Atop the usual problems of school systems Prince George's has management issues and potential scandals (inflated graduation rates) that push parents, students and workers to the brink and demand change. Rally tomorrow night (Thursday, June 22) to begin a process of revitalization for the civil rights issue of today.
/By Rob Anthony/ Prince George’s County Public Schools are in turmoil. Most counties, like us, deal with a budget where you can’t spend everything you want on resources, and have to deal with less. Lots of counties are wrestling with class size, and giving teachers raises so they won’t move away to more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Lots of districts have students that are living in poverty where their only meal is consumed at school.
Those are normal school district problems. But in Prince George’s county we are dealing with a potential scandal over inflated graduation rates, with accompanying pep rallies to boot. Our county has an issue with teachers being accused of sexual misconduct, as 800-plus incidents were reported in the 2016-2017 school year. The misconduct issue is just one factor that has led to many teachers to end up being on Administrative Leave. Millions of dollars in man hours were being paid to teachers that weren’t present in the classroom.
In the state of Maryland and in Prince George’s County residents pay high taxes, including exceedingly high property taxes. For the tax money that is spent, the product of our schools is not meeting the standard the dollars invested should warrant. Our school CEO has appointed members to the Board of Education and that has created a chasm between elected members and appointed members. There have been incidents of what seem like retaliation against board members for having opposing views or not voting the way the other side would like.
What needs to change to move us forward:
- A school board and CEO that are accountable to the voters/citizens/parents and students of the county;
- Less tit for tat, retaliatory politics;
- A fully funded school system;
- Fiscal transparency about casino funds;
- Teachers that are present in the classroom for the entirety of a school year;
- A curriculum where students are being taught skills they need to succeed instead of being force-fed testing material;
- Clearer communication between schools and parents/families when incidents occur on school grounds.
With the exposure of yet another scandal in our school system it's time to say enough is enough! Education is the civil rights issue of our time -- and in Prince George’s County, the civil rights of our students, parents, and employees are under assault. We will not continue to allow this to happen. Join us as we stand firm and demand accountability from our education system. It is time that we hold our County Executive and the Board of Education accountable for the health of our system.
Join us, Progressive Maryland, Thursday evening (June 22) at the grounds of the Board of Education as we discuss these issues and more. Join us as we start the movement towards a more transparent and effective school system. The Enough is Enough Prince George’s Education Rally will be at 14201 School Lane Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
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