Category Archives: Rot that is PGCPS Sasscer

School board says Dance should have gotten its OK

…before taking consulting job

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Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance should have sought the school  board’s approval before taking a consulting job with a company that had a  contract with the system, board President Lawrence Schmidt said Tuesday  night.

Schmidt said in a statement that the board has directed Dance to let members  know in advance of any proposed consulting work in the future.

The board has reviewed Dance’s contract and the school system’s ethics policy  and has found that “there is no indication that Dr. Dance’s performance as  superintendent was in any way adversely impacted” by the consulting, according  to Schmidt.

The board spoke with Dance at a closed-door meeting Tuesday about his  part-time job with SUPES Academy, an Illinois-based company that provides  training for administrators.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-co-board-statement-dance-20131217,0,4187135.story#ixzz2npqQlyd3

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OPINION

Coming from the TOP school official, this looks real bad for Maryland State Board of Education and Mr. Dallas Dance. If he skirts the rules, who is to say what other unethical endeavors has he taken on.

This clearly is a slap in the face of the board who hired him, who was too young to lead Maryland teachers and implement his new Common Core philosophy. Many of the parents we spoke with are ashamed and embarrassed to live in Maryland more and more. The ignorance at every level of Maryland is really starting to show by allowing people unqualified to lead, hire, re hire and expand. Entitlement has gotten Maryland into a world of stupidity on a national level and showed America which state is most dependent on federal Government to maintain lifestyles.

No chief executive in the private sector would be allowed to do this. Donating 2/3 of the compensation does not mitigate the conflict of interest here.  Either Superintendent Dance gives up the employment with the company or the company gives up its contract with Baltimore County.  End of discussion.

The funny thing is that, teachers can’t tutor a student in their building for pay, even if that teacher doesn’t teach that student in any regular class.

So a teacher can’t pick up an extra $25 an hour for legitimate educational work, but the superintendent can take tens of thousands of dollars from a company that paid nearly a million dollars in taxpayer money?

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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.

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Superintendent Dallas Dance quit a consulting job Saturday amid questions  over the propriety of his work for a company that does business with the  Baltimore County school system.

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Read more ~~~>> Part I and Part II of the double standards involving Maryland School system Education leadership involved in corruption and the tax payer funds.

How thinking like an engineer can help school reform.

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Arthur H. Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., suggests a new way to make progress in education policy — through engineering design thinking.  The ideas expressed in this article are his alone and do not represent Stevens Institute.  His other writing can be found at www.arthurcamins.com >>> Read More Washington Post

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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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Maryland school ranking scandal.

…Md. excluded large number of special-education students in national test

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Sour Grapes

Maryland’s scores on a national reading test may have been inflated because  the state’s schools excluded a higher percentage of special-education students  than any other state, according to data from the U.S. Department of  Education.

The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test,  estimates that Maryland’s scores were 7 points higher for fourth-grade reading  and 5 points higher for eighth-grade reading because of the exclusion.

Maryland has always earned high scores on the National Assessment of  Educational Progress, and its steady increases in test scores over the years has  helped earn it the ranking of No. 1 in the nation by Education Week, an  often-quoted measure.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-naep-exclusion-rates-20131115,0,4258634.story#ixzz2l2l06wh6

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Dr. Lillian Lowery pictured here is presiding over deep-seated corruption and doing very little to investigate the many corruption allegations brought against her appointees and elsewhere in Maryland schools. She is currently without any oversight.

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

Maxwell addresses the Prince George’s County Council

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

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

OPINION:

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

2.      Money

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

3.      Loss of Identity

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

4.      Economic Impact

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

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Prince George’s school board OKs textbooks…

…that students are already using. Misplaced paperwork caused education items to be distributed prior to approval, officials say

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by Jamie Anfenson-Comeau    Gazette Staff writer

By an 11-to-1 vote, the Prince George’s County school board gave final approval Oct. 24 to begin using two new textbooks — however, the books had already been purchased and distributed to students at the beginning of the school year.

The two textbooks, Algebra II and Geometry, had been approved by the school system’s textbook committees last spring, but were not brought to the board at that time.

The procedures for the school system were not followed adequately in the case of the … Algebra II and geometry textbook adoption,” said school system CEO Kevin Maxwell. “They were approved [by the textbook committee] back in the spring, but there was a delay in bringing them to the board.”

Maxwell said the purchasing department ordered the books and delivered them to the schools in advance of final board approval.

The school system’s Administrative Procedure 6180.1 states that textbook selections are to be presented to the school board for approval by the end of March and prior to purchasing.

The procedural lapse occurred prior to the Aug. 1 start of Maxwell’s tenure.

The cost of the textbooks, $1.3 million, had already been budgeted into the current year budget.

Chief Academics Officer A. Duane Arbogast said the new textbooks are needed as they are aligned more closely with the Common Core education standards being adopted by Maryland.

“We felt that our old books were so far off the mark from where we needed to be with Common Core, we just needed to replace them,” Arbogast said.

Arbogast said that normally the school system replaces textbooks every eight to 10 years, and the previous Algebra II and geometry books should have been replaced a few years ago, but hadn’t been due to school system budget cuts. >>> Read More Gazette.

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