Democracy Dies in Darkness – The case of Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard.

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Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-24-Mitchellville) – Maryland Deputy Speaker Pro Tem engaged in suspicious gamesmanship and dubious alliances at the expense of the county citizenry.

While test scores in the states second largest school district remain among the lowest in the region, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and some of the county’s elected School Board remain in a bitter power struggle over control of the school system, its budget, and the current Superintendent “the CEO”.

PG -402-17 was introduced by the Delegate Carolyn Howard and Senator Muse representing Prince George’s County at the request of County Citizenry and to oppose the role of the County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.   However, on February 22, 2017, Delegate Carolyn Howard who is the Deputy Speaker Pro Tem and a Member of  Ways and Means Committee  decided to sabotage the bill and engage the issues in the dark.
First, the meeting was advertised as being held on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 8:30am, room 218 Lowe House Office Building. However, on Feb 22, 2017, the room location for the meeting was changed in a suspicious manner at the last minute from room 218 to room 318 at 9 am.  This gamesmanship threw a lot of people off as they did not know there was a meeting  deliberating the issues in room 318. During the meeting, it became clear that Delegate Carolyn Howard has decided to sideline Senator Muse and she is now supporting the Current CEO. As a result of the sabotage of PG -402-17 by Delegate Carolyn Howard in which she stated to be working closely with the CEO’S office in Prince George’s County, Senator Muse has now decided to introduce another bill to help fix the issues and address the issue in original bill. Delegate Carolyn Howard seem to be working in the dark  with others to kill democracy in Prince George’s County while keeping things hush hush. Several questions come to mind:
  • why did Delegate Howard fail to post the meeting and the agenda  here ~~>>http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=cmtepage&stab=03&id=hru&tab=subject3&ys=2017RS
  • Why change rooms of the meeting as advertised for February 22, 2017 from room 218 to room 318 in Lowe House Office Building and fail to inform the public of the same?
  • What role are the Prince George’s County based unions playing in sabotaging democracy in Prince George’s County?
  • What role is the CEO’s office playing to undermine democracy in Prince George’s County?
  • Why is an important bill such as  PG -402-17 being discussed in the dark?
  • What role is Delegate Howard playing in connection with the liquor board in prince George’s county of which her husband is a member?
  • Does her position as an elected official create a conflict of interest to the people she is supposed to serve?  The liquor board, known officially as the Board of License Commissioners, regulates more than 600 liquor stores, restaurants and other businesses in Prince George’s County.

Well, With the crowning of Delegate Carolyn J.B.Howard as the Deputy Speaker Pro Tem, the election cycle appears to have come full circle. Many supporters of an elected school Board with a strong Inspector General (IG) position are understandably disappointed and angry. A truly historic opportunity has been missed. But there are many positive lessons to be drawn from this experience, and there are many reasons to be optimistic when it comes to the future of the democratic revolution in the Prince George’s county. First and foremost, we must keep the long view of history in mind. It is an undeniable fact that interest in change in governance and the fight against corruption since the arrest of a few elected officials has hit the mainstream. The significance of this development, especially in a county that has been subjected to decades of corruption hysteria which continues regularly, should not be underestimated. It appears the plum government jobs and corruption in the state of Maryland will continue to ensure the wealth of local politicians unless something is done to change the status quo. We will continue to ask tough questions until the light shines through.

In the meantime, county residents needs to call her and ask her to stop playing games with the future of the county schools and to do what is right for the families and students of prince George’s County. Write or Call her and let your voice be heard. This is not a time for cowardice. The enduring symbol of the United States is not the barbed wire fence, it is the Statue of Liberty. So, be encouraged. She can be reached at the following address;

House Office Building, Room 301
6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 841-3919, (301) 858-3919
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3919 (toll free)
e-mail: carolyn.howard@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3925, (301) 858-3925

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4 responses »

  1. Not sure to provided you this information, but I was in Annapolis on February and testified in support of Delegate Howard’s and Senator Muse’s bill with amendments. The action to kill this bill began in November by Jay Walker and our fellow delegation when they voted to form a sub-education committee. Delegate Howard was the only Nay vote. It was then she explained to the residents that the forming on this committee was an act to kill the bill in committee. Delegate Howard was visibly upset with the chair, Valentino-Smith because of after an unannounced room change, Valentino-Smith add the hearing of her bill HB1571 to hearing knowing they were starting at 9:00 a.m. and had to be in session by 10:00 a.m. Valentino-Smith allowed committee members to ask their questions ahead of hearing the testimonies of the public. It was 9:35 when public testimony started. So clearly the games being played is by the sub-committee chair, Valentino-Smith and Jay Walker who moved to form this sub-committee and ensure Valentino-Smith was appointed chair. Delegate Howard has made it clear she has no plans to sponsor a bill to remove Dr. Maxwell, but is committed to supporting a bill that restores the elected board. My testimony is below:
    TESTIMONY ON HB1565
    First, I would like to thank Delegate Howard for the amendments she submitted today. I can support this bill with the following amendments:
    Strike the County Education Commission in its entirety.
    History has shown that these types of oversight bodies fosters and breeds the very type of corruption the citizens of Prince George’s County seek to eradicate from our school system. Additional, it adds a level of bureaucracy that appears to duplicate the work of paid employees and elected officials. [The Commission will also provide feedback on the budget and school system priorities and will preside over any special reports or studies commissioned by the Prince George’s County Council, State Delegation and/or school board].
    The Maryland Delegation has the ability to hold PGCPS accountability without any special reports simply by reviewing the annual Master Plan update. Since this plan is reviewed and approved by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Maryland delegation can have MSDE report on any violations, inconsistencies or other suspect things that should be considered when deciding funding and/or ensuring the is progressing.
    Having the a non-elected body fill the vacancies of our elected officials appears to violate Prince Georgian’s rights under Article 1, Section 7 of the Maryland Constitution [The General Assembly shall pass Laws necessary for the preservation of the purity of Elections. (1977, ch.681, ratified Nov. 7, 1978.)]
    The authority to govern the Superintendent/CEO returns to the local school board.
    This includes setting the salary
    Approving executive level positions and their salaries
    Approving the increase in executive level positions, divisions, departments, etc.
    Annual evaluations
    Review of all appeals relating to terminations upheld by the Superintendent/CEO
    All other authority that existed prior to the passing of HB1107
    Increase the board members to include 2 elected at-large sets
    They serve 4-year terms
    The member with the lowest votes would serve 2 years in order to establish staggered terms.
    Implementation
    The elected board will determine the contract of the current Superintendent/CEO.
    The term of the current appointed board members will end June 30, 2017
    Any vacancies of elected school board members will be filled by special election
    Why is support for this bill is needed – HB1107 violates the rights of the citizens of Prince George’s County under the Maryland Constitution
    Article 1 Section 7 – The General Assembly shall pass Laws necessary for the preservation of the purity of Elections. (1977, ch. 681, ratified Nove. 7, 1978.)
    Allowing appointed members to fill vacant elected seats removes our protection to a transparent vote to fill vacancies
    Article 41 of the Declaration of Rights – That monopolies are odious, contrary to the spirit of a free government and the principles of commerce, and out not to be suffered. Below is just some of what Prince Georgian’s have endured under the monopoly created by HB1107.
    HB1107 gave the County Executive power over the school system, police department and Social Services that houses Child Protective Services. It was reported that Michael Patopie sexually assaulted more than 2 children on a school bus. One parent, whose son has an IEP because of his speech delay was denied justice by the police and child protective services. They closed the child’s case because the police detective said he cannot communicate his assault; however, have denied him his rights under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in providing the accommodations he requires to communicate. Mr. Baker was made aware of this and even after Internal Affairs contacted the police chief, to this date this victim has not been interviewed by the police to take his statement.
    PGCPS employees and appointees to include the CEO, Board Chair, Vice Chair, General Counsel, and others were aware of the abuse of children in the Head Start program as early as December 2015. Even after written evidence was produced that clearly showed these individuals violated a state law for Mandated Reporters, which also is punishable by jail time, a fine and/or suspension of the individual’s professional license, the County Executive did nothing to enforce the law and hold them accountable. Instead he gave them a reappointment.
    The CEO has refused to disclose to the public all he knows about the abuse of children that resulted in the loss of our Head Start program. A program that existed in our school system for over 50 years. According to the report issued by the Feds, our grant was terminated because PGCPS failed to stop the abuse of children in the classroom and failing to hiring highly qualified teachers, which was a mandate of the grant. Our system fulfilled that mandate until the County Executive took control of our system.
    The County Executive bypassed the board and sent a letter directly to the CEO asking he declare Thomas Addison surplus property for the purpose of turning it over to the county to give to MGM for a training center. The CEO put the request on the Consent Agenda to avoid a first reader and public feedback.
    Items that do not meet the threshold required to placed on the Consent Agenda are commonly placed there to avoid a First Reader and public input.
    The CEO responds for the board when it comes to termination appeals. The CEO is now the judge, jury and executor at all levels of the process. This has resulted in whistle blowers being unjustly terminated with no recourse.
    The County Executive is saying graduations rates have increased without providing quantitative data to support his claims. Graduations rates have increased an average of 1.96% annually, which is about the same it did under the previous board structure. What has increased under this governance is the number of students graduating with non-traditional diplomas. SAT scores have decreased -28 in Critical Reading, -25 in Writing, -25 in Math and -78 in Composite under this new board structure. So it appears that while graduation rates have increased, the number of students graduating college-ready has decreased under this governance. The County Executive controls the message coming out of the school system and since the majority of the individuals on the board were appointed by the County Executive in some fashion, there is not a voice from an experienced board member to challenge these numbers other than Mr. Burroughs.
    Approximately $40M spent in 2015 for unplanned spending with no supporting data, while school-based personnel and services were cut.

    I do not have Senator Muse’s bill, but again, I support the bill with the aforementioned amendments.

    TESTIMONY ON HB1571

    I vehemently oppose this bill. Regardless of the language written into HB1107, which I still say is an unconstitutional law, the General Assembly has access to the annual Master Plan that is required to show the systems annual progress and success of the programs and services they employ. This body, if doing its due diligence should have and could have monitored the performance of PGCPS before approving the enormous budget increases that have happened under this governance structure. To waste the time of Prince George’s tax payers with task force to review what amounts to an annual report that goes to MSDE is a disservice to the students and school-based personnel in our schools. We need action, not another think-tank to tell us what we already know. This experiment was tried over 10 years ago and the results are the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Update: Democracy Dies in Darkness – The case of Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard. | Help Change The World. The Future Of The County Is Now.

  3. Pingback: Update: Democracy Dies in Darkness – The case of Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard. | pgcps mess - Reform Sasscer without delay.

  4. Pingback: PGCPS SCHOOL BOARD REFORM DEFEATS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION AFTER SABOTAGE | pgcps mess - Reform Sasscer without delay.

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