brought to a stop without any further delay within PGCPS School District. The PG County delegation  needs to look into these issues and stop the practice.  If the Unions want to serve and assist, they ought to be accountable or made  to account by various stake holders and they must play by the rules. We cannot afford to have a few elements destroy our democratic institutions for what appears to be purely personal greed driven by malice.

Public life means meeting our shared responsibilities, caring for one another, and building the mutual trust upon which democracy depends. The recommendations below are special cases of these moral principles. They also represent a special case of a general strategy – to restore public life to American democracy which includes Prince George’s County School District.

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1. We must return the public to our political system and end the corrupt influence of selfish interests that have abandoned our shared responsibilities. This means public finance of campaigns, strict enforcement of the highest ethical standards in public life, and protection of the sacred right to vote.

2. Our nation has vast national wealth: a huge continental landmass with wealth in minerals, agricultural land, forests, cities, beautiful places, as well as its public wealth, that is, the creative wealth of its educated citizenry and the collective wealth of all its citizens and corporations. We, the public, can put our nation’s vast wealth to use in creating jobs that make the lives of all better: building, educating, curing, and imagining. That is the Dream.

To realize the Dream, we must end the Nightmare.

3. We must turn back the Right’s assault on public and higher education and meet our traditional commitment to education. Our children are tomorrow’s public. The future of democracy depends upon them.

4. We must rebuild our public infrastructure, a fancy term for the necessities we share: roads, bridges, dams, parks, fair grounds, water mains, sewers, and the power grid; public agencies that monitor disease, weather and food safety. Government that works for all of us can and should create jobs that serve us all by rebuilding our shared necessities.

5. We must come together publicly to mutually ensure the health of all America. Health is not a private matter. It is public one.

6. We must protect the prior earnings of American workers set aside in Social Security or private pensions. They have been earned through hard work and discipline. Taking these earnings away is theft, despite the Right’s use of the word “entitlements.”

7. A public of unequal voices is not a democratic public. We need a progressive tax system through which all Americans pay their fair share and a business ethics that fairly rewards those whose work creates productivity and profit.

8. We must put the American individual above abstract corporate entities. We must end “corporate personhood,” which gives transnational corporations a greater voice than individuals in our public deliberations.

9. We must end the move to “privatize” institutions through which we meet our shared responsibilities. When the public is removed, the private sphere takes over, charging more, and often creating unaccountable monopolies that bilk the public. Privatization of the public typically means that most citizens just pay more, often a lot more.

10. Discrimination of all kinds must be overcome. Public life depends upon recognition of our equal humanity.

This is why Democracy is, and must remain, public. This is why America has traditionally been a beacon to the world. This is the example America has set. We dare not give it up. The alternative is the Nightmare.

TOP PRIORITIES FOR PGCPS – LET YOUR VOTE COUNT ON NOV. 6 2012 ELECTION

TOP PRIORITIES FOR THE INCOMING BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS IN PGCPS.

  1. Restore sanity to Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) discourse (Addressing corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct at Sasscer Administration Building).
  2. Evaluate unprofessional relationship between Dr. William Hite and various unions representing employees as well as some young female Principals.
  3. Review activities of previous Chief Legal Counsel Mr. Roger Thomas and previous Chief Human Resources Officer -Synthia J. Shilling (formerly Deputy Legal Counsel). These two cost the school system millions of dollars.
  4. Create a strong anti-discrimination and harassment policy in PGCPS. Obey state and federal laws.
  5. Access certification credentials held by senior management including Ms. Monica Goldson etc.
  6. Limit the purchasing power as exercised by Dr.William Hite when purchasing school system merchandize. (Who abused this power and was without oversight).
  7. Find ways to address and help reduce high suspension rate throughout the PGCPS District. Suspended students become a problem to the community.
  8. Examine closely all contracts over $10,000 signed off by Dr. William Hite Jr. and Ms. Verjeana Jacobs previously  BOE Chair).
  9. Consider the following points as they impact the entire school District.
  • A.) Adding tighter campaign finance rules to avoid repeats of the Thatcher Campaign Donations Fiasco.
  • B.) Lobbying the County Council and the County Executive (Rushern Baker) to appoint an Inspector General (IG) to address waste, fraud, and abuse issues for all county agencies at Baker’s Office (including School Board). (These steps are necessary because an I.G. has not been appointed and there are an abundance of attorneys). Yes we can!
  • C.) Enforce the existing Codes of Ethics for all central office employees. Report infractions that go unpunished to MSDE.
  • D.) Report all concerns to MSDE so the state department is more accountable to us in enforcing state laws and policies at the local level.
  • E.) Ask tough questions about Ms. Elizabeth Davis, alleged lover to Tony Liberatore. His wife allegedly walked up on those two kissing at Sasscer. Ms. Davis does EEOC hearings/mediations. What are her qualifications and credentials for that role with such low morals? What connection did she have with Ms. Synthia Kucner?

11. Consider rules and regulations by federal, state and BOE policies.

  • A.) Abide by state law for Hite’s contract. The verbage for the state law is on the BOE webpage. see the attached link.
  • B.) Establish more precise criteria so we can get a better leader. Attract qualified, traditional candidates from other than Broad Group and other such organizations.
  • C.) Elect a BOE that will supervise rather than fraternize with the Superintendent.
  • D.) Complete THOROUGH background checks to avoid embarrassment of incidents like Deasy’s questionable doctorate.

12.  Examine closely appointments of personnel –

A.) Look into the growing number of personnel in PGCPS like Jim Whattam, Esq., and Baker’s appointees like Mr. Christian Rhodes, Education Liaison, who have extensive ties to Prince George’s County Educator Association (PGCEA). Be fair to all unions without over representing the teachers.

B.) The serious allegations of misconduct by previous Superintendent Dr. William Hite Jr. and some female employees need to be investigated. The concerns need to be put directly in writing to the BOE members and a demand for an investigation launched right away. A Copy needs to be forwarded to Mr. Rod Rosenstein’s office if the BOE does not act. The man was worse than Dr. Hornsby.

13.  Dr. William Hite Jr. should be summoned back to explain what happened when he appointed less qualified, non-credentialed personnel without following the state law. BOE should supervise the future Superintendent and force HR compliance. In the previous format, Dr. Hite always told the BOE what to do. This is unacceptable.

14. Review the following deals:

  • A.) Washington Plaza, lobbyist ties and campaign donations
  • B.) H-1B
  • C.) The 27 administrators currently in arbitration
  • D.) Lack of due process among ALL employees for hearings, terminations, etc under Mr. Roger Thomas, Synthia J. Shilling, and Mr. Jim Whattam
  • E.) OIA number of lawsuits and EEOC complaints. There are so many EEOC complaints, they now have outsourced to other field offices throughout the country.
  • F.) Review overlap of Legal Department for attorney duties for waste
  • G.) The Thatcher contract was a no bid contract, totally against BOE policy. It needs to be cancelled.
  • H.) The $90 million Dr. Hornsby left behind that has been squandered.
  • I.) A proper investigation needs to be launched ASAP to follow money trail involving Dr. William Hite Jr., Roger Thomas, Mr. Matthew E. Stanski, Ms. Synthia J. Shilling also known as Ms. Synthia Kucner, and co-conspirators.

15. Contact state and federal officials (FBI, DOJ) about the broken laws, policies and procedures.

16. Go to Dept of Labor, MSDE, EEOC and any other organizations like NAACP, Casa de Maryland and La Raza about discrimination and hiring. Demand to know about credentials and licensure. The State Department is already doing an audit.

17. Report any information to Miranda Spivack or Ovetta Wiggins of the Washington Post or NBC4 Prince George’s County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins so they may do a story on misappropriation of funds. (After the incident with Dr. Hornsby occurred, BOE policies/procedures were implemented to prevent a reoccurrence. These procedures have yet to be followed.

18. Stop empowering Principals who harbor strong biases and use the system to destroy teaching credentials in order to remove teachers who don’t appeal to them. Test scores rise because of teachers and not because of the principals. Administrators should be receptive helpers and not feared executioners.

19. Teachers and staff in PGCPS need a raise like what happened to Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) teachers recently. PGCPS staff have not had a raise for a while now. They work very hard usually without compensation.

20. Investigate Office of Constituent Services which acts as a campaign tool for Dr. William Hite even after he left the system. This office does very little to promote the interests of the PGCPS. The said office was only created to promote William Hite’s personal agenda and the staff overpaid to sit around to help put out fires touching on Dr. William Hite. Several staff members were given huge raises with no justification by Superintendent Hite personally. In this regard, IT Help Desk and Constituent Services needs to be merged to avoid duplication of duties.

21. Investigate IT Department and the relationship between some BOE members connected to fired IT Director Mr. Pierre Dickson. Verify what damage caused by the said Director and his lover Ms. Shanita Anderson.

22. Investigate nepotism beginning with Dr. William Hite’s office for the following reasons;

  • A.) The Director of communications Mr. Briant K. Coleman is a close family member to second in command.
  • B.) Several Instructional Directors have spouses who are either Principals or administrators within PGCPS.
  • C.) The previous Director was fired to create room for the current Communication Director, who is family member of the Deputy Superintendent.
  • D.) Previous Director of Communication was unjustly terminated in pretext for raising a discrimination issue.(see attached ~> Breedon vs PGCPS Bd. of Ed Hite)
  • E.) Investigate Ms. Monica Goldson, Chief Operating Officer (COO). She has several relatives in high level positions beginning at Sasscer – HR and in various schools. As the chief operating officer (COO), She controls millions of dollars and reports to the chief executive officer or the superintendent of schools. She is also responsible for the PGCPS’s day-to-day operating activities, including revenue and sales growth; expense, cost and margin control; and monthly, quarterly and annual financial goal management etc. What did she do to Dr. Hite to get the job without qualifications?

Investigate, investigate and change things immediately.

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – President Barack Obama

Statement regarding the appointment of Dr. Alvin Crawley.

Dr. Alvin Crawley (picture above) will serve as Interim Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools for the 2012-13 school year.

Reform Sasscer Movement welcomes the appointment of a new leader – Dr. Alvin Crawley on temporary basis as the superintendent of schools. He seems like a decent man, so we plan to give him a chance for as long as he sustains the transparency and accountability reform agenda.   However,  we must denounce those in the system loudly shouting about their tainted reform credentials. Many of them starting with some Board of Education (BOE) members have neither censured nor condemned acts of hooliganism and lawlessness as demonstrated by Synthia Shilling, Monica Goldson, Roger Thomas and William Hite Jr.

As a movement, we must reject the appointment of Ms. Monica Goldson as a Chief Operating Officer (COO).  This is a decoy which resembles siphoning of  gas out of  our fuel tanks and it’s not going to work.  In the last five years, she has been the woman behind unpopular policies of the corrupt Superintendent Dr. William Hite Jr.  Her actions, whether deliberate or not,  led to her divorce proceedings in 2009 which have now become final. Please read between the lines and connect the dots.  Ms. Monica Goldson should not be allowed to  pass judgment over any staff when she was a failure as a principal. She has low moral standards is very nasty and should go with Synthia Shilling, Dr. Hite and the rest of the corrupted people. PGCEA and other unions needs to help force out all the high-ranking administrators  bringing down the system.  The other person who should be rejected and shown the door as quickly as possible is Chief legal Counsel Mr. Roger Thomas who has been on that position for close to 20 years now. During his tenure, we have seen corruption increase under his watch and he was the person behind hiring of Synthia Shilling aka Kucner (pictured below). He was also the force behind Andre Hornsby saga, who was convicted on July 23, 2008, of honest services wire fraud, witness and evidence tampering and obstruction of justice among other issues by the FBI. (Read more).

Beer and liquor consumption at Sasscer administrative building was another issue which led to Synthia shilling losing her job. We demand the resignation of Monica Goldson for the benefit of staff, students and parents of Prince George’s county. The time has come to move forward firmly and in the right direction. There is clearly a light at the end of the tunnel.

Without mentioning names we must say that “these fake and hypocritical reformists who use empty rhetoric to woo votes but do not care about the true taste of our county school system must be rejected on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 election. They drink wine but preach water. ” said Morris Flecher Beyene.  Just look at the bathrooms in many of these schools which are poorly cleaned? If we expect a world-class school system, we must be prepared for sacrifices.

In any case, we must say that we are very excited about the effects of our blogs. We have precipitated “tectonic shifts and volcanic eruptions” and now many PG Citizens are asking the way forward after the revelations interpreted by political commentators as might a considerable impact on the Board of Education candidature of the current Board.

“It is our wish that we focus our attention as a people and as a county on the illusive but yet incomplete liberation struggle for our county system in the next year! The struggle involves liberation from unemployment, intolerance, exploitation, inequalities, corruption, racism, discrimination, professional misconduct and nepotism”.

As a movement, we are calling on voters to retire unnamed “political dinosaurs” and “merchants of impunity” who are still trying to cling to power.  Abuse of office, corruption, political trickery, and public deception orchestrated or covered up in William Hite’s office must be cleaned once and for all.

We have the necessary proof of poor leadership and “deception, duplicity, and hypocrisy” in the William Hite’s camp

This county requires a leader with the ability and will power not only to unite the people but roll out sound development agenda and rid the society of socio-economic problems it is currently faced with.

Above all, a new leader must get a clean break from the crisis which has become the “Maryland scandal” and is morally dead because of the actors involved. Dr. William Hite, Synthia Shilling, Pierre Dickson, etc. are on the run!

Synthia Shilling aka Kucner will be reporting to Anne Arundel County  Detention Center on September 7, 2012 to serve time for her bad behavior. The rest of 58 days of suspended jail time will be spent at home. She also faces one (1) year probation. She cried like a baby in the court room on August 27, 2012 when she told the judge her father passed away last week. But the tough Maryland judge did not want to hear it because she has had four drunk driving records.  Stay tuned here, we will bring you updates as time goes.

This is such an embarrassment for PG County. We have a history of hiring individuals that no one else wants to hire, and the results are devastating. Case in point: Andre Hornsby (currently serving time in prison),  County Executive Jack Jackson (also serving time in prison) and a host of other leaders who are only interested in furthering their own careers rather than the education and well-being of our students and county residents. We are disgusted for sure. It’s time to say “No” to these shenanigans and a shame the devil! No one should rest easy until the bad leadership is off the door…. Call your elected officials now and demand a regime change for the few elements connected to Dr. William Hite Jr. It’s time….

Moses Mackenzie
Policy Director
Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County.

Synthia Shilling, Dr. William Hite Jr and Monica Goldson are picture above.

Good riddance to Dr.William Hite Jr.

Dr. William Hite Jr (pictured above) is a pathological liar, there’s no doubt about that. He is also a cover-up artist. If the court reports in Greenbelt Federal courts are correct in its summary of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) corruption and sexual exploitation of children scandal, the public Dr. William Hite Jr of the last few years is a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite. He should not be a Superintendent of schools anywhere!

According to concerned citizens of Prince George’s County, we must abolish entire PGCPS leadership led by Dr. Hite and Ms. Verjeana Jacobs in the wake of findings by the federal judge that Scott Smallwood, of Upper Marlboro and an employee of PGCPS hid his crimes of being a child rapist.  The three-hour sentencing hearing on Wednesday July 18, 2012 involved home movies of sexual acts, trembling verbal testimonies from distraught family members and an exhibit of a homemade doll that resembled an anatomically correct adolescent boy Smallwood used in what U.S. District Court Judge Roger W. Titus called his own “fantasy world.” (Read more) “This is a very sad day especially since this happened again not too long ago in Bowie High School in which students were forced in prostitution by athletic coaches”, said a concerned PG parent. Another incident involving student sexual exploitation happened in Flowers High school as well under the leadership of Dr. William Hite Jr.  We need to put a stop to Board of Education’s shenanigans. We have finally reached the tipping point for sure and we have had enough. Enough is enough with cover up and appointing select few who are politically connected like Ms. Monica Goldson as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in order to continue the status quo.

We have said over and over again that, The PGCPS leadership lacks vision, and they continue to bend to parents who lack the insight to recognize that their failure to have control over the student body and place the right staff in the right place has led to an environment in which few are educated but all get diplomas at the end of the school year. Thus very few college graduates emerge from this school district that has many students taking the AP exam but keeps no records on those passing the AP exam. This year for example Central High School had students photographing AP exams and posting the pages on the internet because students are used to using their cell phones while in class and the school staff is powerless to stop it. There is no doubt  Dr. Hite is an outstanding education reform propagandist. Unfortunately there is no substance underneath the propaganda. The Prince George’s County public school district has seriously deteriorated under his leadership which was certainly hampered by a know nothing and do nothing school board again led by one Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.

Therefore, it is disturbing that our members of the Board of Education recently spent untold hours debating who should be included in Executive Session in an apparent battle over whether our student Board member should be included to hear set of facts involving Adult matters.

That’s really not the issue. We want our curricula to be based on sound, empirical data and grounded in common sense. Unfortunately, the best interests of our students and our county have taken a back seat to the promotion of an ideological agenda focused on Board of Education chairperson’s rival in November 2012 election.

Do we need to have public input regarding curricula coming out of the PGCPS Education Agency? Certainly. But the actions of the PGCPS BOE provide more of a distraction than meaningful oversight of our public education system.

If Dr. William Hite knew about corruption, nepotism, professional misconduct  and sexual exploitation of children scandal within the system and refused to do something about it, then he isn’t and wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children and staff. There is no question he engaged in a cover-up, “an active agreement of concealment in collaboration with Chief legal counsel Mr. Roger Thomas and others within and outside PGCPS.”

The only explanation we can find for this “striking lack of empathy” is self-absorption. In asking how a paragon of virtue could have behaved like such a thoroughly bad guy, the only available answer is that Dr. William Hite Jr. is no different from Paterno who fell prey to the single most corrosive sin in sports: the belief that winning on the field makes you better and more important than other people.

We can’t afford to continue applying Band-Aids, hoping for a cure. At the very least, we should depoliticize our county  board by taking partisan politics out of the mix. The last resort would be to abolish the board altogether.

The best solution, we suspect, lies somewhere in between. We  look forward to working with  legislators and community leaders to address the problems. The fates of our students and our future — even our history — demands it.

As Dr. William Hite Jr. prepares to jump off ship to Philly, it’s a good riddance for sure!

PGCPS General Counsel’s office epicenter for Corruption.

former PGCPS Chief Legal Counsel Mr. Roger Thomas is pictured above.

There are serious problems with our education system today in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS): the Elevation of Dr. William Hite was a major blunder and the way the schools and school district in general interact with the students, staff and parents is not cordial. Most teachers enter the education field full of life with hope and desire to change the world and positively impact kids. However, that is not always the case in PGCPS where the life is beaten out of them and some become villains for speaking the truth. These issues need to be brought to light in many ways in order to create accountability. If our blog opens the door for that conversation, so be it.  Let that conversation begin. Stay tuned here for more evidence as time goes on.

While we never in a million years would have guessed that this many people would ever see our words and we did not even intend them to, we stand by what we write here and think that it is a good thing that people are now aware of the many problems impacting our kids.

Reform Sasscer team which is composed of professionals, teachers, students and parents concerned with PGCPS corruption with a view to advocating innovation, fiscal stability and transparency has been receiving worrying reports in recent times.

It has been established with great shock and uttter dismay that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) is centered around the General Counsel’s office which is managed by one Mr. Roger Thomas Esq. who is the Deputy Superintendent of schools.

A closer look into the General Counsel’s office establishes that it is the source of much of the corruption and controversy: (Chief Human Resources Officer) Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. who is also known as Synthia J. Kucner and (Director of Employee and Labor Relations) James R. Whattam, Esq. are both affiliated with the Office of General Counsel. Synthia J. Shilling aka Kucner was formerly the Deputy General Counsel before becoming the chief Human Resources Officer. According to reports in Washingtonpost, she has been caught red handed several times drunk driving . (Read more).

Furthermore, Mr. James Whattam Esq. formerly worked with the teacher’s union as legal representative. This definitely creates a conflict of interest at many levels. Someone should investigate how many positions/titles these individuals actually have.

To enhance their corrupt illegal activities, legal department awarded a $5 million legal tender to Thatcher law Firm to represent PGCPS and Dr. Wiliam Hite without competitive bind against the rules of Board of Education in 2011 (Read the story here).  The said law firm (Thatcher law Firm) is being used to conduct illegal activities in support of corrupt agendas which includes bribing attorneys and defending illegal activities against staff with legitimate cases. Tax payer’s money is being used by the legal department and Dr. William Hite to undermine transparency and accountability.  In addition, the same law firm awarded close to $8,000 towards political contributions to the chairman of the Board of Education Mrs. Verjeana M. Jacobs Esq.  hence creating a conflict of interest during the time $5,000,000 was awarded. This is unacceptable.

Changing the PGCPS Board of Education while officials associated with the General Counsel’s office continue to keep their jobs will create some accountability but might not result in the reform needed to improve PGCPS. However, it is important to take a closer look into the activities of this office and the role it has played in denying job opportunities to staff, as well as educational opportunities to thousands of students. For example: Ms. Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. was in the center of a Filipino teacher’s fiasco (read the story here), Roger Thomas Esq. has been involved in shady deals which  includes the following: questionable contracts involving Washington Plaza, Dr. Andrea Horsby , who is now serving jail time, was involved  in  corrupt  illegal tender activities and the list is endless which includes Jack Johnson pay to play corruption.  (Others read article here). The time has come to seek new and fresh leadership for General Counsel Office within PGCPS which has no ties to corruption.   Roger Thomas Esq has been in this position for close to 19 years and he must go with his corruption exposed.   If the current board of education cannot do anything to enact any change in this office now, we are asking the general public to exercise its right and vote them out once and for all.  The Board of education has power to do many things, they can suspend with or without pay pending investigations. They can fire! Let us demand full investigations concerning this office and let the chips fall where they may. Time has come for the school system to move in a new direction. We are watching!

General Counsel provides advice on legal representation, including:

  • The Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Executive staff, and principals
  • Supervises and manages legal services provided through attorneys in Office of General Counsel
  • Supervision and oversight on liability and litigation claims
  • Advice of counsel and legal representation in areas of student support services and student appeals
  • Advice of counsel in areas of procurement, CIP, business and finance, contracts, leases, MOUs
  • Represent the Board and Administration in appeals before Maryland State Board of Education
  • Legal counsel and representation in all other substantive legal services areas provided through the Office of General Counsel