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PG School Board Chairman Questions Affect of $1 Million Donation

A $1 million donation from the owner of National Harbor to the county's schools will be used to develop teachers. The school board chairman says the district can't be a training ground for teachers if it wants to improve.

A $1 million donation to Prince George's County Public Schools will be used to attract, train and develop teachers to work in the county’s schools. File|Patch
A $1 million donation to Prince George's County Public Schools will be used to attract, train and develop teachers to work in the county’s schools. File|Patch

A $1 million donation to an effort to attract teachers in the Prince George’s County Public Schools was welcomed by the chief executive of the school system this week, but not by all school leaders.

 “I’m thankful for this generosity,” said Kevin Maxwell, chief executive of the Prince George’s schools. “We can’t do this work by ourselves. We need our community partnerships and business partnerships to get the work done.”

Maxwell said the gift by the Peterson Family Foundation will help the district, which often starts the school year without a full complement of permanent teachers, address its teacher shortage. The money will allow Teach for America-D.C. Region to attract, train and develop teachers to work in the county’s schools.

While Prince George’s County School Board Chairman Segun Eubanks said he was grateful for the donation, he questioned the affect the gift will really have.

“It’s just a short-term solution to a shortage problem,” Eubanks told The Washington Post, noting that the young college graduates who are brought in by Teach For America generally leave after they finish their two-year assignment. “Montgomery County and other districts don’t use Teach For America for a reason. . . It’s not going to move us to excellence.”

Eubanks said he would prefer if Teach For America was considering implementing its new pilot program in Prince George’s. That program will offer recruits a year of classes in educational theory and the teaching profession, along with hands-on classroom experience, before they begin teaching full-time. TFA will also offer support for alumni who continue teaching for up to five years.

“We can’t be the training ground,” Eubanks said. “We have to be a destination school district if we are going to continue to improve.”

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