Tag Archives: Prince George’s County

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Reform Sasscer

We hope you have had a blessed and Merry Christmas with friends and family!  

For new parents this Christmas, let’s hope that the miracle of life imbues you with love and good will.

For those who open gifts, we pray that laughter and love make these gifts memorable and joyful.

For those who watch our children open gifts, treasure these fleeting moments!  We pray that the memories made today, will be traditions continued for a lifetime.

For those who celebrate a different Holiday this season, may you experience love and joy during this time.

And for those who have lost loved ones who are not here to share this time, may you be blessed with the comfort of their memory.  Our hearts as members of reform Sasscer goes out to you.

We will continue to pray for the proper reforms of Prince George’s county Public Schools (pgcps) and for the county executives to stop violating the county court system willfully. The rule of law is the principle that protects every American from the abuse of monarchs, despots and tyrants.

Order protects liberty, and liberty protects order. Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order is, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them.

The rule of law is the bedrock of American democracy, the principle that protects every American from the abuse of monarchs, despots and tyrants. Every American should demand that our leaders put the rule of law above politics especially here in Prince George’s county.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and best wishes in the New Year. God Bless.

Reform Sasscer Secretariat

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your day.

If you are not making dinner, go to a church or homeless shelter to volunteer to serve others. It will remind you of your blessings and good fortune. Former President Obama helped prepare food bags for those in need in Chicago

The spirit of giving is contagious.

When we think of those to whom we are thankful, we Think first of family and loved ones.

We think of you, who take time from your day to read what we write.

We think of the teachers in Maryland, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, North Carolina, and Arizona who taught the nation a lesson.

We think of all those who work tirelessly for others to make our communities better places to live.

Despite our woes in Maryland and in Prince George’s county in particular, we have much to be thankful for.

Reform Sasscer Movement’s secretariat.

PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell meets with Md. State Board of Education to discuss grade-fixing audit

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

Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell
BALTIMORE – The head of Prince George’s County Public Schools faced the Maryland State Board of Education Tuesday, the first time since a troubling state audit showed grade-fixing and policy violations allowed students to graduate without meeting state requirements.

At the hearing, state board members pressed Dr. Kevin Maxwell on the root causes of the findings and whether there has been a shift in culture in the school system.

“It seems like something is going on here,” said Maryland State Board of Education President Andrew Smarick. “I don’t want to go too far, but it seems like some signal, something is happening to suggest to schools, to teachers, to someone, ‘We gotta graduate these students irrespective of some of these rules we have.’ And that is what I have been grappling with here.”

Smarick noted some of the most outstanding audit findings — grade changes that could not be verified, late changes to student transcripts and students graduating despite more than 50 unexcused absences.

In response to questions about the driving forces behind the audit findings, Maxwell spoke about staff confusion on grade change forms, lack of automation, high staff turnover and people who were not clear on policies. He emphasized the audit found no intimidation or fraud by him or his staff.

After the hearing, FOX 5 asked him again about the underlying causes of the problems uncovered.

“The audit, I think, gave us a very good roadmap to the fact that there are some issues that need clarification, there are some procedures that need to be updated, there is a lot of training and there are some compliance issues,” Maxwell said.

At one point, a school board member asked whether emphasis on graduation rates by the state and federal government was to blame, but Maxwell did not agree that outside pressure was a factor.

Maxwell and his staff outlined their plan to correct what was found by the audit and the ways the school district is tightening up policies, putting more oversight in place and retraining staff.

Janna Parker, a Prince George’s County community member who attended the meeting, said the plan is a good first step, but feels what she did not see from Maxwell was accountability at the top.

“I think when you base any plan on not fully accepting accountability or placing the accountability on who and where it needs to be, it’s flawed plan,” Parker said.

When asked about Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent statement that some of what is going on in Prince George’s County Public Schools is criminal, Maxwell said he did not agree with the governor.

Smarick said the state board is now going to decide how and if the state will intervene in the school system and what is legally possible. He said there should be decisions made by the next meeting in February.

There could be another audit, and while there has been no public talk of the state taking over Prince George’s County Public Schools, it is something that’s happened in other states.

After the meeting on Tuesday, the state released graduation rates for districts across the state. Prince George’s County had a record high of 82.7 percent for 2017.

via Fox 5DC Read more >>>Washington Post

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PGCPS Teens Charged in String of Robberies Targeting Cab Drivers

0F37564A-747C-4132-9747-2E708E325FEE.jpegPrince George’s County police say five teenagers are responsible for a string of robberies targeting cab drivers, including a shooting that left one driver critically injured.

The teens charged are linked to two separate robbery sprees, police said Thursday.

Malik Samuels and Robert Walker, both 17, are charged with the attempted murder of a cab driver.

Police say the cab driver went to the 9000 block of Ballard Lane in Clinton, Maryland, to pick up a fare at 2:35 a.m. Wednesday. When he arrived, the suspects approached him. The teens demanded money and then shot the victim, according to police.

Violent Night in Prince George’s Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Injured
Neighbors found the man lying in the street.

“All of a sudden we heard four or five shots. I got up and look out of the window and then I saw the guy lying on the ground,” said Ronald Currie, a neighbor who called 911.

As Currie looked from his window, he said he saw an act of kindness when it was needed the most.

“He brought a blanket and covered him up with the blanket. It all kind of happened at the same time,” Currie said of the neighbor who came to the aid of the victim.

The victim was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition.

Two hours later, a cab driver expecting to pick up a customer in the area of Woodlawn Boulevard and Torington Place in Largo encountered the teens.

Both boys got into his cab and demanded money and the car. Police say the teens got away with the cab, and the driver was not hurt.

Three other teens are facing charges in a string of similar robberies. Police say the suspects targeted cab and ride-share drivers during the week of Jan. 15.

In each crime, police say one of the suspects posed as a customer and rode in the victim’s car before the crime was committed.

Jose Ponce-Coreas, 19; Demonte Johnson, 16; and Christian Tejada, 18, have admitted their involvement in the crimes, according to police. All three remain in police custody.

via NBC4 Read more >>> Washington post

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Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County school leaders face tough questioning from Maryland lawmakers

EB8BAF82-B4AA-42D0-9DFE-2F7C595729D6ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A confrontation played out in Annapolis between Prince George’s County leaders over the school system and how it is being run.

On Tuesday, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell and School Board chair Dr. Segun Eubanks faced tough questions from Prince George’s County state lawmakers who are considering changing the structure of the school system after a host of problems.

Several years ago, lawmakers voted to allow Baker extraordinary control over the school system after a high turnover of superintendents. It allowed Baker to select the superintendent as well as part of the school board. In most districts, an all-elected board chooses the superintendent.

Maryland State Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s), the co-chair of the Prince George’s County House Delegation, asked about accountability.

“Who do we hold accountable for fraudulent graduation rates? Walker asked. “Who do we hold accountable for nepotism in the school system? Who do we hold accountable for graduates crying on their graduation day? Who do we held accountable for sexual predators taking advantage of our kids in our school system?”

In response, Baker said he is responsible. He didn’t point to his choice for head of schools and said he still stands behind Dr. Maxwell.

FOX 5 asked Baker what he says to those who believe the experiment to give him greater control over the school system has failed.

PGCPS CEO Maxwell to meet with lawmakers next week
“I would tell them to look at the progress we’ve made in Prince George’s County,” Baker said. “I think the number of people putting their children back in our school system, you look at the scholarships the children are getting, look at the programs that we’re coming up with.”

Walker said he has seen no evidence this system of governance benefits students.

“I asked [Baker] time and time again to show me something that has been better and there has been no indicators here,” Walker said. “It hasn’t been test scores, it hasn’t been attendance, it hasn’t been college readiness. So we need to find accountability.”

When asked if he had faith in Dr. Maxwell as head of Prince George’s County Public Schools, Walker responded, “Absolutely not.”

The process to potentially take away the county executive’s control of the school system is just beginning, with efforts underway to make it a reality this legislation session.

Baker is running for Maryland governor, so he is definitely leaving his county post later this year, but he said he will still fight for this governance structure of the school system because he believes it is best for the county.

via Fox5DC

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Former PGCPS teacher’s aide charged with child sexual abuse reverses claims

A child pornography case that shocked the Prince George’s County school system will be allowed to proceed. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A child pornography case that shocked the Prince George’s County school system will be allowed to proceed after potential legal problems arose when the defendant wrote a troubling letter to the court, claiming his rights had been violated.

Deonte Carraway, who is facing 270 charges related to producing child pornography, penned a letter in June saying he has not been receiving adequate legal representation.

But in a Prince George’s County courtroom Thursday, Carraway went back on that claim, telling Judge Beverley Woodard that he is satisfied with his attorney.

Carraway also said he now remembers signing a waiver related to a state law that requires trial proceedings to begin within 180 days of when charges are filed. Initially, in his letter to the court, Carraway claimed he never signed that document.

After clearing up the matter, Judge Beverly Woodard dismissed Carraway and set his next court date for late September.

In the meantime, Carraway will need to appear in a different courtroom next month for sentencing in his federal case. Separate from the 270 state charges, he pleaded guilty to 15 federal countsearlier this year.

Carraway admitted to directing young students to engage in sexual activity with each other and with himself, using cellphones to record the acts. Federal prosecutors said he personally recorded videos and also instructed children to send him pornographic content.

The acts occurred at several locations including Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School, where Carraway was a school volunteer, and inside private homes.

Police arrested Carraway in 2016 after a family member of one of the victims discovered nude images on the victim’s phone and reported it to authorities.

Prosecutors believe he is responsible for abusing at least 23 children.

The case sparked reform efforts within Prince George’s County Public Schools and caused outrage among parents who filed lawsuits against the system, claiming administrators did not do enough to identify and stop Carraway’s crimes.

via WTOP

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Unmasking Prince George’s County Corruption and other violations Part II

ap-fbibuilding-1.jpgMonday July 10, 2017, will be remembered for a long time by Prince George’s County top leadership as the day that the federal government pulled the plug on plans to move the FBI headquarters to the County.  County leaders still expected a reward in the form of a new FBI Headquarters complex in spite of the rampant corruption and scandal which has come to define their governance. Despite being knees deep in the corruption himself, County Executive Rushern Baker III felt he had come tantalizingly close to winning “the crown jewel” of his development plan, and vowed to keep fighting for it.

“We’re not going to give up,” Baker told the press. “We’re going to fight very hard.”

Of all the local officials involved in the plans for moving the headquarters, Baker may have the most to lose. A candidate for Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination, he had been confident in his ability to bring the headquarters and its associated development to Prince George’s County.  Not only did Rushern fail to deliver on his promise, but now the County is left without much needed development and further allegations of corruption.  The people must demand an independent investigation into this corruption, as well as the cozy relationships between controversially appointed judges, lawyers and politicians in Prince George’s County.  Recent claims in the community have alleged that civil judgeships – with annual salaries $150,000 or more and in some cases less – are for sale.

In a statement announcing the cancellation of the FBI move, the GSA cited a shortfall of $882 million on the $1.4 billion requested for the project this year as the reason.

Local officials, particularly those from Maryland, expressed outrage at the news.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he would be asking the GSA for documents justifying the cancellation. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this decision,” Van Hollen said.

Added Baker: “The longer we delay, the more money it costs the American people.”

However, in our view the real reasons for the cancellation may be due to rampant corruption which continues to grow in Maryland, and is present even at the highest levels of government. Corruption is a particularly large problem in Prince George’s County. Therefore, it is understandable why the Federal government pulled the plug on the FBI headquarters.

One reason the county will continue to fail and loose money is the overwhelming illegal activity, racism and retaliation in every sector of the county led by Mr. Rushern Baker III. There are other officers engaged in malfeasance, such as Mr. Calvin Hawkins who we can expect to continue the current illegal agenda at the expense of the county citizenry if elected as part of the next council.

Wasteful government isn’t only a federal phenomenon. And if you’re an honest government employee in the Prince George’s County you better watch out. Because if you “blow the whistle” on inappropriate, unethical, or improper government spending, you can expect your bosses to retaliate for speaking up on the tax-payers behalf. This does not have to be the case.

We expect, the Federal Government to revisit the issue of the new FBI facility once the current situation in Prince George’s County is sorted out in the future to help the men and women of the law enforcement community.

It’s time to cultivate and nurture a community in which honest people are valued and a culture of trust is developed. Let us take the politics out of the issues and put more time for values and interests. Bad politics mixed up with corruption and cover ups as shown locally here in Prince George’s County is what is destroying communities. It’s time to work together to develop strategies on issues which matter to the future of the county with a strong commitment to data.

As pointed out before, Democrats have to change how they recruit candidates to run for offices in Maryland, the south and midwest. Again, If they keep using the same playbook and abusing President Donald Trump every chance they get, there will be plenty of moral victories, but it will be Republicans taking oaths of office and winning contracts as the democratic party shrinks in numbers never seen before.

more to come.

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Benjamin Louis Cardin is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who serves as the senior United States Senator from Maryland, in office since 2007.

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United States Senator Christopher Van Hollen Jr. said he would be asking the GSA for documents justifying the cancellation. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this decision,” Van Hollen said.

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Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown is part of the Maryland delegation to the United States Congress.

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Despite being knees deep in the corruption himself, County Executive Rushern Baker III (pictured here) felt he had come tantalizingly close to winning “the crown jewel” of his development plan, and vowed to keep fighting for it.

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County schools see all-time high grad rates – is work of fiction and Misrepresentation.

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According to keen observers of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) system, the recent all-time high grad rates presented to the media – is work of fiction and misrepresentation. The reasons why PGCPS is cooking up numbers are considered many but can be tailored down to the following

  • A bill pending in Maryland legislature to repeal HB1107 (See PG 402-17),
  • the system is facing several lawsuits due misconduct by the executives,
  • PGCPS corruption is spreading to other states (See here) and (here)
  • Some Board members themselves in Prince George’s County might be preparing to run for a future political office.
  • County Executive plans to run for Maryland wide state office.
  • CEO Kevin Maxwell wants to have another new contract.
  • The Democratic party regime in Maryland wants to show off good numbers.

Real improvements in a school system such as  Prince George’s County take time and hard work. Miraculous sudden improvements in student achievement as shown below in the article  is likely the result of outright fraud or a rigged evaluation system designed to produce desired results. Several people who have been following this agrees with this assessment. (See facebook screen shots below).

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UPPER MARLBORO — For the fourth consecutive year, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is celebrating increased graduation rates.

On Tuesday, the Maryland State Department of Education released its annual Maryland Report Card detailing graduation and drop out rates for the 2015-2016 school year, and PGCPS has a lot to celebrate, said its Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell.

“I’m very, very proud of the work that we’re doing,” he said. “We came in 2013 after the 2013 scores were at 74.1 and we said, ‘we should be able to do better than this.’”

For 2016, the county school system reached an all-time high in graduation rates in the new scaling system that was introduced in 2010. The state of Maryland also set a new record.

Prince George’s seniors are now graduating at a rate of 81.44 percent – a 2.69 percentage point increase over the 2014-2015 school year, which saw a 78.75 percent rate. The statewide average now sits at 87.61 percent, up more than half a percentage point from last year.

Montgomery County took home a 0.47 percent increase, while Anne Arundel had 1 percent. In Virginia, Fairfax County saw a 0.2 percentage point loss as Arlington County saw a 1.8 percentage point decrease, though both Virginia systems remain in the 90 percents for graduation, according to Virginia Department of Education data.

Moreover, since 2010, the state has seen a six-point increase in graduation rates, while Prince George’s County saw a 5.26 increase.

“The new data is great news for Maryland, as the high school diploma is the important first step of a successful journey,” said State Superintendent Karen Salmon. “We continue to strengthen our standards and our classrooms to better prepare each student for employment or additional education.”

Maxwell also attributed PGCPS’ success to a number of administrative changes on how schools address struggling students.

“We did a number of things and we’ve just been consistently working on getting better. We developed the early warning system and we went to the public education leadership program at Harvard to refine that work,” Maxwell said.

The early warning system helps PGCPS target struggling students and their needs, Maxwell said. That also helps the individual schools get the support needed to reach their goals.

The school system also initiated a credit recovery system to allow students who have fallen behind recover credit for their missed work.

Segun Eubanks, chair of the county’s board of education, said those changes have resulted in evident progress as PGCPS saw  “promising” increases across the board – at their specialty, vocational and neighborhood schools alike.

Some of the biggest increases were at Surrattsville High School, which saw an increase of 10.61 percent, Tall Oaks Vocational, which saw an increase of 17.56 percent, and Gwynn Park and Suitland high schools, which both increased by around seven percentage points.SurratGrad_01.jpgGraduation rates for Caucasian students increased by 1.4 points, to 80.3 percent. African American students’ rates rose 4.16 points, to 85.4, while Asian students rose 2.45 to 91.7 percent and American Indian or Alaskan Native students rose 13.26 points to nearly 72 percent, after a significant drop for that cohort in 2015.

Hispanic/Latino graduation rates, however, dropped by 0.64 percentage points.

Special education students saw a 6.36-point increase in their rates over 2015, bringing their rate to approximately 67.4 percent. Students on free and reduced meals also saw increases, as their graduation rate rose by two points to 77.49 percent.

“We talk about every student, in every school, everyday,” Eubanks said. “This is a focus on saying, ‘this is about the system, this is about all kids.’ All means all, so that’s the kind of mentality we’re trying to have.”

County Executive Rushern Baker, III said he is ecstatic over the increase and pointed to Maxwell’s leadership as a turning point for the school system.

“These are the things that I asked Dr. Maxwell to do when we hired him, and that is to come here and turn around our graduation rate,” he said. “And the reason it’s so important is that we know if our young people come out of high school with at least a high school diploma, that puts them on a path where they can get a job, where they can go on to community college for a four-year degree. But their chances are so much better.”

Other notable increases were at Potomac, with a 5.2 percentage point increase after a 13-point increase in 2015 over 2014’s 57.8 percent graduation rate. Bowie rose roughly 4.7 percentage points at the same time Friendly rose 4.5 points, Charles H. Flowers rose 4.8, and High Point rose 3.3. Rates at the now-closed Forestville rose by nearly four points.

“They show our residents of the county how well the public school system is doing preparing our children to graduate, and I think it gives greater confident of our folks to put their children into our public school system,” Baker said.

This year also showed an increase in schools that now rest in the 90percent zone for high school graduations. Bowie High broke into the 90 range, as did Charles H. Flowers, Gwynn Park and Surrattsville. DuVal increased from 91.6 to 92.3 while Eleanor Roosevelt moved from 90.45 to 91.47 and Frederick Douglass increased from 90.3 to almost 92 percent.

Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. is just outside 90 with an 89.17 percent graduation rate.

“Those percentages, they actually represent kids who are graduating that might not have been graduating a few years ago and that’s a credit to the work we’re been doing and it gives them opportunities they wouldn’t be having,” Maxwell.

Eubanks said, though he is proud of the accomplishments the school system has made in gradation rates, he also noted the school system is not just graduating students for the sake of moving them along. PGCPS is also proud of the quality of its graduates and their accomplishments, he said.

“We’re graduating with higher standards,” Eubanks said. “We’re keeping up with preparedness for people for jobs and a career. So if we’re graduating at higher percentages and they’re ready, that’s the way we want to go.”

Despite gains, both Maxwell and Eubanks said the school system still has “a lot of work to do.”

The Hispanic graduation rate decreased while students with limited English proficiency (LEP) also decreased by 4 percentage points from 53.61 percent in 2015 to 49.6 in 2016. That also reflects a consistent decrease since 2013 when the LEP graduation rate stood at 63 percent.

A few schools within PGCPS also saw some significant decreases in their graduation rates. Croom Vocational saw a more than seven-point dip. Northwestern Evening School saw a five-point decrease and the Community-Based Classrooms experienced a nearly 13-percentage-point fall.

In addition Fairmont Heights, Parkdale, Central and Baldensburg all saw 1 and 2 percent decreases.

And while an increasing number of PGCPS high schools are reaching 90 percent and above rates, schools like High Point and Northwestern are still in the 60 percent range.

Maxwell said his goal is still to catch up to the state average, though he admitted brining up PGCPS’ rates would increase the overall state percentage as well.

“We’re really proud of where we are, but we know we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’re one of the larger districts in the state, so when we get better, the whole state gets better. That’s true, but we can still close that gap and we’re going to continue to pursue that.”

Via Prince George’s County Sentinel

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