- Truancy a battle for county, schools.
. . . ‘‘The number of students who are truant is in the thousands every day,” William Ritter, regional assistant superintendent for Region 5 in north county told The Gazette. ‘‘We can’t keep pretending this problem doesn’t exist.”
Bigelow says truants contribute to citizen robberies, car thefts, burglaries, shoplifting and even assaults in the greater Largo community.
‘‘And this is during school hours,” Bigelow emphasized.
As many as 6,500 to 6,800 Prince George’s County students are believed to have been chronically absent last school year.
[. . .]
The anti-truancy pilot program at Largo High School has operated since September with funds from the county police. . . . The Kettering Civic Federation started it last year after president Phil Lee [Phil.Lee] and other members watched Largo High School from adjacent Largo Road and noticed as many as 185 of the school's 2,035 students cut class.
Lee, who is administrator of the program, said, it is difficult to say how pervasive truancy is because it is tough to get accurate information from the school system.
He has firsthand knowledge of how inadequate record-keeping on truancy can be since his group is doing its own count.
‘‘They’ve (school officials) told me they had two truant students for September of 2005, and I was counting at least 30 J-1’s (juveniles arrested for truancy) for that month,” Lee said. ‘‘That translates into them saying it wasn’t a problem for them.”
Lee said the program will continue making comparison counts until September 2006 to see how well the system records the offenses and how widespread the problem is.
[. . .]
Del. Doyle Niemann [Del.Niemann] (D-Dist.47) of Mount Rainier has introduced legislation that would allow courts to punish juveniles as well as parents for truancy.
Now, punishment usually involves suspending the student.
- County Falls Behind on 'No Child' Proficiency Standards.
. . . Last week, Maryland publicized new ratings for all 24 school systems statewide. The data showed that Prince George's County public schools, like 19 other systems, failed last year to make adequate yearly progress toward the law's goal of near-universal academic proficiency by 2014.
Such ratings often give an incomplete picture of schools and school systems. Prince George's actually made significant strides in achievement in 2004 and 2005, and officials expect more gains this month on the Maryland School Assessments.
[. . .]
Anyone can probe these ratings at the state's Web site: http://www.mdreportcard.org/ . Go to "Choose a County" and select Prince George's on the drop-down list. Then scroll down to "County Summary" and click on "System Improvement Status." More data is also available under that "County Summary" by clicking on "Adequate Yearly Progress."
- Deasy: Schools need at least eight years to improve; Deasy’s plan to remain county CEO that long is a change from past stints.
- Gazette, 2 Mar 2006 (by Guy Leonard, Staff Writer).
The finalist for county schools CEO says it will take a minimum of eight years to make system improvements ‘‘as deep as they need to be” for all 199 Prince George’s schools.
The school board is expected to formally offer John Deasy [John.Deasy] the job of schools CEO tonight at its regular meeting. He is expected to start work May 1.
- Departure of appointed board is good news for county schools.
- Gazette, 2 Mar 2006 (Letter from Hardi L. Jones).
It is good news for Prince George’s County that Del. Rosetta Parker (D-Dist. 47) [Del.Parker] of Hyattsville has filed a new bill (HB 1360) to return to voter control of the school board. County citizens must never again be duped by elected ‘‘representatives” who usurp our right to vote for those making decisions affecting the lives of our public school children. An appointed school board foisted upon the citizenry of the county should go down in a heap of ashes, never again to see the light of day.
In only three years, the appointed board members (1) rehired Iris Metts as CEO with a huge salary increase, (2) allowed Metts to destroy the financial health of the school system; (3) hired André Hornsby against recommendations from all community groups and recognized county unions; (4) gave Hornsby $125,000 of our children’s money and let him resign, when they could have waited a few days more and fired him for free; (5) appointed Howard Burnett as interim CEO; and, (6) passed a resolution asking the legislature to extend their appointments for two additional years.
[. . .]
This board’s missteps and misstatements, denials and excuses are an embarrassment to our county and make it more difficult to attract highly qualified teachers and principals. The citizens of Prince George’s County deserve better.
- State board wants county schools to be model for minority achievement.
State school board members praised Prince George’s County schools for making some gains in test scores over the past year, but admonished the system for not being all it could be.
[. . .]
State board members saw that elementary and middle school students made small gains, about two to three percent, on reading and mathematics assessments. But they were disheartened to see that high school assessment scores dropped sharply for 2005.
They also saw the state report card showing that the county system as a whole did not meet state improvement requirements under the federal ‘‘No Child Left Behind” law.
[. . .]
Dropout rates for the system have mostly increased in the last three years.
[. . .].
- DC Public Schools: (Still) A Well-Financed Failure.
- School bus drivers need help to curb violence. [PG.School.Violence]
- Gazette, 2 Mar 2006 (Letter from Karin Chaney).
I am a school bus driver and I feel the need to let everyone know that most bus drivers have been expecting a bus shooting to happen, we just did not know when and if anyone would be hurt. . . . What are we to do? . . . We cannot remove a student alone — an administrator must do this, not us. If we are lucky enough to get three days without the student, we feel we won the lottery. . . .
Administrators instruct drivers to allow any student to ride any bus even with the protest of the drivers. . . .
Every day, a bus driver sees, experiences or knows of some form of violence on a school bus. The schools have security for the students, teachers and administrators. We only have each other and ourselves with no security. . . Students and parents alike have assaulted bus drivers and students. The violence is there every day in one form or another, against a driver or students. If you want the truth, ask the employees who live through this and are trying to do their job. You want to blame someone? Blame those in charge.