Three months after a state audit found Prince George's County school officials were tampering with grades on a high school level, a group of parents told WUSA9, the scandal may go much deeper.
Multiple parents, who have students at all different middle and elementary school in Prince George's County, say this is happening at the lower levels as well. They believe grade tampering is widespread in the district, beginning at the elementary and middle school level.
“There is no way he could get an A or a B, and that is what we received,” said Mrs. D. (We are not identifying parents by their full name to protect their children’s identity.)
Mrs. D said based on her son’s grades on his school assignments, he should be receiving failing grades. Instead, he is earning A’s and B’s on his report card.
“I don't want my son to be out in the world and not be able to survive and not be able to add, subtract, comprehend or read, or really get a successful job,” said Mrs. D.
For Wyletta, it started five years ago for her youngest daughter.
“What they have done is given her straight A's to shut me up but she has not earned them,” she said. “They simply want to just pass her on.”
This marking period, just like every other, Wyletta’s daughter got A’s and one B and made the honor roll. However, Sanders says it doesn’t add up.
Here is why:
She has received failing grades on her school assignments. She received the lowest grades possible on her state standardized tests that measure classroom performance.
Even a psychologist employed by the school district evaluated her daughter’s school performance and found that she performs below grade level.
“So how can she get A’s if she is still below grade level,” asked Wyletta.
The group of parents who spoke to WUSA9 are now calling on the head of Prince George's County School, Kevin Maxwell, to take action.
Dr. Maxwell wouldn’t sit down face to face with WUSA9, but he did send the school’s professional public relations representative for an interview.
WUSA9 reporter Hilary Lane spoke with him.
“In light of what has happened on a high school level, allegations of grade tampering are pretty serious,” said Lane. “Just to be clear, the superintendent doesn’t think these are issues that he should address with us?”
“Of course not,” said John White, spokesman for Prince George's County. “The superintendent is concerned about any issue in the school district, but I am trying to help you because I want to be able to explain to you the most direct route to a solution a parent can have.”
White said it’s up to the teachers and principals to resolve this issue, not head of school Dr. Maxwell. However, emails show parents have been communicating with school administrators and they say their children are not being helped.
Lane presented White with documents gathered from parents.
“This is good information to resolve a problem,” said White. “I would like to take it to him (referring to Dr. Maxwell).
Parents are calling for answers and action.
“Let's start embracing the problem and let's start fixing it,” said Ms. D.
“I am not backing down,” said mom Robyn. “Because the kid that sits next to him matters. Until every kid in this county gets what they deserve, I am not going to be quiet."
WUSA9 will be following up with the Prince George's County school district to find out if/how they plan on addressing concerns from the parents featured in our story.
Do you have questions about the grades your child is receiving? The following is the district’s hierarchy resolving an issue in Prince George's County:
- First, speak to your classroom teacher .
- If the problem isn’t resolved, contact your professional school counselor and/or assistant principal.
- Then go to the curriculum and instruction office. If you still aren’t satisfied, seek out the Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning office.
- The last step the school offers is Ombudsman. According to the district, it is “an independent party that seeks to resolve school and school-system issues or concerns from students, parents, and the public."
To contact the Prince George's County Board of Education, click here.