Tag Archives: Pgcps corruption

PGCPS School Board Millenials

Published on Jul 12, 2017The Prince George’s Board of Education has three of the youngest school board members in Maryland. Learn who influenced them to run for office & what they consider important issues in the educational system. Patricia Villone reports.

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State lawmakers from Prince George’s seek broad probe of graduation rates

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Members of the Prince George’s County’s legislative delegation joined the call Thursday for a state investigation into charges that county school officials doctored grades to increase promotion and graduation rates.

In a letter dated Thursday, the delegates called upon state Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon to examine the claims. The letter was signed by Dels. Jerry Walker and Geraldine Valentino-Smith, a Bowie resident and vice chairwoman of the delegation.

The claims were made by four members of the county school board, including David Murray and Raaheela Ahmed of Bowie.

“Given that the Maryland State Department of Education has oversight over public school districts in Maryland and the educational interests of the State, we respectfully request the resources of the Maryland State Department Education for purposes of an in-depth audit and further investigation of such serious allegations,” the delegates wrote.

The allegations of grade tampering came to light this week when county schools CEO Kevin Maxwell revealed that four school board sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, asking him to conduct an investigation into possible irregularities. He dismissed the claims as “politically motivated” and revealed that a similar probe conducted last fall turned up no evidence of grade-tampering. However, Dr. Maxwell has refused to sit down with reporters as such fox for on camera interview despite repeated requests.

At a jam-packed and often heated school board meeting Thursday night, during which the $1.9 billion school budget was passed, Maxwell repeated his defense of the school system.

“The false allegations about our graduation rates strike at everything that Prince George’s schools stand for – past, present and future,” Maxwell said. “These allegations denigrate why teachers teach and why principals lead. They are a personal attack on every teacher, counselor administrator and employee in this system.”

In their letter, the delegates said the state probe of anonymous allegations last fall did not go far enough because the school personnel interviewed in that investigation were selected by Maxwell.

“It has come to our attention that a high level of concern exists for those schools that experienced a significant change in graduation rate or that have a significant disparity between graduation rates and the performance of students on high school standardized tests,” delegates wrote. “We are also aware that the local change in grading policy may be causing both confusion and disagreement among teachers and parents and this issue could certainly be clarified through a careful MSDE review.”

County officials adopt slightly increased budget for FY 2018
The other nine school board members and a group of county high school principals released statements this week denying the charges and supporting Maxwell.

But Ahmed and Murray stood by their claims, saying Thursday they’d heard and seen enough evidence from system employees to indicate that something was amiss with the grading system. Hogan’s office has forwarded the letter to state education officials.

“There was enough information that I had received – testimony, having seen documents – that there convinced me there was reason for some of these things to be true,” Ahmed said. “I had reason to expect issues – widespread issues.”

Tracie Miller, principal of Gwynn Park High School, was joined by several other high school principals at the board meeting in Upper Marlboro as she spoke out in defense of her colleagues at the meeting.

“We, as high school principals, are extremely offended about the allegations and hurtful accusations that we pressure teachers to to give students grades in order to (increase) the graduation rate,” she said. Such claims, she added, “stain all of us.”

Many parents have come forward with information that their children grades appear suspicious after receiving an A in their report card. Other students who skipped school for many days got A’s and B’s as part of their grades in a shocking revelation to make the adminstration look good.

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Where was PGCPS CEO Maxwell?

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CEO DR. Kevin Maxwell

So January 25th was the annual Beg-a-thon in Annapolis, where the superintendent and relevant personnel from every county and Baltimore City are called before the Board of Public Works to explain their needs and plead their case for their requested money.

CEO Maxwell was a no-show this year, opting instead to send the school system’s chief operating officer.  When asked where Maxwell was, the man stammered something about a council meeting scheduled for this morning, but then said that it had been cancelled.  He clearly had no idea where Maxwell was, and why he wasn’t there. The Council meeting in question was scheduled for 1030am, opposite the Beg-a-thon, which started at 10am.  But the council meeting was rescheduled, and the emails sent out show the change in date and time was sent by 845am.  So with his schedule now cleared, why didn’t CEO Maxwell attend the Beg-a-thon, where PGCPS was asking for an additional $90 million dollars ABOVE the already fully funded school budget?  Where was he?

Understandably, Governor Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot were a little upset at the disrespect shown the Board of Public Works by CEO Maxwell. After hearing the weak excuses and confusion about CEO Maxwell’s whereabouts, Comptroller Franchot asked, “So nobody knows where he is?”  Governor Hogan pointed out that PGCPS gets more money from the state than any other county or city, so this 90 million the COO was sent to beg for is ABOVE the already largest pile of money handed to any jurisdiction. As Governor Hogan said,

“Prince George’s County received the most money of any jurisdiction in the entire state, and they were fully funded again this year.  You’re asking for $90 million dollars from us today. The fact that the County Executive, Superintendent, and none of the Council members, nobody felt it was important to show up is discouraging. You might want to pass that on to them when you get back. Next time they want to ask us for $90 Million dollars, they might want to come address us themselves.”

Governor Hogan went on to say that complaints of lack of education funding from County Executive Baker were “insulting,” because PGCPS is fully funded by the state per the formulas set forth by the legislature, and would be fully funded once again this year. He also said he was tempted to withhold the funds from Prince George’s County until the Superintendent or any of the other top elected officials in the county came to talk to the Board in person, but he would not do that because it wouldn’t be fair to the students and hard working staff.

I don’t know where CEO Maxwell was, but I know where County Executive Rushern Baker, several members of the PG County Council and even a few School Board Members were.  No, none of them were at the beg-a-thon to impress the Governor and BPW with the need for the extra $90 million.  Nope.  They were all across town, in Annapolis, holding a press conference complaining about Anne Arundel Hospital getting a cardiac unit that might be in competition with the one at Prince George’s Hospital, as well as complaining that Governor’s budget was again shorting Dimensions Healthcare some funds.  The governor’s spokesperson has responded to accusation by saying that the Prince George’s County Hospital was giving exactly what UMMS – who is now in charge of the building – said it needed, nothing more, and nothing less.  CE Baker has said he won’t announce until after the legislative session whether or not he’s running for governor, but his grandstanding here lends all kinds of credence to long-standing rumors that he wants the Governor’s mansion next.

The video from the meeting can be found on BPW website. The PGCPS official appears before the board at the 2:01:23 mark of the third video from the January 25, 2017 meeting.  The time given for the start of that lives stream video is 1:30 pm, so the PGCPS official made his appearance sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon.  That means that even if the Council meeting had proceeded as planned, CEO Maxwell would have had plenty of time to get to Annapolis.

So where was CEO Maxwell?

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Ex-School PGCPS Aide Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of at Least 11 Students

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Deonte Carraway, 23

GREENBELT, Md. – A former elementary school volunteer in Prince George’s County appeared in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, Monday morning and entered a guilty plea in connection with a child pornography case that shocked the county’s school system.

Deonte Carraway, 23, pleaded guilty to all 15 federal counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography. He faces 60 to 100 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Carraway admitted to directing young students to engage in sexual activity with each other and with himself. Federal prosecutors say he used cellphones to record the sexual acts, had victims send him pornographic videos and photos and also sent child pornography to victims.

The sexual acts occurred at several locations including Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School and inside private homes, according to prosecutors.

Police arrested Carraway last year after a family member of one of the victims discovered nude images on the victim’s phone and reported it to authorities. Federal prosecutors outlined their case against Carraway Monday, saying he had victimized at least 12 children between the ages of 9 and 13 between October 2015 and February 2016.

In addition to the federal case, Carraway faces 270 Maryland charges related to child abuse and child pornography. The local charges were pending as the federal case unfolded, and it is not clear if Carraway will enter a guilty plea in connection with them.

Between the local and federal cases, prosecutors believe he is responsible for abusing at least 23 children between the ages of 9 and 13.

The case caused outrage among parents who have filed lawsuits against the school system, claiming administrators did not do enough to stop Carraway.

School leaders established a student safety task force in response to the case last year. In May, the task force released a report and education officials announced they would set up a new office of accountability and would roll out dozens of policy, training and even curriculum changes in an effort to protect students from physical and sexual abuse at the hands of adults they are supposed to trust.

via WTOP

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Student Board Member Juwan Blocker files a Grievance to @PGCPSCEO

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PGCPS Student board member Juwan Blocker (pictured)

Student board member Juwan Blocker has created a petition urging the Prince George’s County CEO  Dr. Kevin Maxwell to keep Hyattsville Middle School’s creative writing program.

The Petition states:

Dear Prince George’s County Public Schools students, parents, and community leaders,

My name is Juwan Blocker and I am the Student Member of The Prince George’s County Public School Board, representing all PGCPS Students. The Creative Writing Major at Hyattsville Middle School has been planned to be terminated after the 2017-2018 school year. Hyattsville is a Creative Performing Arts (CPA) Middle School that requires students to audition to get into one of five CPA programs Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, TV/Media Production, and Creative Writing.

The Creative Writing Program has been in existence for 15 years. Since its start, the program has helped strengthen the writing and critical thinking skills of students by having them analyze various literary genres and providing opportunities to express themselves through speaking and writing. Many students have tremendously benefitted from the program.

A recent PTSA Meeting and letter from Dr. Maxwell’s administration have changed the future of the program. The letter states that the Maryland State Department of Education does not recognize the Creative Writing Program as a fine arts major. The letter then states that based on parent input and concern the program will be continued for the 2017-2018 school year, but will be offered as an elective course for subsequent school years.

There are several problems and concerns with this sudden change.

1.     Why weren’t School Board Members made aware of this change?

2.     Why were parents and students just notified about this change?

3.     Why weren’t parents and students apart of the decision-making process?

4.     Has Dr. Maxwell’s administration evaluated all possible options to keep the program the way that it is?

5.     How do you terminate a program without evidence that proves that the program isn’t effective or needed to better prepare students for college or a career?

6.     Why are we cutting a program that helps strengthen the writing and critical thinking skills of our students?

The reality is that if our county indefinitely terminates this program then the rest of the Creative Performing Arts Program will not be the same, we will be taking away the additional opportunity for students to increase their writing and critical thinking skills that prepares them to be college and or career ready. This program attracts students and families from various backgrounds and if this is cut then we will also see a decrease in diversity at the school.

Replacing the Creative Writing Program with offering it is an elective course would extremely water down the course. The way that Dr. Maxwell and his administration is handling this situation is unacceptable and we deserve better!

Juwan Blocker,

Student Member of the Prince George’s County Board of Education

>>> Read more

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CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell (pictured) has been used by corrupt cartels since 2013 to advance personal careers for several individual politicians in Prince George’s County at the expense of the families, students and staff in the Prince George’s county.  Due to evolving corruption with ties to the local judiciary, the students have been forced to fight for themselves while unrest escalates in several areas within the county.

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PGCPS Student board member Juwan Blocker (pictured)

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The Day Former PGCPS Executive Cornered With Corruption Walked Away.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Schools director Dr. Shawn Joseph (Former PGCPS Executive) ordered his staff not to answer NewsChannel 5’s questions about his hiring practices, planning instead to attack the station’s reporting after a story aired.

That’s according to emails obtained under the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Joseph’s directive came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates questioned the hiring of two individuals with connections to the new schools director.

As previously reported, one of those hires, Kathleen Dawson, was named an executive lead principal to supervise other principals – even though she has never worked a full year as a lead principal in any school. Another hire, Tamika Tasby, was put in charge of professional development for teachers even though she has no classroom experience.

On November 10, in anticipation of that news report, NewsChannel 5 submitted specific questions to the district about the hiring of the two women.

According to the emails, the district’s senior communications director, Janel Lacy, forwarded that request to Joseph and other members of his leadership team.

“I believe it’s in our best interest to respond, since he’s likely to go forward with a story regardless,” Lacy wrote. “The story will be much worse without a response from us.”

Joseph’s chief of staff, Jana Carlisle, responded that same day: “Dr. J is disinclined to engage.”

The next day, Lacy again pushed Joseph’s team to respond to NewsChannel 5’s questions.

“I think at the very least we need to answer whether the positions were posted or not,” she emailed. “If they weren’t posted – and legally didn’t have to be posted – then let’s own that and the decisions to hire them…. Better to address it head on.”

Lacy prepared a draft statement in which Joseph would say he felt “confident that time will show we have the right people in the right places – and that we are moving at a rapid pace to give our students higher quality instruction in every school.”

Joseph responded: “No, I do not like it.”

“I don’t want us to respond,” he continued. “If he does a story, we will follow up with a very direct statement towards his conduct…period.”

JOSEPH: “I DON’T WANT US TO RESPOND” (p. 1)

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3226375-Shawn-Joseph-Emails.html#document/p1/a329264
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It’s not clear what Joseph intended, but the district ignored NewsChannel 5’s questions and never gave any explanation about why no statement was issued.

Since there was no response to our questions, NewsChannel 5 Investigates filed a public records request for the emails in an effort to determine Joseph’s thinking and understand his refusal to respond.

That attitude followed an earlier on-camera interview in which Joseph had become agitated about questions about his use of district employees as chauffeurs.

Ironically, in a separate exchange, emails show that Metro Council member Russ Pulley told the district’s lobbyist that “taxpayers should be more concerned about the money we are spending answering these open record requests from Phil Williams.”

That comment came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates raised questions about spending by the district under Joseph’s leadership.

Pulley shared his response to a constituent about Joseph’s spending. He told the constituent, “I agree the optics of this or [sic] not the greatest, but the reality is we can do a much better job of finding waste other than this.”

But, then, in an email to the district lobbyist, Pulley showed no concern over “the optics.”

“Please let Dr. Joseph know that he has my full and complete support,” Pulley wrote. “And I also have absolutely no problem with how he conducts his business.”

via NewsChannel 5

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Shawn Joseph was the Prince George’s district’s deputy superintendent of the teaching and learning division and oversaw numerous departments, including the early education department that oversaw the Head Start grant in which the federal government revoke a $6.4 million due to teachers mistreating students.

The notice of the revocation, sent to the PGCPS district on Aug. 12, 2016 found that teachers used corporal punishment on children, as well as humiliated them in the county’s Head Start program in the Maryland district, according to a Washington Post report.

Shawn Joseph was not listed in the report or in the notice of revocation. He officially began the Metro Schools job on July 1, 2016 in Nashville. However, emails shared later shown that, Mr. Shawn Joseph was made aware of the issues but failed to act.

The first incident of child neglect was first reported in December 2015, according to the report, and the revocation document says that a 3-year-old boy at a Prince George’s early learning school was forced to mop his urine in wet clothes.

The teacher sent a photo of the student mopping the urine to the parent, the report says. It adds that a family services worker likely discouraged the parent from filing a complaint, which was eventually filed in mid-January 2016.

The deficiencies in reporting the incident of neglect were shown to be corrected in April 2016 during a follow-up visit, according to the report. And Shawn Joseph said the investigation was handled by human resources personnel.

But further incidents occurred on June 10 2016 and June 15, 2016 according to the report, and led to the eventual revocation of the federal Head Start grant. It said efforts to ensure staff followed the standards of conduct training outlined by administrators weren’t effective.

Other issues were also found including during that time where a student left the school’s campus and walked home unnoticed by employees. Staff did not know the child’s whereabouts for more than an hour. Rather than address the issues, Prince George’s County public schools personnel together with others engaged in cover ups rather than address the issues properly.

Just like Tennessee Metro School District under Shawn Joseph,  Prince George’s County Public Schools is run in similar version in which appointments are made based on family or friends without proper regard to their qualifications to positions of authority.

Read more >>>BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher

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PGCPS Student Shot Near Suitland High School; Search for Gunman Underway

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A high school student opened fire near a high school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Friday afternoon, shooting a fellow student and sending a bullet through the window of a school building, police say.

The student fired multiple shots in an apartment building parking lot within sight of Suitland High School in District Heights, police said.

The search for the shooter is ongoing.

A teen boy was shot in the leg and is expected to recover.
The school was placed on a lockdown that later was lifted.
Many parents rushed to the school, fearful that their children had been shot.

“Police can’t tell you anything, the school can’t call parents and let anybody know anything,” one mother said, nearly in tears. She said she had two daughters who attend the school.

Upon learning that boys had been involved in the shooting, not girls, the mother exhaled and clutched her hand to her chest.
“Thank you,” she said.

According to the initial investigation, a group of students left the school and argued in the apartment building parking lot, a Prince George’s County Police Department spokeswoman said.
One student opened fire and hit the teen. A classmate dragged him into the high school for help.

Prince George’s County police and fire and rescue was called to the scene about 12 p.m. Soon after, they found the victim near the school annex building, which houses art and music classes.
He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police later found a bullet lodged in the ceiling of that school building. A student and a teacher were inside the classroom but were not hurt.

At least five shell casings were found.

Suitland High is a performing arts school known for its students’ achievements.

A witness told News4 he saw three students involved in the conflict: one who was shot, one who helped the victim and another who ran away.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor posted on Twitter that this was “NOT an active shooter” situation.

“The investigation has moved into the neighborhoods, where we’re currently searching for the suspect,” Lt. David Coleman said.

Student Kelai’ah Wheelen said she just wanted to go home.
“It was terrifying,” she said.

Anyone with information for police is asked to call 301-772-4910. To leave a tip anonymously, call 866-411-TIPS, send a text message with PGPD plus your message to CRIMES or visit http://www.pgcrimesolvers.com.

Source: Student Shot Near Suitland High School; Search for Gunman Underway | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Student-Shot-Suitland-High-School-prince-georges-co-410650005.html#ixzz4VnEWjIue
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