Category Archives: Pgcps Mess

Maryland ranking Scandal…

 …gubernatorial candidate Ron George calls for a General Assembly hearing.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron George has called for a General  Assembly hearing into whether Maryland’s exclusion of a high percentage of  special education students from standardized testing artificially inflated the  score of the state’s schools in national rankings.

George, a state delegate from Anne Arundel County, issued a statement Tuesday  in which he called for answers on what he called the O’Malley administration’s  “reading test cheating scandal.”

The  Sun reported last week that Maryland may have achieved its No. 1 ranking on  Education Week’s ranking of state school systems in part by excluding a higher  percentage of special education students from reading testings than any other  state. By excluding special ed students at such a high rate, the state appears  to have gained 5 points in eighth grade reading score and 7 in fourth grade.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-george-calls-for-hearing-on-school-ranking-20131126,0,6066290.story#ixzz2lncaXOlN

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OPINION

We always thought conjuring the illusion of quality education when the whole nation has seen several decades of watered down teach to the test standards was just pure deception used to bait the unsuspecting and the affluent into Maryland. Now it seems deceiving the public wasn’t enough, Maryland had to cheat its way to the top of the educational dung heap in conspiracy in order to mislead citizens.

We need more than an investigation, we need to look at how watered down our education system has become here in Maryland. It’s time for Dr. Lilian lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes and others in Maryland State Board of Education to prepare themselves for the next chapter of their lives and create a new way for innovative leadership.

Everyone we have spoken with in the community is saying this is wrong. We’re treating these educators like they’re criminals, like they’re drug dealers, like they’re gangsters. Racketeering, conspiracy, making of false statements interalia should be the basis for a proper investigation. It’s time to break the cycle of corruption here in Maryland and let the chips fall where they may!

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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.

Common Core resistance growing in Maryland

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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.

As Maryland moves ahead with school reform and the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, state officials are facing growing resistance among teachers, lawmakers and others who are concerned that too much change is being forced onto schools too soon.

The issue in Maryland has become political. In the next legislative session, House Republicans plan to push for the state to withdraw from the Common Core initiative; and Harford County Executive David R. Craig, a Republican gubernatorial hopeful, has said the Core is too costly and gives too much control over Maryland classrooms to national testing organizations, my colleague John Wagner reported here. >>> Read More

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Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand investigations and intiation 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.

PGCPS Board narrowly approves…

…Maxwell’s budget request

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CEO Kevin Maxwell

The Prince George’s County Board of Education narrowly voted Thursday to support a request by the schools chief to make significant changes to the district’s $1.7 billion budget.

The 5-2-2 vote allows Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell to proceed with his request to transfer $18 million from various accounts in the budget to pay for several executive level positions, enhancements in the art program, security improvements and other initiatives. The County Council now must approve the request for the proposal to take effect. >>> Read more

OPINION.

CEO Kevin Maxwell is being premature in evaluating and faulting the Hybrid School Board of Education for the budget change in the Prince Georges County Public Schools System (PGCPS). The budget which was initiated by the County Executive and the power elite in order to grab power seem to have had a different agenda. The power grab now appears to have been for the sake of grabbing power rather than in order to initiate sincere reforms. When the Reform Sasscer Movement (A grass-roots advocacy group) encouraged for changes, our hope was to see actual reforms and proper management of resources rather than cover ups and squander. However, proper and transparent reforms is not what we are seeing at the moment. Several grass-roots pressure groups concerned with PGCPS corruption have been completely disenfranchised from the process.

In the article above by the Washington Post, Ms. Wiggins conveniently left off the salaries for Maxwell’s new senior staff. The three new appointees hired recently are making nearly $1 million. Maxwell’s friend is making $220,000 a year while teachers have to buy their own paper and classroom supplies! This is unacceptable. …. We do not mind a little increase but spending tax payer money like this is not being wise. Prince George’s county council needs to scrutinize the new raises and send back the entire package to the Hybrid Board to fix the remunerations.

Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand changes…

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More states delay Common Core testing…

…as concerns grow

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Massachusetts and Louisiana, both seen as important in the world of school reform, have decided to delay the implementation of high-stakes standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards in the face of  growing concern about the initiative. The two states follow nearly 10 others — including Florida, the pioneer of corporate-influenced school reform — to slow or rethink Core implementation, actions coming amid a growing movement led by educators and parents who have become skeptical of the standards and the new related standardized tests.

Meanwhile, Maryland just took over as fiscal agent for PARCC; State Superintendent Lillian Lowery said in a release last Thursday that Maryland “is strongly committed to the success of PARCC.”  However, her statement didn’t mention growing resistance among educators and parents in Maryland about the way the Core is being implemented in the state. >>>Read more

A November 21 Baltimore Sun article summarizes a briefing held by the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on the implementation of the Common Core curriculum standards, a new statewide testing system, and a new teacher evaluation system.  The article reports that Committee members questioned State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery on whether the amount and pace of the education reforms are putting unnecessary stress on teachers.  From the article:

“A lot of [teachers] have talked about tremendous stress,” said Sen. Ronald N. Young, a Frederick County Democrat, adding that some teachers say they’re ready to give up and others now take medication for stress.  …

Lowery responded that the state has already sought ways to slow down the reforms, delaying when the new teacher evaluation system tied to student achievement takes effect and when new tests will be used to measure the state’s education system.  …

“This is one of the worst program implementations I have ever seen, in terms of educating parents and families,” Sen. Ed Reilly, an Anne Arundel County Republican, said to Lowery and other top state education officials. “Public relations is part of your job — all of your jobs — and it’s been done very poorly.”  …

Sen. Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore City Democrat and former teacher, compared the educational reforms to the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act and health exchanges. “If we don’t do this right,” he said, the state may have “a bad image on a great concept.”

Sen. Ed Reilly has almost got it here. Once you understand Maryland’s great schools are just an illusion conjured by incompetent leaders like superintendent Lowery. Understand our quality of education has been dropping for 40 years and Common Core is compost than you can ask real questions. Questions like what have we been paying you folks for and why haven’t you people educated our children? >>> Read more

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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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Parents demonstration at Maryland state Board of Education

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Parents demonstration at Maryland state Board of Education and the leadership of Dr. Lowery

Experts call for stronger UN role in ending impunity.

Today is International day to end impunity.

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The International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) is marked annually on 23 November by advocates for free expression. A group of United Nations independent human rights experts, today called on the UN to adopt a more central role in the fight against impunity, and urged Member States to give more support to and strengthen on-going efforts to secure accountability and justice for human rights violations, including serious crimes.

“Ending impunity requires greater scrutiny, prosecution and punishment, and no other international institution is better placed than the United Nations to effectively contribute to this goal,” they stressed. “It is time for the UN to take a more decisive role in combating impunity and focus on all dimensions of the problem, including the erosion of the rule of law and the violation of general principles of justice.” Here in Prince George’s County and the larger Maryland as a state, the calls for ending impunity in this ancient old land is an important step forward. We must never surrender until the issues we have advocated for in the last several years within our county and especially the school system are resolved.

Welcoming civil society’s initiative to commemorate 23 November as an annual International Day to End Impunity, the human rights experts recalled that the Heads of State and Government pledged to ensure that impunity for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law is not tolerated, and that such violations are properly investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned, as stated in the UN Declaration on the rule of law adopted on 24 September 2012.

The experts recalled that States are required to hold accountable those who fail to protect and prevent, as well as those who perpetrate, violations of human rights, including the rights of women and other groups at risk. “Fighting against impunity implies not only the obligation of States to investigate violations and take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators and the victims, but also to ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations and take other necessary steps to prevent their recurrence”, they added.

“Efforts to address impunity must demand transparency and accountability of all State and non-State actors, including not only paramilitary forces, mercenaries, private military companies and terrorists, but also transnational corporations,” they said.

“The goal of ending impunity does not aim at revenge but at justice,” the independent experts underscored. “It requires objectivity and non-selectivity in identifying abuses that have not been redressed.”

“Addressing the challenge of impunity is not the one-way street of victor’s justice and the punishment of the guilty among the vanquished,” they said. “The solution must be found in equal application of the law and the commitment to obtain an accounting by the powerful and the weak alike.”

The human rights experts noted that the fight against impunity requires Governments to ensure access to justice for all, to proactively make information available to all and to refrain from using national security, immunities or any other measures to cloak criminal behavior.

“Universal access to diverse and reliable information, effective domestic justice systems, the globalization of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the practical realization of the right to truth are necessary conditions to do away with impunity,” they concluded. >>> Read more

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OPINION:

Many definitions of corruption have been advanced, none fully satisfactory and comprehensive. Although it may be difficult to define corruption precisely, it is generally not hard to recognize. The World Bank settled on a straightforward definition—the abuse of public office for private gain. This definition is not original, but it was chosen because it is concise and broad enough to include most forms of corruption that the Bank encounters, as well as being widely used in the literature.

Corruption is a complex phenomenon. Its roots lie deep in bureaucratic and political institutions, and its effect on development varies with country, state or County conditions. But while costs may vary and systemic corruption may coexist with strong economic performance, experience suggests that corruption is one of the most severe impediments to development and growth in emerging and transition economies.

All over the world, Corruption violates the public trust and corrodes social capital. A small side payment to obtain or speed up a government service may seem a minor offense, but it is not the only cost. Unchecked, the creeping accumulation of seemingly minor infractions can slowly erode political legitimacy to the point where even non corrupt officials and members of the public see little point in playing by the rules. Credibility, once lost by the state, is very difficult to regain. As we move towards to the future here in Prince George’s County, leadership must ensure to uphold the rule of law and avoid situations which have been developing in the last several months now under the current leadership. We must say “NO” to select few who are trying to mismanage rare resources under our watch.

C = M + D -A

where:

C (corruption) = M (monopoly) + D    (discretion) – A (accountability)

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Maryland Senators grill Dr.Lowery…

… and others on Common Core

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Dr. Lillian Lowery Embattled State Superintendent is currently presiding over deep-seated corruption in Maryland school system.

A panel of state lawmakers grilled Maryland’s top school officials Thursday over whether education reforms are being executed too quickly and putting undue  stress on teachers.

Senators on the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee told  state schools Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery that they have been bombarded by  concerns from teachers and parents.

Many, they said, complained about how the state is simultaneously implementing three big programs: a new testing system, new ways to evaluate  teachers and a more rigorous set of education standards known as the Common  Core.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-common-core-20131121,0,4256476.story#ixzz2lLVnQLM9

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See and read more>>> Maryland protest on corruption in Education and other matters here

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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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Maryland Common core protest…

…Well attended by citizens

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A grassroots movement of Protesters lined the curb outside the Maryland State Department of Education building in downtown Monday, carrying signs denouncing corruption in Education. Others in the group were denouncing Common core and an array of other areas of concern in Maryland. The impressive showing in Baltimore city brought awareness to the issues surrounding a variety of matters including lack of transparency and accountability involving Maryland State Board of Education and its state Superintendent of Schools. The Activists came from many counties, including Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Cecil, Charles, Prince George’s and others. They included parents, grandparents, homeschoolers, and citizens who are democrats, republicans or independents.

The group of more than 50 assembled in front of the Maryland State Board of Education headquarters and had placards in their hands. They advocated for the Local teachers and school districts to determine the lessons and what textbooks and other materials will be used locally. Others protested loudly about the Maryland scandal and a variety of corruption related activity involving members of the Board of Education in Maryland.

The common core standards have become a flash point for both the far right and the far left who are against dishonesty in Education and the introduction of the standards in United States this year. >>>> Read more

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Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the county, state or Country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.

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Read more – Maryland ranking scandal

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DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

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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Violation of the constitution and the laws of the land.

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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.

Two individuals in our opinion have emerged as the faces of this new tyranny in Prince George’s county – Dr. Charlene Dukes and Dr. Lilian Lowery.

We have one message for them – you are living in the past. Your modern day repressive tactics will collapse.

The constitutional rights that Prince George’s county citizens are enjoying are a product of their struggle. These rights are not privileges bestowed by the state but are inherent by virtue of birth. The transition Committee controlled by these two individuals are holding the county at ransom through instilling a culture of fear, manipulation and corruption. Only a despotic regime without legitimacy deploys such tactics.

Their actions may be a pointer that the regime being fronted is in no mood to obey the constitution and the laws of the land. The Executive has no powers to unilaterally take away the rights and liberties of Prince George’s county citizens. It must demonstrate to the satisfaction of all that Prince George’s County is a total disaster under severe threat and ascertains it in accordance with the constitution. Individual liberty is indivisible. A citizen or any other resident for that matter should only be deprived of liberty only after a proper judicial process but not because of a political decision.

Prince George’s county citizens should remember Edmund Burke’s words, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. It is the high time we took this emerging tyranny heads-on.

Please do not let Maryland go the way Prince George’s County Public Schools, (PGCPS) and the School District of Philadelphia, because they were caught off guard by the deceitful and conniving Board of Education. Parents, students, concerned citizens have to hold their school board representatives responsible. If they do not reform, let us show them the door. There is no future without responsibility and time representation.

This is a warning to Maryland citizens and Prince George’s County in particular – do not be complicit in the establishment of a dictatorship-in-the-making disguised as democracy. A tyrant cannot be a tyrant without a victim. Bystanders are necessary for the tyranny to emerge because thirst for power invariably accompanies one for publicity. Democracy is not about regular elections. Elections are necessary but not sufficient conditions for a true functioning of a robust democracy. What happens between elections and how the government of the day handles fundamental concerns of interest to the public matters greatly.

The new school leadership of Dr. kevin Maxwell – regardless of who is county Executive in the future – must demonstrate its commitment to getting rid of the rampant impunity which continues to undermine the rule of law, justice and security of Prince George’s county citizens. Dr. Maxwell came in promising to work with advocates of change and innovate the county through good ideas. However, the citizens who helped put him in power have been way laid and sidelined through unorthodox means.  Reforms which we advocated for seem to have effectively stalled and taken over by special interest led by one Dr. Charlene Dukes who is a suspect in corruption involving top leadership. To advance the cover up, PGCPS has enlisted the co-chair of Dr. Lilian Lowery Maryland state Supritendent of schools creating a conflict of interest.  Hence, advocates for good governance are being undermined by those who want to restore old order and emasculate changes. Maryland legislature must hold a hearing to verify what is going on. This must be their first task on their agenda in 2014. The time to act is now.

As articulated before,  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.

As expressed in the past, Mr. Rushern Baker’s biggest test is creating a smooth transition within the schools to include transparency and avoid appointing leaders from the old regime who caused problems in the first place. However, if he wants to pass this test, he must persuade every single PG County citizen that he has sincere intentions that transcend his own political interest, for the wellbeing of the County to include other groups into the change management with the New CEO.

The elected officials – both at the national, state and county levels – must live up to their oaths of office in which they promised to defend and protect the constitution. They must ensure they engender policies which will ensure that all will access services without discrimination. The new leadership in Prince George’s County public schools led by Dr. Kevin Maxwell and mid-wifed by County Executive Rushern Baker must prevent human rights violations. Prince George’s County citizens in United States want a transformed county!

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Dr. Kevin Maxwell

>>> Attend Opponents Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. 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. (video)

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“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” — Ben Okri

scholars blast Common Core…

… Catholic intellectuals in a letter to U.S. bishops

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About 130 Catholic scholars around the country have signed a hard-hitting letter to U.S. Catholic bishops denouncing the Common Core State Standards as doing “a grave disservice to Catholic education” and urging the bishops  to ignore the standards or, in the more than 100 dioceses that have already adopted them, to give them up.

The letter was sent by Gerard V. Bradley, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, to every Catholic bishop in the country, with 132 scholars from various disciplines and institutions signing on.

It blasts the standards, saying they are “contrary to tradition and academic studies on reading and human formation,” and accuses Core proponents of seeking to “transform ‘literacy’ into a  ’critical’ skill set, at the expense of sustained and heartfelt encounters with great works of literature.” (That last part is apparently a reference to suggestions by Core opponents that the standards require English teachers to dramatically cut back on teaching literature, which isn’t true.) >>>> Read more Washington Post

OPINION.

Catholic schools often succeed because they don’t jump on educational bandwagons, such as this one. They rarely adopt change without first trying it out, and that’s a very wise thing to do.

This beautifully written letter, speaks to the heart and soul of what so many in the field are sensing about the so-called reform movement, led in great part, not by scholars but by captains of industry–it sees children not as unique individuals who should determine their own destiny, but as the fodder to be sorted into the job market. The great, irony of course, is that no one can predict what the jobs of the future will be for the kindergarten students of today.

Thank you dear scholars, for so beautifully expressing what the soul of this educator knows. Our society needs and wants TRUE educators, Not brain-washed child psychology hacks.

As articulated before, 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.

>>> Attend Opponents Common Core protest at MSDE…on November 18, 2013. 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. (video)   Here’s hoping you will continue reading, getting educated and educating others.

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