More to come
BALTIMORE – The head of Prince George’s County Public Schools faced the Maryland State Board of Education Tuesday, the first time since a troubling state audit showed grade-fixing and policy violations allowed students to graduate without meeting state requirements.
At the hearing, state board members pressed Dr. Kevin Maxwell on the root causes of the findings and whether there has been a shift in culture in the school system.
“It seems like something is going on here,” said Maryland State Board of Education President Andrew Smarick. “I don’t want to go too far, but it seems like some signal, something is happening to suggest to schools, to teachers, to someone, ‘We gotta graduate these students irrespective of some of these rules we have.’ And that is what I have been grappling with here.”
Smarick noted some of the most outstanding audit findings — grade changes that could not be verified, late changes to student transcripts and students graduating despite more than 50 unexcused absences.
In response to questions about the driving forces behind the audit findings, Maxwell spoke about staff confusion on grade change forms, lack of automation, high staff turnover and people who were not clear on policies. He emphasized the audit found no intimidation or fraud by him or his staff.
After the hearing, FOX 5 asked him again about the underlying causes of the problems uncovered.
“The audit, I think, gave us a very good roadmap to the fact that there are some issues that need clarification, there are some procedures that need to be updated, there is a lot of training and there are some compliance issues,” Maxwell said.
At one point, a school board member asked whether emphasis on graduation rates by the state and federal government was to blame, but Maxwell did not agree that outside pressure was a factor.
Maxwell and his staff outlined their plan to correct what was found by the audit and the ways the school district is tightening up policies, putting more oversight in place and retraining staff.
Janna Parker, a Prince George’s County community member who attended the meeting, said the plan is a good first step, but feels what she did not see from Maxwell was accountability at the top.
“I think when you base any plan on not fully accepting accountability or placing the accountability on who and where it needs to be, it’s flawed plan,” Parker said.
When asked about Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent statement that some of what is going on in Prince George’s County Public Schools is criminal, Maxwell said he did not agree with the governor.
Smarick said the state board is now going to decide how and if the state will intervene in the school system and what is legally possible. He said there should be decisions made by the next meeting in February.
There could be another audit, and while there has been no public talk of the state taking over Prince George’s County Public Schools, it is something that’s happened in other states.
After the meeting on Tuesday, the state released graduation rates for districts across the state. Prince George’s County had a record high of 82.7 percent for 2017.
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Parents in Prince George’s County are calling for Prince George’s County Public School CEO, Dr. Kevin Maxwell, to step down after an independent audit revealed thousands of students had their grades changed to boost graduation rates.
This comes after Governor Larry Hogan held an hour-long meeting with the Prince George’s County NAACP and parents about the audit’s findings.
“The CEO must go! He does not care about our children. The CEO must go!.”, shouted a parent during a news conference following Governor Hogan’s meeting, calling for accountability in the grading scandal that has rocked PGCPS.
“That investigation turned up wide-spread corruption and wrongdoing.”, said Governor Hogan.
An independent audit commissioned by the Maryland State Board of Education found that thousands of graduates from 2016 and 2017 had failing grades for at least one quarter, which were later changed after the cutoff dates.
It further stated that over 150 students graduated in 2017, despite having over 50 absences for the school year.
Yolanda Rogers is a parent with five children who have attended PGCPS schools, of whom three have graduated.
She said the grading scandal has had a huge impact on her kids.
“I have two children that’s graduated with A’s in English, B’s in Math and when they tested in college, they tested for remedial English and remedial Math. That’s problematic for me.”, said Rogers.
Many are now calling for Prince George’s County Executive, Rushern Baker, to get rid of the current chairman and superintendent.
In a statement, John White, spokesperson for PGCPS pointed out that the school system was not invited to today’s meeting, but says Dr. Kevin Maxwell and his leadership team have taken the state audit findings and recommendations very seriously.
PGCPS has until the end of the month to respond to the audit and submit a plan of action.
Officials from Prince George’s County Public Schools have said that an action plan is in the works to improve grading and graduation certification.
County Executive, Rushern Baker could not be reached for comment.
We finally have a Teacher Running for Board of Education. This is the way to go Mr. Arun Puracken. Education matters and it is the key to life. It should matter now more than ever.
Mr. Arun Puracken school board campaign launch was more lit than some delegate, Senate, and Council campaign launches. There is lots of love and support from the community and the board members themselves starting with Mr. Edward Burroughs III, Mr. David Murray and Ms. Raaheela Ahmed our “rebellious, fearless leaders”.
we encourage more teachers and others to step up to run for various political offices and lead the way forward in Maryland. This is one way to shake up the state and the county Leadership in order to make a difference in the future.
Nominate a Leader to be Featured in Education Matters
Do you know a leader in your community supporting our schools and making a difference in the lives of children both in and out of school? We are seeking nominations for individuals to be highlighted in our Leadership Spotlight segment. Nominees could be principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, business leaders, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and more.
Here are Some pictures from Mr. Arun Puracken Friday December 8th, 2017 event.
An administrator for Prince George’s County Public Schools is on administrative leave after he was accused of chasing a student and grabbing her because she allegedly threw garbage out of a school bus window and it hit his car.
Associate Superintendent Mark Fossett is on administrative leave pending an investigation, officials confirmed.
“We expect all of our administrators to behave professionally, which is why we’re investigating,” PGCPS spokesman John White said.
A source with knowledge of the investigation told News4 that on Friday, Dec. 1 a student at Wise High School in Upper Marlboro was headed to school on a bus when she threw some trash, possibly an empty potato chip bag, out of a window.
Fossett happened to be driving behind the bus. The trash hit his car, White said school officials were told.
Once the bus got to the school, Fossett got on board and yelled at the students, the source said.
The teen who allegedly littered got so upset that she jumped off the bus and started running to the school.
Fossett then chased her, and the student said he grabbed her by the arm, the source said. He denied that he grabbed her, according to the source.
White declined to comment on the specific charges and said an investigation is underway.
LANDOVER, Md. – A Prince George’s County middle school student says after orientation day at his new school, his bus driver dropped him off at the wrong stop and he was robbed of his new Nike sneakers and cell phone.
The seventh grader’s mother says her son was left at Kenilworth Avenue and Eastern Avenue on Tuesday, which is nearly two miles from their home in Fairmount Heights.
Tameika Jackson didn’t want her 12-year-old son to be identified, but she let him speak with FOX 5 about what happened. He says a group of men approached him soon after he got off the bus.
“This one guy, he came up to me and then he said, ‘Give me your phone and then your shoes,'” the boy said. “And they were at least 20 years old, so I didn’t know what else to do. So I gave them my shoes and my phone. And after that, there was this one girl at the [Metro] bus stop, I walked up to her and asked her if I could use the phone to call my mom.”
The boy said he had told the bus driver where he lived, but was dropped off there anyway. Jackson says she is furious.
“I picked him up, he was barefoot, no shoes on,” she said. “And there was a bunch of junkies out there. He was upset, he was shaking and I just told him everything was going to be fine, but I will get to the bottom of it. And I brought him home. He says he doesn’t want to go back to school tomorrow.”
Jackson says she called FOX 5 because she couldn’t reach anyone at G. James Gholson Middle School in Landover where her son attends.
A Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson says they are now investigating what happened and alerted the school’s principal to the situation.
The principal later called Jackson and apologized, saying she will personally make sure the boy is on the correct bus headed to the correct location on Wednesday and in the days to come. The transportation director also contacted Jackson by phone Tuesday night.
Jackson says she never got bus information in the mail prior to the start of school, so her son’s father drove the boy to school Tuesday and spoke to school staff about which bus he was supposed to be on.
She says the child got on the bus he was told to ride. Jackson says she has an older child who attended Gholson and he got dropped off at a bus stop two blocks from their home.
“I’m to the point now that I don’t want to go to work the rest of the week because I want to make sure that he feels comfortable getting on the bus and getting off the bus,” Jackson said.
School officially starts on Wednesday in Prince George’s County, but some students had orientation on Tuesday.