An independent investigation will be opened into allegation of corruption and fraud in Prince George’s County School System. Governor Larry Hogan has requested the probe, which was backed up by Prince George’s County Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell.
On Tuesday, Maryland State Board Of Education decided to hire an independent investigator to conduct an investigation into allegations that the school district, the second largest in the state, inflated grades and credits as a way to increase graduation rates.
Maxwell denied the allegations and has requested a transparent investigation to prove them false.
In a letter to the Prince George’s County School Board, Maxwell wrote, “Our community does not deserve unfair scrutiny and mischaracterization.”Maxwell was appointed CEO of Prince George’s County Schools in 2013, since then the graduation rate has increased 7.3 percentage points. The increase has been described as the largest in Maryland during that time, but the district’s graduation rate of 8.4 percent is still over 5 percentage points behind the state average. Critics allege the gains were contributed to the tampering of some of the students’ records.
State Board of Education President Andrew R. Smarick and Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon sent a letter to Hogan, saying an independent auditor will be hired inspect graduation rates and grades in Prince George’s County schools. According to a spokesman for Maryland State Department of Education, such inquiries are rare and in his 15 years of service he had never seen another one like it.
The public found out the allegations earlier this month, when a letter released to Hogan surfaced. Four members of the Prince George’s County school board allege “widespread systemic corruption” involving grades being changed and credits being awarded for courses that students never enrolled in.
Allegations of grade changing were investigated in Prince George’s schools in January. The results did not support the claims.