The announcement that Superintendent Dr. William Hite Jr. of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) received a Directorship of National PTA Board of Directors is suspicious. We believe that this is a clever ploy to boost his ego after we published an initial blog. The announcement came four days after publication of the second blog. This is problematic for parents who want to see proper reforms and tough changes in the school system in order to support students, teachers and administrators. Dr. William Hite Jr. wants to appear that he is doing a good job. He sits on several boards but he does not have enough time to do what he was hired to do. Most of the time he is either playing golf or is out in the field doing other activities that are unrelated to the education of our children. This is not fair to those who are stakeholders and citizens of Prince George’s County. He is not a good superintendent becasue he is not doing the job we have hired him to do. Therefore, he should resign as soon as possible.
Before you decide whether to support the proposed November 4th, 2011 boycott of PGCPS, by not sending your child to school that day, first understand the issues facing these parents. PGCPS has an approximate graduation rate of 50%. Shockingly this is not the problem facing parents. The real problem is that 179 schools are rated as PLA. PLA is a rating given to schools that have persistently breached the public trust and that have completely failed to educate the students who attend them. PLA rated schools have less than a 50% graduation rate. Infact, these schools are factored in with the twenty other non- PLA schools, such as County Honors, to give PGCPS its 50% graduation rate. Note that PGCPS is the second worst performing school District in the whole state of Maryland, barely above Baltimore City public schools.
The problem for many parents, particularly those with lower incomes, is that they must send their children to a PLA school where the child will receive an inadequate education. When these parents send their children to a PLA school, they face the stark reality that their children are set up to fail. This problem is not a recent issue. These schools have failed several generations of students. Year after year these parents are told that something is being done to address this failure, and they are given a list of what will be done. Yet, the failure persists with no consequence to those accountable for this failure. The issue has gotten worse under Superintendent Hite. Recently, Dr. William Hite Jr., put up a questionable editorial (you can read it here) that claims tremendous progress was achieved last year. This is contrary to the investigative reports done by the Gazette newspaper. (Read the report here).
During the budget process hearings this past spring, we attended a board meeting that was coordinated by Superintendent Hite where he undermined several elected officials including senators and delegates, clandestinely, because they dared question his work ethic. We found out that Superintendent Hite controls almost all the board members. When the chair of the Board finally called for a vote to confirm the issues following presentations on the PLA problem by the PGCPS Superintendent Hites, they passed the budget without much questioning of his decision. Local leaders and an auditorium filled with more than 100 Prince George’s County parents were astonished. The turning point at this meeting for us was when Superintendent Hite suggested that parents are expecting too much and they should settle for children that do not always graduate but rather the standard should be that they are able to pass a GED test. Hite actually proposed at the meeting to change the standard from expecting their child to graduate to minimally expecting their children be able to pass a GED test and be work force ready. Hite is the one primarily accountable for setting the educational standard and developing the plan to address the PLA crises. These parents’ children are currently trapped in a school system that is led by a person that proposes setting low expectations and does not expect the system to succeed or improve.
Whether you are located in the PGCPS or outside of this area, consider providing support to these parents and the PGCPS’s bold move to boycott. The boycott is the first step in sending the message that without the children there is no PGCPS and that these parents do have power. They should expect real corrective and preventive action. The time for talk and playing the blame game is over. Parents are vital in the process of reviewing and approving the plan that is proposed and acted on. The Prince George’s County Council has the power to provide oversight to the Board of Education Budget and to ask tough questions following massive corruption unmasked recently. There must be accountability and transparency without much delay!
A rally will be held in front of PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING in Upper Marlboro at noon in the near future (check back here for the date)– be there!
County Administration Building
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-3050
“We need to support & encourage the parents of children attending failing Prince George’s County Public schools to keep up the pressure…”