Board of Education members must heed public concern.
Public outcry at corruption, impunity and economic instability sent shockwaves around the world in 2011 and 2012. Protests in many countries quickly spread to unite people from all parts of society including Prince George’s County – Maryland. Their backgrounds may be diverse, but their message is the same: more transparency, accountability, transformation, innovation and change is needed from our leaders. Better yet, corrupt leaders must leave the office and create a way for new leadership.
The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that public frustration is well founded. No region or country in the world is immune to the damages of corruption. The vast majority of the 183 countries and territories assessed score below five on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean.) New Zealand, Denmark and Finland top the list, while North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom. In the United States, Prince George’s County Maryland is among the top most corrupt counties. The previous County Executive is serving time in Jail for corruption as we write this. (Read more).
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption. It is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.
The 2011 index draws on assessments and opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. These surveys and assessments include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts. Perceptions are used because corruption is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption. In this regard, we continue to focus our effort in the fight against corruption by advocating reforms for Prince George’s County school system (PGCPS).
Education reform efforts can no longer afford to treat all schools, staff and students as if they are beginning at the same place, both academically and socioeconomically. The PGCPS system has no plan of action. The Board of Education must come up with a plan and must address communities’ present conditions. A holistic approach requires that we begin the process of making thoughtful school funding allocations and channeling resources to low-performing schools with the most need. By doing so, we improve struggling schools, increase student success, and bridge the achievement gap. The Corrupt administrators involved in extra marital affairs, selling of contra band and practicing discrimination must be shown the door! (see news realese US Department labor)
Although teachers play a vital role in educating students, parents also have a pivotal part in determining the educational success of their children. In a recent Gates Foundation survey of 10,000 teachers nationwide, 98 percent said family involvement and support have a strong or very strong impact on improving academic achievement.
Parents must attend parent-teacher conferences and extra-curricular events to monitor student progress and express concerns. They must also reinforce teacher directives about homework and studying. Teachers, parents, school leaders and public officials must collaborate and act in a concerted effort to fulfill our mutual commitment to educate our students. Corruption as a way of life as practiced by Dr. William Hite and his kitchen cabinet must be eliminated once and for all. (see entire list here).
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. In Prince George’s County school system, we must demand for better change and transformations… talk about crooks, there’s an environment over infested with crooks taking from the children to fatten their own pockets in PGCPS!!!
Public sector governance that puts the interests of its citizens first is a responsibility that transcends borders. Governments must act accordingly. For their part, citizens need to continue demanding better performance from their leaders in the schools. Corruption begins in the schools and then spreads… said one concerned parent.
We must realize that teaching the information necessary to receive a proficient score on the Maryland HSA, MSA or any other high-stakes exam does not mean that the students have learned the critical thinking skills necessary for success in higher education or the job market.
PGCPS teachers stand ready to work with the Governor, County executive and BOE members to create the outcomes our students deserve. Despite the challenges we face, public education stakeholders must renew their commitment to create a community and a school system that honors and respects children’s natural curiosity while capturing their full potential. Above all, we must fight corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct in every way.
If we work together, the situation shown by this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index can improve. These are our countries (our communities) and our future. It’s time!
Finally as President Obama said recently during a graduation ceremony, “Our founders understood that America does not stand still; we are dynamic, not static. We look forward, not back. And now that new doors have been opened for you, you’ve got an obligation to seize those opportunities……..
So don’t accept somebody else’s construction of the way things ought to be. It’s up to you to right wrongs. It’s up to you to point out injustice. It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely. It’s up to you to stand up and to be heard, to write and to lobby, to march, to organize, to vote. Don’t be content to just sit back and watch. ” We agree with the United States President and it is time to make changes in PGCPS.
Reform Sasscer Movement Secretariat for Prince George’s County.