Our Endorsements

For the Prince George’s County Board of Education

District 1

David Murray is clearly the most experienced and connected candidate for the vacant seat being left by Rosalind Johnson. Two years ago Murray came close to defeating Johnson in her reelection bid and since that time has remained connected and in touch with the community he wants to represent. His drive and vision for a system that aggressively pursues innovation as a way to improve student achievement is what the Board of Education needs. Additionally he will join a board that has failed to hold senior administrators accountable and deliver on a real reform package everyone says they want. Prince George’s needs new energy as well as new ideas and David Murray is the best chance we have to do that in the 1st District.

District 4

None of the candidates in the race for this seat currently held by Patricia Eubanks brings the experience or vision we believe is necessary to improve Prince George’s County Public Schools. However, one of them is at least more prepared than the others, Micah Watson. As the former Vice Mayor of Cheverly and member of the Democratic Central Committee, Watson does come with a wealth of budget experience unmatched by the other contenders. While Dennis Smith also served as a member of the Glenarden City Council in the past, during his time as a leader in the city he never distinguished himself in fiscal or program matters. Watson played instrumental roles in developing and passing the Cheverly budget as Vice Mayor and a councilman. What concerns us is a disturbingly detached community outreach strategy and real educational experience.

District 5

For the last five years Verjeana Jacobs has been the chair of the Board of Education and should be reelected. None of the candidates running against her have been able to layout a clear vision of why she should be replaced or what they would do better. Jacobs has made a lot of mistakes in her two terms on the school board, but as chair she has been able to bring a diverse group of people together that has done a lot of good. Jacobs has not been as tough on Dr. Hite as she could have been but she has been effective.

District 7

No Endorsement

District 8

Edward Burroughs has been the most outspoken and passionate member of the school board on issues of community involvement, transparency, and most importantly accountability. He has been criticized for not voting the party line and often being the lone voice of dissent but we recommend is reelection. The problem has not been that Burroughs votes no on things like changes to the popular Reading Recovery Program, a budget that grows class sizes, or retaining a lawyer making millions of dollars who donated to the reelection of another board member, the problem is that not enough of his colleagues are joining him. That will change when he is joined by people like his best friend David Murray.

United States House of Representatives

District 4

We support Rep. Donna Edwards for re-nomination to the United States Congress as a Democrat.

No Endorsement in the Republican nomination race.

District 5

We support Rep. Steny Hoyer for re-nomination to the United States Congress as a Democrat.

We believe Delegate Tony O’Donnell has the best chance to give Rep. Hoyer a run for his money. We therefore support his nomination in the Republican Primary.

United States Senate

State Senator C. Anthony Muse (Democrat)

Ben Cardin has been in Washington for over two decades. In that time the support this county has received from the federal government, including the six years he’s been in the Senate has been poor. His casework for the county has been almost as equal to his presence in the county, non-existent. About six years ago Cardin was handed his hat by fmr. Representative Kwesi Mfume by voters in Prince George’s County, but after beating Mfume statewide the best any county resident has seen of their junior senator was likely in their church this year now that he is up for reelection. Senator Muse is not an excellent candidate but he is a better candidate more in touch with the needs of county residents. A strong vote for Muse, even if he does lose to Cardin, will send the message that we as a county are dissatisfied with our representation and we demand more.

Republican Primary (No Endorsement)

For President of the United States of America

Democratic Primary

We support the re-nomination of President Barack Obama

Republican Primary

We support fmr. Governor Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

Advertisements

It’s municipal…technology and those who use it best, 2011 Outstanding Browser

If you live in Greenbelt do you know who is responsible for your roads? How about your local property taxes? Guess what it is not the county or even the state (unless they are state or county roads).

Starting today the publisher and editorial board of The Real Prince George’s will begin looking for the municipality in Prince George’s who use their website and social media networks to interact best with the public. We want to find that municipality who goes above and beyond to inform their citizens on events, programs, and other government actions. In today’s day and age where people are more busy than ever before, people are getting their news in a variety of ways including online and through social media.

How can you get involved? Go to http://www.ballotbin.com/voterReg.php?b=24128 and register to be an official voter. The balloting will begin June 28th through July 31st. Go to our Our Municipalities Page for links to websites and social networks.

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

Troubled High Point High Alumni Focus on Future, Demand Say in New Principal

For much of the last year High Point High School in Prince George’s County has been in the news and not for anything good. In March we reported that Dr. Hite, the superintendent of schools, and School Board Member Rosalind Johnson who represents the area the school is in, was under fire after a YouTube video online showed a riot in the hallway and became an example of a school community out of control. We also reported that as a result of his investigation, School Board Member Edward Burroughs was secretly censored by the board and it was later upheld by the Maryland State Board. We then reported that despite defending the principal’s leadership, Dr. Hite had replaced the schools leader and named an interim principal to calm the situation. However now things appear to have changed.

Since Acting Principal Rebecca Garcia took over in the spring and with additional support services from the central administration, attention from parents and the community, high point high school seems to be back on track and alumni of the school want it to continue. Lifting High Point Higher is an alumni volunteer/mentoring group who some say are committed to making their school strong again. Most recently during a PTSA members blasted the Director of School Leadership Douglas Anthony on plans from the central office to school programs such as the academic center as ripping the school of their identity. However most of their time has been spent on playing a key role in who should be the next principle.

Acting Principal Rebecca Garcia is very popular among students, parents, and even the community but according to leaders of Lifting High Point Higher she has no interest in the job full-time. That has led this group and dozens of other alums to collate behind another alum who has been a county teacher and assistant principal Edgar Batenga at the school. In a letter they have been sending to Dr. Hite and Mr. Anderson group leaders say they “are looking forward to volunteering within High Point and have a vested interest in who will be the leader we collaborate with.” They go onto say “the only candidate who could effectively heal and lead High Point during this critical stage of transition is Mr. Edgar Batenga. Mr. Batenga is a High Point graduate with experience within the school as a coach, teacher and vice principal. He is a respected leader by all of the students, parents, faculty and alumni who know him. His commitment to High Point’s students and the Beltsville community makes him the only choice for principal.”

To learn more about the group or get involved join their Facebook Page.

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

Was BOE Member Edward Burroughs Censored Over High Point?

District 8 Board Member Edward Burroughs

So what was the majority of the members of the Prince George’s County Board of Education doing when the stories of violence and truancy were really starting to heat up? Well not protecting the students if reports from a Maryland Delegate and a leader of the PTA are true.

After spending weeks trying to get Superintendent Dr. Hite and Board Member Rosalind Johnson to move on reports of daily fights and high truancy at High Point High School, parents and community leaders turned to writing the entire board and even members of their delegation to the General Assembly. Of the nine elected members only one responded to their concerns, Edward Burroughs, and he may have paid a price for it.

A parent member of the High Point High School PTA reported and it was later confirmed by a member of the Maryland General Assembly, that after people in the community sent numerous emails asking for help Edward Burroughs agreed. The parent said their emails outlined documented instances of students seen arriving at High Point High School, getting off the bus and entering the community, and then returning to the school at the end of the day to take the bus home. Burroughs who formerly served as a two-term student member of the board was elected as a full member from District 8 last year decided to see for himself if the reports were true when he went to the school a few weeks ago. After seeing that they had not misled the board but the board was being misled by Johnson and Hite, parents said they had learned Burroughs had been censored. The board took the vote in a closed meeting after saying Burroughs violated board policy for going to the school without the approval of the superintendent. This was shocking to the parent since they say how is a board member supposed to oversee the system if they need administration approval to go to the schools?

The PTA leader says she was told numerous times by her board member Rosalind Johnson and Dr. Hite that the situation at the school was under control and their concerns had been “over stated”. She went on to say that Mr. Burroughs has not confirmed to them that he was in fact censored but they have confirmed the information much like we have from a member of the House of Delegates close to Mr. Burroughs.

Prince George’s County Superintendent William Hite and District 1 Board Member Rosalind Johnson have been under fire from community leaders after a video of a hallway fight ended up on Youtube. School Board leaders Verjeana Jacobs who chairs the group and Donna Beck who is the Vice-Chair have also been facing complaints their lack of action to respond to the reports before they made television and media reports. Another parent reported being told my members of the board they wanted to come to the school to investigate their claims but policy prohibited them from visiting schools to observe without approval from the superintendent.

Last week Dr. Hite announced he was replacing Principal Michael Brooks with Assistant Principal Rebecca Garcia. In a letter to parents the superintendent wrote the school system plans to conduct a national search for a full-time replacement who “has experience in addressing the issues at hand, and who will best serve the diverse student population at High Point High School”.

Requests for comment from Edward Burroughs and school system administrators have not been returned. We held this story in order to work hard to get a comment from the board of education or Mr. Burroughs but none have been supplied.

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

High Point High School Principal Removed

 

Assistant Principal Rebecca Garcia who has been named Acting Principal of High Point High School

 

According to a new story from the Washington Post, High Point High School Principal Michael Brooks has been reassigned.

Brooks has been under fire for most of the last school year after parents, students, and leaders in the community questioned his ability to maintain order at the school. The fire exploded last week after a major riot on the campus led to arrests and a few students taken to the hospital. After video of that fight turned up on the internet and was published to our blog the assistant superintendent was dispatched to the school along with extra security and an extra assistant principal.

Today before a meeting with the Parent-Teacher Association Dr. Hite announced in a letter to parents that “We will be looking for someone who can reach out and engage parents, has experience in addressing the issues at hand, and who will best serve the diverse student population at High Point High School.” He also announced that current 11th Grade Assistant Principal Rebecca Garcia will take the helm of the school on an interim basis until a replacement is selected.

The termination of Brooks comes after months of being defended by Board Member Rosalind Johnson who represents High Point on the board of education and Superintendent Dr. Hite.

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

Student & Parent leaders charge Jacobs & Beck w/ cover-up in High Point violence

Students say Hite was at High Point High School only two days before the fight, Parent leader says board members told not to visit High Point without Hite’s permission

Last night we reported on a video we had received which showed a fight in the halls of High Point High School. In the video which lasted for well over a minute and started in the door of a classroom no teachers, security, or administrators ever appear to break up the situation. The fight didn’t stop until other students got involved.

After posting that video we received hundreds of comments from parents, students, and just people in the community. However we also received a few who put the blame for most of what is happening at High Point at the feet of the Board of Education. We talked about the blame Rosalind Johnson has been getting but after talking to a few other people Board Chairwoman Jeana Jacobs and Vice-Chair Donna Beck also are under fire.

When these problems first started a friend of mine suggested I talk to Ms. Beck. She told me that Ms. Beck knew everything and would help us. So I asked Ms. Beck what was being done about our school and she brushed me off. I was shocked because my friend had told me how helpful she would be. It was at that point I knew all was lost. — High Point Parent

A member of the High Point Student Government pointed out Dr. Hite had visited the school on an “announced” visit just two days before the fight broke out.

Our administration absolutely agrees on matter with the student government, but every single time we try to give advice about administration or security, we get shut down! There really is no point of student government anymore! No one listens anymore! Because it’s all about politics! I just recently went to a school board meeting, it was all politics. I just recently went to the 2011 MD inaugural with Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, it was all politics. TWO DAYS before this nonsense, SUPERINTENDENT Dr. Hire was at High Point!!! For a county SGA meeting, it was all politics! When the hell does education and safety come into the picture! Stop thinking like politicians and start treating us as if we were your own children! Cut the act!– Student Government Leader

A parent who lives two blocks from the school also said after speaking to Donna Beck she left even more outraged.

I bumped into Donna Beck at one of those meetings that you see basically the same people at and she gave me a slight smile and told me Dr. Hite had assured her there was no problem. I was just shocked. Frankly she just didn’t seem interested at all.– High Point Parent

A member of the school PTA says she was told by a member of the board that they could not visit the school on their own without permission from Dr. Hite.

I never wanted to believe that the board would ignore our plea if they had seen what we see everyday so whenever I see one of them I always invite them to the school. One day one of them told me she couldn’t. She said the board had a policy that didn’t allow them to go to a school unless they asked Dr. Hite first and he and Rosalind Johnson don’t allow it.– High Point Parent

In email after email parents and students say their request to Rosalind Johnson and board chair Jeana Jacobs to get more involved in the issue at High Point went ignored. Most of them say their requests are often rebuffed and others say they went just plainly unanswered. We have put in requests to both Donna Beck and Jeana Jacobs seeking a comment. As of print we had not received any.

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

New video of fight at High Point HS has Rosalind Johnson and Hite under fire

Video of a fight at High Point High School uploaded to Youtube has Dr. Hite and School Board Member Rosalind Johnson in the hot seat.

In a video recently uploaded to Youtube a group of black students appear to target a group of Hispanic students in a fight recorded inside the High Point High School hallway. The clip is more than a minute long and starts in a classroom door with an argument and then the eventual beat down. Despite the fact that the clip shows the fight moving down three different halls for a good amount of time without the presence of any administrators, teachers, or campus security. The tape has alarmed parents in the community.

Ros is such a waste and does nothing but take up for the principal…i plan ok taking my daughter out…when videos like this surface…where is the principal and leadership!! Hiding! Ros only comes around during election season

Another parent leader blasted Dr. Hite, Rosalind Johnson, and even members of their legislative delegation.

Look for months we’ve complained about the lack of real administrative leadership at this school. We’ve talked to everybody, Dr. Hite, Ros Johnson, Barbara Frush, hell everybody. Nobody has listened to us. Nobody. We then sought out the help of one board member who did help us, Edward Burroughs, and the rest of the board punished him for it.

Another parent said her son is too afraid to attend classes and he won’t until the Principal is removed.

I just do not trust anything Dr. Hite has to say anymore. He promised our school would be safe and this proves it is not. My son told me in December he was afraid to go to school. Seeing this video I know why. At no point did any teacher or security ever appear.

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.

High Point Student Government Pres slams Hite, BOE, and Admin over campus security

Sheena Patel is the President of the High Point Student Government Association.

It’s about damn time that our politicians are coming to realize security & administration is the most important thing to worry about. A building full of 13-18 year olds is not supposed to be dangerous. A school is not supposed to be dangerous. Food fights should not turn into riots with 300+ students, never the less occur at all! Where was our security? Sleeping in the hallways like they always do? Or talking to random students like they always do? Where was our administration? And you wonder why students drop out of school. Who would want to go to a place to be “educated” that is no longer a school, but a zoo. And when the students complain about security not doing their job, WHY doesn’t anyone believe us! This is ridiculous!!!

By the way, every student at High Point has credibility to speak on this issue, because throughout the year..we have all witnessed something that should never happen in any school. Being the student government president, the 42 students in my organization and me have previously already tried to speak to administration about how security is falling behind in doing their job. We have done what we can. We have tried many times. However, every time we raise our voices…the only replies we get are ..”well what privileges can we take away? How can we get students to do this? To do that? If we go on a no-pass policy, they’ll HAVE to stay in class, if we have hall sweeps, they’ll HAVE to go to detention.” Honestly? We’re teenagers and there’s a point where we rebel. We know security doesn’t really care as much as they should. So why would my peers not fight? They’ve never gotten in trouble for it before. It’s nothing new. So instead of our administration focusing on what to take away with us, they need to focus on themselves. On how to do their jobs and how to keep us safe. Because ultimately it IS about the STUDENTS & everyone needs to stop forgetting that!

Our administration absolutely agrees on matter with the student government, but every single time we try to give advice about administration or security, we get shut down! There really is no point of student government anymore! No one listens anymore! Because it’s all about politics! I just recently went to a school board meeting, it was all politics. I just recently went to the 2011 MD inaugural with Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, it was all politics. TWO DAYS before this nonsense, SUPERINTENDENT Dr. Hire was at High Point!!! For a county SGA meeting, it was all politics! When the hell does education and safety come into the picture! Stop thinking like politicians and start treating us as if we were your own children! Cut the act!

Follow The Real Prince George’s on Facebook and Twitter. Also get the latest in your inbox by subscribing on the right side of the page.