Category Archives: Public Rally

State Super has Md parent arrested…

… at Common Core forumparent, parent becomes cause celebre.

students-PAXP-deijE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANALYSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easton High School in Talbot County on Sept. 10.

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

Sept. 19 at Ridge Ruxton School in Baltimore County.

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

Read more >> Examiner >> Washington post

imagesCA1D2DT3

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

###

Open Letter to Mr. Rushern Baker…

…Concerning nomination of Robin Barnes-Shell As acting executive director of the Office of Ethics and Accountability.

rushern-baker-head-111010w1

RUSHERN L. BAKER III, County Executive

Office of County Executive

County Administration Building, Room 5032

14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 – 3070

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Mr. Baker,

On behalf of the entire membership of the Reform Sasscer Movement, a nonprofit education and advocacy group, composed of several thousand responsible citizens in PG County, we are writing to express extreme disappointment in the decision to nominate Ms. Robin Barnes-Shell, as the head of PG County’s Office of Ethics and Accountability in effort to battle corruption. This position is intended to “honor those employees who exemplify commitment to principles of good conduct and courage.” We fail to see how Ms. Barnes-Shell will head the office. Previously, Ms. Barnes-Shell prejudiced employees by conducting unfair hearings or none at all, covered up corruption, proffessional misconduct  and other acts of abuse against employees, students, etc.  We fail to see how Ms. Barnes-Shell can be held as a role model in the school system.  In light of the facts, Ms. Barnes-Shell is closely acquainted with the very people involved in the same thing she is supposed to fight – corruption. This is a bad decision in that respect. It is especially ironic and inappropriate that Ms. Robin Barnes-Shell be given this recognition to run such an office which demands a high-level of integrity.

Please consider the ramifications of this nomination and the importance of leading by example. Ms. Barnes-Shell does not hold true to “transparency and accountability”. We remain hopeful that she will continue to attempt to redeem herself through words and actions in other areas of the county, but as of now, we feel strongly that she deserves neither recommendation nor reward of such a high office given her conduct in advancing corruption, proffessional misconduct, nepotism  in PGCPS and also what she did to others within and outside of the school district.

We, members of the Reform Sasscer Movement, are kindly asking you to reconsider the nomination of Ms. Barnes-Shell. Additionally, our efforts as a group have previously endorsed you taking over the entire PG county school system.

Sincerely,

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

 ###

Back to school: It’s worse than you think in Philly.

sdp_350px

Philadelphia public schools are opening for the new school year today Monday September 9, 2013 without many of the basics any reasonable person would expect. Paper, for example. Guidance counselors. Nurses.

Amid an agonizing financial and leadership crisis, the appointed School Reform Commission, which has run the district since the state took it over a dozen years ago, passed a “doomsday” budget this past summer that included cuts so drastic there was no money for schools to open this fall with funding for things such as paper, new books, athletics, arts, music, counselors, assistant principals and more. Teachers were laid off. This came after the closure of a few dozen schools.

How did this happen? The state government has financially starved the district for years, and the city’s public school system has been subjected to one reform experiment after another.

How bad is it? Superintendent William Hite made some accommodations to allow schools to open, but parents say the answer to the question is this: Worse than you think.

According to our own considered opinion, it appears Dr. William Hite et al organized a secret plan to promote charter schools as a solution to the Philadelphia public school problem, making the situation ungovernable as he did in PGCPS through the Unions and others. This way, he can advance corruption in Philadelphia public schools and rule by decree while simponing money through the back door using his conspirators. The collapse of rule of law in the Philadephia public school management under Dr. Hite is most egregious scandal in the United States. Only this time it is bigger than PGCPS MESS

We strongly feel that this is all by design to defame high salary teachers and dismiss them through a coordinated effort using newly hired staff from PGCPS. Many of these teachers and staff being fired are not part of the “good old boys club” which is patently obvious in many district-those teachers who went through the district or are married into it (or are lower in the salary scale) are given the best students and those that are not of the former are given students who need more help. Is there any recourse many have? We are convinced that the local, state and national unions will only afford one a token gesture of support to teachers in their plight for the sake of politics including in Maryland. Time will tell….

(Read more)

(Read more)

Hite

Dr. William Hite Jr

###

Management analyst – Lyn J. Mundey tapped to fill BOE vacancy.

imagesCA0BJEDE

Ms. Lyn J. Mundey

Reform Sasscer Movement “RSM” has learned and pleased that County Executive Baker filled the vacancy on the Board of Education for District 7 previously held by Board member Carlletta Fellows who resigned in June 2013. We look forward to working with Ms. Mundey to ensure accountability and transparency initiatives are implemented fully and  the county meets the needs of the students, parents and teachers in District 7.

Above all, we look forward to engaging in the process with the County Executive Rushern Baker and the Board members as the County Executive Baker prepares to fill another vacancy on the Board created by the resignation of Donna Hathaway Beck, of District 9.

Under House Bill 1107, passed by the Maryland General Assembly last spring, the Prince George’s County executive has the authority to make an appointment to a vacant seat for the remainder of the term, should a seat become vacant.

Mundey is a 2000 graduate of Bowie High School, has a daughter in the seventh grade at Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy in Suitland and is an active member of the school’s PTA.

Baker education adviser Mr. Christian Rhodes was quoted as saying, Ms. Mundey brings a unique perspective to the board.

“Because of her multiple connections to the school system, first as an alumna and now as a parent, tracking her daughter as she’s moved up through the school system, she’s able to see the school system from a very different perspective,” Mr. Christian Rhodes said.

Mundey has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s of business administration degree from Strayer University. She is employed as a management analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, overseeing the agency’s operating policies and privacy program. (Read more Press release, Gazette)

###

Hathaway-Beck becomes second member…

…of Pr. George’s school board to quit in 2 months

Bd-of-Ed-Member-Donna-Hathaway-Beck---District-9

Donna Hathaway-Beck

Donna Hathaway-Beck, one of the longest-serving members on the Prince George’s County Board of Education, submitted her resignation Wednesday, the second member of the newly reconfigured board to quit in less than two months. According to many keen watchers of the current Board of Education, Hathway-Beck will be missed. She was a true trooper whose leadership knew no bounds and freely helped the community. We at Reform Sasscer Movement wish her well and God’s blessings in retirement.  May God bless her soul. Our wish is to see our County Executive Rushern Baker III appoint a capable leader to carry on the rest of her term and continue the current innovation / accountability initiatives currently in progress.

Hathaway-Beck (District 9), whose resignation will take effect Sept. 6, said work on the board was taking too much time away from her family. She has served on the board for nearly seven years.

Beck said she felt the time had come to step down.

“You need to know when it is time to go, and when to let someone step into your seat,” Beck said. “I am not irreplaceable.”

Read more Washington post and  Gazzette.

###

Oppose injustice and oppression in PG.

quotes_about_injustice_in_life

To oppose injustice and oppression is not something that is merely political. It is profoundly religious. Can you imagine what the gospel means to people whose dignity is trodden underfoot every day of their lives, to those who have had their noses rubbed in the dust as if they did not count like happened in the Tyranny of Hutu numbers in Rwanda and recently in Kenya?

Despots and dictators ban books and literature and any newsletters they think are subversive, but the book they should actually ban is the Bible, for nothing could be more radical, more revolutionary once a society faces up to the awfulness of injustice, oppression and discrimination and Tyranny of any form. Some of us for one are involved in social struggle because we are spiritual not political. We are obeying the imperatives of our faith. Would anyone say Moses was a religious leader or a political leader? Was God acting religiously or politically when He set free enslaved people? Throughout the Bible you read how frequently the prophets act on behalf of God or speak on behalf of God and they speak in what we call political areas! If your religion does not affect the way you live your life, it’s a religion God rejects. We must lose the fetters of injustice and set free those who have been crushed.

As we welcome the new Superintendent in Prince George’s County  this school year, we pray that injustice and the corruption currently prevailing throughout the School District and fueled by the Unions politics will be crashed. The dirty politics to continue the status quo is led by  ASASP, ACE-AFSCME LOCAL 2250, PGCEA, MSEA, other officers and some BOE members who might have direct connection with the previous regime receiving union support clandestinely. At Sasscer admin Building the problem is centered around PGCPS Legal department led by Thatcher law firm, HR and Labor relations officers.  These problem areas must be dwelt with heads on. We pray for new leadership within these areas including the Unions to be led by people who fear God.  AMEN.

###

pgcps

Prince George’s schools’ test scores drop.

w-msa0724

Source: Washington Post analysis of Maryland School Assessment scores for 2013. Scores reflect combined results for reading and math.. The Washington Post. Published on July 23, 2013, 12:20 p.m.

As the New Board of Education for Prince George’s County reorganizes itself and is determined to bring the necessary changes, we must realize that there is no silver bullet. However, as we articulated before, real improvements in a school system like PGCPS take time and hard work.  As we said before, miraculous sudden improvements in student achievement was likely the result of outright fraud or a rigged evaluation system designed to produce desired results. This notion has been proved right today by news articles in Gazette and Washington Post.

Prince George’s County elementary school mathematics and reading scores are down compared to last year, ending a suspicious “positive four-year streak” driven by what appears to be fraud on state tests, and officials say next year may not be much better. (Read more)

On this note, we must demand changes starting with PGCPS HQ (Sasscer) and not cosmetics changes. We ask our new Board and our CEO to go boldly for administrative reforms that relate to the nuts and bolts of our school system and how it is run. Buses must be made to run on time and we must get rid of administrative waste, and sort through questionable contracts beginning with Thatcher Law firm which is the epicenter of corruption and the legal department. We must change contracting procedures and demand more for our kids instead of high suspension rate we have seen in the past. Above all, we must use appropriate technologies to gain efficiencies as well as, demand effective and timely school-to-parent communications. This is the first and most necessary element for enabling parental involvement as articulated by our sister Blogs in the past.

Finally, we must treat teachers and other staff members as professionals. Listen to them and provide them opportunities to influence how schools are run. We must refrain from arbitrary compensation schemes that will make teachers accountable for conditions they have no control over.  On this note, we must revisit how budget is controlled by Principals without much oversight which is like “Christmas in April.” This does not mean you don’t demand accountability and high performance. However, transparency and accountability initiatives passed into law must be implemented fully. We expect County Executive Rushern Baker, Board Chairman Dr. Segun C. Eubanks and our New Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kevin Maxwell to be a partner, not a punitive leader who are out to get teachers and other staff members. Let us make PGCPS a place that values innovation and professionalism—an attractive place for good teachers and other professionals to work for the good of the county.

###

pgcps