Community Listening Sessions Give Parents Opportunity for Advocacy


by Khadija Bowen

On Monday evening Dr. Goldson, Interim CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), held her second of three listening sessions to hear input from parents and community members on how the administration can improve the school system. Her executive team showed up, school board member Raaheela Ahmed showed up, and delegates, county council and city council members were in attendance. But who wasn’t there? The community! There were many empty seats in the auditorium. To put it into perspective, the listening session was slotted to conclude at 8pm, and we were out of there by 7:30pm.

That I am concerned and disappointed is an understatement. With all of the grumbling, news headlines and negative social media posts that are floating around concerning PGCPS, I would have anticipated a huge turnout at the opportunity to speak with Dr Goldson personally.

This brings me to ponder on what the real issue is with our school system. Is it really poor administrators and teachers, or is at least part of the problem the lack of parent and community involvement? Until we all realize that we have a personal stake and interest in the well-being and success of our schools, our system will never reach the exceptional status that it is capable of.

I am proud that I made an effort to voice my concerns tonight. I left the session with guarantees from the executive office of changes that were to come. I received more cards and cell phone numbers than my card holder could handle. Best of all, I left with a sense that something is changing, and changing for the better!

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Thank you to the community members and parents who showed up, sent in questions and comments, and gave suggestions for improvements. Let us all make an investment in our community schools, and in the betterment of our school system. Whether or not you have kids in the system, showing up only when there is controversy and scandal has gotten old and redundant. Let’s show up and be partners for positive change.


The last in this series of community listening sessions with Dr. Goldson will be held on Tuesday, October 30, from 6:30 to 8:00 at Charles H. Flowers High School (10001 Ardwick-Ardmore Road, Springdale, MD 20774).

Comments or questions may be submitted in advance. Dr. Goldson and her executive team will be present to hear ideas and concerns.