Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year!


Writing on the last day of the year obviously opens up choices.  As indicated in the past, one can either look back to the year just ending, or look forward to the agenda ahead.

The present and future are always informed by the past; therefore priorities one may wish to set for 2015 will be shaped largely by the events and experiences of the preceding period.

History is full of nations and counties that once realized they were on the decline then embarked on deliberate efforts at re-engineering, rediscovery and redesign to emerge on top again.

History is also full of nations and counties that embraced denial and a false sense of greatness as permanent companions and ended down and out, overtaken by those they once held in scorn and low esteem.

It is our hope, dream, and prayer that in 2015, hand in hand, as civil society in Maryland, Opposition in Prince George’s County, Government and citizens, we can walk together to make Prince George’s County and Maryland one state that redesigned and re-engineered itself and found its path back to greatness out of terrifying challenges. We express this hope and hold fast to this dream well aware that we begin 2015 almost exactly where we were at this time in 2014.

Our biggest wish for the coming year is that we will do away with impunity and break the corruption chain.

Here we are not talking just about the impunity that places those in positions of leadership above the law and gives them license to rob, loot, rape and plunder our national and county coffers.

We have in mind a more insidious culture of impunity that afflicts not just the political leaders, but the general citizenry.

We are all guilty of impunity, or aiding and abetting impunity by remaining silent about the crimes all around us.

As motorists, we speed, jump traffic lights, and overtake dangerously.

We accept that motorbike, taxis, buses etc can operate in violation of all traffic laws.

We turn a blind eye to drunk-driving and make noise when police try to enforce the law.

And we buy immunity for our silent when we allow a culture of impunity to continue, pillaging leaders on the mere basis that we elected them.

We can look ahead into the new biennium with confidence, hope and resilience. We know that there are vast problems ahead: intractable poverty, fragile international security; and the certainty of unexpected outbreaks of disease. But we also know that we have the right resources to meet those challenges heads on.

Thank you for all your hard work and engagement for the future in our blog. We wish you all the very best for the new year ahead. May we jointly embark on efforts to make the counties in our respective countries and states belong in the first category of the world many years to come!

God Bless you indeed in this new year.

Welcome 2015!



Give Arne a #whatif on Twitter Right Now


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan invited readers on Twitter to think about “what if” and he is getting a whole lot of “what ifs” from teachers and parents.

Go to hashtag #whatif and see what others are saying, then post your own “what if.”



Prince George’s bill would create tax for school construction

Opponents say legislation would have chilling effect on business recruitment


Prince George’s shoppers may soon be asked to help foot the bill to reduce the school system’s $2 billion school maintenance backlog.

“If Prince George’s County is going to excel, if we are going to give our students a 21st century education in safe, modern buildings, then we need to get our schools in shape,” said General Assembly Del. Jay Walker (D-Dist. 26) of Fort Washington, co-sponsor of the bill.

Prince George’s 413-15, sponsored by Walker and Del. Alonzo Washington (D-Dist. 22) of Hyattsville, would allow the county to create a 1 percent sales tax, with the funds to go to school renovation and construction.

The bill would require approval from the County Council and referendum approval by voters in the 2016 November General Election.

Walker said the bill, if approved, would generate at least $60 million yearly in revenue for major renovation and construction projects.

>>> Read more Gazzette




Education’s Newsmaker Of The Year: Charter School Scandals.


Since it’s the time of the year when newspapers, websites, and television talk shows scan their archives to pick the person, place, or thing that sums up the year in entertainment, business, sports, or every other venue, why not do that for education too?

In 2014 education news, lots of personalities came and went.

Michelle Rhee gave way to Campbell Brown as a torchbearer for “reform.” The comedian Louis C. K. had a turn at becoming an education wonk with his commentary on the Common Core standards. Numerous “Chiefs for Change” toppled from the ranks of chiefdom. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett went down in defeat due in part to his gutting of public schools, as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker remained resilient while spreading the cancerous voucher program from Milwaukee to the rest of the state. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio rose to turn back the failed education reforms of ex-mayor Bloomberg, only to have his populist agenda blocked by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo who insisted on imposing policies favored by Wall Street. Progressives formed Democrats for Public Education to counter the neoliberal, big money clout of Democrats for Education Reform. And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush emerged as rival voices in the ongoing debate about the Common Core among potential Republican presidential candidates.

But hogging the camera throughout the year was another notable character: charter school scandals.

In 2014, charter schools, which had always been marketed for a legendary ability to deliver promising new innovations for education, became known primarily for their ability to concoct innovative new scams.

>>> Read more Education Opportunity Network



Teacher Preparation Issues.


If you plan to comment on the proposed federal regulations to judge teachers’ colleges and education programs by the test scores of the students of their graduates, you cannot do so by email. You may comment on the “Federal eRulemaking Portal” or send mail. You may not comment by fax or email (except by entering the Federal eRulemaking Portal)

Comments are due January 2 to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Comments are due to the U.S. Department of Education by February 2.

Here are the proposed regulations.


The Secretary proposes new regulations to implement requirements for the teacher preparation program accountability system under title II of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), that would result in the development and distribution of more meaningful data on teacher preparation program quality (title II reporting system). The Secretary also proposes to amend the regulations governing the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program under title IV of the HEA so as to condition TEACH Grant program funding on teacher preparation program quality and to update, clarify, and improve the current regulations and align them with title II reporting system data.


Star pic1

Success is not for those who wait. It’s for those who work hard for it.



Who: Anyone who wants better prevention, treatment and recovery services for those struggling with a substance use disorder

What: The Maryland legislature will convene on January 14th. We need representatives from around the state to meet with their elected officials prior to that, as well as during the session, to educate them on the issues and let them know why these issues are a top priority. We stand a better chance of being successful if we can get everyone on board with a single policy agenda, a good strategic plan, and a unified voice’

When: Sunday, December 28th

10:30 — 11:00 Meet fellow advocates from around the state. Enjoy pastries, muffins and bagels with juice and coffee, compliments of Heroin Action Coalition.
11:00 — 12:30 Members of Heroin Action Coalition will present a unified policy agenda comprised of issues that advocates from around the state have been working on.
Jason DeLizio, a Maryland lobbyist, will present an overview of how the legislature works, and how we can best impact the process to achieve our goals in 2015.

Where: The State House Inn

25 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401-1904
(410) 990-0024

Why: Overdose death is now the leading cause of unexpected death in the state –higher than car crash fatalities, homicides, or suicides.

Our children continue to die at an unprecedented rate, without an adequate response from our state leaders or a comprehensive strategy for solving the problem.
In order for better prevention, treatment and recovery services to become a reality, our voice must be heard by those committed to serving us –our elected officials!

–If they do not know our story, If we fail to ask for what we want –they cannot give us what we need!

R.S.V.P. to Lisa Lowe, Heroin Action Coalition




A Christmas Gift for You!


The Wright Brothers take to the skies

The people of this generation … are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

On a December day back in 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright, after numerous failures to fly a heavier-than-air machine, made amazing history. They achieved something that no man had ever done before. Ecstatic, they sent a telegram to their sister Katherine: “We have actually flown 852 feet. Will be home for Christmas.”

Overjoyed, Katherine ran down to the local newspaper and pushed the telegram–the greatest news story of the new century–into the hand of the editor. After reading it, he smiled and said, “Well, well! How nice the boys will be home for Christmas.”

The religious people of Christ’s day who were actually anticipating his coming as their Messiah also totally missed the point. They failed to recognize him–and ironically had him crucified–because he didn’t come, and didn’t operate, the way they expected him to.

How sad it is that so many miss the full meaning of Christmas in that they have never thanked Jesus for dying for their sins, nor accepted the most profound and precious Christmas gift ever given … the gift of the Savior and his pardon for all their sins and his gift of eternal life.

prayer: “Dear God, thank You for the most wonderful Christmas gift ever given–the gift of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Please use me to share Your great gift of salvation with as many people as possible for as long as I shall live. Use me every day to be ‘as Jesus’ in some way to whomever You bring into my life, and grant that they, seeing Jesus in me, will want You for themselves. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s name. Amen.”


Enjoy this Christmas version of one of the greatest musicians (Leonard Cohen) best songs!