Board of Education members react PGCPS graduation rate fraud allegations

PRINCE GEORGE'S CO. - Tuesday, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell released an open letter fighting back against accusations that he has been strong arming PG County school teachers into changing students’ grades to boost graduation rates.

District 7 Board of Education Member, K. Alexander Wallace disputes those claims brought against the CEO, saying, “Unfortunately there have been some false accusations and attempts to further tarnish the reputation of Prince George’s County Public Schools.”

Records show that from 2013 to 2016, PGCPS high school graduation rates have risen from 74.1 percent to 81.4 percent; a 7.3 percentage point increase.Wallace says that success has to do with changes Dr. Maxwell has made.

He says, “Folks may have some concern about why and how our graduation and ninth grade promotion rates have been increasing and they may just simply ignorant to the systemic practices that we have incorporated through the Maxwell administration.”

Though 8th District Board of Education Member, Edward Burroughs III says that is not what happened.

Burroughs says, “From what I’m hearing is that (a) some principals have asked teachers and counselors to change grades to pass students without the consent of the teacher or even knowledge of the teacher. And, in some other cases, principals or leaders in schools just go ahead and do it themselves.”

A letter to U.S. Department of Education Deputy Director, Patrick Rooney says Dr. Maxwell credits improvements to numerous actions, including changes to the grading policy that took the base minimum grade from a zero to a 50 percent, according to Wallace.

“Before this new grading policy, our students were at a disadvantage in high school because if a student messed up in the first quarter and got a 40 percent, it was harder for that student to get a passing grade.”, says Wallace

However, Burroughs says those changes were only implemented this year.

He says, “there could be some reservation or disputes about the grading system, but we have clear and convincing evidence that goes back prior to this school year, so you can’t use that as an excuse.”

The Maryland State Department of Education’s investigation into the claims is still ongoing.
To read Dr. Maxwell’s full response, visit: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/PGCPS/bulletins/1a3b5fe