Tag Archives: Maryland State Department of Education

Maryland State Department of Education seeks info from public for PGCPS graduation rate probe

IMG_2752BALTIMORE – With an investigation underway to look into allegations of grade-fixing and fraud allegations in the Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland school officials have released a hotline and email address encouraging the public to provide information for the probe.

The Maryland State Department of Education said public input can be provided at 1-833-535-6103 or through the email address — PGCPSSpecialReview@alvarezandmarsal.com.

The investigation, which is being conducted by the Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services, is being done after FOX 5 was first to report on claims by Prince George’s County Public Schools staff that intense pressure from administrators to boost the graduation rate has caused students to be pushed through the system whether they earned their diploma or not. Several Prince George’s County school board members wrote a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan citing “widespread systemic corruption” and claiming that student credits and grades are being altered to fraudulently boost the high school graduation rate.

The allegations prompted Gov. Hogan to call for a “complete, thorough, and exhaustive investigation” in his own letter to the Maryland State Board of Education president.

The Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously in June to launch a third-party investigation on the grade-fixing claims.

Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell denies the allegations.

Via Fox5DC

***

Education leaders in Maryland involved in Corruption wary of Gov. Hogan’s plans

larry-hogan-md-gov

Governor Larry Hogan

 

SEABROOK – In the same week that Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell announced his proposed budget, seeking more investment in the public school system, Gov. Larry Hogan announced his plans to put more state money toward private schools.

On Dec. 13, at a private school in Baltimore, Hogan announced his intent to double the funding for private school vouchers over the next three years. Last year Hogan, in partnership with the Maryland General Assembly, passed a bill to launch the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) program with an initial funding amount of $5 million.

“Our administration has made education our number one priority, and we are working hard to ensure that every single child in Maryland is given the chance for a great education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” Hogan said.

The BOOST program helps low-income families pay for their students to attend non-public schools by providing scholarships to students. When the program started, BOOST had an advisory board that determined the criteria for eligible students and the schools the students could attend. That board also set the scholarship amount.

During the inaugural year BOOST received more than 5,000 applications statewide, from which more than 3,000 were approved for the program.

Hogan believes the overwhelming response shows a need for further investment in the program.

“This year, we will again be funding the BOOST program, and we will be doubling the total funding over the next three years to $10 million in scholarships by Fiscal Year 2020,” he said.

Although Hogan has made his intentions clear, and believes in the BOOST program, some in the public school realm believe the move is a step in the wrong direction. Especially when the public school system in Maryland, inspite of gains, requires new investments to further programs and address a backlog of capital improvements needs.

Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA) President Betty Weller called Hogan’s plan a “Trump-like initiative” that would send Maryland taxpayer money away from public schools to private schools.

“According to independent experts, Maryland’s public schools currently have $2.9 billion less than what they need to help every child succeed,” she said. “Our kids rely on strong neighborhood public schools to prepare them for a college education and stable career, and we have a moral obligation to fill those equity gaps.”

While $5 million over three years may be a drop in the bucket for the state’s budget, MSEA sees the investment in BOOST as a redirection of funds from the public school system. Weller called the BOOST program wasteful and said the General Assembly should stand with public schools by eliminating the program.

“Maryland educators are deeply frustrated by Gov. Hogan’s proposal to drain twice as many resources from our public schools to subsidize private schools. The governor’s alliance with President-elect Donald Trump – who has proposed the idea of using $20 billion in taxpayer money for private school vouchers – on privatizing our public schools should be alarming to every Marylander who believes in the importance of public education,” Weller said.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, III shared similar thoughts, urging Gov. Hogan to reinvest in the public school system rather than on private school vouchers.

“Gov. Hogan’s proposal to spend $10 million on private school vouchers sends the wrong message about Maryland’s commitment to a great public education for every child,” Baker said in a statement. “Our public schools serve students from every neighborhood, every socioeconomic group, and every race, religion, gender and learning level. Instead of diverting money away from students who need it most, I urge Gov. Hogan to reinvest in Maryland’s public schools.”

In Prince George’s County, Maxwell just proposed a $2.05 billion schools budget, and while that budget will be looked at by both the county board of education and the county council, the budget asks for a large increase in state funding.

This year’s proposal requests more than $1.12 billion from the state, which is more than $33 million more than the previous year, and a move like Hogan’s may cast doubt on how far the state is willing to go to see improvements in local public school systems.

“Diverting public funds towards private school vouchers is the wrong approach. Now is the time to increase on our investment in public schools so that every student receives the 21st-century education they deserve,” Baker said.

Still, the state received more than 5,000 applications for the program, which specifically targets “areas with under-performing schools,” showing that there is interest in the program.

Ultimately, the General Assembly will decide the fate of the funds.

via Prince George’s County sentinel

princegeorges1-2

 

***

Md. Senate delays vote on state super selection

Marylandstatehouse

The Maryland Senate will decide next week whether it should have a say in who is chosen as the next state superintendent of schools.

The Senate was scheduled on Friday to vote on a bill that would change the selection process of the state superintendent. Instead, it delayed action after questions were raised about whether the Senate has the legal authority to confirm the head of the state’s school system.

The Senate plans to ask for an opinion from the state Attorney General’s office on whether the legislation infringes on separation of powers. The bill is scheduled to be taken up on Tuesday.

The decision to delay the vote came after a lengthy debate about why Democratic legislative leaders were trying to change a system that has been in place for 100 years. Under the current process, the Senate confirms the members of the state Board of Education, who are appointed by the governor. The board then makes the selection of the school superintendent.

“It’s not broken,” said Sen. George C. Edwards (R-Washington), noting that there have only been seven superintendents in the past century. “I think it’s worked over the last 100 years.”

Republican senators repeatedly asked why the Senate wanted to change the process now.

Some see it as a power grab by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), the bill sponsor, said the measure is designed to provide oversight.

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan (R), called the argument “utter rubbish.”

“This bill would radically change 100 years of progressive policy, and add a duplicative and unnecessary political layer to what is already a well-functioning process,” Mayer said. “In terms of policy, process, and politics, this is a flawed and poorly considered piece of legislation that would endanger the very nature of the state’s educational system.”

But Sen. William C. Ferguson (D-Baltimore) said the policy-making power that the state superintendent has is “enormous.” Those powers will only increase, he said, under the new federal law that gives state’s more authority over education policy.

“It makes absolute rational sense to do this now,” Ferguson said.

The state Board of Education plans to name a new superintendent later this year. The current position is held by Interim Superintendent Jack Smith, who took over when Lillian Lowery resigned in September. He was recently chosen as the new Montgomery County superintendent.

Hogan has pushed some education policies that have not been received well by the Democratic-controlled legislature, including a measure last year to give charter schools greater authority and a proposal this year to provide tax credits to businesses that donate to schools. The tax credit is expected to help non-public schools more than public schools.

via Washington Post MarylandMap2

***

Maryland schools superintendent resigns under pressure

image9

Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent of schools (Pictured above) who engaged in maladministration and criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct has announced her resignation. She received an F grade for Common Core meetings and other reform implementations in Maryland during her tenure.

Maryland State Superintendent of Education Lillian M. Lowery will step down in September to take a nonprofit education job in Ohio, state officials announced Friday.

Lowery will become the first chief executive and president of FutureReady Columbus, which will focus initially on early childhood education, public policy and community engagement.

Lowery, 60, was hired by the Maryland State Board of Education during the tenure of former Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, and leaves following the election last November of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. State officials said Friday her departure is not the result of any political pressure.

“She made this decision on her own,” said John White, chief of staff for the Maryland State Department of Education. “It was the right time for her and the right opportunity.”

Hogan’s office released a statement calling Lowery a “dedicated public servant to the state of Maryland” and saying she has been devoted to “bettering public education and working to ensure our teachers and students have the tools they need for success.”

State officials said that Jack R. Smith, the deputy state superintendent for teaching and learning — and chief academic officer at the Maryland State Department of Education — will become interim state superintendent for the remainder of Lowery’s four-year contract, which ends June 30. Smith is the former superintendent of schools in Calvert County.

Lowery was traveling and not available for immediate comment. Her last day is Sept. 11, and she starts in Columbus on Sept. 14.

“We are losing an extraordinary leader, a talented State Superintendent of Schools,” Guffrie Smith, president of the state board, said in a written statement. “Dr. Lowery led Maryland through a time of tremendous transition and progress. She positioned our State as a national leader in preparing students to be college and career ready.”

State officials said that under Lowery’s leadership Maryland graduated more students than ever before. She has focused on the importance of science and technology (STEM) education, as well as career and technical skills.

In recent months, Hogan named two new members to the state board who support the Common Core State Standards and charter schools, tapping Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Andy Smarick, partner at Bellwether Education Partners, to take the open seats on the 12-person board.

Earlier this year, Hogan pushed for major changes in the state’s charter laws and to provide tax credits to businesses that donate to private schools. Both measures, which critics saw as an attack on public education, were met with resistance. The General Assembly agreed to modest changes in the charter law and killed the tax credit bill.

via Washington Post

msde_store_frontMaryland State Department of Education (MSDE) HQ in Baltimore City is pictured above. During the tenure of Dr. Lowery, Lack of sunshine within (MSDE) damaged Maryland Schools in serious manner. Her departure is a welcome news for many education advocates in the state. MarylandMap2***

Hundreds of Maryland teachers disciplined by the state.

635603981457317887-Still0224-00000

WASHINGTON — Nearly 400 teachers in Maryland have had their teaching licenses yanked in just the last few years many without proper due process of the law due to a culture of impunity currently in progress within the Maryland State Department of Education and elsewhere within the counties. Child sex abuse. Child exploitation. Drug and alcohol use. The list goes on and on. The whole system needs a major change with the top leadership in the state level fired without much delay.

“It’s completely mortifying. It should not be happening in this day and age,” said Susan Burkinshaw, a parent and child safety advocate.

The database comes from the Maryland State Department of Education. It includes teachers facing disciplinary action from 2008 until now. The list consists of 397 teachers in seven years. Fourteen of them are from Montgomery County. The list does not include other school personnel or contractors facing similar accusations.

Here’s a breakdown of disciplinary action against teachers by county and by cause:http://bit.ly/1FY9u5f

Maryland State Revocation %26amp; Suspension List

***

image9

Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent of schools (Pictured above) has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways including discriminatory conduct. She has received an F grade for Common Core meetings and other reform implementations in Maryland so far. Above all, she does not believe in the due process of the law and continues to contribute to the culture of impunity.

image10

In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes (shown here) has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play,” High suspension rates, violation of due process rights, manipulation inter alia during her tenure as President for Maryland State Board of Education.

***

The culture of denying sunshine in the Maryland public school system.

msde_store_front

Lack of sunshine within Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is destroying Maryland Schools. 

The only way citizens can protect their own rights is to know their rights. And we have to know them as well as or better than those who seek to deny them.

From violations of the Open Meetings Act, to regulations made without the protections of the legislative process, to board meetings lacking reasonable public access, there is a culture of opaqueness that pervades our public school system on all levels in Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Education (MDE) has the authority to set regulations, which have the force of law, without the processes involved in passing legislation. Citizens are represented through our elected legislators, not through appointed board members. If the school board adopts regulations the public doesn’t agree with, we have little recourse – we can’t fire them or vote them out! The issue is explained in greater detail here.

While the authority of the MDE to function in quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial roles is authorized by law, some protections of the public’s right to government involvement are also authorized. But these protections are not self-enforcing and are routinely ignored. The more officials get away with excluding the public without being called out, the more we are training them to continue to exclude us. Case in point: the Maryland Open Meetings Act.

The Baltimore County Board of Education met in January in a series of secret, closed door meetings with our county executive to discuss the education budget. These meetings resulted in an $18 million decrease in the budget, all occurring without sunshine. See previous article on the violation here.

If you notice any public body that routinely makes unanimous or nearly unanimous votes with little to no dissension, chances are there are regular illegal closed door meetings occurring in addition to the required public meetings.

Not only do we have a lack of sunshine because of improperly closed meetings and off-the-record discussions, but we have lack of access to OPEN meetings too.

Ever tried to attend a board meeting of the state school board? Take all day off work, fight morning rush hour traffic to get down into Baltimore City, pay $12 for parking, sit through the morning session to get part of the important agenda items, and twiddle your thumbs during the adjournment to the closed Executive Session which lasts one-and-a-half to two hours. If there is no delay in the schedule you’ll get to the public comment period in mid to late afternoon only to discover the sign up to speak is done by phone and email prior to the day of the meeting rather than in-person registration, testify for three minutes, then fight rush hour traffic back home. If you are not within a reasonable driving distance of Baltimore City, you’re out of luck. The board does not livestream their meetings even though they represent citizens statewide up to three hours of driving distance away. Does that reflect the drumbeat of transparency and accountability?

>>> Read more 

maryland-seal-flag-spheremaryland-county-map***

Report Says County Has Fewest “highly-effective” teachers.

msde_store_front

Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) HQ in Baltimore City. 

Prince George’s County Public Schools teachers are less effective than other districts in the state, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) in October.

With about 6 percent of the county’s teachers ranked as ineffective, the county has the second highest percentage of “ineffective” teachers in the state. The county also has the lowest percentage of highly-effective teachers with nearly 7 percent of the county’s teachers considered “highly effective.” The remaining 87 percent of the county’s teachers are considered “effective.”

The teacher evaluation data did not include standardized test scores, but test scores will be considered in evaluation models starting June 2016 at the earliest, said David Volrath, a planning and development officer for MSDE.

“We have to be able to capture a student’s growth, which requires at least two years of data,” Volrath said. “We can’t promise anyone that is even doable in the 2016-17 school year.”

The teacher evaluation data is from the 2013-14 school year, when MSDE launched a statewide implementation of a new teacher and principal evaluation system.

Within the county, the number of ineffective, effective and highly effective teachers ranges greatly. At Kettering Elementary School in Kettering, 38.1 percent of its teachers are considered ineffective. In contrast, 36.4 percent of the teachers are considered highly effective at Oxon Hill Elementary School in Oxon Hill.

“This is a starting point, it was designed for us to answer questions,” Volrath said. “We’re in no position to proclaim anything at this point.”

Parents should be cautious and not over react to the data, Volrath said. “This is a setting of the bar stage, we are using the information in a developmental way to help teachers and principals become better practitioners.”

There was no target for percentages for ineffective, effective or highly effective teachers or principals, Volrath said.

At the state level, the percentage of ineffective teachers and effective teachers was lower, while the percentage of highly effective teachers was much higher than Prince George’s County. About 3 percent of teachers were found to be ineffective; about 56 percent teachers were effective and about 41 percent teachers highly effective.

PGCPS officials say it is not completely accurate to compare Prince George’s County to other counties because of slight differences among evaluation systems, but they also say they are working to recruit and retain effective teachers.

“We need to look at the data and say with this rating, we need to provide this additional support, either systemically or at individual schools,” said William Ryan, executive director of employee performance and evaluation. “We will use the data received to make our teachers better and better and to support our students.”

Deborah Sullivan, director of human resource strategies and workforce planning for PGCPS, said it can be challenging to recruit effective teachers because of the competitive market in the metropolitan area.

“The supply is not meeting the demand,” Sullivan said. “The state of Maryland is an ‘import’ state, we don’t produce enough educators to cover vacancies we have in the area.”

Both Ryan and Sullivan said the school system is bolstering its efforts to recruit and retain effective teachers.

“We’ve increased compensation for more competitive teachers,” Sullivan said.

For current teachers, Sullivan said the school district is trying to improve teacher mentorship and make teachers aware of leadership opportunities. This month, the school system is launching a peer evaluation and mentorship program for teachers new to the county, Ryan said.

>>> Read more Prince George’s County Sentinel.  Read more >>> State study: Prince George’s County teachers rank low and our opinion.

PGCEA%202014%20NEA%20Conferance%20Denver

***

teachers-union-cartoon-corruption

Union corruption around the world has become a major problem for workers and especially in Prince George’s County District in particular where County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker III has turned them into pig banks starting with ASASP Union, PGCEA, MSEA, ACE- AFSCME Local 2250 and others . >>> Read more ~ Big losses for the Labor Unions in Election 2014.

***

Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

Rushern Baker III – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

***

corruption_web

***