Monthly Archives: June 2017

Rushern Baker says he stands by PGCPS Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

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 Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker

MITCHELLVILLE, Md. – One day after the Prince George’s County NAACP sent a letter to County Executive Rushern Baker demanding that Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s new contract be put on hold as an investigation on allegations of grade fixing and fraud within the school system will be conducted, Baker said that he is standing by Maxwell.

Baker spoke to FOX 5 after holding his first campaign event for his run for Maryland governor.

“I made the decision that he was doing a good job for the county and when I reappointed him and sent him to the school board, I have all the confidence in the world that he is moving the school system in the direction it should be,” Baker said. “I have not changed that. My mind has not changed on that. I stand by him and I stand by the work that he has done.”

We asked if Baker would recommend the termination of Dr. Maxwell’s contract if the upcoming investigation finds the allegations are true. He said, “If it turns out that happened, there are a lot of things we will have to deal with. Not just Dr. Maxwell’s contract. There will be a lot of things, including the school board’s role in all of this.”

The investigation of Prince George’s County Public Schools comes on the heels of a FOX 5 investigation where teachers and parents were interviewed making the alarming assertions.

Baker does not believe the grades were changed.

“In order for what they are alleging to happen, that means thousands of teachers would have had to participate in this,” said Baker.

The county executive for Prince George’s County also released a statement earlier on Thursday saying:

I applaud Dr. Maxwell and the majority of the Board for asking the State Board of Education to conduct another investigation into the allegations of grade changing. Clearly they understand that these allegations are overshadowing the tremendous improvements our schools have made over the last 4 years. We have expanded all day Pre-K, provided more language arts and specialty programs, enrollment has steadily increased, 2 of our 29 high schools have made U.S. News and World Report’s Top High School list for two years straight, philanthropic support in our schools has increased and just this year, our graduates received $151,000,000 in college scholarships and our student’s college readiness for community college is now 3% less than the state average among first year community college entrants. Thanks to the hard work of our teachers, principals, parents and students we have made significant progress.

At the heart of the NAACP’s letter is their concern about these allegations and resolving whether they are true. Now that the MSDE will be investigating this matter, I am confident Dr. Maxwell and his staff will fully cooperate with the investigators as they look into this matter and resolve this matter once and for all.

via Fox5

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Education and School Board Reform Rally Today June 29th, 2017 at 5:30PM-7:00PM

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  • Scheduled Today: June 29th, 2017 at 5:30PM-7:00PM
  • Where: Newton White Mansion
  • Address: 2708 Enterprise Road, Bowie, Maryland 20721
  • Support our children! Support our Fearless Four Board members! Support education!!!

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 If not Us, who? If not Now, when?
Let’s keep the momentum going now that an investigation has been initiated to look into widespread corruption of the Prince George’s County School Board and its CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell.

Progressive Maryland and other organizations have been asked to join us at the rally. We are looking forward to a great turn out, today!
Protect our natural resource, our investment our children!!!!!

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Four members of Prince George’s County’s school board have urged Gov. Larry Hogan to order an investigation into what they allege is a systemic effort to fraudulently boost graduation rates in the Maryland school district.

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Newton White Mansion
Address: 2708 Enterprise Road, Bowie, Maryland 20721

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Prince George’s County NAACP asks county executive to not renew contract of Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Still0622_00022_1498188782885_3607873_ver1.0_640_360PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. – The Prince George’s County NAACP is asking County Executive Rushern Baker to not renew the contract of Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell.

The request comes as the Maryland State Board of Education voted on Tuesday to open an investigation on allegations of grade fixing and fraud in Prince George’s County Public Schools.

In the letter, Prince George’s County NAACP president Robert E. Ross wrote:

Dear Mr. Baker:

REF: Opposition to the renewal of Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s contract

It is with great concern that we write this letter requesting that you halt Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s contract renewal. Dr. Maxwell just signed a very lucrative four-year contract with a compensation package of over $450,000 per year. One of the major basis for Dr. Maxwell’s contract renewal and annual automatic raise is that there be a significant boost in graduation rates. Now that the current investigation has called into question Dr. Maxwell’s creditability and leadership in this regard, the Prince George’s County NAACP believes he should be given the title of “Interim Chief Executive Officer” beginning July 1, 2017 and until the conclusion of the investigation. If no wrongdoing is found, Dr. Maxwell may once again be given the title, “Chief Executive Officer” and his four-year contract remain intact and be reinstated. However, if the investigation shows criminal behavior, we believe it is in the best interest of the taxpayers not to have to buy him out of his contract. Such a commitment and responsibility could potentially cost the taxpayers in excess of $1 million.

In further support of our request, hundreds of Prince George’s County school employees were placed on administrative leave solely based on the suspicion of wrongdoing. In every case, Dr. Maxwell removed these teachers from their buildings out of an abundance of caution and fear the employees would interfere with the investigation. We believe Dr. Maxwell should be held to the same standard imposed on these employees. There are legitimate concerns that Dr. Maxwell may interfere or attempt to limit the scope of the investigation as he did in the first Maryland State Department of Education investigation. School system employees must be able to fully cooperate in the investigation without reservation. This is of the utmost importance.

Dr. Maxwell does not enjoy the good faith and confidence of the community generally and that of parents and students specifically. This is an unfortunate situation which does not to be exacerbated by the continued tolerance of Dr. Maxwell’s unbridled conduct.

We stand ready to discuss this matter and to assist you in your decision making in any way possible. It is most important you act on this matter prior to July 1, 2017, the effective day of Dr. Maxwell’s contract.

An investigation by FOX 5 found some teachers and staff members reporting being under tremendous pressure to increase the high school graduation rate within the school system.

Four Prince George’s County school board members sent a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan claiming “widespread systemic corruption” in the school district. Gov. Hogan would later call for a thorough, exhaustive investigation.

The state board of education, which oversees the Maryland State Department of Education, said it will hire an outside organization to the conduct the investigation.

In an interview with FOX 5 on Wednesday morning, Dr. Maxwell maintained there is no corruption taking place inside Prince George’s County Public Schools.

“Absolutely not. These accusations that there is systemic corruption at the highest levels of this school system are completely and utterly false,” Maxwell said.

via FOX 5

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Bob Ross, President, Prince George’s County Branch, NAACP

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Maxwell: PGCPS grade fixing allegations ‘completely and utterly false’

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– The head of the Prince George’s County public school system says allegations of grade fixing to inflate the county’s graduation rate are “completely and utterly false.” PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell discussed the allegations and pending state investigation in a live interview on FOX 5 News Morning Wednesday.

The interview comes after the Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to launch a third-party investigation into claims of grade fixing and other fraud in Prince George’s County Public Schools. FOX 5 broke the story that teachers and staff members report being under tremendous pressure to increase the high school graduation rate. Some say they have personally been told make sure grades are changed for failing students.

Four Prince George’s County school board members contacted Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to say they have evidence of “widespread systemic corruption” in the school system. After FOX 5’s report, Hogan called for a thorough, exhaustive investigation.

“A lot of people are demanding answers and we think we need to get to the bottom of it,” Hogan told FOX 5. “If the concerns are true then this is a serious problem, but either way we’ve got to get to the facts so we want to get it done as quickly as possible. But we want to do as thorough as a job as we possibly can.”

RELATED: Gov. Hogan explains why he requested probe on grade-fixing allegations against PGCPS

The state board of education, which oversees the Maryland State Department of Education, said it will hire an outside organization to the conduct the investigation.

In an exclusive interview live on FOX 5 Wednesday morning, Dr. Maxwell maintained there is no corruption taking place inside Prince George’s County Public Schools.

“Absolutely not. These accusations that there is systemic corruption at the highest levels of this school system are completely and utterly false,” Maxwell said.

Dr. Maxwell said he believes the reason the allegations continue to be discussed is because people keep talking about it.

“If people keep saying it, then people want to investigate it. I don’t disagree with investigating because again, I want to resolve this matter. There is no systemic corruption– there is nothing from me or anyone who is on my direct team who is telling anyone to do anything illegal,” he told FOX 5.

In January, the Maryland State Department of Education conducted an investigation into grade-fixing in Prince George’s County Public Schools, but according to records, the state investigator spoke only to Maxwell and four district staff members he recommended. The investigation found no wrongdoing.

Until now, Maxwell and the majority of the school board have maintained that investigation should stand. But in a letter dated Tuesday, they called for the state to investigate. It was read by Maryland Interim State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon at Tuesday’s meeting.

“This letter is to serve as a formal request for a follow-up investigation by the Maryland State Department of Education into allegations regarding the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ high school graduation rates since my arrival,” the letter reads in part.

In the letter, Dr. Maxwell continued to deny that he or others working for him are promoting students in order to inflate the graduation rate.

Maxwell wants investigation to put allegations to rest ‘once and for all’

On FOX 5 Wednesday morning, Maxwell said he is moving forward with this request for an investigation to make sure the allegations are put to rest once and for all. He said during the previous investigation, both the Maryland State Board of Education and the U.S. Department of Education cleared the district of any wrongdoing.

“That these four board members reopened it is sad,” Maxwell said.

When asked why he thinks the allegations continues to fester, Maxwell said FOX 5 would have to ask the people who are bringing the allegations about systemic corruption “because it’s just not true.”

Reports coming from some schools in the district show lower test scores in some areas and lower attendance in the 2015-2016 school year, but higher graduation rates. Asked how this was possible, Maxwell explained it’s about giving students multiple pathways to get where they’re going.

“The reality is, if we give those students the opportunities at compass learning, at quarterly learning modules, if we allow them to have the opportunities at apex learning and multiple ways to get where they need to go, more children will be successfull– and the fact that there’s good attendance and the scores are lagging is exactly why we put this work into place,” Maxwell said.

According to Maxwell, this is the same thing that happens in other school districts around the state and across the nation.

When asked what it would mean for him if the state’s investigation found that corruption were present in PGCPS, Maxwell said that wouldn’t happen.

“They’re not going to find– that’s a question that is not really accurate. They’re not going to find systemic corruption. That’s what the allegation is. Systemic corruption from the highest levels of this district, and it’s utterly and completely false.”

Andrew Smarick, the president of the Maryland State Board of Education, said Tuesday that the state will need to hire an outside organization before the investigation begins. He said it is too soon to say what the investigation will entail and how many people will be involved.

via FOX5

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PGCPS Teacher: Students With Dozens of Unexcused Absences Allowed to Graduate

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News4’s Prince George’s County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins spoke to a teacher who was one of the first to report alleged grade tampering in the Prince George’s County school system. She says many children have been allowed to pass their grade despite failing grades and even if they missed the majority of the school year.

A Prince George’s County teacher who reported alleged grade tampering in the county school system says students are receiving passing grades despite chronic absences.

“I mean we’re passing kids in the county that have 30, 40, 50 – even 70 – unexcused absences in the school year and they’re getting a diploma,” the teacher told News4. She did not want to be identified.

The teacher said she was one of the whistleblowers that told some members of the Prince George’s County Board of Education that schools were changing students’ grades and passing children who had missed the majority of the school year.

“County policy says 10 unexcused absences is the limit and we’re not enforcing that policy,” she said.

Flowers High School Principal Gorman Brown said no tampering has happened at the school and students can earn a grade change through a program called Multiple Pathways to Success.

“You do have the opportunity to take a year-long credit recovery course through the multiple pathways or the compass learning program. So, if you recover an entire course, then you would get credit for that course,” Brown said.

Brown said those grades are earned, not given.

But multiple teachers and guidance counselors in the county have said grades are being changed without students earning the credit in an effort to boost the county’s graduation rate.

Union representatives told News4 they intend to stand by all teachers within the system, including potential whistleblowers.

“We are supporting our members and that means all of our members and we know that they’ve worked extremely hard and they continue to work very hard,” said Jennifer Epps, the executive director of the Prince George’s County Education Association.

The union said its teachers will be cleared of any wrongdoing once the Maryland Board of Education completes its investigation into the allegations. The teachers don’t have the power to change grades after they’re published, according to the union.

Source: Prince George’s Co. Teacher: Students With Dozens of Unexcused Absences Allowed to Graduate | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Prince-Georges-Co-Teacher-Students-With-Dozens-of-Unexcused-Absences-Graduated-431413483.html#ixzz4lLfE2JdJ

Read more>>> Maryland Citizens must demand an Outside investigation for PGCPS to Review Activities in Maryland Courts

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Maryland Citizens must demand an Outside investigation for PGCPS to Review Activities in Maryland Courts

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Federal Court Baltimore

Recent events in which Governor Larry Hogan called for a “complete, thorough, and exhaustive investigation” into allegations of fraud and corruption in Prince George’s County Schools (PGCPS) should be extended to review the misconduct and fraud currently in progress in Federal court here in Maryland. The Federal law is considered the law of the land but is being applied selectively.

So what happens when the court rules without considering all evidence, fails to docket exhibits connected to the case and then withholds the record from being transmitted for appeal inter alia? This is what is happening in Federal court in Maryland. (see 1:16-cv-01435-ELH Mua et al v. State of Maryland et al). There are problems in the state courts as well.  Plaintiff Mr. Mua travelled to Richmond on June 26th, 2017 to review the documents which had not been docketed by the U.S District Court only to find they were never transmitted in the first place as requested by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on 04/18/2017. Thus prompting the upper court to issue the attached order.  The case is tied to issues which are currently in progress in PGCPS.

An outside investigation and one which is not controlled by the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to review the issues is the only solution to the PGCPS fraud problems. The county citizens and Maryland residents must demand a truly independent outside investigations led by the Federal government agencies to review these interconnected issues.

There are wide spread problems affecting the citizens of Maryland tied to the Maryland Attorney general and PGCPS including failure by both agencies to transmit the record for administrative appeal to the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. Other issues involve withholding of crucial  documents, interference of counsels hired by employees, interference of judges,  retaliation with malicious intentions inter alia.

Maryland residents must demand answers on these violations. What happens to one person will become the standard for everyone else in the future. Therefore,  we should not let these willful violations to stand.  Josephat Mua’s complaints prompted the Maryland Attorney General (AG) acquiring more powers from the Maryland legislature after AG engaged in a systematic violations of rights guaranteed by the U.S constitution.

Call your elected officials now to make sure that there is honesty and transparency in every step of the way and that the law is not being applied selectively based on discrimination and racism.

more to come.

Read more >>>Maryland Citizens must demand an Independent Outside investigation for PGCPS

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Prince George’s Co. Schools CEO Requests Grade Tampering Investigation

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PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell

The CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools asked the Maryland State Board of Education for a thorough review of allegations of widespread grade changing to boost graduation rates.

“I categorically deny any accusation of a systemic effort ordered by me or others acting on my behalf to promote students,” PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell wrote in a letter requesting an investigation into allegations of grade tampering.

Nine county school board members, including the chair and vice chair, signed the letter. Gov. Larry Hogan made the same request Sunday.

Maryland Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon read the letter during the state board’s meeting in Baltimore Tuesday.

“Please know you can expect full cooperation from me, my executive team and anyone else you deem pertinent,” Maxwell wrote.

The board voted Tuesday in favor of an independent, third-party investigation.

“We don’t have any evidence of this yet,” board Chair Andrew Smarick said at Tuesday’s meeting. “These are just allegations. This implicates the reliability of data, and we want to make sure the kids are well served.”

Maxwell said no one on his team has told people to change grades that shouldn’t be changed. He also said graduating more students is a primary goal of the school system.

“We are giving the kids second chances,” he said. “Kids deserve second chances, and we’re working to graduate more children so they have those post-secondary opportunities.”

“I revealed what was going on in the schools, and they said they were hearing the same things,” said one of the first teachers to make the allegations.

She wants to remain anonymous.

“If you don’t change the grade or don’t approve the work, your principal has the authority to do what’s called an administrative override, and they can change the grade for you,” she said.

Source: Prince George’s Co. Schools CEO Requests Grade Tampering Investigation | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Prince-Georges-Co-Schools-CEO-Requests-Grade-Tampering-Investigation-431155193.html#ixzz4lIOKMZs2

Read more >>>Why is school CEO Maxwell NOT on administrative leave.

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