Tag Archives: Maryland State Department of Education

Hundreds of Maryland teachers disciplined by the state.

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WASHINGTON — Nearly 400 teachers in Maryland have had their teaching licenses yanked in just the last few years many without proper due process of the law due to a culture of impunity currently in progress within the Maryland State Department of Education and elsewhere within the counties. Child sex abuse. Child exploitation. Drug and alcohol use. The list goes on and on. The whole system needs a major change with the top leadership in the state level fired without much delay.

“It’s completely mortifying. It should not be happening in this day and age,” said Susan Burkinshaw, a parent and child safety advocate.

The database comes from the Maryland State Department of Education. It includes teachers facing disciplinary action from 2008 until now. The list consists of 397 teachers in seven years. Fourteen of them are from Montgomery County. The list does not include other school personnel or contractors facing similar accusations.

Here’s a breakdown of disciplinary action against teachers by county and by cause:http://bit.ly/1FY9u5f

Maryland State Revocation %26amp; Suspension List

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent of schools (Pictured above) has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct. She has received an F grade for Common Core meetings and other reform implementations in Maryland so far. Above all, she does not believe in the due process of the law and continues to contribute to the culture of impunity.

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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,” High suspension rates, violation of due process rights, manipulation inter alia during her tenure as President for Maryland State Board of Education.

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The culture of denying sunshine in the Maryland public school system.

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Lack of sunshine within Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is destroying Maryland Schools. 

The only way citizens can protect their own rights is to know their rights. And we have to know them as well as or better than those who seek to deny them.

From violations of the Open Meetings Act, to regulations made without the protections of the legislative process, to board meetings lacking reasonable public access, there is a culture of opaqueness that pervades our public school system on all levels in Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Education (MDE) has the authority to set regulations, which have the force of law, without the processes involved in passing legislation. Citizens are represented through our elected legislators, not through appointed board members. If the school board adopts regulations the public doesn’t agree with, we have little recourse – we can’t fire them or vote them out! The issue is explained in greater detail here.

While the authority of the MDE to function in quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial roles is authorized by law, some protections of the public’s right to government involvement are also authorized. But these protections are not self-enforcing and are routinely ignored. The more officials get away with excluding the public without being called out, the more we are training them to continue to exclude us. Case in point: the Maryland Open Meetings Act.

The Baltimore County Board of Education met in January in a series of secret, closed door meetings with our county executive to discuss the education budget. These meetings resulted in an $18 million decrease in the budget, all occurring without sunshine. See previous article on the violation here.

If you notice any public body that routinely makes unanimous or nearly unanimous votes with little to no dissension, chances are there are regular illegal closed door meetings occurring in addition to the required public meetings.

Not only do we have a lack of sunshine because of improperly closed meetings and off-the-record discussions, but we have lack of access to OPEN meetings too.

Ever tried to attend a board meeting of the state school board? Take all day off work, fight morning rush hour traffic to get down into Baltimore City, pay $12 for parking, sit through the morning session to get part of the important agenda items, and twiddle your thumbs during the adjournment to the closed Executive Session which lasts one-and-a-half to two hours. If there is no delay in the schedule you’ll get to the public comment period in mid to late afternoon only to discover the sign up to speak is done by phone and email prior to the day of the meeting rather than in-person registration, testify for three minutes, then fight rush hour traffic back home. If you are not within a reasonable driving distance of Baltimore City, you’re out of luck. The board does not livestream their meetings even though they represent citizens statewide up to three hours of driving distance away. Does that reflect the drumbeat of transparency and accountability?

>>> Read more 

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Report Says County Has Fewest “highly-effective” teachers.

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Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) HQ in Baltimore City. 

Prince George’s County Public Schools teachers are less effective than other districts in the state, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) in October.

With about 6 percent of the county’s teachers ranked as ineffective, the county has the second highest percentage of “ineffective” teachers in the state. The county also has the lowest percentage of highly-effective teachers with nearly 7 percent of the county’s teachers considered “highly effective.” The remaining 87 percent of the county’s teachers are considered “effective.”

The teacher evaluation data did not include standardized test scores, but test scores will be considered in evaluation models starting June 2016 at the earliest, said David Volrath, a planning and development officer for MSDE.

“We have to be able to capture a student’s growth, which requires at least two years of data,” Volrath said. “We can’t promise anyone that is even doable in the 2016-17 school year.”

The teacher evaluation data is from the 2013-14 school year, when MSDE launched a statewide implementation of a new teacher and principal evaluation system.

Within the county, the number of ineffective, effective and highly effective teachers ranges greatly. At Kettering Elementary School in Kettering, 38.1 percent of its teachers are considered ineffective. In contrast, 36.4 percent of the teachers are considered highly effective at Oxon Hill Elementary School in Oxon Hill.

“This is a starting point, it was designed for us to answer questions,” Volrath said. “We’re in no position to proclaim anything at this point.”

Parents should be cautious and not over react to the data, Volrath said. “This is a setting of the bar stage, we are using the information in a developmental way to help teachers and principals become better practitioners.”

There was no target for percentages for ineffective, effective or highly effective teachers or principals, Volrath said.

At the state level, the percentage of ineffective teachers and effective teachers was lower, while the percentage of highly effective teachers was much higher than Prince George’s County. About 3 percent of teachers were found to be ineffective; about 56 percent teachers were effective and about 41 percent teachers highly effective.

PGCPS officials say it is not completely accurate to compare Prince George’s County to other counties because of slight differences among evaluation systems, but they also say they are working to recruit and retain effective teachers.

“We need to look at the data and say with this rating, we need to provide this additional support, either systemically or at individual schools,” said William Ryan, executive director of employee performance and evaluation. “We will use the data received to make our teachers better and better and to support our students.”

Deborah Sullivan, director of human resource strategies and workforce planning for PGCPS, said it can be challenging to recruit effective teachers because of the competitive market in the metropolitan area.

“The supply is not meeting the demand,” Sullivan said. “The state of Maryland is an ‘import’ state, we don’t produce enough educators to cover vacancies we have in the area.”

Both Ryan and Sullivan said the school system is bolstering its efforts to recruit and retain effective teachers.

“We’ve increased compensation for more competitive teachers,” Sullivan said.

For current teachers, Sullivan said the school district is trying to improve teacher mentorship and make teachers aware of leadership opportunities. This month, the school system is launching a peer evaluation and mentorship program for teachers new to the county, Ryan said.

>>> Read more Prince George’s County Sentinel.  Read more >>> State study: Prince George’s County teachers rank low and our opinion.

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Union corruption around the world has become a major problem for workers and especially in Prince George’s County District in particular where County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker III has turned them into pig banks starting with ASASP Union, PGCEA, MSEA, ACE- AFSCME Local 2250 and others . >>> Read more ~ Big losses for the Labor Unions in Election 2014.

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Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

Rushern Baker III – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

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State study: Prince George’s County teachers rank low.

New evaluation system rates 6.8 percent ‘highly effective’

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According to Gazette,  Of Prince George’s County Public School’s 8,768 teachers, 564, or 6.4 percent, were ranked ineffective under the school system’s new teacher evaluation system, according to a state study.

The statewide average was 2.8 percent, and only Dorcester County had a higher percentage of ineffective teachers, at 14.9 percent, according to the study by the Maryland State Department of Education.

At least one in four teachers at 16 Prince George’s schools were rated ineffective, according to the data.

According to the study, 599 PGCPS teachers, or 6.8 percent, were rated as “highly effective,” while the majority, 86.7 percent, were “effective.”

The results include 22 of the state’s 24 school districts. Montgomery and Frederick counties did not participate in the first year, but will participate beginning this year.

“Prince George’s County’s metrics were the most comprehensive, encompassing a number of variables developed by the LEA [Local Education Agency],” said David Volrath, planning and development officer for the Maryland State Department of Education, or MSDE.

William “Bill” Ryan, PGCPS performance and evaluation officer, said the metrics used in Prince George’s County were developed over the past six to seven years.

“Unions, principals, teachers and other administrative staff all had a hand in developing the teacher evaluation model,” Ryan said.

Once the model was developed, the school system, teachers and principals unions and the state had to approve the plan, Ryan said.

Kenneth Haines, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, the local teacher’s union, described the evaluation as a fairly accurate work-in-progress.

“We would have preferred a longer trial process before implementation, but overall we’re pretty happy with our model,” Haines said, saying the results mirror the findings of the Measurements of Effective Teaching, or MET, a nationwide study performed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013.

Ryan said the metric takes into account a number of factors, including 50 percent professional practice, including planning, preparation and delivery of instruction and student surveys, and 50 percent student growth, including local student assessments and the degree to which Student Learning Objectives, goals the teacher sets for her students, are met, Ryan said.

Data from the Maryland School Assessment, or MSA, and High School Assessment, or HSA, were not used. Counties received a waiver from the state allowing them not to use MSA and HSA results in evaluations for 2013-14, the last year those tests are given. State assessment data will not be included in the metrics until at least 2016-17, as the school system shifts to using the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

“Highly Effective means the teacher was able to significantly raise the measure of student progress,” Volrath said. “Ineffective teachers were those who were not able to do that … Effective teachers fall somewhere in the middle.”

Ryan said teachers rated ineffective will go through an observation process and provided with additional supports. If that process has already been followed, administrative action, up to and including dismissal, could be taken.

janfenson-comeau@gazette.net

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OPINION

Teaching evaluations can be an effective tool for teachers and administrators who want to identify strengths and weaknesses in the classroom and lead to positive change. Effective teachers will often receive evaluations highlighting their accomplishments and incorporating a few suggestions for strengthening their practice. But when a teacher gets a negative evaluation, it can have a demoralizing effect and even hurt his or her career. Learning how to recover from a poor teaching evaluation can help teachers use the information constructively to get their careers back on track. However, there are a few things one needs to note in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) under corrupt leadership mixed with corrupt unions exhibiting misconduct. These unions do not always represent what is good for the profession and in supporting teachers properly. Nevertheless, that is another topic for another day. We have already said a lot in our blogs including (here), (here) and (here).

It is disappointing that the Gazette did not ask some of the teachers what happened during the evaluation process. It is not too hard to find out if investigative reporting was carried out properly. For example, we received in our blogs that about 25% of the teachers at Tulip Grove were rated highly effective. The Gazette could have investigated further by asking teachers their view on the issues.

Also, the wide disparities between schools begs the question why? For example, why are nearly 1/3 of the teachers at Walker Mill Middle School and Thomas Claggett ES rated ineffective? Are they? What if they were at Benjamin Tasker or Samuel Ogle Middle Schools?

As for all teachers, since one component of the data part of their evaluation was not available, the county decided ALL teachers would receive the score of 60. This is very suspicious given that the current President of PGCEA once worked in the same school at North Western High School when Dr. Kevin Maxwell was a Principal there. In this case, is PGCEA compromised as a result of these ties? What about the role of Mr. Christian Rhodes who used to work for PGCEA as a Uniserv  Director and later for MSEA? Does his hiring by Dr. Kevin Maxwell at salary of $138,278 meant to compromise the teacher union and compromise their standing? Why are teachers in PGCPS not questioning this unethical practice meant to derail their futures? If you are being bullied, check ~~>  Ideas on how to deal with a Bully Boss especially in PGCPS.

Here are a few points to consider in the midst of the storm for negative evaluations and how to react.

Stay Calm

When reading through a negative teaching evaluation for the first time, or leaving a negative conference with an administrator, take time to digest the information and process your emotions. Don’t act rashly by placing an angry call to your teacher’s union (PGCEA) or MSEA because these unions are compromised already and not serving the employees properly. In the same token do not badmouth the administrator who issued the evaluation because he might be used for some other purpose to destroy your career. Calm down and step away from the situation. Think about going for a walk around campus or pausing for a cup of tea or even write to us.

Review the Information

Go through the negative teaching evaluation objectively. Chances are, you missed some positive feedback. Make a list of the categories where you are currently performing well, and the items that have been identified as growth areas in your teaching practice. As you review the negative feedback, identify the topics which you feel genuinely could be opportunities for improvement. Work to improve your performance in these areas and document ways you have met those objectives. For example, your evaluation might state that you don’t communicate with families often enough. Provide a track record of email, in-person or telephone communication with parents to demonstrate that you have worked to improve your performance in this area.

Demonstrate your competency by reaching out to administrators. Invite them to return to the classroom for additional observations — and, perhaps, a follow-up evaluation — where you can better demonstrate your abilities. Identify a potential teaching mentor, ask for support in achieving your teaching targets, and let the administration know that you have taken this proactive step. If you feel your evaluation has been unfair, ask whether you can write a response to the original negative evaluation that can be included in your file. If necessary at this point, contact your teacher’s union (PGCEA) even though they are compromised for documentation if you suspect that the evaluation was a result of personality conflicts or something else outside of your actual performance. They might be able to provide information about filing a formal grievance at this point. This is important because if the grievance system does not work, you can use this information to sue the Union down the road.

Mental Recovery

Focusing on the positive qualities of your teaching performance can reinforce your self-confidence and remind you why you became a teacher. Take time to appreciate special teaching moments with your students. Other veteran teachers might have had similar experiences. Ask trusted teachers how they have dealt with similar situations and regained their confidence. Stay active, we are in the middle of changing the county and we need your support and feedback too. Our aim is to make sure that, the institutions work for the better and discrimination as a way of life is a thing of the past.

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teachers-union-cartoon-corruption

Union corruption around the world has become a major problem for workers and especially in Prince George’s County District in particular where County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker III has turned them into pig banks starting with ASASP Union, PGCEA, MSEA, ACE- AFSCME Local 2250 and others . >>> Read more ~ Big losses for the Labor Unions in Election 2014.

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Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

Rushern Baker III – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

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