Claims of corruption to boost graduation rates in Prince George's Co.

A school district is firing back against shocking allegations of widespread corruption in Prince George's County Public Schools.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD (WUSA9) - The Prince George’s County Public School district is accused of fixing grades and giving credit for classes students never took. The shocking allegations are outlined in a letter from four board of education members to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

The letter claims hundreds of students had their grades changed or were given credit for classes they didn’t take—all in an effort to boost graduation rates.

It claims the corruption in PGCPS was widespread and stemmed back to 2014. The board members said hundreds of students didn’t meet the Maryland State Department of Education requirements, but they received high school diplomas anyway.

One PGCPS teacher, who wanted to remain anonymous out of fear of losing his job, said he had not choice but to come forward.

He said he watched one student graduate despite having 44 unexcused absences.

Teachers like him led the board of education members to write their letter to the governor.

Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of PGCPS, fired back against the allegations in this statement Monday night:

 

"Much to our anger and extreme disappointment, and that of a majority of the Board of Education, a handful of Prince George’s County Public Schools community members have made baseless accusations about our high school graduation rates. Over the last few years, we have worked diligently to raise standards and expectations for our students while implementing multiple supports to keep them on the road to a diploma. Allegations that we systemically engaged in unethical practices are false, play to the worst suspicions about our school system, and disparage all of us.

"Earlier this school year, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), at the direction of the U.S. Department of Education, conducted an inquiry into our graduation rates in the wake of an anonymous complaint that alleged the Chief Executive Officer had “forced educators to change the grades of ninth and twelfth grade students in order to boost promotion and graduation rates.” Nothing could be further than the truth. The MSDE investigation drew the same conclusion. As stated in the report, the investigation determined “there was not anything done to indicate grades had been manipulated nor that bullying had been used to ensure more students were being promoted or graduated.” Click here to download the full report.

"As PGCPS leaders, our goal is to hold students accountable to the same standards and expectations found in other school districts while providing them with the same supports. Without question, our goal of outstanding academic achievement for all carries the minimum expectation that our high school diplomas reflect rigor and relevance. Through coordinated goals and appropriate supports as early as elementary school, more students are meeting our standards and achieving their dreams.

"While there may be valid concerns about our practices, processes and policies, that conversation should seek to uplift students instead of advancing personal or political agendas. 

"We are proud of all that we’ve accomplished together. We greatly appreciate your continued support."

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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