14 February 2022
To: Media Community
Re: Enablers of Insincere Establishment Political Candidates are Keeping Citizens of Prince George’s County in a Status Similar to Sharecroppers
It is shameful and immoral that enablers among real estate developers, union leadership, church leadership, social organizations, and certain media elements keep insincere establishment politicians in office. Thus, they are helping to treat the citizens of Prince George’s County like sharecroppers, which is one step above slavery. The same old problems keep occurring over and over again. The establishment politicians will only make excuses, shift blame, cover-up, or kick it down the road. These insincere politicians do not seek real solutions, because it is not in the best interest of their enablers. As a candidate for Prince George’s County Executive in 2018 and a 20 plus year employee of the Prince George’s County Public Schools, I was the only candidate that offered plans to reform our school system. Nobody listened and we are in a worse condition today. Because it is popular to proclaim support for a totally elected Board of Education, many are saying they support this. I am attaching an email from March 2013, in which I reached out to our local leaders and State legislators to voice my opposition against any hybrid board creation. I am attaching that email to this post. I would challenge the other candidates to provide proof of their efforts to keep a fully elected Board of Education.
As the only candidate with law enforcement experience, I also offered plans to reorganize how the department does business, including more officers, body cams, better body armor, better community policing, and surveillance cameras. Nobody listened, and it took a citizen being shot in the front seat of a police cruiser to finally move toward body cams for officers. The traffic atrocities on Route 210 continue and violent crime incidents continue to rise. Since the citizens pay taxes to leaders to provide for their safety, telling the community to come together is not a solution. In 2018, I also was the only candidate to offer citizen investment as a means to build grocery stores and other things needed in their neighborhoods. Offering beer and alcohol sales rights to retailers as a means to encourage them to come to neighborhoods, as some local and state leaders have suggested, is not a solution. In fact, there is a greater chance that crime incidents will rise. I read a recent brochure about accomplishments in Prince George’s County in the past three years. The thing I noticed is that the large dollar totals seem impressive. However, if we stop for a moment and consider the building projects, we must ask ourselves who will receive the money? If the developers are contracted for the building projects, then their million dollar investment to establishment candidates brings millions more in returns. We have to wise up and no longer be fooled, hoodwinked, or bamboozled by the numbers. Even creative financing for school construction is suspect. All of this is happening in plain sight. None of the projects increase the wealth of average citizens, as I suggest through investments. Stop being treated like a sharecropper.
Insincere establishment politicians are smart about buying time. In the first year, very little happens. Then late in the second year or in the third and fourth year, they will appoint task forces to supposedly come up with recommendations. This allows them to come before us at re-election time to proclaim all of the changes are forthcoming. This has been a pattern about as old as the U.S. political system. If re-elected, when limited to only tow terms, expect very little to be done. A point in case was the task force after the man was shot in the front seat of a police cruiser. A task force was set up to recommend a host of changes. Some of the changes like body cams were urgent because of the incident, but the majority of the others might not see the light of day. The short notice appointment of a task force to look at the Board of Education was also another point in case of establishment politicians buying time. These individuals can only get away with this if we allow them to do so. Stop being treated like a sharecropper.
The enablers of these insincere establishment candidates know what they are doing. As a union member for many years, in 2018 I could not get a response from any of the union leadership in the Prince George’s County Public Schools. Even with a school prayer opportunity in our public schools, I could not get a response from any of the 100 or so churches I wrote. In addition, some elements of the media acted inappropriately. A young female journalist, for whom I had great respect, did the unthinkable. Traci Wilkins, the News 4 Bureau Chief for Prince George’s County, served as moderator for a forum at Oxon Hill High School in the 2018 race. While I was responding to a question, she actually interrupted my response with a comment she made on her microphone. I was confused and tried to figure out what happened. She almost giggled and said, she was just stating there was no money, in response to a program the school system once had for parent liaisons. I could not figure why she felt the need to interrupt my response. Later, I heard she was a member of the same organization as one of the candidates. That was disrespectful, but minor compared to the unprofessional and illegal conduct by Rachel Chason of the mighty Washington Post. Without going into too much detail, the Washington Post Editorial Board had endorsed a candidate early in the campaign. Apparently, readers wanted to know more about others in the race. I agreed to her request for a telephone interview. It turned out to be less than an interview. Her questions were limited and not what I expected from a prestigious newspaper. She notified me when the article was published, and I thanked her. However, as soon as I read the article, I could see it was a libelous narrative that simply met the readers desire to know of others, while covering the Washington Post’s endorsement. I wrote her immediately to let her know that her article offended me. Neither the reporter, nor anyone from the Washington Post has responded. Imagine that. No apology, no settlement, or anything was forthcoming. Unless these enablers want to take responsibility for being accessories to the crime increase, the poverty, the declining schools, the corruption, and health issues, they need to stop endorsing the insincere establishment candidates for office in Prince George’s County. The residents of Prince George’s County are tired of being treated like sharecroppers. Under the Prince George’s County Plan that I put forth (www.bridgesforus.org), there are opportunities for more wealth, better health, safer communities, high achieving schools, and citizen involvement for all.
Billy W. Bridges,
Candidate for Prince George’s County Executive, 2022
Solutions, Not Excuses
County Executive Takeover of PGCPS
Billy Bridges <email@example.com>Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:33 PM
To: Verjeana Jacobs <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Carolyn Boston <email@example.com>, Zabrina Epps <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Peggy Higgins <email@example.com>, Amber Waller <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Patricia Eubanks <email@example.com>, Carletta Fellows <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Edward Burroughs <email@example.com>, Donna Hathaway Beck <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Councildistrict8@co.pg.md.us, CouncilDistrict1@co.pg.md.us, WACampos@co.pg.md.us, EOlson@co.pg.md.us, IMTurner@co.pg.md.us, CouncilDistrict6@co.pg.md.us, KRToles@co.pg.md.us, MFranklin@co.pg.md.us, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
28 March 2013
To: Honorable Members of the Maryland House of Delegates, State Senators, Prince Georges County Executive, Prince Georges County Council, the Prince Georges County Public Schools Board of Education, Maryland State Board of Education, Members of the Press, Citizens of Prince Georges County, Whomever It may Concern
Re: County Executive Proposed Takeover of the Prince Georges County Public Schools
Dear Concerned Citizen:
The proposed takeover of the Prince Georges County Public Schools by the County Executive is a reaction and not a response. While it is true that the elected Board of Education needs improvement, it is unfair to take choice out of the hand of the voters. If there is some kind of hybrid Board of part elected and part appointed members, the voter representation is diluted. It would not be possible for a handful of members to represent the huge districts in this county. As we witnessed from the last appointed Board, the voice of the citizens were not freely heard, because appointed members do not feel the same responsibility to the citizens. The type of corruption that currently exists in the PGCPS would not be eliminated by a County Executive takeover, since political appointments can be equally as corrupt. One has to wonder about the timing of this urgent takeover attempt. From a Political Scientist standpoint, it seems unethical to put forth such an effort right before spring break and ask the voters to get onboard with limited information. One town hall phone conference is not true citizen discussion and involvement. In light of the turmoil in places like Washington, D.C. and Chicago, where the mayors control the Board of Education, citizens should want much more time to consider such an action or put it on a referendum in the next general election. No one wants to see school closures or furlough days to cut budgets. Even if the current County Executive does not have ill ideas for the PGCPS, if the change takes place, it will be available for the next County Executive to manipulate.
Based on the County Executive’s statements in years past, he believes a longer school year will help the school system. This shows a total lack of understanding of the problems in the PGCPS. The County Executive states he is already held accountable for something that he has no control over. One can empathize with that because it is exactly what the School Principals deal with daily. They are being held accountable for things they cannot change, while the Central Offices call the shots and micro-manage. The teachers can only teach the population they are given. Continued efforts to tie teacher compensation to student performance on State Tests, is an invitation to the type cheating accusations we have seen in other jurisdictions. Thus, the problem has no single answer.
Prince Georges Public schools are often unfairly pointed out for being at the bottom in certain statistical categories by the Maryland State Department of Education. There seems to be little effort to highlight all of the students and schools that are excelling. Often the MSDE is guilty of comparing apples to oranges or using biased data. For example, when one looks at PGCPS placement on a list, no one asks about things like poverty, crime, or family dysfunction. After looking over some average data from 2006-2011, the numbers look as follows. One in four murders is committed in Prince Georges County, one in five rapes is committed in Prince Georges County, one in seven aggravated assaults is committed in Prince Georges County, close to 60 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunches, and nearly 12 percent are in special education. Now, if you are a teacher or principal in PGCPS, all you can do is teach while the student is at school. You cannot control the environment outside of school, but the home environment can affect school. Therefore, just throwing out statistical numbers without explaining the numbers makes Prince Georges County Public Schools look substandard. Some other rubrics by the MSDE are tailor-made to isolate and punish school districts like the PGCPS that have this mixed bag of circumstances. For example, a new Maryland School Assessment (MSA) GAP measurement rubric would measure the difference between the highest scoring group and the lowest. How fair is this going to be for a school that has a large special education population? This makes one wonder why special education is even taking the same test.
With all of these points in consideration, let us look at some positive things that Prince Georges County and the State of Maryland can do to reform the PGCPS and how they are measured:
1. Stop MSDE statistical ranking of schools.
2. Eliminate the new MSA GAP Measurements.
3. Stop central office micro managing of each school and let the principals do their jobs.
4. Allow teachers to teach in a manner that will empower them to use their gifts.
5. Reduce class sizes to no more than 25 per class.
6. Adequately compensate employees, to include the removal of mandatory union or association membership or representation fees.
7. Discontinue the foolish Student Based Budgeting and fund each school properly.
8. Eliminate the over-zealous curriculum requirements that have students sitting for hours at a time without a break or stretching. No adult wants to sit on a hard chair for over an hour and neither should any child. Sixty minutes is more than enough for continuous instruction in one subject.
9. More focus and funding needs to be directed to elementary schools, which are the foundation of the public school system. If students love education at this level, it will make them better students at higher levels.
10. Breaks, breaks, breaks are needed to keep the minds of the elementary students stimulated. Building into the schedule at least two daily recesses of about 20 minutes is a must.
11. Discontinue social promoting. If a child has not done well, it is a travesty to promote them.
12. Bring back summer school for elementary and middle school students that have grades of “D” in classes.
13. The County Executive should appoint an Education Liaison to attend all Board of Education meetings and be an active advisor to the Board of Education. This does not have to be a created position to burden the taxpayers. It can be any current member of the County Executive’s staff.
14. The current unions should be disbanded because of improper connections with the PGCPS. New unions should be allowed to petition the employees.
15. An Inspector General should be considered to look at corruption and nepotism in the PGCPS.
16. The Board of Education should move swiftly to appoint Dr. Becoats in the next week as the new Superintendent of the PGCPS, to show voters they are serious about reform and moving ahead quickly. Having interim personnel in the top two spots is not acceptable.
17. If the Board of Education really wants to think outside the box, they could offer the vacant Deputy Superintendent position to Mr. Peters or Dr. Crawley. This would mean a team could be assembled, and groomed for the future.
18. Parenting skill classes must be required for guardians of students with behavior issues.
In conclusion, the plans and ideas in this proposal are intended to stem the political battles that do not benefit the children of Prince Georges County. This proposal will give the County Executive the right level of input and connection he desires with the PGCPS. This proposal also gives the Prince Georges County Board of Education the benefit of expert advice from the County Executive Liaison. This proposal will empower principals to administer, teachers to educate, and students to learn. Finally, this proposal is intended to make the MSDE and others look at the Prince Georges County Public Schools in a different light.
Billy W. Bridges
IT/Network Support Specialist
Gwynn Park High School
Brandywine, MD 20613
PGCPS School Reform.docx
Pena-Melnyk, Joseline Delegate <Joseline.Pena.Melnyk@house.state.md.us>Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM
To: Billy Bridges <email@example.com>
Dear Mr. Bridges,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the County Executive’s proposal to have greater oversight authority over the Prince George’s County Public School system. As you know we met as a Delegation on Saturday to discuss and review his proposal. We are going to have a public hearing on the bill. I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind as we deliberate.
Please be assured, too, that no matter what comes out of this, we in the General Assembly will keep the best interests of Prince George’s County, the Board of Education, and our children at heart.
Thank you, again, for taking the time to contact me and express your views. I really appreciate hearing from you.
Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk
From: Billy Bridges [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 9:34 PM
To: Verjeana Jacobs; Carolyn Boston; Zabrina Epps; Peggy Higgins; Amber Waller; Patricia Eubanks; Carletta Fellows; Edward Burroughs; Donna Hathaway Beck; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Councildistrict8@co.pg.md.us; CouncilDistrict1@co.pg.md.us; WACampos@co.pg.md.us; EOlson@co.pg.md.us; IMTurner@co.pg.md.us; CouncilDistrict6@co.pg.md.us; KRToles@co.pg.md.us; MFranklin@co.pg.md.us; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Gaines, Tawanna Delegate; Healey, Anne Delegate; Washington, Alonzo Delegate; Hubbard, James Delegate; Valentino-Smith, Geraldine Delegate; Holmes, Marvin Delegate; Howard, Carolyn Delegate; Swain, Darren Delegate; Vaughn, Michael Delegate; Braveboy, Aisha Delegate; Davis, Dereck Delegate; Griffith, Melony Delegate; Turner, Veronica Delegate; Valderrama, Kris Delegate; Walker, Jay Delegate; Rosapepe, Jim Senator; Barnes, Ben Delegate
Subject: County Executive Takeover of PGCPS
[Quoted text hidden]
Council District 5 <email@example.com>Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 4:38 PM
To: Billy Bridges <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you for contacting me and sharing your concerns.
Andrea C. Harrison
Council Member, District 5
Office - (301) 952-3864 · Fax - (301) 952-588
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