By Tonya Wingfield via Facebook
I woke up this morning to Reporter’s Notebook listening to Tracee Wilkins comments about her interview with Dr. Maxwell announcing his resignation at the end of the school year. There were comments made that show when you’re not directly affected by government decisions entrenched by greed, corruption and violations of laws, it’s easy to regurgitate what you’re told as fact. My comments are not meant to criticize Tracee, but to ensure a balanced message is communicated.
1. Expansion of Programs – was done in violation of the MOU of 1998 requiring the PGCPS to end specialty (Magnet) programs and return to neighborhood schools that included those programs. I do not blame Dr. Maxwell entirely, because the NAACP (a co-Plaintiff in Vaughn vs Board of Education) sat on its hands and watched students that were thriving at Glendarden Woods ES and walked to their neighborhood school were bused from their community to make way for a Dedicated Tag School that now receives students from Bowie into their community and these students, the majority minorities from low-income families, bused to Judge Sylvania Woods ES a low-performing school. Busing was determined to disadvantage minority students in Vaughn vs Board of Education and that has not changed under the programs promoted by Dr. Maxwell or any of is predecessors that continue to promote these divisive educational programs.
2. Tenure of Superintendents/CEO – I laugh at Dr. Maxwell’s comments about superintendents being run out of town considering his critical words of Dr. Metts, his once boss, that pushed her out of PGCPS. When he returned as the CEO, Mr. Baker had to pull his coat-tail because of negative comments he tried to make about Dr. Metts years later. Dr. Metts, had her faults, but corrected the issue of Title-1 funds being illegally diverted from low-income students to schools in Bowie. She implemented academic programs that increased student performance without using creative grading policies and sought to return students to their neighborhood schools. Dr. Maxwell contract renewal is the result of an unconstitutional law that took away all checks and balances; allowing Rusher Baker, eyeing his political ambitions, to renew Dr. Maxwell’s contract over the cries of the stakeholders demanding his firing after numerous scandals.
3. Citizens are tired of Corruption – Dr. Maxwell did not start the corruption that continues to destroy PGCPS, but he fit comfortably into it and to many of us expanded it. That is the reason any accomplishments he made are overshadowed. Anyone active in the community knows of the corruption engrained in PGCPS, it’s just some people are comfortable looking the other way. Let’s remember that is why Andre Hornsby was convicted and sent to prison. However, no Superintendent/CEO was so careless to ignore the safety of our students as Dr. Maxwell administration had constantly done. HB1107-2103 is one major reason for the expansion of the corruption. Take a good look at the budget and look at dedicated school dollars, under the guise of “specialty programs” and other creative titles being shipping over the county government to supplant their funds. Federal law prohibits recipients of federal funds from replacing state, local, or agency funds with federal funds. But when you have an unconstitutional law in place, anything goes. That is why we lost our federal funding for Head Start, a program serving low-income families the county operated successfully for over 50 years; destroyed in less than three under Dr. Maxwell because he, Dr. Segun Eubanks and other mandated reporters broke a state law by conspiring to conceal the abuse on students in the Head Start Program.
4. Remnants of the Past – I have lived in Prince George’s County since I was 7 years old. I remember seeing burning crosses in Adelphi, Maryland. I remember certain areas in the county were not safe for us visit. I remember walking down Route 1 and hearing passing cars shout out “nigger.” Dr. Maxwell and I are the same age so telling me he lived in the county all his life offered me little comfort I will see much change. I was willing to give him a chance until his actions regarding Thomas Addison Elementary School. He broke every school policy in place to give school property to a successful business to please the Baker and made it clear “he was in charge” and would not allow the citizens to question him. Things got worse from there: the loss of grants that served low-income and minority students like Head Start Program and funds to pay for AP exams; questionable boundary changes that continue to compact poverty in school districts. The worse for me was how PGCPS actively cooperate in the investigation of Deonte Carraway and Christopher Speights, but silent in Michael Patopie case shows little has changed regarding minorities’ status in Prince George’s County. The three cases involve an adult male with some level of sexual contact with a minor student. The three cases involved adult males that may have suffered some type of past abuse or molestation themselves. The three cases have some type of video showing the inappropriate interaction with the student, yet Michael Patopie, who is white, is the only one that received probation and did not have to registers as a sex offender. Like the other two cases, Patopie’s actions were captured on a video that was clear enough for police to send a charging document to the State’s Attorney but was too blurring for the State’s Attorney use convict him. Mind you, PGCPS had the video in its possession for 8 months before turning it over to the police when bus tapes are recorded over every 30 days.
5. Reporting Must be Balance – I resent reports that try to give the impression that the citizens of Prince George’s County are always “crying hungry with a ham in their mouth” when it comes to school leadership. We want a successful school system the same as other citizens in Maryland. That is why we will continue to advocate for school leadership that is not unencumbered by the political machine that continues to marginalize Prince Georgians that fight for quality education for all and not a voting bloc. Unfortunately, Dr. Maxwell’s resignation does not touch the surface of the corruption. To drain the swamp all his senior management must go. Please do give us that “you get rid of all the experience” because there are qualified, long-term employees with accredited PhD’s that have been overlooked because they will not play the game to fill those shoes.
I urge Governor Hogan to direct the State Superintendent to launch the same ethics investigation done in Baltimore “Maryland schools superintendent rejects Verletta White as Baltimore County schools chief, citing ethics lapse,” for Dr. Kevin Maxwell. The decision to reject Verletta White’s permanent appointment has to do with the awarding of contracts. MSDE and the State Board of Education upheld the dismissal of whistle blower, Donna Young, who exposed the same under Dr. Maxwell. Also, the Governor has admitted no other county has a restrictive law like HB1107-2013 in the state. That law removed the checks and balances that allows citizens to hold school leadership accountable; thus creating a monopoly. The Maryland Constitution is clear no Maryland citizen should suffer under a monopoly and stakeholders at levels of education have suffered in the Baker monopoly. Therefore, I ask Governor Hogan to consider executive action that repeals HB1107-2013 or at the very least remove the Office of the County Executive in having any input in the appointment of the CEO and eliminate all appointed positions. We claim this is a democracy so allow democracy to live for Prince Georgians and our elected officials hire the next CEO. This is not the Governor playing politics, but correcting an unconstitutional wrong imposed on Prince Georgians.
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