As many of you all know, a recently released state sanctioned audit of the graduation rates for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) was recently released. For more information, click here.
While the disrespectful claims of systemic corruption at the highest levels of PGCPS were correctly proving to be false, the findings of the audit did note that many school-based leaders were not following guidelines established by policies and procedures. As your District 7 representative on the Board of Education, trust in knowing that, whether through policy changes, budgetary actions, or accountability measures, this will be corrected.
But throughout the rhetoric and debate surrounding this audit, there has been little effort given to link real life successes of our graduates to the hard work and academic supports that were in question by some Board members. At today’s Board of Education meeting, that changed with the telling of my brother’s academic and life story.
My brother and I grew up in a well supported household, with both parents present, involved, and supportive. We both graduated from the same high school - Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. in Upper Marlboro. We are both proud pumas until the day we die. However, our academic journeys could not have been more different.
I was the typical honor roll student that took a handful of Advanced Placement courses, engaged in several extracurricular activities, and thoroughly enjoyed coming to school to learn. I graduated from Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School with several honors, scholarships, and as an inducted member of the National Honors Society.
My brother, on the other hand, struggled with math and he needed additional support from his teachers and administrators. His journey to graduation was tough…but he was tougher. The very same academic supports that some of my colleagues questioned, like the Quarterly Learning Modules, were the very same academic supports that helped my brother earn his high school diploma.
Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Kevin Maxwell and his team, these academic supports that were not present before his tenure, even though neighboring jurisdictions were nearly a decade into their own implementations, my brother now has the honor of serving as a firefighter and one of the top commanders at the very same fire station that services the Sasscer Administration Building where the Board of Education convenes. And while I certainly wish no harm on anyone, if a Fire/Medical Emergency were to occur at the Sasscer Administration Building, my brother and his team would be there in 3 minutes or less and he would probably save a life - possibly saving the life of someone who has spent unrenewable energy, time, and money and who has run campaigns on discrediting the successes of his own life.
So, yes, I take this very personally.
My brother has had but one true calling in life, and it is just like mine, to be the best public servant he can be, day after day. The only difference is...his service takes bravery and he is certainly
much braver than those who have the inexperienced audacity to question the validity of his success.
Yes, I believe this Board of Education, PGCPS Administration, and county can and must do better. In our quest to improve, accountability should be our mantra, but accountability comes to fruition with bridges...not barriers.
My brother knows a lot more about things being burnt than I do, but even I know that a burnt bridge leads to isolation, not solutions.
Yours, in service,
K. Alexander Wallace
Board Member, District 7