Category Archives: New County Superintendent selection

Washington Post Presents…

State of Education in Prince George’s County Town Hall

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What kind of school superintendent does Prince George’s County need right now? What will be the results of this spring’s dramatic change in which County Executive Rushern Baker will select the superintendent and the chairman and vice chairman of an expanded Board of Education? Join The Washington Post for a discussion of these and other hot-button school issues in Prince George’s during the second installment in a three-part Behind the Headlines discussion series on the state of education in the Washington area. The series launched in the District on April 24 at The Post and will conclude on September 18 at Fairfax High School in Fairfax County, Va. 

Robert McCartney, Columnist and Former Assistant Managing Editor, The Washington Post will moderate the forum.  The panel will include Del. Jolene Ivey (D), Chair, Prince George’s House Delegation, Maryland General Assembly; Verjeana M. Jacobs, Chair, Prince George’s County Board of Education; Earnest L. Moore, President, Prince George’s County PTA Council; Christian Rhodes, Education Policy Adviser, Office of the Prince George’s County Executive; and Ovetta Wiggins, Prince George’s Education Reporter, The Washington Post. 

Date:  Thursday, May 23 
Time:  6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. 
Location: Prince George’s Community College 
                 Largo Student Center – Community Rooms A, B, C 
                 301 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro, MD  20774 
                 Free parking will be available. 

Admission: FREE (Seating is limited, so please arrive early)                                           
                                                               
To RSVP and submit a question for the panel, please e-mail behindtheheadlines@washpost.com.  All questions and RSVP’s must be submitted byThursday, May 23 at Noon. 

Go to www.washingtonpost/education for the latest coverage and analysis of schools, home school and education policy for DC, Maryland and Virginia.

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The Rot at PGCPS Sasscer.

The Epicenter of the PGCPS Corruption:

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PGCPS Chief Board of Education Legal Counsel and manipulator of Labor relations office – Abbey Hairston.

There are serious problems with our education system today in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS).  The school system, whether discussing the schools or the Unions, within the PGCPS school district offer perspective that is not cordial to the perspective of students, staff and parents of the community. Most teachers enter the education field armed with enthusiasm, hope and a desire to positively impact the children. The agents of PGCPS have proven through their conduct that all teachers don’t share those characteristics.  But what is more regretful is that some of the teachers who do have those characteristics are antagonized for their virtues and/or penalized in their efforts to spread those virtues.

If only for the sake of ensuring accountability and redress, these issues need to be brought to light. The School system’s compliance with its duty to the community has to be achieved.  But more importantly, it has to be prioritized in a proper and in an accountable way. A rush to create an additional 15 positions directly answerable to the board as a whole or its members only and without proper scrutiny by the incoming leaders et al, is an affront to undermine the future leadership using corruption.  The PGCPS Board led by Ms. Verjeana Jacobs has similar characteristics to those of Miller County schools and Dekalb schools in Georgia.

The reformation of the PGCPS unions is a necessary step in the reconstruction; the lack of representation provided by the unions and their inadequate grievance address will not fit, or be tolerated, in the reformation.  While this article won’t be able to address all of the problems in the PGCPS education system, the elevation of Mr. James Whattam as the Director of Labor Relations is a start.  Mr. James Whattam, who retired from Maryland State Educator Association, is awarded by PGCPS with a paycheck for his protection of corruption.  In exchange, PGCPS maintains status quo or advances the corruption.  When James Whattam could no longer forward the corrupt objectives of PGCPS, he was vested with the privilege of appointing someone who would continue the tradition.  Mr. Damon Felton Esq was pleased to continue in James Whattam’s destructive footsteps at the Maryland State Educator Association (MSEA).  There is clear conflict of interest, regardless of the angle from which you examine Mr. Felton’s appointment.

The continuation of Mr. James Whattam, or any one that is appointed by him,  is a continuation of Union corruption in Maryland.  Mr. James Whattam has asserted the message:  “Long Live Shenanigans”.

As the new age of the school system approaches, identification and accountability will prove to be priceless. In the spirit of identification and accountability, the Director of Employee and Labor Relations must be identified as a key culprit in the institutionalization and furtherance of corruption.  Although Mr. Whattam is identified as the Director, an internal PGCPS document labels “Kathy Jones” as the Director of Employee and Labor Relations. Moreover, Mr. James R. Whattam, Esq., is a lawyer who functions out of both the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Employee and Labor Relations.  Mr. Whattam is covering all of the bases!

Anyone else would be under suspicion for fraud (at the very least), misrepresentation (at the most), and conflict-of-interest (certainly).  However, only the faction of the community that challenges the corruption come under scrutiny, to put it mildly.Corruption

The newly-formed ethics panel (Chaired by Sidney Gibson and Vice-Chaired by Lilia B. True) and the law enforcement community are vested with the task of weeding out the BOE’s entrenched corruption that has proven costly to all.  While the ethics panel and this community may not have the cadre of lawyers that the BOE has/had at its arsenal, we have the truth and an unwillingness to accept any alternative to community progress and empowerment.

The Reform Sasscer team, which is composed of professionals, teachers, students and parents, advocates innovation, fiscal stability and transparency for the purpose of redress PGCPS corruption. A considerable portion of corruption emanates from the Office of Chief Legal Counsel and Labor Relations.  Both offices can say “job well done” after they have paid off attorneys, including hearing examiners reviewing worker-related cases.

There is no question that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) owes its existence to the General Counsel’s office, which was managed by previous Chief legal officer Mr. Roger Thomas Esq.  When Roger Thomas Esq. could no longer sustain the corruption, Mr. James R. Whattam picked up the torch.  James R. Whattam now wields the power and commands the community’s lawyers in the direction of the school system’s destruction. We must collectively demand and end to this culture.

A closer look into the General Counsel’s office demonstrates that the corruption is second-nature to the office; previous Chief Human Resouces Synthia J. Kucner and (Director of Employee and Labor Relations) James R. Whattam, Esq. are both affiliated with the Office of General Counsel. Synthia J. Shilling aka Kucner was formerly the Deputy General Counsel before becoming the chief Human Resources Officer. According to reports in Washington post, she had been caught red-handed several times drunk driving. (Read more).

Furthermore, as indicated above, Mr. James Whattam Esq. formerly worked with the teacher’s union as legal representative. This definitely creates a conflict of interest at many levels and promotes Union corruption. Someone should investigate how many positions/titles these individual actually have. According to the school system website, Mr. Whattams office is supposed to conduct thorough and timely investigations for employees and students filing harassment/discrimination claims.  The functions of the Employee and Labor Relations are so integral that those functions are expressly enunciated.

Employee and Labor Relations – Also referred to as The Employee and Labor Relations Office (ELRO) Works to provide the following;

  1. Works cooperatively with all departments within the school system to address employee performance and conduct concerns in such a manner as to maximize student achievement.
  2. ELRO is also responsible for the facilitation of effective and efficient operations through the maintenance of positive relations with the labor organizations representing school system employees.
  3. ELRO provides assistance, training and support to employees requesting reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and conducts thorough and timely investigations for employees and students filing harassment/discrimination claims.

To enhance their corrupt illegal activities, the legal department awarded a $5 million legal tender to Thatcher law Firm to represent PGCPS and Dr. William Hite.  That award was implemented in the absence of any competitive bind against the rules of Board of Education in 2011 (Read the story here). The said law firm (Thatcher law Firm) is being used to conduct illegal activities in support of corrupt agendas, which include the bribery of attorneys and the defense of illegal activities against staff with legitimate cases. Tax payer’s money is being used by the legal department; all the while, Mr. James Whattam and Verjeana Jacobs are undermining transparency and accountability with no opposition.  In addition, the Thatcher Law Firm led by Ms. Abbey Hairston, awarded close to $8,000 towards political contributions to the chairman of the Board of Education, Mrs. Verjeana M. Jacobs Esq.  That award created a conflict of interest in light of the $5,000,000 that was awarded. This is unacceptable. The future Board should demand a return of this money from Thatcher law firm. Failure to do this, corruption would have been rewarded.However, that is not true. This office is involved in deep-rooted corruption, which includes systematic delays and the tampering of evidence.  The corruption does not end with that office.  That office also engages in corruption with the Unions. The office is the center of corrupt Union politics and should be abolished at a minimum. As the school’s reformation demonstrates a new idea, hiring new attorneys to achieve these reformations is the only logical next step.

A reform of the PGCPS Board of Education in the absence of a “clean house sweep” will create some accountability but might not result in the reform needed to improve PGCPS. It is important to take a closer look into the activities of this office and the role it has played in denying job opportunities to staff, as well as educational opportunities to thousands of students. For example: Ms. Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. was in the center of a Filipino teacher’s fiasco (read the story here), Roger Thomas Esq. has been involved in shady deals, which includes questionable contracts involving Washington Plaza and Dr. Andrea Horsby , who is now serving jail time.  The illegal tender activities and other questionable tricks of the trade are endless, just like the list of practitioners, which includes Jack Johnson.  Jack Johnson’s pay to play corruption is still alive in the PGCPS. (Others read article here).

The time has come to seek new and fresh leadership for General Counsel Office within PGCPS, thus severing all ties of corruption. Roger Thomas Esq was in that position for close to 19 years before being fired for corruption (read more). He left the county with his corruption exposed.  To our surprise, the other attorneys associated with him did not take a hint to resign on their own.  While the other attorney’s acknowledgement for the need of redress would have been nice, any step toward address is welcome.  If the incoming board of education would not do anything to enact any change in this office now, we are asking the general public to exercise its right and vote them out once and for all in the future elections. The Board of education has power to do many things; they can suspend with or without pay pending investigations. They can terminate their employees!  Despite the endless ability to scrutinize their employees, the Board of Education has not applied that review to themselves.  Let us demand full investigations concerning this office and let the chips fall where they may. Time has come for the school system to move in a new direction, beginning on June 1, 2013. We are watching!

General Counsel provides advice on legal representation, including:

  1. The Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Executive staff, and principals
  2. Supervises and manages legal services provided through attorneys in Office of General Counsel
  3. Supervision and oversight on liability and litigation claims
  4. Advice of counsel and legal representation in areas of student support services and student appeals
  5. Advice of counsel in areas of procurement, CIP, business and finance, contracts, leases, MOUs
  6. Represent the Board and Administration in appeals before Maryland State Board of Education
  7. Legal counsel and representation in all other substantive legal services areas provided through the Office of General Counsel.

Once again, as we have  articulated before, the PGCPS status quo of continuous unabated corruption, conmanship, gerrymandering and professional misconduct involving the current Sasscer adminstration with the support of the corrupt unions and other conspirators etc, is not the answer!

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

“Our hope for the future depends also on our resolution as a nation in dealing with the scourge of corruption.” ~ Nelson Mandela

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Dr. Alvin L. Crawley Resigns.

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Dr. Alvin L. Crawley – above – The right thing a little too late for innocent victims.

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) superintendent and the Board members are reacting to our expose yesterday. The Board has now sent out an email to all Staff that Dr. Alvin L. Crawley will be resigning as of June 3, 2013. (See News release).

Such changes are what we would love to see and there are others. Kudos to interim Superintendent Crawley and the Board of Education for responding to these needs. We just hope that the Board of Education for Prince George’s County supporting the County Executive Baker will properly scrutinize the next Superintendent who will come in the school District and help fix the issues identified by our group in corroboration with other stake holders within the school system.

Potential replacements for Dr. Crawley include up and coming prospective candidates such as Daryl V. Williams – Chief of Student Services or Lisa D. Price, PMP, CGPM – Performance Officer for PGCPS to act as interim superintendent in case of a delay in selecting the next superintendent of Schools by June 1, 2013. Both individuals are competent leaders with proven track records in their areas of expertise.

Director of Communication Mr. Brian Coleman, who has been on our radar lately for bad behavior including disrespect and cover ups at Sasscer Administrative Building (Board HQ), sent out the attached email at the bottom of this post to cover up as usual.

People would expect a bit of self-circumspect considering what has transpired under Dr. Alvin L. Crawley’s watch. These emails demonstrate what is wrong with the culture of impunity in PGCPS. One is bound to think Dr. Crawley is leaving under normal circumstance. Why do we shed tears for perpetrators and conspirators? Who is sad for the poor defenseless little children who were molested by the brutes during this man’s watch? Please let us be more reverend and repentant.  These are not normal times. Let us not “normalize” the abnormal.

The sentiments expressed in the end are very revealing and expose the Business as usual lesfaires attitudes in PGCPS School District.

There is no smoke without fire! The gentleman had two and half months to go before resigning. What doesn’t he want us to find out? Dr. Crawley is a clear manifestation of a man who forgot his mission and disregarded the 21 commandment he went to uphold and implement from our blogs. He can only blame himself for the calamity which has befallen him!

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From: Prince George’s County Public Schools <PGCPS@public.govdelivery.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM
Subject: Statement from the Board of Education regarding the earlier departure of Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alvin L. Crawley
To:

Statement from the Board of Education regarding the earlier departure of Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alvin L. Crawley

April 26, 2013

For Immediate Release

CONTACT:

Office of Communications

301-952-6001

communications@pgcps.org

On Thursday, April 25, Prince George’s County Public Schools Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alvin L. Crawley notified the Board of Education of his intent to resign effective June 3, 2013. The Board has accepted Dr. Crawley’s resignation.

Statement from the Board of Education regarding the earlier departure of Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alvin L. Crawley: “We are saddened by Dr. Crawley’s decision to leave early; however, due to the passage of the recent legislation changing the governance structure of our school system, we fully understand. We regretfully accept Dr. Crawley’s resignation and express our gratitude and appreciation for his consistent dedication to student achievement.”

Statement from Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alvin L. Crawley: “It is with mixed emotions that I submit my letter of resignation effective June 3, 2013. I have enjoyed my tenure as Interim Superintendent of Schools and appreciate the support of our Board, staff, parents, students, and members of the community. I am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved during my tenure.”

Background: Dr. Crawley was hired in August of 2012 under a contract that was set to expire on June 30, 2013. Maryland House Bill 1107, which passed on April 9, 2013, significantly changes the governance structure of PGCPS by giving the County Executive the authority to appoint the Superintendent of Schools as well as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education.

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Outrageous Petition Drive in PG County.

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Today we received news through the Washington post that Shameful display of misplaced sympathies and loyalties are in play with some few individuals who want to maintain the status quo within PG County schools. Where is the outrage when it is needed the most to defend “helpless kids and staff” who are not popular or connected to these self-rightious groups?

The papers are stone dead and quiet when the same system has subjected its students and staff to abuse and conditions which are unfathomable in other school districts such as MPCPS, Carvert etc.  Why do we have to be on the wrong side of righteousness? Let us try something new, which can bring accountability to this madness in PGCPS school District. Enough is enough. We can no longer hide under the banner of democracy. Democratic society requires strong protection, but also carries with it equal responsibilities and creates accountability measures.

We support Mr. Rushern Baker and we will be watching developments as well as providing unsolicited advise during his tenure. We are not going give anyone a blank check. However, let us give a chance and try something new. Everyone in the Board of Education have had their chance, it is Mr. Baker’s chance now.

The question we are asking the critics is this, What are the motives of these groups and persons opposing the new school governance structure?  Who is standing for the poor students and staff members? The PG County chapter of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) should not adopt the tactics and bad attitudes of some corrupt Unions with some hidden agenda. We will not let a very good organization be high jacked by a few misguided individuals who are out to rubble rouse some naive elements in PG County.

Instead of these organizations trying to defend the power brokers with ill gotten wealth, they should be fighting for the less fortunate instead of trying to maintain the status quo. The only thing constant in life is change. Unless they learn to adopt, they are destined to obsolesce .

Lastly, there are people and cases which are beginning to be derailed for lack of representation in various forums. The Unions are not performing their rightful roles and keeping the PGCPS management accountable. We must say “NO” to such misplaced allegiance and false solidarity.

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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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PG County Ready for BOE applications.

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The Washington PostPublished: April 20

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and the County Council are accepting applications for four new appointed positions on the Board of Education, county officials announced Saturday.

State lawmakers expanded the nine-member elected school board under a compromise bill that also allows Baker to hire the county’s next schools chief. Read more ~~~> school board positions

70% of the voters interviewed in PG County approve the job the County Executive Baker and other elected officials in Annapolis are doing. Let us support him and the county council to help select the right candidates,  the right next BOE Chair and the vice Chair person respectfully to help make proper changes.  Any choices excluding Verjeana Jacobs (her husband David is the package) as a leader in PGCPS is a greater advantage for our children. Kudos to the Maryland General assembly and Governor O’Malley!

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Jury awards $90 million in Prince George’s County wrongful-death case

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Apr 14, 2013 10:44 PM EDT

The Washington Post Published: April 14

A Prince George’s County Circuit Court jury has awarded $90 million to the family of a 13-year-old girl who died four years ago after she was struck by a car while trying to catch a school bus. The family of Ashley Davis, who was a freshman at Crossland High School, sued the Prince George’s County Board of Education after she succumbed to her injuries two weeks after the Sept. 1, 2009, crash. A six-member jury handed down the wrongful-death verdict — one of the largest in the court’s history — this month. Read more ~~>Jury awards $90 million in Prince George’s County wrongful-death case

Prince George’s County Government leaders  in 2009 school year when this incident happened:

County Executive: Jack B. Johnson 

 Board of Education Chairperson: Verjeana M. Jacobs.

 Superintendent of School /CEO: Dr. William Hite Jr.

These are some of the issues Reform Sasscer Movement has been trying to have the Board of Education (BOE) members see clearly and fix without success. The amount involved here is not the issue.  It will take care of itself. It always does. The real concern is a wonderful, innocent child died, who would have been 17 and a Sr. in High school this year. This family lost a very much loved member of their family; and others lost a very cherished friend. Quite possibly the world lost a future scientist with the cure for cancer, a doctor who perhaps would have saved your grandchild’s life one day!

However, the open discussion this case has triggered is a healthy start to perhaps changing policy to prevent this from ever happing again to our school aged children that must take public transportation to get to school. It’s unfortunate that this had to happen, but the bigger tragedy is it took a jury hitting the PG County school board upside the head with a 2 x 4 before anyone would take notice and even have a discussion on this matter. The corrupt and inept PG County School Board is only costing its residents more money. Surely, the arrogant BOE lawyers could have settled this case a long time ago, but they chose to drag it for their own selfish motives after being rewarded $5million “No bid” contract.

No amount of money…no amount of time passing will make that heartache go away. The only way to get some folks attention and force change is to show them how outlandishly dilapidated they were in their duties. This PGCPS transportation system has been in dire need of an overhaul for a long time. It is very sad but some of the bus drivers are involved in childish political games within the system. When The WaPo printed a story about a 5 year old who was put on the wrong bus, then dropped off in the middle of nowhere and left to fend for herself, there was little outrage. When there is little outrage, there is little inspiration or motivation to make improvements. It’s not about the money as we said before. The jury send a message. Now, perhaps the Prince George’s County District school system needs an overhaul. They now have about $90 million reasons to get motivated to fix what is very much broken.

Many thanks to the eight jurors for their selfless service to the county and its citizens on this case; and for the tough decision they had to make as well. We are sure it was not easy having to sit and listen to a testimony in such a landmark case for the county, or the nation for this matter. Urgent action will be required to address various issues currently affecting children, employees and families at Sasscer (PGCPS HQ). We are sure much progress will be made once the new BOE Chairperson and Superintendent comes on board. (See Highlights of HB1170 signed by Governor O’Malley)

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi”

Many Thanks to our Delegates, Senators.

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MANY THANKS.

We want to take this moment to thank the members of the Maryland House and Senate Delegations for delivering incredible legislative success for residents of the Prince George’s County and especially with HB 1107 for PGCPS. We especially thank our Prince George’s County delegation and Senators who sponsored and supported this bill. Thank you very much for a job well done.

Governor O’Malley signed Maryland House of Delegates Bill 1107 into law on April 9, 2013. HB 1107, which goes into effect on June 1, 2013, enables County Executive Rushern L. Baker III to select the next Superintendent who, pursuant to the legislation, will hereafter be referred to as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PGCPS. In addition, the County Executive will select the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education. The legislation also authorizes the County Executive to appoint three members to the Board of Education and the County Council will make one appointment. The legislation authorizes the Governor to appoint a three member search committee for the CEO. The County Executive will select the new CEO from the three finalists recommended to him by the search committee. In coming weeks, the County Executive will work with the Board of Education and the County Council to implement this new school governance structure.

As a Movement for Prince George’s County who advocated for the changes, all we can say is that, we are thrilled! In the coming weeks and months, we will work closely with County executive Baker to make things happen and create successful transformation and accountability. We also would like to thank other comrades and anyone else who might have supported the bill by calling their elected officials in Annapolis etc. All we can say is, “Thank you”.  Victory goes to all students, staff and families of PG county.

Once again, Cheers to the Prince George’s County House, Senate Delegations, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for signing bill HB 1107 into law, Kudos!

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

“We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class……  We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”

— Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013

Kudos to the General Assembly for reform efforts.

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We are Prince George’s County Public School District (PGCPS) observers in 15th and 32nd year, and we support the current bill HB 1107 and any related bill in the Maryland General Assembly. What has really gotten stuck in our craw most has been the imperial, patronizing manner in which the PGCPS leadership led by Ms. Verjeana Jacobs has been conducting its business.

Even if these members have been defeated for the superintendent position, they still pose a “clear and present danger”. They should never be allowed near the school board leadership in any capacity of authority or influence. The Prince George’s County Board leadership is a disgrace. We should make ensure that there is no way they can weasel their way into the board leadership ever again. The new Superintendent should do everything in his or her power to be the true new broom and sweep out the mess. The facts about ruthless and unethical board aspirants is detailed below. Every parent and concerned citizen of this county should ensure that the past never repeats itself. We owe our children at least that much. Vigilance starts with proactive action.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Alvin L. Crawley arrived seven months ago spouting transparency and community engagement, but what we’ve mostly gotten has been something far less. Several students have died, corruption continues as usual and He does not communicate properly. His first thing on the job was to block communication with PG parents tweeter feed unprovoked. (See Attachment) His tweeter feed only tweets on occasion and he lacks proper communication skills, yet he wanted to be the next superintendent.

Prince George’s County Public School District Chairperson Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and the Board members set the stage by surreptitiously hiring lobbyists to lobby the state Legislature to defeat several House Bills including HB 1107 introduced in Annapolis recently because corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct within the schools. This way, the current situation remains the same. Their effort to defeat the bills fell flat and became a public embarrassment.

In response, however, Board Chairperson Verjeana Jacobs and several Board members said Monday that the board would reopen the search for a new superintendent if that would fend off a proposed takeover plan under consideration in Annapolis. “We are still ready and willing to look at this superintendent process again, “Jacobs told a joint hearing of the Prince George’s House and Senate delegations. “Let’s get rid of the elephant in the room.” (See the story here)

“It was the first concession that Jacobs has made in the battle over County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s III plan to take over the school system. The unexpected announcement comes after school officials were closing in on picking the county’s next superintendent, which would be the eighth in 14 years”. As reported by Washington post. We support the bill and we hope to see changes as soon as possible.

Up to this point in PGCPS, we have seen what has become a pattern: there is an insular, preordained agenda going forward, and whenever there is sound pushback, if not a firestorm of public disapproval and outrage, the PGCPS leadership delivers measured comments to mollify the malcontents no matter how incongruous the rationale. Verjeana Jacobs’s notion “to reopen the superintendent search process, improve the quality of teachers’ experiences” is in stark contrast to the ominous proposals that will more likely discourage longevity. Dr. Alvin L. Crawley and Ms. Verjeana Jacobs appears willing to see teachers scrounge, beg and go out-of-pocket, or do without chairs, desks, books, paper, tape and sundry other necessities often taken for granted. Also, if they accepts the premise that there needs to be a stronger principal pipeline, then how do you give them such power to wield without safeguards, such as due process? And, too, wouldn’t their justification for non-union raises also apply to teachers, among others? How about interfering with hearing examiner by bribing and other incentives?  It is that arbitrariness that all employees dread.

The Board of Education (BOE) members and the PGCPS Union leadership and their cohorts are like a junta ruling by fiat, disconnected from the community denizens. They are not fooling anyone with their placating, after-the-fact patchwork rationales that diametrically contradict their own actions. The only transparency that has come to light is that they think that teachers, support staff, parents and the public are that gullible, or just not as smart as a third-grader. In the process, they appear disingenuous and are only losing credibility and fomenting distrust. Every keen observer is aware what has been going on behind the scenes at Sasscer (PGCPS HQ).

To our distinguished veteran colleagues, don’t let the door hit you on the way out as you defend the dysfunctional status quo.

To all involved parents that currently have children enrolled in Prince George’s County Public Schools, our voices were heard. Thank you for sending your concerns to those that have the power to vote our voice.

For the first time in a very long time, our PGCPS teachers, administrators and staff will receive classroom resources they need, our children will be provided additional assistance, albeit transportation/ELL resources, and systemic academic opportunities.

Ms. Verjeana Jacob’s continuation as a Board Chair and continuing the corruption is a perpetuation of a culture of impunity. We must demand an end to that and new leadership led by the County Executive Rushen Baker .

Kudos to the Prince George’s delegation in Annapolis who have decided to endorse changes within our County. We give the County Executive and the new Superintendent our total support and wish him or her well. However, we will hold him or her accountable and will not repeat the blind and unchecked support of years part. This has been actually lesson learnt at the expense of our children’s lives and reputation of the schools which languish at the bottom of all schools in Maryland.

We have one  fugitive former superintendent  hiding as a refugee superintendent in Philadelphia where his fortunes are beginning to unravel. Let us bring him back to justice and make him answer for his well documented crimes of neglect and malice.

It is a Sad day for the lobbyists in Annapolis and the Board lawyers involved in “NO Bid contracts” against the state law!!! BOOHOO!

Letter to Maryland General Assembly.

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Dear Maryland General Assembly,

On behalf of Prince George’s community, we offer the gift of perspective.  Consistent with any other gift, whether you choose to accept is up to you.

Our message to you today is predicated on the substantial support of Prince George’s County citizens with regard to the controversy between County Executive Mr. Baker and Board of Education Chairperson Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.  The inherent conflict in Mr. Baker’s proposal is outweighed by the potential progress of the school system and community.  The Prince George’s County school District system BOE leadership is not working and change is overdue!  Mr. Baker proposes that very change and we support him.  Here are our reasons.

  1. The approval/decline of Mr. Baker’s proposal, regardless of what direction is takes, has far reaching consequences well beyond the political triumphs, or failures of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.
  2. Your decision will reflect on both your integrity and the integrity of the Prince George’s County Public Scholls (PGCPS) District system. It will set a precedent as to whether (a.) nobody messes with the Maryland General Assembly or (b.) The Maryland General Assembly can be bought or sold to the highest bidder…or the one with the most money.
  3. Your decision will not be silent with regards to the children; the children will see first-hand your expectations of the school system and what initiative you will take to protect the children.  In approving Mr. Baker’s proposal after amendments, you are sending a message that is loud and clear even to our children – there are bad consequences for bad actions and corruption involving elected Board members does NOT pay in Prince George’s County Maryland.  It is only fair to tell you that the democratic process does regretfully allow you to choose to send the message that corruption, neglect and waste do pays.  Further, you will be encouraging the children to become corrupt politicians and officials, as those professions (if you want to call them that) are lucrative venture and will incur no scrutiny from the Senate. Consequently, all self-respecting political aspirations must take a back-seat to the engagement of conmanship, gerrymandering and plain professional misconduct, including nepotism and corruption.
  4. The PG Senate and the entire General Assembly is in fact the judge in this trial that decides the fate of our PG community.  The General Assembly has the opportunity, if not privilege, of handing down a sentence that redresses the inadequacies that have plagued the Prince George’s County community.  But in order for the General Assembly to do so, the community must take its rightful position as jury and find the School Board guilty in light of its neglect of the community that it has sworn to protect.  That guilty verdict will act as the ultimate precedent; it will deter future politicians and officials from neglecting the lives of the citizens of this community.  You will be effectively telling us tomorrow whether we voted for you to be our custodians or not. You have only one chance to do it. That chance is this year, 2013. If you bungle it then, 2014 will be next year too late; the die will have been cast and the future will have been set in stone.
  5. Prince George’s heart is bleeding. It has been bleeding for sometime now and the corruption keeps on cropping up.  It especially bled during the days of Jack Johnson who is serving time in jail for corruption and other vices. Thank God! Many of you have been around and you care.  But the ulcer really flared up after  Ms.Verjeana Jacobs was elected as the Board Chairperson.  Impunity reigned supreme as the corruption, professional misconduct and nepotism glared before cameras of our televisions. You were there. Thank God! We bled profusely and many students have died recently as impunity was sworn in at night. You were there. Thank God! Because you know, five years later, impunity has taken a new face; this one is more clever, smoother, craftier and lawyer-like.  This new face is armed with sophisticated tools such as powerful organizations and lobbyists that benefit directly from the Board of Education. This entity camouflages itself in the skin of a snake-oil salesman. You, as the Maryland General Assembly, have to remind that heckler that Prince George’s County wants that element gone.
  6. Your decision will inspire and influence the integrity of the Board of Education aspirants; your sweeping reform will deter corruption and inspire a system that is based on merit and the ability/capability to truly build the nation and advance our resources for posterity.  In the absence of such reform, corruption will have been rewarded, encouraged and advanced.  This course of action will foreseeably deal a lethal, if not fatal, blow to the entire democratic process.
  7. Reread No. 6.
  8. Repeat No. 7
  9. Go back to No.5 twice, then No. 6 again.  You have a huge decision to make and should treat it as such.
  10. Eschew No. 6
  11. IF YOU FAIL TO LIVE UP TO 12, and only IF; We and many others will view you, for the long term, as nothing more than political egg-heads intent on sleeping with Prince George’s County enemies of progress, thereby proving that there is nothing supreme about you; in fact, you are nothing more than ordinary self-serving business types bearing a striking resemblance to members of the even-toed ungulates of the Suidae family.

Well, Great men and women of Maryland General Assembly, thank you for your patience in reading thus far.

Here’s hoping you will DO THE RIGHT THING!

12.  If you do the right thing, all Prince George’s County citizens will know that whether high and mighty or lowly and meek, the Maryland General Assembly is above reproach and does not bow down to any self-declared deities, much less self-imposed and willfully manipulative characters intent on abducting democracy in Maryland and especially in Prince George’s County School District.  The malefactors suffer from delusions of grandeur and superiority and you can give them their wake-up call.

Our courts and media must continue to play their rightful roles.

Diverse players from the non-state sectors must raise their voices.

The Prince George’s County reform efforts especially for schools will only show a maturing County if we collectively demand changes and keep the social cost it entails at a minimum.

Sincerely,

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County.