Monthly Archives: May 2018

Maryland PGCPS high school graduate blocked from receiving transcript

DeXaQ-oW4AAvvz7

Angelo Collington

by Nathan Baca/ABC7

RIVERDALE, Md. (ABC7) — Twenty-six-year-old Angelo Collington just can’t get over his high school years for an unusual reason.

Collington has an entry level job at an Alexandria political firm. He’s taking college classes with an eye on a psychology degree. His high school says he never earned his diploma.

“I was told I didn’t graduate,” said Collington.

25f47df7-840e-47d6-ac9f-1e67bc4c2cbd-large16x9_Collingtonatwork

Angelo Collington

When the University of Maryland asked Collington for high school transcripts to finish up his degree, Parkdale High in Prince George’s County and the county’s public school system said it had no record of Collington graduating.

“I have letter showing that I graduated. I have a diploma,” Collington said.

Collington didn’t graduate with the rest of his class. He had to take a required exam a semester after his friends received their diplomas. When Prince George’s County Public Schools claimed Collington never graduated, Collington’s family dug up his old records, even a 2009 letter from his former principal.4b1fb954-8a9a-4ab6-8862-dfd1d8b451eb-large16x9_PrincipalLetter

“Attached you will find the official transcript, to date, which shows Angelo has completed his school requirements. Signed by David Burton, principal,” said Collington, reading aloud the letter he received several years ago.

Collington even possessed a sealed and stamped transcript received in 2010 he was afraid to open out of concern it would be invalidated without the proper witnessing and certification.

Prince George’s County school board member Edward Burroughs III says that despite Collington’s case sounding unique, he’s not the only former student with problems proving they graduated. Burroughs wants to know exactly how many are affected.

“Sadly, I get this quite often, where students, or former students of the school system contact me and let me know, they go to the transcript office, diploma in hand, and they’re told they did not actually meet the requirements for graduation,” Burroughs said.

After the ABC7 I-Team asked for answers, Prince George’s County Public Schools did some digging and finally found Collington’s official transcript. A schools spokesperson said, “We definitely have some bookkeeping issues to fix,” pointing out problems with transitioning from paper to digital records after the 2009-2010 school year.

The transcripts, examined by the ABC7 I-Team and confirmed by the school district, declare Collington a graduate. However, they do list Collington not meeting the test results required to graduate.

PGCPS said the discrepancy stating that they could never find evidence Collington ever passed the test despite Collington’s diploma and signed letter from the principal at the time stating he had indeed passed the required test. Collington is concerned that mark on his transcript could continue to raise questions in university and employment queries.

Prince George’s County Public Schools says determining how many record keeping errors exist is part of its ongoing systemwide audit.

Via WJLA

***

Advertisements

Prince George’s County Executive Race Shows Political Rift in the State

Angela Alsobrooks (Right) and Donna Edwards (left) are both running for County Executive. However, Ms. Alsobrooks campaign is highly powered by developers. It wasn’t until she was criticized that she engaged small donations.  (Courtesy Photos)

By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFRO

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks is accustomed to holding press conferences to announce who is being convicted or sentenced for engaging in criminal activities.

But Alsobrooks, who is running for County Executive, recently held a press conference to condemn campaign literature being distributed by supporters of fellow candidate, and former Congresswoman Donna Edwards, because she says it crosses the lines of political decency.

“They are calling me a criminal . . . when I’m the chief law enforcement officer in the county,”  Alsobrooks said during a news conference. “I am deeply offended. It is unfair, irresponsible and unethical.”

Edwards has declined to talk about the ads in the name of staying on message but union leaders who support her are not backing down because they say for too long county officials have listened more to developers instead of working class people.

“If you look at the campaign finance reports it shows who is supporting Alsobrooks,” said Theresa Dudley, President of the Prince George’s County Educators Association. “The developer fees are going to the general fund in the county and not to the building of more schools. You can’t just build housing and not invest in schools. That is short sighted.”

One of the adds,  paid for by a group called “We are Prince George’s,”  shows a colorful photo of Edwards that highlights her successes but it  shows  a dark image of  Alsobrooks stating that she  took $300,000 from developers and that she lacked experience when it came to “complicated policy decisions.” According to the Washington Post, Alsobrooks has accepted campaign donations from developers while Edwards has said she will not take their money.

Alsobrooks and Baker have been champions of many business communities while gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous and Edwards have been champions of some business and labor leaders.

While Edwards has support from labor groups, Alsobrooks has the support of local union leaders like Cynthia Collins of Local 400 of the Service Employees International Union.

The other candidates running for County Executive are State Senator C. Anthony Muse, former Obama White House aide Paul Monteiro and other candidates that include Samuel W. Bogley III, Lewis S. Johnson, Billy Bridges, Michael E. Kennedy and Tommie Thompson.

via AfroNews

Read more >>> Washington Post issues a flawed endorsement of Mr. Calvin Hawkins for County council.

***

Counselor error keeps PGCPS Potomac High School students from graduating.

cd4b5905-bcf3-448f-9ab5-f12422e71bc6-large16x9_PHS

Counselor error keeps Potomac High School students from graduating in Prince George’s Co. (ABC7)

Just last week, two Potomac High School seniors were told they cannot graduate or participate in their school’s graduation ceremony Wednesday morning. The reason given was an enrollment error by their school counselor.

On the eve of graduation, what should be a happy moment for 18-year-old Delvin Tate, Jr. is a major disappointment. The 3.2 GPA student is planning to attend Coppin State University in the fall, but his college plans have become a secondary concern now that his high school diploma is just out of reach.

Tate has overcome a lot of challenges over the years, with multiple custody changes involving his parents. His older brother Rashad Price has since become his legal guardian.

“[The school counselor] told me basically he couldn’t graduate because of a mistake she made by not putting him in a specific class,” Price said. “That was the first time I heard about it which was a week before he was supposed to graduate.”

“Basically, [the counselor and assistant principal] were just like, ‘There’s nothing we can do. The decision is out of our hands,’” he added.

Isaiah Strattonbey’s father said he too only learned about this a week ago, last Wednesday. His 19-year-old son has also overcome challenges to complete high school, managing a learning disability.

“It’s a hurtful situation to look at your child crying on the couch, balled up, because of something that’s beyond your control or his,” said his father Shercohn Evans.

Both students have the same counselor at Potomac High School and both were told they have the same problem — they were mistakenly not enrolled in a class called “Foundations of Technology.”

“It was the second day into the fourth quarter and my counselor pulled me out of my fourth period class and said that I’m being transferred into a class the last three weeks of school,” said Tate.

Tate said his first conversation about this enrollment error with the counselor happened about a month before graduation. Tate was moved from a sculpture class to the technology course.

“And she switched all my grades from the class I was previously in to that class,” he said.

Strattonbey said he was told about the problem on May 5. He was also moved from a business class to the technology class.

But Tate’s brother and Strattonbey’s father said they were never contacted by the school about the problem — or the sudden scramble to resolve the problem — until this past week. The students said they were told all would be okay and that they just needed to complete a series of assignments for the technology class.

“I didn’t even know the curriculum. I didn’t know anything about it,” said Strattonbey.

In the end, their attempt to meet graduation requirements, promptly submitting assigned course work, was determined to be inadequate.

In a statement, Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson John White said, “I am sorry to confirm that Delvin Tate and Isaiah Strattonbey are not able to participate in the graduation ceremony for Potomac High School. Both students have not met all graduation requirements. A counselor’s mistake for each student was found during a peer review process completed by the school’s counseling team.”

The statement continued, “The school will cover the cost of enrolling the students in summer school to complete their graduation requirements. The priority is supporting both students, so they successfully complete the work needed to receive their high school diplomas.”

Despite acknowledging an error by their counselor, the school district insists the two students cannot participate at graduation.

“Before students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, the school system and Board of Education certify that we are following local policy and state requirements for graduation. If requirements have not been met, the Board of Education and school system cannot certify students as graduates,” White said.

White said he cannot cite which specific graduation requirements were not met.

“Student records are not public information,” he said. “The students each need to complete a class to meet their requirements.”

White said these are the only two students in this situation at Potomac High School. He said one Oxon Hill High School student is also unable to walk at that school’s graduation ceremony this week due to unmet requirements.

White declined to discuss any possible disciplinary action or training for school staff involved.

“I cannot tell you at this time if discipline is appropriate or if the counselors should receive additional training instead,” he said. “That will be assessed and addressed.”

In a final effort to get permission to attend his school’s graduation, Tate and his brother have been reaching out to school board members and the media. Tate also sent a letter Monday to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

“The only gift I had to offer my brother who sacrificed so much to take me in, was that moment when I walked across stage and received my high school diploma with my peers, and in front of my family,” he wrote. “I really want you Mr. Baker to make the right decision and let me graduate with my peers, because I shouldn’t be held responsible for something a professional counselor did or didn’t do. Please do not allow me to be punished for a mistake made by the school.”

In response, Baker’s spokesperson Scott Peterson said, “This is a very unfortunate circumstance for these students and their families. PGCPS should work with these students and their parents to make sure they meet all the needed requirements to graduate.”

“As far as policies and protocol of commencement ceremonies, that is presided over by PGCPS and the Board of Education,” Peterson added.

Both Tate and Strattonbey said they are willing to take the summer course to get their diplomas; they just want to get the chance to participate in graduation with all of their peers in Potomac’s Class of 2018.

“My child has one opportunity to walk across the high school stage with his friends,” Evans said.

Strattonbey’s extended family, traveling from California and Mississippi for the graduation ceremony, were told over the weekend not to come.

“[Even with a diploma this summer] it’s still not going to take away the pain and hurt I’m feeling right now,” Strattonbey said.

Via WJLA

***

Washington Post issues a flawed endorsement of Mr. Calvin Hawkins for County council.

23172957_1927767707546846_7537211638300988261_n.jpg

Mr. Calvin Hawkins

On February 15th, 2018, the Washington Post ran a story on Mr. Calvin Hawkins accused of sexually harassing a colleague a decade ago while working in a different county government office. The story left out other serious charges Mr. Calvin Hawkins committed including robbery with violence inter alia.

On the same day, (February 15th, 2018), this blog ran an article on Mr. Calvin Hawkins and exposed  his shenanigans fully including his violent crimes in Maryland and Washington DC using Guns. The question everyone should be asking is why did the press leave out these violations willfully done by Mr. Hawkins in the first article? Is the press in Washington DC metro area on the take by unseen forces and not free from publishing the truth? Who benefits when half truths are told and big fish are allowed to “carry water” for some other candidates?

On July 5th, 2017, this blog ran an article on Mr. Rushern Baker and Mr. Calvin Hawkins and highlighted violations and money laundering done by Mr. Hawkins while working for the county. The violations committed by Mr. Hawkins involved FEMA money as highlighted by Tara Maxwell on facebook. 

On July 12th, 2017, this blog ran an article on Unmasking Prince George’s County Corruption and other violations Part III which touched on Mr. Calvin Hawkins and his violations.

As a result of these exposures, Mr. Hawkins and his friends began to harass Ms. Tara Maxwell in many ways including during a debate event in Bowie until she quit her county job as a sheriff due to retaliation. Mr. Hawkins is being protected in order to continue violating rights at the expense of the county. The sad part of this is that, Mr. Bob Ross who is supposed to protect rights of the county residents is himself accused of being part of the plot to derail justice. (See Screenshots below).

After many months when the negative information was already circulating on social media, the Washington Post on May 7th, 2018 ran another article on Mr. Calvin Hawkins titled ” ‘Second chance kind of guy’: This candidate is telling voters about his criminal past“. The article highlighted his past criminal activities but did not highlight everything.

Since writing the last article on May 7th, 2018, the Washington post has since published an opinion endorsing Mr. Calvin Hawkins for at large council seat despite his current and past criminal activities in Prince George’s County. In it’s opinion, the Washington Post stated the following:

Mr. Hawkins has spent years in Prince George’s government, a chunk of it overseeing the county’s Community Emergency Response Team, a disaster-relief operation that organizes volunteers who work with first responders. Tireless and compassionate, he is committed to public service for the right reasons — namely, to help people. His past includes prison time more than 30 years ago on an armed robbery conviction when he was about 20 years old and, a decade ago, a sexual-harassment episode involving a co-worker. As a candidate, he has been forthright about both.

However, people who know Mr. Calvin Hawkins well know that, he is a bully and he likes to harass and then retaliate.

We request the county citizenry to  ignore the Washington Post endorsement of Mr. Calvin Hawkins in particular because of his engagement in retaliation and for “carrying Water” for Mr. Rushern Baker III and others involved in questionable activity. Please  vote other candidates with commitment to public service but who are not there for personal gain while advancing public corruption.  We respect the Washington Post as our local daily paper but it can do better on these issues. The paper is wrong on this one and we hope the local press will revisit and correct the missteps in a future date. If people want to see change, they need to purge the system of cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, and bring in fresh ideas based on broader experiences.

Here here some of the responses on the Washington post article from the public: 

Jennjen: If endorsements mean anything to voters, I’m willing to bet that this announcement, released today by unions representing employees who live and vote in Prince George’s County, carries more weight than that of the WaPo Editorial Board members who probably live in Virginia.

WakadaForever: WaPo didn’t do their homeowner here or just cherry picks whose bad records they bring up. Candace Hollingsworth has a record like Karen Toles when it comes to her finances. For years, Candace has had District and Circuit Court judgments against her for not paying her taxes and bills. Anyone can see cases on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. Hmmm – just the machine politicians being protected or WaPo not really ready to turn the corner for a future Prince George’s County with politicians we can trust with our tax dollars?

Jennjen: Although I may agree with SOME of this, the larger part of me believes that the WaPo needs to mind their business. Endorse in elections held in your own communities. Reveal where the members of your Board live, and let’s hear their 2 pennies about the candidates in their respective areas. You print slanted news stories, then stick your noses in family business.

More to come!

img_0366.png

28059042_10214283067258260_22714804114459100_n

 

 

***

Pennsylvania: Not One of 18 Cybercharters Meets State Standards

pacybercharter_dlPennsylvania loves cybercharters even though study after study shows that they get terrible results.

The Keystone State Coalition points out in its latest newsletter that state records demonstrate that none of the state’s 18 cybercharters meets state academic standards.

Do taxpayers care?

Not one of Pennsylvania’s cyber charters has achieved a passing SPP score of 70 in any of the five years that the SPP has been in effect. All 500 school districts are required to send taxpayer dollars to these cyber charters, even though none of them voted to authorize cyber charter schools and most districts have their own inhouse cyber or blended learning programs.
School Performance Profile Scores for PA Cyber Charters 2013-2017
Source: PA Department of Education website

http://www.paschoolperformance.org/

A score of 70 is considered passing.

Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014 and 2015 was over $1.2 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million and $436.1 million respectively.

screen-shot-2018-05-23-at-9-09-06-pm.png

***

twitter spat as @BenJealous goes for @RushernBaker over who has more scandals or more endorsements – Baker is finished!

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (right) is one of the Democratic candidates for Maryland governor in 2018 and is struggling in the polls after being exposed as weak by archrival Ben Jealous (left) who is set to be a flag bearer of the Maryland Democratic party in 2018. 

A struggling County Executive Rushern Baker III who has been linked to mega corruption scandals in Prince George’s County under Dr. Kevin Maxwell CEO for Prince George’s County public schools has recently engaged in a twitter spat with his rival Ben Jealous.

Ben Jealous who recently questioned Baker’s handling of the county schools appears set to be a flag bearer of the Maryland Democratic party in 2018 gubernatorial race. He has amassed more endorsement than any other candidate in the race.

On Saturday, journalist Erin Cox of the Baltimore sun highlighted some of the episodes on twitter.

***

Major Drama as PGCPS Alumnus refuses to board flight at JFK – ‘I’ll be killed if I go back’:

deport

Prince Gbohoutou and his wife, Shaniece are both PGCPS alumunus. They met on a bus to Washington DC. Their First date was on TGI Friday. Prince was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on April 19. He was nearly deported Thursday to the Central African Republic, where he said his mother was killed. (Family photo)

By Michael E. Miller

The van pulled up to John F. Kennedy International Airport on a recent Thursday evening. Around it, passengers poured out of taxis and headed toward their gates. Inside the van, Prince Gbohoutou gripped his seat belt in fear.

The government was about to put the 26-year-old tattoo artist from Maryland on a flight to his native country in Africa.

A month earlier, Gbohoutou, a recently married asylum seeker from the Central African Republic, had gone to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement appointment in Baltimore hoping to get a work permit. Instead, the New Carrollton resident was detained in front of his American wife and told he was being deported.

Now, ICE agents opened the van’s door and ordered him out. But Gbohoutou, with shackled hands, said he held fast to the seat. He was afraid to return to the Central African Republic, where he said his mother had been killed.

As suitcase-toting bystanders looked on, Gbohoutou said, an ICE agent struck him on the legs with a baton while others tried to yank him out of the van.

Eventually, the ICE agents cut the seat belt with a knife — nicking Gbohoutou’s hand — before handcuffing him to a wheelchair and taking him to his flight, he claimed. But the airline refused to take an unwilling passenger, Gbohoutou said, and ICE was forced to return him — at least temporarily — to his cell.

Justine W. Whelan, an ICE spokeswoman, said in a statement that “all allegations of physical abuse and mistreatment by ICE officers in this case are patently false.” She said an immigration judge ordered Gbohoutou deported seven years ago, his appeal was denied, and it was the agency’s “duty to execute that final order.”

But Gbohoutou’s story, including the dramatic airport scene on May 24, has sparked a new campaign to allow him to remain in the United States, where he came legally as a child and spent much of his life.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has become an advocate for Gbohoutou, saying he is “part of our community” and could be in “imminent danger” if deported. Van Hollen said he has contacted officials at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, warning them that his removal would be “unjust.”

“I’ll be killed if I go back,” Gbohoutou said Saturday in a telephone interview from an ICE detention center in Frederick, Md. “I’m just hoping some people find it in their hearts to [let me stay].”

Similar, if less dramatic, encounters have played out with increasing frequency across the country as the Trump administration cracks down on illegal immigration. Undocumented immigrants without criminal records, like Gbohoutou, who were generally off limits under the Obama administration, are now fair game, officials say.

Gbohoutou came to the United States legally in 2006, when he was 14, to join his father, who worked for their country’s ambassador in Washington. His mother stayed behind in the Central African Republic, which is one of the world’s poorest countries and has long been wracked by religious and civil conflict.

When the situation there worsened, his father applied for asylum, including his son as a dependent. But the application was rejected. When their appeal was also denied, his father thought it better to remain in the United States illegally than return.

“The fact that he was brought here as a kid means he’s really blameless,” said Adam Crandell, Gbohoutou’s immigration attorney, noting that he graduated from High Point High School in Beltsville, Md., and was eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program to protect undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children.

Gbohoutou was still in high school when he met the woman who would become his wife. He was on a D.C. bus when on stepped Shaniece.

“He was cute, I was cute,” she said. “We exchanged words, and then we exchanged numbers.”

For their first date, he took her to her favorite restaurant, TGI Friday’s. For their second, she went to his senior prom.

But as they dated, Gbohoutou’s life began to fall apart. Shortly after his family’s asylum application was denied, his mother was kidnapped in the Central African Republic by political rivals, he said.

“I guess they wanted my dad to go back,” Gbohoutou said. “They tortured her. And they beat her to death.”

His father died a few weeks later — a “physical manifestation of grief,” Crandell said — leaving Gbohoutou to navigate life in the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

That life was not without incident. Gbohoutou was arrested in 2011, when he was 19, accused of shoplifting from a mall, Crandell said, but the charges were dropped. His only other criminal charge, for failure to present identification to police during a traffic stop in 2016, was also dropped.

In 2014, Gbohoutou was detained by ICE for about six months. Crandell said it was unclear why his client was held, but it might have been connected with the shoplifting charge.

Since then, Gbohoutou has been required to check in with ICE periodically. Despite worries over the new administration, his first few check-ins under President Trump went without a hitch.

The last one, on Shaniece’s birthday, seemed to be a sign that his hard luck had ended. The couple wed last May and had recently begun the process to get him a green card. This spring they vacationed in Florida.

When they returned, there was an envelope from ICE waiting. The agency asked Gbohoutou to come in on April 19 but didn’t say why. The couple hoped it was so he could receive a work permit.

“We didn’t have any fear,” Shaniece said. “We thought, what could go wrong?”

At the Baltimore office, Gbohoutou’s name was called while Shaniece was in the bathroom. When an ICE agent asked him if he had a relative to take his things, his stomach dropped.

When his wife returned, Gbohoutou told her to be strong.

“I put my head down and started crying,” she said. When she looked up, he was gone.

With the help of the immigrants rights group Sanctuary DMV, Shaniece hired Crandell and began a campaign to free her husband. On May 16, Crandell filed a motion to reopen Gbohoutou’s case.

But on Thursday, after missing a call from Gbohoutou, Shaniece rang his detention center only to be told he was being transferred to New York to be deported.

Crandell says he thinks his client was spared Thursday only because no ICE agent was scheduled to accompany him to Africa. But he hopes the airport incident has bought him enough time to persuade the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen Gbohoutou’s case.

Crandell said that ICE was within its rights but that sending his client back to the Central African Republic would be “hamfisted and cruel.”

Gbohoutou said he hopes to remain in the United States, become an architect and start a family.

“I’m not a bad person,” he said, but added that if ICE tries to deport him again, “I’m still not going to get on the plane.”

Via Washington Post

***