Category Archives: stakeholde​r meetings

Delegate files complaint with ethics panel…

…over Dance’s consulting job

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Superintendent Dallas Dance (Pictured above) is involved in corruption and covered up by the Maryland State Board of Education.

A Maryland legislator has filed a complaint with the Baltimore County school board’s ethics panel, saying he wants them to rule on whether Superintendent Dallas Dance violated board policy when he took a part-time job with a company doing business with the school system.

Dance took a part-time job in August, training Chicago principals with a for-profit company that had received a $875,000 contract with the school system in December 2012. He also did not notify the board ahead of time about the job, which his contract required. He said that he thought he only had to disclose to the board once a year.

Dance resigned his job this month with SUPES Academy of Illinois after his association with the company was made public and he was criticized by legislators.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-co-ethics-complaint-20131230,0,5414134.story#ixzz2p1IbiTI5

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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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“We are building the plane as we fly it”

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BOEING 787

Many of us have heard this expression hundreds of times. “We are building the plane as we fly it.”

Sometimes at staff development meetings, they show cartoon figures building a plane in mid-air.

Note that the engineers are wearing parachutes.

Note that the passengers–students and teachers–have no parachutes.

Bear in mind that the idea of building a plane as it is in mid-air is insane.

The next time you hear this expression, do one of these things:

Get up and walk out.

Hiss loudly (no one ever knows who is hissing).

Boo loudly (riskier than hissing).

Do not quietly sit by while your leader spouts idiotic platitudes.

This leads us to Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance and what he did which troubled several parents while working closely with the Maryland State superintendent of schools Dr. Lillian Lowery.

As was widely reported elsewhere, Baltimore County Public Schools and Maryland State Department of Education held a Common Core forum recently. When a video was posted concerning Mr. Robert Small being arrested for asking a question out of turn at the local school board forum on Common Core, the video received national attention and garnered a million YouTube hits. Dr. Dallas Dance, the Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent and Dr. Lilian Lowery State Superintendent of schools were presiding over that meeting. (The charges against Robert Small were later dropped after a public outcry.)

In the meantime, Jason Schmidt of Beaverton, Oregon was inspired by the video and decided to stand up and not be “cattle”, to coin a phrase by Robert Small during the encounter. He took the photo shown here and posted it on a website for the cause.

With a rally cry of “Stop Common Core! Save our kids!” the concerned citizens of Beaverton School District held a protest last Thursday before a school board sponsored forum on Common Core. The protest was a success… Mr. Schmidt said in a post,

Here in Maryland, a Baltimore Sun article last week highlighted the perspective of Dr. Dallas Dance concerning complaints from teachers about the new curriculum and it contains the following passage:

Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance acknowledged problems but expressed confidence the glitches would be worked out, and that teachers and students would adjust.

“We are building the plane as we fly it,” he said, adding, “but let’s be clear our passengers are safe.”

Insofar as what they’re doing is destined to fail – except to the extent that they are willfully destroying the public schools, in which case they are far too successful – the analogy holds.

Other than that, it would have been better to say they are building sweatshops/work camps, and using the heads of students and teachers as hammers.  A picture of such a plane as advocated by Dr. Dance and Dr. Lillian Lowery is insane, something one would say to discredit the whole operation not to credit it. Who would want to board such a plane having that kind of knowledge the plane might crush anytime?

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Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance.

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has shown poor leadership skills in several ways and received an F grade for Common Core meetings recently.

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 (>>See the video <<)

State Super has Md parent arrested…

… at Common Core forumparent, parent becomes cause celebre.

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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

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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.

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Search committee hears from community leaders.

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The state-appointed CEO search committee, composed of, from left, Kenneth Johnson, chairwoman Charlene Dukes and Orlan Johnson, listen to Prince George’s County stakeholders discuss the qualities they would like to see in a new school system leader.

The sentiments were widespread and uniform. The patience of the parents and citizens of PG County has been tested and strained beyond its elastic limit. People are expecting results not rhetoric.

Many of the Prince George’s County community leaders and elected officials who attended a listening session Wednesday June 5th, 2013 at 4:30 PM -5:45 offered their opinion on what characteristics the new schools chief should have.

Several attendees expressed hope to see change management in the next leader and proper accountability throughout the system. This is because managing change is simultaneously difficult and important. “Often the ability to efficiently execute change projects is used as a measurement of the efficiency of the Manager.” Added one parent. “When discussing change projects, one cannot stress too much the importance of communication.” She concluded.

A large number of employees, parents and students who have talked to reform Sasscer Movement secretariat are very excited and optimistic about the future. Many are in high spirits that a proper leader will be identified without any problems to take the county forward and speed the troubled past behind them into a new era of accountability and proper collaboration.

As promised in our earlier blog, the search committee led by President Dr. Charlene M. Dukes has scheduled a telephone townhall for Monday June 10, 2013 from 7PM to 8:30 PM. Residents who want to participate can dial 855-246-7045, ext. 21990#.

We will keep you posted with point for point analysis and provide behind the scenes perspectives as we move forward to the future. No stone will be left unturned to establish accountability and ensure first class performance from our often wayward colleagues.  (See our Top priorities here) (Read more Gazzette) (Read more Washingtonpost)

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 Kent Hall at Prince George’s County Community College.

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PGCPS CEO Search Committee begins…

…stakeholde​r meetings.

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President Dr. Charlene M. Dukes

The Search Committee charged with finding the new Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO begins their work this week by meeting with stakeholders on June 5th, 2013 at 4:30 PM.  Community and parent groups will appear before the committee first starting at 4:30PM.

The next session, which will take place after the stakeholders’ meeting finishes, will be with elected officials, including school board members at 5:45PM. Both meetings will be at Kent Hall at Prince George’s County Community College.

The final session, a “telephone townhall” format, will be for the general public on June 10. Additional information on how to participate will be released at a later date. County residents can e-mail their questions and/or suggestions to newschoolsceo@co.pg.md.us.

For more information or to get information on attending contact educationboard@co.pg.md.us. Dr. Charlene Dukes, President of the Prince George’s Community College as well as President Maryland State Board of Education, also serves as Chair of the Search Committee. She will preside over the meetings and the expectations are very high.

Thank you State Leaders for your dedication and commitment to PGCPS and ensuring that PG County families  have a bright future for their children. (Read more) ( more)

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