Teacher accountability takes center stage at Prince George’s forum -- Gazette.Net


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Stephanie Prather has concerns about teacher accountability at Frederick Douglass High School, and she wanted to make sure the new Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO knew it.

“I’m scared as hell as a parent that my son … won’t make me the proud parent that my daughter made me,” said Prather, whose son attends Douglass. Prather said her son has been getting bad scores for items unrelated to his academic work; her daughter graduated from Oxon Hill High School in 2002.

Prather was among about 150 people attending a District 9 Prince George’s County Public Schools meeting where schools CEO Kevin Maxwell met with parents, discussed his plans for the school system and listened to concerns. While the meeting touched on various topics, such as expanding south county programs and concerns about standardized testing, one of the primary topics was teacher accountability.

Prather told Maxwell she wanted to see changes in teacher accountability, with parents being informed when students aren’t performing and not allowing teachers to give zeroes to students because they are late or didn’t bring a book.

Maxwell assured her that his administration would evaluate teachers and principals.

“If you want to be successful, you can’t tolerate mediocrity,” Maxwell said.

Sherida Britt of Upper Marlboro expressed concern that teachers weren’t being held accountable for their training. Britt said that state testing based on the Common Core curriculum — a new set of national reading and math standards — is going to be more challenging so students need good teachers prepared to teach the material.

Third- through 12th-grade students begin taking the new tests during the 2014-2015 school year.

“I don’t have time to wait,” Britt said, mentioning that her 10th-grade daughter’s graduation looms closer. “I would like to see ongoing, job-embedded professional development.”

After the meeting, Maxwell said concerns about teacher accountability and expanding south county programs were going to be wrapped into his overall plans for school improvement.

County Councilman Mel Franklin (D-Dist. 9) of Upper Marlboro expressed support for Maxwell’s plans to expand south county programs. Franklin said getting more science and technology programs, which are sparse in south county, into area high schools would be a big step in preparing students for a post-secondary education and work after high school.

“Geographically everyone should have an opportunity,” Franklin said.

ccook@gazette.net