Tag Archives: Politics:

Rushern Baker says he stands by PGCPS Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

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Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker

MITCHELLVILLE, Md. – One day after the Prince George’s County NAACP sent a letter to County Executive Rushern Baker demanding that Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s new contract be put on hold as an investigation on allegations of grade fixing and fraud within the school system will be conducted, Baker said that he is standing by Maxwell.

Baker spoke to FOX 5 after holding his first campaign event for his run for Maryland governor.

“I made the decision that he was doing a good job for the county and when I reappointed him and sent him to the school board, I have all the confidence in the world that he is moving the school system in the direction it should be,” Baker said. “I have not changed that. My mind has not changed on that. I stand by him and I stand by the work that he has done.”

We asked if Baker would recommend the termination of Dr. Maxwell’s contract if the upcoming investigation finds the allegations are true. He said, “If it turns out that happened, there are a lot of things we will have to deal with. Not just Dr. Maxwell’s contract. There will be a lot of things, including the school board’s role in all of this.”

The investigation of Prince George’s County Public Schools comes on the heels of a FOX 5 investigation where teachers and parents were interviewed making the alarming assertions.

Baker does not believe the grades were changed.

“In order for what they are alleging to happen, that means thousands of teachers would have had to participate in this,” said Baker.

The county executive for Prince George’s County also released a statement earlier on Thursday saying:

I applaud Dr. Maxwell and the majority of the Board for asking the State Board of Education to conduct another investigation into the allegations of grade changing. Clearly they understand that these allegations are overshadowing the tremendous improvements our schools have made over the last 4 years. We have expanded all day Pre-K, provided more language arts and specialty programs, enrollment has steadily increased, 2 of our 29 high schools have made U.S. News and World Report’s Top High School list for two years straight, philanthropic support in our schools has increased and just this year, our graduates received $151,000,000 in college scholarships and our student’s college readiness for community college is now 3% less than the state average among first year community college entrants. Thanks to the hard work of our teachers, principals, parents and students we have made significant progress.

At the heart of the NAACP’s letter is their concern about these allegations and resolving whether they are true. Now that the MSDE will be investigating this matter, I am confident Dr. Maxwell and his staff will fully cooperate with the investigators as they look into this matter and resolve this matter once and for all.

via Fox5

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Statement by the four fearless and selfless school board members on the school graduation controversy in PGCPS.

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This is the statement by the four fearless and selfless school board members on the school graduation controversy in Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS). It looks many whistleblowers are coming forward to substantiate their concerns after their letter to the governor requesting an investigation of PGCPS graduation rates, and the response from the CEO and other board members.  Keep up the good work David Murray, Edward P. Burroughs III, Raaheela Ahmed and Juwan Blocker.

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June 20, 2017

As elected school board members that represent one-third of the county’s electorate plus the student body, it is our responsibility to look into issues brought to us by our community. Over the past few months, various teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and students felt the need to come to us with concerns about graduation rates, and we did our due diligence to look into them and speak the resulting truth. After all, as we teach our kids, if you see something, say something.

We saw enough to say something confidentially to an authority that we had hoped would listen to our concerns and take them seriously. What happened as a result? Denial and retaliation. Our CEO has called our plea ‘politically-motivated’ and denies any systematic issue, and the majority of our colleagues have asked for our resignation. It’s disheartening that the board would come out with this position before thoroughly reviewing the evidence from all sides, as we did. It is this kind of dismissal that we feared would occur had we gone to local leaders first. It’s proven to be true.

If this is the backlash we, as board members and elected officials, receive for trying to speak up on an issue, we can only imagine the kinds of backlash our system employees would receive in speaking up.

We were absolutely unaware that MSDE had done an investigation on the matter earlier this year. Neither the CEO nor Board leadership informed us of it previous to yesterday evening, when it went out as a blast to school system stakeholders and the media. We now have an additional concern that this investigation was hidden from us, similar to how Head Start was hidden from us. Doubt arises on how many more investigations have occurred that the board is not aware of.

Upon review of the MSDE report, it appears that investigative findings were made without input from school-based individuals that live the day-to-day operations at our schools. Rather, the investigation was largely one-sided, led by statements from the accused – Dr. Maxwell – and his central office staff. We are asking MSDE to re-open its investigation and work with other authoritative entities, like the Maryland Attorney General, to allow a safe avenue for whistleblowers to come forward so that an even more thorough and objective investigation can occur.

We are all recent graduates of our system; we care deeply about it. It is this passion that drove us to serve on the School Board in the first place, and it is with this determination that we work to ensure a quality, honest, and ethical education for all our students. Let’s be clear: legitimate student success is worth every ounce of celebration, but if a school’s math proficiency on standardized testing is in the single digits when graduation rates are over 90%, then what are we really celebrating? As representatives of the community, we have a responsibility to be transparent about where we are and work to right the wrongs; we have a responsibility to do what’s right and speak truth to power. We understand there is a price to pay when exposing wrongdoing – and we are prepared to pay that price. That’s our commitment to PGCPS.

via Facebook

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Drama At Prince George’s County High School Graduations – Sign the Petition

Find out exactly who was behind the disruption, why and what has been done as a result on this installment of Politics963 with Harold Fisher.

Recently there was drama at two area high school graduations involving Prince George’s School Board Member Edward Burroughs.

Student leaders were selected to speak at Oxon Hill graduation but the mics were cut off. Burroughs forfeited his time to speak so that the students could. They were never given the opportunity to speak to their classmates during the ceremony.

At the Potomac High School’s graduation Burroughs was surrounded by police officers upon entering the ceremony at Showcase Arena. He left without incident.

via WHUR RADIO

>>>Listen to the entire WHUR Radio podcast here

Sign the Petition >>> Demand an Apology from PGCPS Deputy Superintendent and CEO >> Sign up here

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Prince George’s School Board Member Edward Burroughs with Radio Host Harold Fisher for WHUR.

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Prince George’s County Council Upset Over Unspent Litter Funds

CountyCouncil2017.jpgUPPER MARLBORO – The department of public works and transportation (DPW&T) is one of the more visible government agencies, responsible for street repair, snow removal and TheBus service. As the county council reviews their budget request for this year, they want to make sure residents see the results of those investments.

At the Transportation, Housing & the Environment (THE) committee work session on April 19, council members grilled DPW&T staff about initiatives they had funded last year which, some council members felt, were not seeing appropriate progress. Several members brought up the $2 million litter clean-up initiative included in the fiscal year 2017 approved budget. The money was intended to pay contractors to go out into each councilmanic district and pick up trash – but, as of the meeting, none of it had been spent, with only two and a half months left in the fiscal year.

“This is your operating budget. This isn’t something we wanted to see over two and three years. We are drowning in litter. It is everywhere. I cannot see any rationale- this is not a high-level activity, picking up litter – I can’t see any rationale why we have not spent that budget,” Mary Lehman, the committee’s vice-chair, said. “I personally wanted to see all of that $2 million spent by now. I really don’t understand it. I feel like we would have been better spent giving it to the department of corrections or somebody else. It’s just not acceptable.”

Darryl Mobley, director of DPW&T, said contract delays are the reason the money remains unspent. He said the department began the bidding process in September, with a Request for Proposals (RFP). But, the bidders who submitted during the first round were unresponsive, so a second round had to commence.

Gwen Clerkley, associate director for the office of highway maintenance, said the department is currently negotiating with the one bidder who was responsive to get the bidder to come up with a new plan that falls within the $2 million budget.

“They are going back, reviewing their numbers. They based their estimate solely on providing four crews of four for every council district. We asked them to go back and structure a program that would allow them to go back and meet the need,” she said. “It is our hope to have services in place by May 1.”

Mobley added that although that specific pot of money has not been spent, the department has staff out in the field “every day” cleaning up litter.

“The department of public works and transportation continues to pick up litter every day, in conjunction with the department of the environment. We work very closely with the department of corrections,” he said. “We have collected approximately three-and-a-half million pounds of litter as of February, when we reported the numbers to the office of audits.”

Councilwomen Deni Taveras echoed Lehman’s concerns about trash in her district, specifically around bus stops that do not have trash cans.

“A lot of times people will just tie a bag there, and it just overflows. At the end of the day, we just have trash everywhere,” she said. “We’re in a desperate state in terms of litter in my district.”

Last year’s budget also included $20 million for street resurfacing projects, with the FY18 proposal calling for another $10 million. Lehman expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of street resurfacing projects as well, saying the RFP did not go out until December (halfway through the fiscal year).

“This was not meant as a CIP (capital improvements program) project. This is operating money. So what happens to it?” Lehman asked. “My constituents want their roads resurfaced in real time, in their lifetime. And they’re waiting for years.”

Clerkley explained that the contractors don’t work on one road at a time; rather, they complete the first step on every road on their list, then move to the next step, and so on.

“Contractors don’t really work on a per-road basis. And I think that’s part of the miscommunication,” she said. “For now, it is more expeditious and cost-effective… for the roads that we’ve assigned to them, they go through and do all of their concrete work, then they will mill the road and do the resurfacing.”

She added, “I hear your frustration.”

The FY18 budget proposal for the department totals $29.9 million, which is an increase of about 13.5 percent over last year. Some of that- $204,400- comes from the addition of five staff members to help implement the county council’s updated taxicab regulations passed last year. DPW&T is also working to refresh the seat cushions and covers on its bus fleet, as well as purchase new vehicles to replace the current ones, which the department says are rapidly aging. $1.2 million is projected for bus replacement in FY18. Money has also been set aside for new infrared technology to handle potholes and as well as a system that will allow the department to track its vehicles in real time during snow events. The automatic vehicle location system is budgeted for $450,000.

DPW&T is also responsible for rolling out the BikeShare program in the county, which is projected to cost $1.4 million for the first phase. However, Mobley said they are pursing grants to cover as much as $740,000 of that total. In all, the department is seeking to increase the amount of outside grants it receives by $1.6 million.

The department anticipates approximately $600,000 of overtime related to snow and ice removal, equipment repairs, and debris removal, which Mobley said was calculated based on historical trends.

Via Sentinel 

OPINION

Prince George’s County’s staggering and tragic corruption will not end until leaders with integrity and ZERO vested interests in the system replace thieves.

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Democrats in Disarray; Delegate Calls Miller and Zirkin “Democrats in Name Only”

IMG_9557.JPGDemocrats have fallen into complete disarray as they’re now turning fire on each other. More than a dozen House Democrats walked off the floor today and held a press conference outside of the State House to fight for the “Maryland Trust Act” also known as the Sanctuary State Bill.

Delegate Joseline Pena-Melynk (District 21, Prince George’s County) went after Senator Bobby Zirkin (District 11, Baltimore County) and Senate President Mike Miller (District 27, Southern Maryland). This is a clear case of mainstream Democrats looking for bipartisan solutions by listening to the people being taken hostage by an increasing number of extremists in their party.

She said, “Senator Bobby Zirkin is a DINO, a Democrat in Name Only. As 2018 approaches, people you are going to hear us tonight in the news. Who lives in his district? Shame him. We don’t need a Democrat like that. We need someone who is going to protect everyone. Who’s not going to compromise. How can you not be a true Democrat? You killed the bill. Shame on you and I hope your district takes you out.”

“Senator Miller, this is a priority for the Democrats…Did we need an issue like this, absolutely so the people know what we stand for. Act like a Democrat. We don’t need anyone who’s not a true Democrat. These people behind me have a spine and not everyone can say that.”

It’s unfortunate that extremist Democrats have held reasonable ones hostage because they listened to their districts. When Senate President Miller looks like the most reasonable person in the room, how extremist are the Maryland Democratic Party now?

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Maryland’s Senate president said a bill that added protections for people in the United States illegally won’t pass the Senate in its current form. 

You can watch the whole video here: https://www.facebook.com/bpsears/videos/10154449969122286/

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Maryland Democrats Wave White Flag on 2018 Election Cycle

JN2_78881458674712If you take the broad view of what Maryland Democrats have been doing during this General Assembly session, you’ll notice one common trend;

  • Democrats have pushed the Protect Our Schools Act, a bill that does nothing to help students get a better education, but does give a number of concessions to the Democrats preferred interest group, the Maryland State Education Association;
  • As a part of the Capital Budget the General Assembly has moved to strip power away from the Board of Public Works, taking away the Board’s ability to review the school construction plan approved by the Interagency Committee on School Construction
  • Democrats have worked to take discretionary authority away from the Governor when it comes to the approval of suits against the federal government, setting up the office of Attorney General Brian Frosh as an unconstitutional fourth branch of government that can sue for slights both real and imagined at his discretion;
  • Democrats and interests groups have pushed a radical plan to give the Attorney General the authority to regulate the costs of generic prescription drugs, a move towards the Democrats dream of enacting Medicaid for all.
  • After 30 years of debate, Democrats in the Anne Arundel County delegation have relented and are supporting an elected Board of Education that will se all members elected by the people of the county instead of appointed by the Governor.

These are just some of a number of bills that Democrats have pushed that seeks Democratic pet projects, reward Democratic interest groups and hangers on, and remove authority from the Office of the Governor.

The unspoken meaning of all of this is that the Democrats are waving the white flag of surrender on the 2018 General Election. How so? Democrats would not be racing to take away power from the Governor, empowering the Attorney General if they truly believed that a Democrat would be sitting on the 2nd floor in 2019. The only times that the Democrats are ever interested in transferring power away the Governor is at times when the Governor is a popular Republican.

This is not the first time that we have noted that the Democrats know they have their backs against the wall in the 2018 election. Governor Hogan remains wildly popular with voters when running against “generic Democrat.” The House of Delegates have thrown up their hands and said that finding an opponent for the Governor was not their problem. And every week it seems like another pretender with no natural constituency within the Maryland Democratic party are publicly musing about seeking the Democratic nomination including Rushern Baker III.

None of this is a sign of strength for a party that has a nearly 3-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans.

The General Assembly session has been, as a whole, a disaster for the people of this state. But the political silver lining is there. Democrats know that the gig is up. They expect to lose to Governor Larry Hogan next year. And this entire session has been a very expensive and annoying exercise that has allowed the Democrats to throw in the towel on next year’s election.

Read more at http://redmaryland.com/2017/04/democrats-waive-white-flag-2018/

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Maryland Democrats Wave White Flag on 2018 Election Cycle and surrender! The Maryland Democrats’ candidates being fronted for Governor’s post have no proper agenda nor ethics.

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Controversial education bill passed in Md. Senate, despite Hogan veto threat

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ANNAPOLIS, MD – MARCH 22: Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr. leads the Senate session on March 22. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

An education bill that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has promised to veto passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday with a veto-proof majority, despite Hogan’s warning that it is “designed to hide the failures of school leaders and administrators.”

The bill now heads to the House of Delegates, where lawmakers must reconcile the version they passed by a veto-proof margin earlier this month with changes made in the Senate.

The legislation, which is backed by the state teachers’ union and opposed by the state Board of Education, sets up an accountability system for rating schools and prohibits the state board from using vouchers and charters as a way to fix failing schools.

It was created in response to the federal Every Students Succeeds Act, which gives the state board the authority to create a new accountability system for school performance.

The Senate amended the bill to say 65 percent of a school’s “accountability rating” should be based on academic indicators such as standardized testing, student achievement, student growth and graduation, compared to 55 percent in the original version.

Several opponents of the bill, including Minority Whip Sen. Stephen S. Hershey Jr. (R-Kent) argued that the rate is still too low and will make “Maryland a leader in deprioritizing student achievement.”

The Senate debate over the bill centered around school choice and the movement to privatize public schools, and included a mini-filibuster by Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R), who began reading the 380-page federal law on the Senate floor to forestall a vote.

“We want to ensure Maryland doesn’t become a Michigan,” Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), said referring to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push for charter schools in her home state.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate gave final approval to a bill that requires the state to reimburse Planned Parenthood for health-care services it provides if Congress cuts federal funding for the organization.

If Hogan signs the measure, Maryland would become the first state in the country to address the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood.

“Today we made sure that no matter what happens in Washington, Maryland will ensure that all women have access to health services, especially those who have historically faced barriers to quality health care,” said Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), the bill sponsor.

Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said the governor has consistently funded health care organizations in his budget but hasn’t taken a position on the legislation. This year, the federal government provided $2.7 million in reimbursements to Planned Parenthood offices in Maryland.

The Senate also gave preliminary approval Tuesday to substantial changes it made in Hogan’s plan to increase manufacturing jobs in distressed areas of the state, including Baltimore City, Allegany and Worcester counties.

The House and Senate passed an amended version of the governor’s $43 billion operating budget, which moves next to the governor’s desk.

The revised budget restores nearly two-thirds of the $116 million in annual spending requirements that Hogan had proposed trimming, including $8.4 million to increase state reimbursement rates for care providers who work with the developmentally disabled; $5 million for college scholarships for students from poor school districts; $3 million to extend library hours in Baltimore; and $6 million in local aid for that city and other jurisdictions that receive relatively little revenue from income taxes.

The budget also restores $3 million to help cover the cost of giving new teachers additional hours to be mentored, plan lessons and observe more experienced teachers; and to provide extra pay to educators who meet national teaching standards.

The legislature approved $82.5 million of the combined $95 million that the governor requested in two supplemental budgets, including all of the $28 million he requested to help schools in Baltimore and other jurisdictions with declining enrollment. The plans also boost funding for neighborhood revitalization, community colleges, combating the heroin and opioid epidemic and economic-development initiatives.

Lawmakers deferred $2 million of the state’s $51 million in mandatory funding for the Prince George’s Regional Medical Center until fiscal 2019. Hogan’s plan would have delayed $15 million for later years.

Tuesday’s budget votes marked the second straight year of the Hogan administration that the Democratic-majority legislature has passed a spending plan with relative ease. In Hogan’s first year in office, 2015, the deliberations dragged on until the final hours of the legislative session, with lawmakers ultimately refusing to fund some of the governor’s requests and Hogan vowing not to release money they had earmarked for their priorities.

“I really felt this year, for the first time, that his staff was more hands-on in terms of working with the budget committee,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore).

The fiscal plan leaves about $1 billion in reserves, including $860 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The Senate unanimously approved two bills aimed at addressing the state’s opioid addiction through treatment and education.

One of the bills would establish at least 10 crisis-treatment centers and request an increase in funding to expand drug-court programs. The other would require public schools to keep overdose-reversal drugs on hand, allow school nurses to give the drug and require colleges to educate incoming students about substance abuse.

The measures are now headed to the House.

A recent Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that 34 percent of Maryland residents have a family member or close friend who is addicted to prescription pain pills or heroin.

via Washington Postmarylandmap2

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