UPPER MARLBORO – The Dec. 19 Prince George’s County Board of Education special meeting was scheduled specifically to discuss the school system’s response to the graduation audit, but it quickly turned into an interrogation.
Just hours before the meeting, reports came out about a 2016 internal Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) audit report that showed the school system was struggling with consistencies in student record keeping more than a year ago that have not been fixed.
Board members Edward Burroughs, III and David Murray, along with several Prince George’s County residents, came to the meeting prepared to ask questions and throw accusations.
“Did you hear? They knew the whole time,” Burroughs said continuously to residents as they filed in before the meeting started.
The audit findings sent to the school system on May 4, 2016, detail many issues with PGCPS’s handling of student records. The letter was sent to Gwendolyn Mason, and Adrian Tally, both with student services and cc’d to eight higher-ups in the school system including Board Chair Segun Eubanks, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell, and two deputy superintendents.
The internal audit specifically noted issues with system-wide student record keeping, detailing 72 instances of noncompliance with the Office of Student Records, Transfer and Archival Services (OSRTAS) record management.
There were 213 instances of noncompliance with “PGCPS registration documentation requirements” and found no system-wide operating procedure to “ensure full compliance with the state of Maryland mandate regarding student records.”
Meaning there was no “documented process to prevent or respond to instances of errors resulting from the improper or untimely completion of the Graduation Standard Credit Summary.”
Burroughs, Murray and several members of the public pointed to this audit during the Dec. 19 board of education meeting as proof that the school system administration knew about graduation fraud and lied about not knowing.
However, Maxwell said he was not directly responsible for combing through that audit, as it was sent to him and while he is informed about audits his only action comes if he is told corrective measures have not been taking to address issues brought up in audits.
“The responsibility to make those corrections, as several of us have stated, rested in the department of teaching and learning with the folks in student records and internal audit,” Maxwell said.
“There are a lot of reports that people get in the divisions of this organization and there’s an accountability responsibility for people to respond to the audit to be notified if things don’t happen, and when I’m notified that things don’t happen…then we take care of those things. If that doesn’t happen, I am not the one, its internal audit and others who are responsible for tracking the response to those audits.”
Maxwell said it is not possible for him to directly respond to every internal audit, noting there are “thousands and thousands of audits that get done in this district every year.”
Monica Goldson, a PGCPS deputy superintendent, said she was not made aware of the audit until October 2017 and worked with student services to craft a response and action plan. That action plan is now being monitored monthly.
Although a significant portion of the meeting was used to ask about the previous audit, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the school’s system response to the most current state findings regarding possible graduation fraud.
That audit also found that the school system was not adhering to its own policies regarding student record keeping and that there were students who had graduated from PGCPS without meeting the requirements to do so.
About 4 percent of the 1,212 student sample size was found to have not met requirements, though the auditors could not determine if nearly 25 percent had rightly graduated or not due to poor documentation.
“The findings were sobering,” Maxwell said. “They focused our attention on the need to strengthen our governance structures, policies, procedures and school-level record keeping.”
To address those issues, the school system plans to update its policies and procedures to ensure clarity over what is required and then retrain and provide continual training on those policies to improve and ensure adherence.
Maxwell and Chief Operating Officer Wesley Watts said PGCPS also plans to update its technology to automate “archaic processes” and ensure the greater ability of control and oversight of grade changes.
“Currently staff and IT are working on upgrading the SchoolMAX student information system to improve graduation certification, and we’re also creating a grade change for electronically,” Watts said.
Goldson said before the current school year, PGCPS began limiting the number of employees with access to student records, bringing the number of grade and transcript managers at each school down to two.
As 2018 continues, the school system plans to select a third party to monitor the steps taken toward correcting the issues laid out by the audit.
PGCPS also plans to continue updating policies and procedures, determine criteria for excessive absence, work on revamping the multiple pathways to success program, and launch the pilot of the electronic grade change forms.
Maxwell said the action plan would be submitted to the state in December as work continues, but Murray is wary change will come and said he sees a trend in the school system.
“Do we not see a trend here? This is very similar to what happened to Head Start,” Murray said, pointing to the fact that PGCPS was unable to correct issues Head Start found in the school system in time to preserve the federal funding. “Is this not a concerning trend that outside organizations have to get involved for us to do our job?”
This scandal will become a focal point of the race for Governor as Baker uses his record on education as a keystone of his campaign. Sadly, Baker’s record is one that focused on doctoring the results of grades in order to make Baker look good politically rather than actually improve education and the ability of Prince George’s County students to succeed.
Please feel free to check out the remarks of these concerned parents in their own words:
Monday 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.
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).
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.Graduation 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.”
Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin has requested a jury trial on drunken driving and other related traffic charges connected to a November 2016 crash that wrecked a government car and left two injured. Even though the trial is yet to be set, he is expected to walk scoot free because of the state of corruption in Prince George’s County. “It will be a surprise if an example is set out of him because of the people he knows and interacts with on daily basis” said one concerned parent.
Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) was scheduled to appear in Prince George’s County District Court on Monday, but his request moves the case to the county’s circuit court, where he will receive a trial date.
His lawyer appeared at Monday’s hearing briefly to inform the judge of the request for a jury trial. She declined to comment after the hearing.
Franklin was charged with driving under the influence on Nov. 21, 2016 after he rear-ended a car stopped at a traffic light around Pennsylvania Avenue and Dower House Road at high speed while drunk. A police report obtained by The Washington Post showed Franklin’s blood alcohol concentration measured 0.10 after a breath test, above the minimum concentration of 0.08 required to support a DUI charge in Maryland.
Franklin is accused of crashing into a Mercedes stopped at a traffic light at Route 4 and Dower House Road near Forestville last week Nov. 21. According to Maryland State Police, Franklin was found outside the vehicle some distance from the crash site.
The Washington Post reported last year that Franklin was involved in two previous crashes while driving county-issued vehicles: one in October of 2012 that resulted in $1,500 in damage and a second in December of the same year in which the county vehicle was totaled.
In that crash which was not reported to the public, Franklin reportedly slammed into a Yukon GMC. The Post reported that crash was the result of distracted driving and that Franklin was changing the radio station in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Franklin was not cited in the incident.
Franklin has been stripped of his access to county vehicles.
In 2012, Council member Karen Toles, facing a charge of reckless driving, offered to surrender her access to county vehicles until she completed a “driver improvement course.” Instead, the council acted to bar her access to county vehicles according to a council statement “for her safety and the safety of others.”
Saint Valentine’s Day (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus), commonly known as Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.
The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Here are beautiful happy hug day images for 2017. Enjoy the day!
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking questions about an embattled Davidson County judge, NewsChannel 5 has learned.
Their focus is on allegations of improper relationships and official actions involving longtime General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland.
FBI agents began conducting interviews after allegations emerged from a Metro police investigation into the death of Leigh Terry, a 34-year-old Nashville woman who friends say struggled with depression and alcohol.
Her body was found inside an apartment in the Stahlman Building across from the Metro Courthouse.
Police ruled her death a suicide.
Terry’s death came just days after a trip to the Alabama coast with Moreland and defense attorney Bryan Lewis — a pair whose relationship and vacations have raised ethical questions in the past.
Accompanying the two on this trip were Terry and two other women who, according to court records, had all been defendants assigned to Moreland’s court at some point in the past.
According to the police investigative file, Lewis admitted paying for Terry’s apartment in the Stahlman, as well as loaning her the gun she eventually used to kill herself.
He later admitted the relationship with Terry was more than just an attorney-client relationship.
“It would be classified a friend and a friend with benefits. Had I had sex with her on occasions? Yes,” Lewis told a Metro detective in a tape-recorded interview.
Lewis said he first met Terry when he represented her on a 2013 DUI.
A former boyfriend, Roy Matlock, told police that Terry told him right after they met about a troubling encounter with Moreland.
“When I met her she basically gave me like all her dirty laundry,” Matlock told police.
“She told me right then that she had sex with Casey Moreland in the chambers – and that’s what kept her out of jail. And she said I feel nasty.”
Police reports show another former boyfriend, Brian Pesterfield, also insisted Terry had told him “she got out of a DUI by sleeping with Judge Moreland.”
In fact, court records show the 2013 DUI was originally assigned to Moreland.
But the final order, reducing that case to reckless driving and sentencing her to five days in jail, was signed by another judge.
Jail records show Terry never showed up to serve her sentence.
Still, court documents show that Moreland later terminated Terry’s probation, effectively ending the case.
Also on the trip was Natalie Amos, who admits she was in a relationship with Judge Moreland.
She was reluctant to tell police who was on the trip.
“I know you don’t want to mention somebody, but I just need to know who we are talking about,” a Metro detective said to Amos in a recorded interview.
“Casey Moreland,” Amos replied.
According to the police file, Terry had told Roy Matlock that “when Natalie Amos told her she owed high court fees, she would call Judge Moreland and have them waived.”
Numerous witnesses said Terry began acting erratically during the trip, even threatening to expose Moreland and Lewis.
“She said, ‘Ok, I hope you’re ready.’ And she’s like ‘I will ruin you.’ She said ‘I know things.’ She’s like ‘you both know what I’m talking about,'” Amos told police.
Pesterfield recounted how “on the trip she yelled at Bryan Lewis and Casey Moreland that she was going to tell the media about the trips and the mistresses, how she slept with Casey Moreland to get out of a DUI.”
Bryan Lewis’s reaction to her threats:
“I took that as an idle threat from her, something that was made in the heat of the moment and, you know, that she wouldn’t follow through with,” Lewis told police.
And Moreland told police he also felt Terry “would calm down and come to her senses” once she got home.
A former boyfriend flew down to the Alabama coast and brought her back to Nashville.
Just days later, the troubled young woman took her own life.
Again, multiple sources say FBI agents have begun conducting interviews in conjunction with these allegations.
We don’t know whether this is just a preliminary investigation — or a full-fledged public corruption case.
Moreland’s attorney Worrick Robinson said they will cooperate with any investigation and he looks forward to telling Moreland’s side.