Category Archives: Divorce in PGCPS

Weak student achievement in PGCPS…

…new academic standards concern Pr. George’s school board.

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By , Updated: Friday, October 11, 6:47 PM

Only half of students who graduated from Prince George’s County’s public high schools last year enrolled in college, and 90 percent of the graduates in community college are taking remedial classes in math and reading, according to data shared with the county’s Board of Education on Thursday during a presentation on student achievement, secondary-school changes and the new academic standards.

In the 2012-13 school year, more than a fifth of the county’s freshmen had to repeat ninth grade, the data showed, and 40 percent of second-graders did not read at or above grade level.“College and career readiness is built on a foundation that goes all the way back to pre-kindergarten,” said A. Duane Arbogast, the chief academic officer, told the board.After Arbogast’s presentation, board members spent more than an hour asking about professional development for teachers, parental engagement and the implementation of Common Core, a new national curriculum being implemented in most states.>>> Read More Washington Post  >>> Read more about Common core in Maryland

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Former Interim Super now Interin in Alexanderia.

…Dr. Alvin Crawley pictured here almost abandoned ship at sea…

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Dr. Alvin Crawley who took off to the hills after HB 1107 was enacted into the law in Maryland has been selected to serve as Alexandria’s interim superintendent.

Alvin Crawley, who most recently was the interim superintendent in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will begin his appointment Monday. He will serve while the city searches for a permanent replacement. He has had a troubled tenure when several of our students died from violence in 2012, after he failed to perform the proper duties as a Superintendent. He was brought in specifically to cover up corruption by the previous regime which was then led by Dr. William Hite Jr.

According to Doris Reed (ASASP Director of the Prince George’s principals union), she was hoping for a change agent to take the reins of the school system when Hite left, Doris said Crawley’s leadership style during his short tenure did not live up to her expectations.

The Alexandria City school board bought out the contract of previous superintendent Morton Sherman in August amid conflicts between Sherman and the school board.

Sherman was the second consecutive superintendent whose contract was bought out by Alexandria. Rebecca Perry departed as superintendent in 2008 in the wake of an extended controversy over a drunk driving arrest.

Crawley spent most of his career in Arlington. He left Prince George’s County as control of the system shifted from the county board of education to the county executive Rushern Baker. >>> Read more Washington Post

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WHY WE NEED TO REFORM EDUCATION IN PGCPS NOW.

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Education a breeding ground for corruption

The Prince Georges’ County Public Schools (PGCPS) unflinching commitment to conduct that antagonizes the rightfully prevailing winds of wisdom and decency ensures a dark chapter in this country’s history of education.

We are optimistic that the injection of new Board leadership will put a long overdue end to that period. While Board of Education chairperson Verjeana Jacobs’ self-resignation would have had considerable value, the community will settle for any end to her reign of terror.

The task of ousting the current Board of Education has been compared with “…scraping a sticky wad of chewing gum from the bottom of one’s shoe.” Like any other corrupt regime, the Board of Education for Prince George’s County, is deeply rooted and plentiful with regard to resources.  The character of the Board of Education makes the task of cleansing its corruption a difficult task.  The said Corruption started earlier with the former superintendent Dr. Andre J. Hornsby, who commanded the regime. It is no surprise that the former superintendent is now incarcerated. Despite the end of the former superintendent, the reigns of corruption were merely continued in light of the appointment of the current Board Chair person Ms. Verjeana Jacobs. Under the leadership of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and her trusted cohort PGCPS chief legal counsel, Dr. William Hite Jr, labor relations Director James Whattam, Synthia Shilling and other conspirators. The corruption marely intesfied.

Given the seriousness of the regimes’ practices and the policy of the command in protecting themselves and covering up their crimes, Reform Sasscer movement calls for the reforms as articulated in our earlier post in the blog (Here).

Frantic and very Discouraging Endeavor

Corruption-Your-No-Counts-300x149“What gets us furious and terribly frustrated is that these people have spent huge sums of taxpayer money on shenanigans that have little or nothing to do with children or their education.” (Read more) Washington Plaza fiasco. ( Board Retracts Lease for Headquarters) We also have the Board of Education’s endorsement of sex molesters, some of whom coincidentally are colleagues of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.  A previous Board member was caught molesting children within the school system. The pimps of the Prince George’s County school system, which include athletic coaches and others, that Prey on young children manage to evade proper scrutiny directly as a result of their political affiliations. The union leadership is compromised in all four unions in PGCPS District in order to continue benefitting illegally from the fraud.  There are many cases of this nature some which have been reported in the media this year alone. (Read more) (Read more). The list goes on and includes Bus drivers who appear drunk and involved in the same with full knowledge of the current administration.

We agreed/agree with our teacher friend. “Due process” is a tool that often times is manipulated by public corruption. Thus, Due process must be identified and harnessed in a fashion that was contemplated by the Constitution, and not private corrupt entities.

At the time of writing this post, Mr. Rushern Baker, our County Executive for Prince George’s County, was poised to appoint the new Board Chairperson, Vice chairperson as well as additional Board members to the Board as a result of Bill HB1107. We are supportive and very confident that the general Assembly in Annapolis did the right thing in making these changes.

The current chair of the Board Ms. Vejearna Jacobs has some atonement to make, for it was egregiously wrong in giving the PGCPS district a clean bill of health when Superintendent Hite was at the helm. The fact that the state agency could not smell even one rotten fish is beyond belief, in light of the pungent odor of corruption emanating from the PGCPS. It is such a disgrace to lead an organization that constructively prides itself on having the most corrupt Unions in the universe and costing the Maryland tax payers lots of money with impunity. The PGCPS situation is not very different in many aspects to Baltimore jail scandal aided by Union politics. The same elements of dirty politics and inadequate response to serious issues have manifested themself in PGCPS (Read more).

But that is another matter, altogether.

The more important question to ask is this: What is it about our Prince George’s county and its citizens that attracts corruption and criminal enterprises?

At times, it has seemed to us that the raison d’etre of the law enforcement community is to combat corruption in PG County.

Corruption and criminal behavior in public places are as old as the hills. What is striking, however, is that the educational milieu has started playing host to more and more schemers and charlatans in many parts of the United States, starting with PG County, Georgia, El Paso, New Orleans etc.

So, what is it with public education and corruption? Who are the people sitting on school boards and managing multibillion-dollar enterprises? What qualifications do they bring to their jobs, and have they been vetted, at least to a reasonable degree, to ensure that mismatched ambition, mediocrity and opportunism are not opening a back door to malfeasance? The Washington post article on November 4th, 2012 was very clear and correct in their assertions. After the said Washington post article appeared, PG County citizens decided to change directions and elected two more members with college degrees bringing the number to four. An anonymous employee rightfully said that “We deserve board members who are enlightened to educate our kids and manage the money without corruption.”

Everybody knows that PG County schools rank second to none only to Baltimore City schools with regard to having the worst school system. How is it that we can expect children in PG County to   succeed when the leadership itself hasn’t even attained the most basic levels of professional education? What kind of leadership can we logically expect from someone who has only a High School Diploma? I’d reconcile that we’d get what we’re getting……subpar schools. Read more: We posed these questions to our teacher friend.

“The education field is a very safe place for a crook. It offers excellent sanctuary,” she said. “We expect there to be corruption on Wall Street. We expect bankers and corporate CEOs to be motivated by greed and profit margins.

“But a school District anywhere in the US is like a church. Good things are supposed to happen there. Who would want to suspect a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a lawyer, Chief Financial officer, Chief Human resources officer , a school-board member of underhanded doings and a Board chair of suspected fraud?

“So, a few ne’er-do-wells hide in the public’s trust and do a lot of damage.”

“What blame, if any, does the public bear?” We asked.

“A lot,” she said. “School-board elections are important ones, and yet, it is like pulling teeth to get people to vote in them. A sleepy County like Prince George’s may be a good place for retirement, but it is a bad place for honest politics.” Just look what Jack Johnson (johnsonjackindictment) and his wife  Leslie Johnson did to the county. She added. In addition, it’s wrong to have communication Director brought in for the sole purpose of covering up the corruption.  This person continues to bad mouth the county’s leadership, while purposely misidentifying the inadequacies of the county.

“You can hood an ass here with reverend purple,” one member in the movement said, borrowing from Ben Jonson.

“Sad, but true,” agreed our teacher friend.

Anytime you introduce the possibility to deviate from the lowest sealed bid, you introduce the opportunity for influence, favoritism, possibly fraud, possibly corruption. The PGCPS status quo of continuous unabated corruption, conmanship, gerrymandering and professional misconduct involving the Sasscer adminstation with the support of the unions and other conspirators etc is not the answer!

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

reformsasscer@gmail.com

“Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

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Where is the Outrage in PGCPS?

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There is something sadly skewed with Prince George’s county community’s moral priorities.

We are sure many of you have been following the growing uproar in our blogs which have advocated for several changes in our school system in the last two years.

So many Prince George’s County administrators at Sasscer Administration Building and elsewhere could not possibly get away with such abuse unless many others were complicit in turning a blind eye in various illegal activities,  including sexual abuse of innocent kids. Why do PGCPS leaders tolerate the presence of colleagues who sexually abuse innocent staff, young children and vulnerable adults? Why do people in the pews not rise up and demand that their leaders be held accountable? Where’s the outrage?

Why don’t people at The School District of Philadelphia in Philadelphia demand the resignation of Dr. William Hite Jr, who admittedly kept quiet about staff members involved in sexual related activity and abuse of kids?

Why doesn’t staff at Sasscer Administration Building demand the resignation of Dr. Alvin L. Crawley, about whom there is significant evidence that he knew of a host of problems including sexual abuse of children when he arrived in September 2012? Where’s the outrage?

Where is the outrage when an 8 year old girl is sexually abused and taken advantage of in an environment which is supposed to be safe and conducive for learning?

Where is the outrage when a 13-year-old girl who died four years ago after she was struck by a car while trying to catch a school bus?

Where is the outrage in the wake of the slaying of seven students this school year alone?

Why do so many people act as though staff- sex abuse cover-ups and other criminal activities are no big deal?

We commend the vigilant teacher and the Principal at Glenn Dale Elementary school. Hopefully at the schools PGCPS could implement in the beginning of the school year teachers and students behavior appropriate and inappropriate interactions. And steps they should take if these rules have been violated.

“Politicians, parents, Churches, TV/Radio personalities etc, should respond with righteous outrage and anger at such crimes against innocent staff, children abused by leaders they trust in these schools and offices,” But where is that outrage?

Even now, has anything changed? Have any of those who covered up and kept quiet in the past about the abuse been held accountable? We appreciate the passage of HB 1107 to make proper changes in PGCPS but it might be too little too late for some.

And what about the epicenter of the corruption in PGCPS led by labor relations Director and previous chief legal counsel? Is anyone outraged at the fact that their long-time attorney threatened to sue abused victims even when the abuse was readily substantiated? It certainly doesn’t appear that way, even as these individuals are being caught red handed stealing. Where is the outrage?

The current Prince George’s County Board of Education Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs, has known about these problems for more than six years now and has continued to keep quiet in conspiracy with the corrupt Unions. She was apparently content leaving countless other children and staff at risk. Yet, she is still the Board of Education Chairperson before HB 1107 goes into effect on June 1, 2013. Where’s the outrage?

Where is the outrage when the Director of communications in PGCPS creates false reports to maintain the status quo of the ailing PG County school system in cohort with the current Board chair while abusing the County Executive? (See PGCPSLies) Where’s the outrage?

And what about the fact that a man with a substantiated report of having sexually molested a child was still driving a School Bus, after the fact the school leaders knew of his problems in PGCPS. This is after several leaders had been informed at Sasscer Administrative Building. Those men and women are still in leadership positions including Ms. Monica Goldson the current Chief Operating Officer. Is there any accountability for the willing blindness of PGCPS leaders who leave kids and others in harm’s way for predators? Where is the outrage?

What about the Union leadership and others smooching in the closets in PGCPS schools while refusing to take responsibility for their actions? Where is the outrage?

It is easy enough to look at the perpetrators and say therein lies the problem. But what about all the enablers? What about the many leaders who turn a blind eye like Board of Education Chairperson Verjeana M. Jacobs and allow staff molesters including Union leaders in PGCPS to move on to other schools, offices etc. where they find fresh new prey? Where is the outrage?

“What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”

— Elie Wiesel

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Prince Georges House Delegation

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We are all very desperate for schools improvement; however, this is not enough to justify adopting a proposal which needs a further amendment for now. The fact that it has provoked such emphatic opposition from some of the stakeholders is also ample reason to review it further. Nothing is perfect and mistakes can be corrected here and there if detected early. For example, rather than taking away the bargaining roles of the unions, this can be strengthened. However, Unions themselves needs to have a strong oversight to make them accountable and to keep them transparent.  There is no need for them to take money from employees and refuse to represent them properly or not at all.

We definitely do not want this issue to drag out any further.  It will just continue to damage an already-broken system with an already terrible reputation. Mr. Baker should cut the bait, but all actors must DEMAND greater accountability and performance metrics from every level of PGCPS. An Inspector General should be appointed to address the issues heads on. It is not fair to be the toilet bowl of education in the whole state of Maryland.

Let us please dismiss the canard that more money is the solution here. PGCPS has been getting more money to educate fewer students for many years; cash cannot compensate for cultural deficits, demographic hurdles, little-to-no accountability, and families which do not show a commitment to learning. PGCPS has long been a magnet for dysfunction—and the poles must be reversed.

We are pleased to read from the Washington Post that Mrs. Jacobs and Mr. Baker are going to meet. This is a good start. It is too bad it had to get to this point for that to happen.

We disagree that the individuals in the Washington Post article represent the voices of all, majority, or minority volume of parent groups. All of us that have been following this very serious issue most certainly do not feel “betrayed”. Surprised, yes, but not “betrayed”. Mr. Baker and the County delegation in Annapolis needs our support and should move quickly to address the issues. Mr. Baker and the County delegation should also be flexible when dealing with those who support them and address the matters without any further delay. This way, Mr. Baker could avoid making the same mistakes Washington DC made during the Ms. Michelle Rhee reign from 2007 to 2010.

In addition, We wish individuals and organizations would speak ONLY for themselves when providing their individual opinions and concerns and leave “WE” out of their dialogue in this important change. (See Washington post article)

WE Prince Georges County residents, especially those of us that have kids enrolled in PGCPS, have the ability to speak and think for ourselves and hope our voices are heard now more than ever. Several organizations who benefit from dysfunctional Unions and other connected individuals to the bootless Board of Education are the ones making the loudest noise. We understand their dilemma “Shifting the roles to the County Executive office is like taking away a cake just before they eat”. The dysfunction must be addressed properly otherwise, there will be “an Arab spring right here in PG county in 2014”. Our group is monitoring and we are in touch with many grassroots individuals and organizations who will be voting in the next election. The hot potato must be handled with caution and problems fixed properly right away.

Contact your representatives

They are looking to hear from their constituents.

Here is the contact information:

Maryland Legislature – Elected Officials

Website: ~~> Prince George’s County Delegation

Delegation Also Accepting Written Testimony on School Board Changes

Prince George’s County Delegation Chair Jolene Ivey is inviting members of the public to write their suggestions and comments on a new proposal to change the county school board.

Members of the public are encouraged to send their written testimony on amendments released yesterday that would alter the membership and operations of the county board of education. Testimony should be sent to the delegation office by email at pg2@mlis.state.md.us by March 27, 2013.” You can also email us your input by email to us at reformsasscer@gmail.com. We will be talking to the elected representatives.

It takes time to clear with the General assembly once they receive your suggestions and feedback. The data has to be analyzed to make sure everything is accounted for and goes on smoothly to cover each corner. They have to get it right. Integrity supersedes speed here but we are trying, aren’t we?

Thank you for your continued engagement on our social media platforms. Keep up the pressure!

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Why unions are problematic in PGCPS District.

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As much as we would rather not accept it, while unions have done a lot of good and have helped workers avoid exploitation, they also seem to have helped senior administrators including superintendent of schools and other senior administrators within the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in several cases exploit workers. Perhaps it has been a gradual shift over time, with some Unions slowly accumulating more and more power and colluding with management in many cases to abuse employees within PGCPS School District and elsewhere.

Unions in many cases can have the power to impede an organization’s ability to compete and thrive. A school District might be in desperate trouble, yet its unions may be unwilling to bend or compromise in order to help the systems survive. Many school districts around the country are finding themselves left very inflexible when they have Union contracts to abide by which might be good for workers. However, what is happening in PGCPS is driven by pure selfish greed among the Union personnel who are involved in corruption especially within Maryland State Educator Damon_mediumAssociation (MSEA).  The PGCEA attorney involved in the grievance procedure a Mr. Damon Felton from MSEA (Pictured here on the right) has been acting  in conspiracy with others engaged in corruption with regards to processing grievances and other matters. The grievance system in PG county has failed in accomplishing its initial mission and in this scenerio, students and families of Prince George’s County suffer. There is a direct corelation with the mal-practice by the union staff which has led to increasing discontent within the entire school District. This dissatisfaction, if not dealt with appropriately, ends up boiling down to an uncomfortable situation and an unpleasant word called ‘stress.’

“Stress is a normal physiological response to ‘danger’ as perceived by the body or brain. The factors that lead to stress can be self-induced as well as induced by the surroundings. Employee stress shows a direct impact on an organization’s business. While from the business angle it can affect productivity, client service, profits and team work, from the individual’s perspective it can lead to deteriorating morale and self-esteem, low confidence levels, health hassles and a troubled personal life.

In many cases, the Union staff involved in negotiations has been busy lining their own pockets or involved in illicit acts as shown in other areas as well  for example ACE-AFSCME Local 2250, ASASP,  SEIU  and PGCEA Unions to the dismay of many members and the community at large. The Union staff members involved in this activity have been violating their oath of office in several ways. They have been acting in questionable ways including lying, bribing select candidates for the local board office among other issues. (The Board members who are the target of bribery and back door campaign contributions are well-known). These issues need to be addressed or brought to a stop without any further delay within PGCPS School District. The PG County delegation  needs to look into these issues and stop the practice.  If the Unions want to serve and assist, they ought to be accountable or made  to account by various stake holders and they must play by the rules. We cannot afford to have a few elements destroy our democratic institutions for what appears to be purely personal greed driven by malice.

Public life means meeting our shared responsibilities, caring for one another, and building the mutual trust upon which democracy depends. The recommendations below are special cases of these moral principles. They also represent a special case of a general strategy – to restore public life to American democracy which includes Prince George’s County School District.

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1. We must return the public to our political system and end the corrupt influence of selfish interests that have abandoned our shared responsibilities. This means public finance of campaigns, strict enforcement of the highest ethical standards in public life, and protection of the sacred right to vote.

2. Our nation has vast national wealth: a huge continental landmass with wealth in minerals, agricultural land, forests, cities, beautiful places, as well as its public wealth, that is, the creative wealth of its educated citizenry and the collective wealth of all its citizens and corporations. We, the public, can put our nation’s vast wealth to use in creating jobs that make the lives of all better: building, educating, curing, and imagining. That is the Dream.

To realize the Dream, we must end the Nightmare.

3. We must turn back the Right’s assault on public and higher education and meet our traditional commitment to education. Our children are tomorrow’s public. The future of democracy depends upon them.

4. We must rebuild our public infrastructure, a fancy term for the necessities we share: roads, bridges, dams, parks, fair grounds, water mains, sewers, and the power grid; public agencies that monitor disease, weather and food safety. Government that works for all of us can and should create jobs that serve us all by rebuilding our shared necessities.

5. We must come together publicly to mutually ensure the health of all America. Health is not a private matter. It is public one.

6. We must protect the prior earnings of American workers set aside in Social Security or private pensions. They have been earned through hard work and discipline. Taking these earnings away is theft, despite the Right’s use of the word “entitlements.”

7. A public of unequal voices is not a democratic public. We need a progressive tax system through which all Americans pay their fair share and a business ethics that fairly rewards those whose work creates productivity and profit.

8. We must put the American individual above abstract corporate entities. We must end “corporate personhood,” which gives transnational corporations a greater voice than individuals in our public deliberations.

9. We must end the move to “privatize” institutions through which we meet our shared responsibilities. When the public is removed, the private sphere takes over, charging more, and often creating unaccountable monopolies that bilk the public. Privatization of the public typically means that most citizens just pay more, often a lot more.

10. Discrimination of all kinds must be overcome. Public life depends upon recognition of our equal humanity.

This is why Democracy is, and must remain, public. This is why America has traditionally been a beacon to the world. This is the example America has set. We dare not give it up. The alternative is the Nightmare.

Prince George’s Teacher Accused of Sexual Encounters with a student.

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Prince George’s County police accused Garnold King of having sex with a student a number of times over a few months while King was working at Isaac Gourdine Middle School in Fort Washington, Md., last year.

“The victim advised her mother that she was sexually assaulted by her teacher at her former middle school,” Prince George’s County police Cpl. Maria McKinney said.

This year, King was working at Thurgood Marshall Middle School a few miles away in Temple Hills. A Prince George’s County school spokesman said they did not know about the incident at King’s former middle school and removed him as soon as they learned about the investigation.

Parents at both schools have been notified of the arrest, school officials said.

“With it still being an ongoing investigation there’s always a possibility of other victims that haven’t come forward,” McKinney said.

King, who has been with the school system since 1994, is facing second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offense charges; one count of assault; and two counts of sexual abuse with a minor. He’s out on bond.

King is due in court in January. He has no prior criminal record.  (Read more -Courtesty NBC 4 News) and (Read more here Courtest Prince George’s County Police Department)