Monthly Archives: June 2017

Gov. Larry Hogan calls for state investigation into alleged corruption in PGCPS

– Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for a “complete, thorough, and exhaustive investigation” into allegations of fraud and corruption in Prince George’s County Schools.

On Sunday, Gov. Hogan sent a letter to the president of the Maryland State Board of Education saying he is “deeply troubled by these allegations regarding one of our school systems, which have now been brought to my attention by multiple sources.”

FOX 5 was first to report on allegations of grade changing and manipulation of student records to boost the graduation rate in Prince George’s County schools.

Four school board members sent a letter to Gov. Hogan requesting a state investigation into what they called widespread, systemic corruption.

Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell had denied the claims, calling them politically motivated.

“There has been no systemic effort ordered by me or others working on my behalf to promote students in order to inflate graduation rates,” Maxwell said at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Gov. Hogan also wrote a letter to the four board members letting them know he has requested a state investigation.

“I am also mindful of your statement that many individuals took risks in bringing this information to your attention. We believe these individuals are entitled to the full protections afforded whistleblowers under the law. Thank you for bringing these important concerns to my attention,” Hogan wrote.

FOX 5 has requested a response from Dr. Maxwell to these new developments.

Governor Hogan’s letter to the Maryland State Board of Education President (app users: Click here to read)

via FOX5

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Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell had denied the claims, calling them politically motivated.

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State lawmakers from Prince George’s seek broad probe of graduation rates

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Members of the Prince George’s County’s legislative delegation joined the call Thursday for a state investigation into charges that county school officials doctored grades to increase promotion and graduation rates.

In a letter dated Thursday, the delegates called upon state Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon to examine the claims. The letter was signed by Dels. Jerry Walker and Geraldine Valentino-Smith, a Bowie resident and vice chairwoman of the delegation.

The claims were made by four members of the county school board, including David Murray and Raaheela Ahmed of Bowie.

“Given that the Maryland State Department of Education has oversight over public school districts in Maryland and the educational interests of the State, we respectfully request the resources of the Maryland State Department Education for purposes of an in-depth audit and further investigation of such serious allegations,” the delegates wrote.

The allegations of grade tampering came to light this week when county schools CEO Kevin Maxwell revealed that four school board sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, asking him to conduct an investigation into possible irregularities. He dismissed the claims as “politically motivated” and revealed that a similar probe conducted last fall turned up no evidence of grade-tampering. However, Dr. Maxwell has refused to sit down with reporters as such fox for on camera interview despite repeated requests.

At a jam-packed and often heated school board meeting Thursday night, during which the $1.9 billion school budget was passed, Maxwell repeated his defense of the school system.

“The false allegations about our graduation rates strike at everything that Prince George’s schools stand for – past, present and future,” Maxwell said. “These allegations denigrate why teachers teach and why principals lead. They are a personal attack on every teacher, counselor administrator and employee in this system.”

In their letter, the delegates said the state probe of anonymous allegations last fall did not go far enough because the school personnel interviewed in that investigation were selected by Maxwell.

“It has come to our attention that a high level of concern exists for those schools that experienced a significant change in graduation rate or that have a significant disparity between graduation rates and the performance of students on high school standardized tests,” delegates wrote. “We are also aware that the local change in grading policy may be causing both confusion and disagreement among teachers and parents and this issue could certainly be clarified through a careful MSDE review.”

County officials adopt slightly increased budget for FY 2018
The other nine school board members and a group of county high school principals released statements this week denying the charges and supporting Maxwell.

But Ahmed and Murray stood by their claims, saying Thursday they’d heard and seen enough evidence from system employees to indicate that something was amiss with the grading system. Hogan’s office has forwarded the letter to state education officials.

“There was enough information that I had received – testimony, having seen documents – that there convinced me there was reason for some of these things to be true,” Ahmed said. “I had reason to expect issues – widespread issues.”

Tracie Miller, principal of Gwynn Park High School, was joined by several other high school principals at the board meeting in Upper Marlboro as she spoke out in defense of her colleagues at the meeting.

“We, as high school principals, are extremely offended about the allegations and hurtful accusations that we pressure teachers to to give students grades in order to (increase) the graduation rate,” she said. Such claims, she added, “stain all of us.”

Many parents have come forward with information that their children grades appear suspicious after receiving an A in their report card. Other students who skipped school for many days got A’s and B’s as part of their grades in a shocking revelation to make the adminstration look good.

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Prince George’s County schools CEO denies any fraudulent effort to inflate graduation rate

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For the first time, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell (seen here) spoke publicly about allegations of grade changing and fraud to boost the graduation rate. However, he continues to refuse to speak to FOX 5 and answer our questions about the fraudulent scheme.

– There were high tensions at a jam-packed Prince George’s County Board of Education meeting Thursday, the first board meeting since it was made public that several board members have contacted the state alleging widespread corruption in the school system.

For the first time, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell spoke publicly about allegations of grade changing and fraud to boost the graduation rate. However, he continues to refuse to speak to FOX 5 and answer our questions.

“There has been no systemic effort ordered by me or others working on my behalf to promote students in order to inflate graduation rates,” Maxwell said. “The false allegations about our graduation rates strike at everything that Prince George’s County Schools stand for – past, present and future. These allegations denigrate why teachers teach and why principals lead. They are a personal attack on every teacher, counselor, administrator and employee in this system.”

Prior to the meeting, there was a rally that included teachers, activists, parents and the four board members who wrote letter to the governor asking the state to investigate what they call “widespread corruption” that allowed hundreds of students to graduate without meeting state requirements.

FOX 5 has spoken to numerous teachers and school employees who say the board members’ allegations are correct.

“Since we made those allegations, there is not a day or a few hours that go by that we don’t get additional people coming forward,” said school board member Edward Burroughs.

At the rally, a parent in the crowd spoke about her daughter.

“My daughter graduated with a 3.7 [GPA], sitting on distinguished row and had to take remedial classes for a year,” said Donna Young. “There is something wrong with this picture.”

The group went into the board room singing, “We shall overcome.” The seats were so hard to come by that some had to wait in the hallway.

In the crowd were people on both sides of this issue. Some want a state investigation while others agree with Maxwell that there is no possibility of wrongdoing.

A group of principals stood together to refute the allegations during public comment.

“As an educational professional, shouldn’t we want to set the bar for graduation within the grasp of our students?” said Dr. Tracie Miller, principal of Gwynn Park High School. “But now, when we are finally gaining momentum, when we are finally seeing the fruits of our labor, some want to question or cast doubt on our students’ accomplishments.”

Employee union leader Shirley Kirkland also spoke.

“Proven or not, it is a fact that some parents know that their children didn’t attend school but maybe 60 days out of 108,” Kirkland said. “So how did they graduate? Explain the passing grade without enough attending days.”

More people wanted to speak, but an effort to extend public comment was denied by the majority of the board.

Every day this week, FOX 5 has asked the Maryland State Department of Education if it will investigate, but the department continues to decline comment.

A spokeswoman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says the governor’s office is “continuing to look into this.” She says the governor is out of the country, but will be in touch with FOX 5 when he returns.

FOX 5 continues to investigate this developing story. Contact the reporter at Lindsay.Watts@foxtv.com.

via Fox5

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Parents complain about corruption allegations in Prince George’s Co.

ZKHukWfUyOdQAUCoThe controversy over graduation rates in Prince George’s County continues to swell.

Frustrated parents and union members attended a school board meeting in Upper Marlboro Thursday night to address allegations involving the public school system.

Over the last few weeks, some parents have claimed the graduation rate presented school system administration is an representation of how many students are actually prepared to enter into higher learning.

RELATED: Claims of corruption to boost graduation rates in Prince George’s Co.

“This administration is quick to deny rather than investigate allegations that are brought forth,” said parent Donna Young.

Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools, defended the school system during the board meeting.

“There has been no systemic effort ordered by me or others acting on my behalf to promote students in order to inflate graduation rates,” he said.

However, that defense did not calm the concerns of all parents.

“I have been worried about the administration,” said parent India Byrd. “I would like to see changes.”

Many people also left the board meeting frustrated that only 15 people were allowed to speak during public comment. Some people told WUSA9 they felt the move was made to intentionally cut out criticism from the night’s discussion.

 “There has been no systemic effort ordered by me or others acting on my behalf to promote students in order to inflate graduation rates,” he said.

However, that defense did not calm the concerns of all parents.

“I have been worried about the administration,” said parent India Byrd. “I would like to see changes.”

Many people also left the board meeting frustrated that only 15 people were allowed to speak during public comment. Some people told WUSA9 they felt the move was made to intentionally cut out criticism from the night’s discussion.

via WUSA9

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Statement by the four fearless and selfless school board members on the school graduation controversy in PGCPS.

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This is the statement by the four fearless and selfless school board members on the school graduation controversy in Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS). It looks many whistleblowers are coming forward to substantiate their concerns after their letter to the governor requesting an investigation of PGCPS graduation rates, and the response from the CEO and other board members.  Keep up the good work David Murray, Edward P. Burroughs III, Raaheela Ahmed and Juwan Blocker.

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June 20, 2017

As elected school board members that represent one-third of the county’s electorate plus the student body, it is our responsibility to look into issues brought to us by our community. Over the past few months, various teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and students felt the need to come to us with concerns about graduation rates, and we did our due diligence to look into them and speak the resulting truth. After all, as we teach our kids, if you see something, say something.

We saw enough to say something confidentially to an authority that we had hoped would listen to our concerns and take them seriously. What happened as a result? Denial and retaliation. Our CEO has called our plea ‘politically-motivated’ and denies any systematic issue, and the majority of our colleagues have asked for our resignation. It’s disheartening that the board would come out with this position before thoroughly reviewing the evidence from all sides, as we did. It is this kind of dismissal that we feared would occur had we gone to local leaders first. It’s proven to be true.

If this is the backlash we, as board members and elected officials, receive for trying to speak up on an issue, we can only imagine the kinds of backlash our system employees would receive in speaking up.

We were absolutely unaware that MSDE had done an investigation on the matter earlier this year. Neither the CEO nor Board leadership informed us of it previous to yesterday evening, when it went out as a blast to school system stakeholders and the media. We now have an additional concern that this investigation was hidden from us, similar to how Head Start was hidden from us. Doubt arises on how many more investigations have occurred that the board is not aware of.

Upon review of the MSDE report, it appears that investigative findings were made without input from school-based individuals that live the day-to-day operations at our schools. Rather, the investigation was largely one-sided, led by statements from the accused – Dr. Maxwell – and his central office staff. We are asking MSDE to re-open its investigation and work with other authoritative entities, like the Maryland Attorney General, to allow a safe avenue for whistleblowers to come forward so that an even more thorough and objective investigation can occur.

We are all recent graduates of our system; we care deeply about it. It is this passion that drove us to serve on the School Board in the first place, and it is with this determination that we work to ensure a quality, honest, and ethical education for all our students. Let’s be clear: legitimate student success is worth every ounce of celebration, but if a school’s math proficiency on standardized testing is in the single digits when graduation rates are over 90%, then what are we really celebrating? As representatives of the community, we have a responsibility to be transparent about where we are and work to right the wrongs; we have a responsibility to do what’s right and speak truth to power. We understand there is a price to pay when exposing wrongdoing – and we are prepared to pay that price. That’s our commitment to PGCPS.

via Facebook

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Prince George’s Co. graduation rates controversy

ThinkstockPhotos-637549064_1496165814675_9593218_ver1.0RINCE GEORGE’S CO., MD (WUSA9) – More fraud allegations hit Prince George’s Co. schools on Wednesday, focusing on artificially inflated graduation rates.

David Murray is among four school board members calling for a formal investigation. He said dozens of staff have come out of the woodwork this week.

“Administrators, guidance counselors, people that work with student records- so people we trust and people who have no motive to lie,” Murray said.

Here’s the list of allegations.

  • Courses that students had not taken had been added to their records
  • Grades were changed without teachers’ consent
  • Students received credit for service learning hours that they had not earned.

One teacher, who didn’t want to give her name, said the problem is widespread and unspoken. She has been with the district for more than 10 years.

“I mean nothing is in writing,” she said. “It’s always implied. You know, can’t we work something out with this particular student?”

An investigation was completed months ago that was ordered by the Federal Education Department and it found all of the accusations to be false.

Murray wants more than a four-page investigation.

“Very narrowly done,” he said. “That investigation, only talked to the superintendent and three of his high level staff.”

CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell has released two statements disputing the allegations in the past week. He blamed a small group in the community and calls the accusations baseless.

The county’s high school principals are also fighting the allegations, they released a statement, calling the allegations a political stunt to smear the district’s reputation.

“A high school diploma should never be used as a political pawn to twist the perception of an entire school system,” Maxwell said.

The letter said the allegations are ‘insulting to staff’. They said it has caused ‘unspeakable damage’ to hard-working students.

As far as that unnamed teacher goes, she wants to see an investigation for her students sake.

“They work hard to help these kids, but the effort seems to be not to educate them, but to graduate them,” she said.

That teacher said she wants a safe, anonymous place, for staff to formally lodge their complaints.

via WUSA9

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David Murray is among four school board members calling for a formal investigation. He said dozens of staff have come out of the woodwork this week.

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Parents, teachers say fraud allegations at Prince George’s Co. schools are true

Capture_1497996021038_9867524_ver1.0PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD. (WUSA9) – The head of Prince Georges County Public Schools is fighting back against accusations that the school system is corrupt.

CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell says he and the school system were already cleared of one investigation looking into grade changing in order to boost graduation rates.

PREVIOUSClaims of corruption to boost graduation rates in Prince George’s Co.

However, parents and former teachers are reaching saying the allegations are true.

“She’s gotten C’s, D’s and E’s…but she’s getting all A’s and B’s on her report card,” said Prince George’s County mom Tracy Sherman said.

Sherman believes her daughter grades have been changed to benefit her school, at a time when accusations are swirling.

Maxwell released a second statement Monday, blaming a small group in the community and calling the accusations baseless. He also said that they “play to the worst suspicions about our school system, and disparage all of us.”

The CEO also released a never seen before investigation, where the school system was questioned about altering grades after someone called an anonymous hotline last July. Maxwell and the school system were cleared of all wrongdoing in January of this year.

County Board of Education members said they never knew about Maryland Department of Education investigation. They said they only wrote a letter to the governor after teachers, administrators, staff, parents and students came to them saying since 2014 hundreds of students were pushed through to graduation by fraud and manipulation.

They released their own statement Tuesday, saying when “you see that something is not right, you speak up.”

Via WUSA9

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Hearing Cancelled due to Organized Scheme in Maryland.

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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh

Today, June 21st, 2017, a hearing scheduled for 10am in Baltimore City Circuit Court was cancelled at the last minute due to organized scheme and white collar violations after Josephat Mua demanded for investigations. (See  Josephat Mua Et Al Vs California Casualty Indemnity Exchange Et Al – 24C16002625). This comes after more than fourteen law firms were paid off in a bribery scheme which continues to run here in Maryland to the detriment of the public. Several Maryland officials including Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh are involved in this scheme and we are requesting the public to call the office of the governor and the U.S Justice Department to request for Federal investigations.

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

On May 16th, 2017, Josephat Mua wrote a letter to governor Larry Hogan requesting his office or any other neural office on ethics to initiate a special counsel to investigate allegations of staff misconduct in the matter of Maryland Former Chief of Court of Special Appeals for Maryland Hon. Peter B. Krauser and any other party tied to him. Prince George’s County officials led by Mr. Baker are involved in discrimination, retaliation and public corruption which appears to be supported by the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. There are many issues of concern currently at play in Maryland and the Attorney General has ignored potential corruption in Montgomery County, Maryland on issues such as The Paul S Sarbanes Transit Center lawsuit settlement, The Westbard Development Plan SaveWestbard, Voter Roll irregularities in Montgomery County, and the outrageous travel expenses of The Montgomery College President.
Here in Prince George’s County, there is widespread of fraud within the Prince George’s County public Schools in several levels which have been shared with the courts. We have heard zero from our State’s Attorney General on these issues, however, instead, the Maryland Attorney General (AG) is deciding to sue President Donald J. Trump on claims he has accepted millions in payments from foreign Governments? When will AG Frosh start acting like an Attorney General for the State of Maryland, and follow the law? Why is AG and others interfering with both Federal and state courts? Why did the AG initiate a case against the U.S President shortly after we demanded for an appointment of the Special Counsel to investigate violations in Maryland?
It appears today’s hearing in Baltimore City Circuit Court was cancelled in order to give Mr. Rushern Baker III space to run for a higher public office as a governor of Maryland after causing significant violations in a scheme in which lawyers representing employees and other personnel have been paid off.
Call your elected officials now and the media. Let us demand a transparent and thorough investigation.
More to come.
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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Rushern Baker III are involved in serious misconduct while in office. We must demand an open and thorough investigation. 

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Allegation: Prince George’s Schools Let Students Skim By

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Some Prince George’s County public schools board members say they have evidence of officials changing students’ grades to boost graduation rates. The school district has denied those claims; schools CEO Kevin Maxwell said the allegations “are false, play to the worst suspicions about our school system and disparage all of us.” But one Prince George’s mom told News4’s Aimee Cho that she saw grades on her son’s report card change.

Source: Allegation: Prince George’s Schools Let Students Skim By | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Allegation-Prince-George-Schools-Let-Students-Skim-By_Washington-DC-429762533.html#ixzz4kc5cW6TC

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