Author Archives: sasscer

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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Fresh faces needed for 2018 Election Cycle – Candidate Filing Requirements.

2018.elections.pngDue to high levels of corruption and the need to disrupt organized schemes in Maryland, We need fresh candidates to run for open seats across the state and especially in Prince George’s County.  We intend to support incumbents who have good record and new faces with commitment to good governance.

Otherwise, candidates not involved in bribery and other violations for personal gain will be supported.  Please join us as we make plans and strategies on bringing down the corrupt establishment. For those interested in running for public office, listed below are the requirements.

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Filing Requirements for Candidacy

Candidate Filing for the 2018 Gubernatorial Primary Election begins: February 28, 2017
The candidate filing deadline is Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 9:00 p.m.

You must be a resident of the District for which you are filing, a registered voter, and have completed and filed the following:

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT FILING INSTRUCTIONS

https://efds.ethics.state.md.us/

Once the disclosure has been completed, be sure to continue “clicking” or follow the red button (at the bottom right), to retrieve your confirmation.  Bring this confirmation with you when you file.

Note:  Effective October 1, 2017, candidates for certain State offices (State’s Attorney, Sheriff, Register of Wills and Clerk of the Circuit Court) will no longer be permitted to use a paper format for filing their financial disclosure statements.  They must use the Commission’s electronic system.

If you have any questions, contact:

States Ethics Commission
45 Calvert Street
3rd Floor
Annapolis, MD  21401
Office 410-260-7770
Toll Free 1-877-669-6085
Office Hours:  8:00 am to 4:30 pm (after 4:30 by appointment only)

Federal and State Offices are filed at the State Board of Elections. The following County and Central Committee Candidates must be filed at the Prince George’s County Board of Elections:

  •  County Executive
  • County Council
  • State’s Attorney
  • Clerk of the Circuit Courts
  • Register of Wills
  •  Judges of the Orphan’s Court
  • Sheriff
  • Board of Education – Districts 2, 3, 6, and 9
  • Democratic Central Committee
  • Republican Central Committee

Filing Fee

There is a filing fee of $25. The fee for Central Committee is $10. The fee must be paid by either check, money order or cash. No credit cards can be accepted at this time.

Campaign Account

Prior to filing Certificate of Candidacy, each candidate must file a campaign account. A campaign account is established by filing a Statement of Organization with the State Board of Elections.

More Information

Visit the Maryland Board of Elections Filing page for more information on general candidacy filings and Campaign Finance. Be sure to review the Summary Guide to Maryland Candidacy and Campaign Finance Laws. A list of filed candidates will become available after filings begin. The link is updated approximately 24 hours after new filings are completed. For additional information, please contact 301-341-7300.

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Sen. Muse condemns Prince George’s County alleged grade fixing

– Senator Anthony Muse calls for the resignation of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell after more than 140 seniors were highlighted for last-minute “assistance.”

He claims upwards of 70% of students entering Prince George’s Community College must take up to two years of remedial classes before they can begin regularly scheduled undergraduate curriculum.

“We have turned a two year college into a four year college,” Senator Muse said.

Parents have come forward alleging that students’ grades were changed from failing to passing, and teachers have admitted to changing grades under pressure from the administration.

Dr. Maxwell is credited with improving PGCPS high school graduation rates from 74.1% since he took over in 2013 to 81.4% in 2016.

The state found no evidence of grade fixing during past investigations.

Dr. Maxwell claims the accusations are baseless, though he declined to appear with Senator Muse this morning.

“Just come out and give an answer. Come out and listen to the teachers. Not appearing today is the same as not appearing in front of hundreds of parents who went to the school to talk about it,” Senator Muse said.

If grade fixing is taking place, he believes Dr. Maxwell should be held accountable for his actions going forward.

Via Fox5DC

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Staff members speak out about pressure from Prince George’s Co. Public Schools to graduate students

It has several Prince George’s County school board members calling for a state investigation into allegations of fraud. Board members Edward Burroughs, David Murray, Raaheela Ahmed and student member Juwan Blocker sent a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan saying that whistleblowers at almost every level in the school system “have clear and convincing evidence that PGCPS has graduated hundreds of students who did not meet the Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirements.”

Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell has denied the claims and said they are politically motivated.

The school district celebrated significant gains in its graduation rate earlier this year with 81 percent of seniors graduating in 2016, the highest number since 2010. Dr. Maxwell and his team made surprise visits at high schools with graduation rates over 90 percent.

“When Maxwell came up to our school with an entourage to celebrate our high graduation rates, we all howled with laughter,” a teacher told FOX 5. “Because we knew that they were completely fraudulent.”

“Most of the counselors laugh at it,” said a high school guidance counselor. “Because we know that it’s not real.”

The staff we spoke to wanted their identities concealed for fear of retaliation. They work at different high schools but tell the same story.

“There is incredible pressure coming from the central office onto all of the principals at all the schools to push kids through whether they really earned the credits or not,” a teacher said.

“It’s, ‘What are you going to do to make sure that they pass,’ rather than, ‘What are you going to do to make sure that they learn,’” another teacher told FOX 5.

Boosting the graduation rate has been a top priority for Dr. Maxwell since he was appointed in 2013. The county had been lagging behind the state average before making gains.

Along with the spike in graduates, there have been changes in policy. For example, a new grading procedure says that students will get a minimum of 50 percent for making a “good faith” effort on an assignment or assessment.

“As long as 50 percent of the work is done,” a teacher said. “It doesn’t have to be correct, just has to be complete – which makes no sense.”

Staff members say that is the just the beginning.

“Either outright asking the teacher to change the grade, I’ve seen them just change the grade,” the guidance counselor said of administrators at her school.

She says her principal told her to contact the teachers of failing seniors and see if more could be done to help them pass. She says when some students were still failing, she was told to contact those teachers again.

“Email them all and tell them, ‘Change all the grades.’ Whether it was a 30 or 50, change it all to passing,” she says she was told by the principal.

FOX 5 obtained an email from a guidance counselor and assistant principal at DuVal High School, one of the schools where Maxwell was celebrating the 92 percent graduation rate. It was sent to staff and read in part, “Below are a list of our seniors who need one last intervention with your assistance.”

It goes on to say, “If there is any last minute, (rub a genie in a bottle), assistance you can help our future scholars, please assist (yes one more time)!”

The email was sent about a month before graduation and lists the names of 141 seniors and their teachers.

FOX 5 spoke to a mother who has an 11th grader at DuVal. She says she learned he was failing a class with a 29 percent and talked to the teacher.

“She had nothing else to justify a higher grade,” said Randa, who opted not to give her last name. “The guidance counselor for that grade said, ‘Do not worry he will pass with a 65.’”

She says her son indeed passed the class, and that he is very aware of why.

“When I try to challenge him and say, ‘You need to give more with that essay, you need to study a little bit more,’ (he says), ‘Well what for? They’re going to pass me anyway,’” Randa said. “He is passing, no problem. Does he know the material? No idea. Am I going to be tasked to teach him that over the summer? I’ve already begun that process.”

Dr. Maxwell declined our request for an interview, but provided this statement:

“I am aware that four Board of Education members sent a politically-motivated letter to the Governor regarding Prince George’s County Public Schools’ (PGCPS) graduation rate. These claims are an affront to the hard work of our teachers, administrators, students and parents over the last few years. I categorically deny any systemic effort to promote students who did not meet state graduation requirements. Prince George’s County schools have much to celebrate this graduation season: more than $151 million in scholarship awards, acceptances to our nation’s finest colleges and universities, certifications to help students embark on challenging careers. We remain focused on improving students’ lives and preparing them for opportunities beyond high school. We welcome the Maryland State Department of Education to fully explore this matter.”

On Monday, nine school board members wrote their own letter opposing the allegations, and demanding their colleagues apologize and resign if an investigation fails to provide clear evidence of systemic corruption or no investigation is warranted at all. They blasted the board members for contacting the state instead of bringing the claims to the attention of the board and county first.

“The claim that folks are pushing students out is false,” said board member K. Alexander Wallace. “We’re pushing our students to be the best that they can be.”

Board Chair Segun Eubanks said he was confident the state would find no evidence of wrongdoing if there is an investigation.

“If there is any clear and compelling evidence from legitimate authorities about this, we’re very anxious to see it,” Eubanks.

FOX 5 asked if he had requested to see the evidence referenced in the board members letter to the governor.

“We have not asked them for any evidence,” Eubanks said. “We have gone to our administration and said we want to make sure that everything they have told us is correct and that there is absolutely no systemic corruption going on. And we are confident they will give us that.”

“I’m confident we will be vindicated in this,” added board member Sonya Williams.

The three board members also referenced a prior investigation by the Maryland State Department of Education into an anonymous tip that educators were being forced to change grades.

According to a report provided by a PGCPS spokeswoman, the state looked into the issue in January after the tip was sent to the U.S. Department of Education.

In a letter, the academic officer assigned to the case says she spoke to Dr. Maxwell and “asked him to identify others with whom I could talk.” The letter goes on to say that she spoke to an Instructional Director, a Data Management and Strategy Analyst, a Special Project Officer, a Deputy Superintendent as well as Maxwell and concluded there was no wrongdoing. The U.S. Department of Education said they found the state response “satisfactory” and considered the matter closed.

A spokesperson for the Maryland State Department of Education said she had no comment at this time.

Gov. Hogan’s office confirmed it has received the board members letter saying, “The allegations are very concerning and they have been forwarded to the Maryland State Department of Education.”

Staff we spoke to say they hope to see an investigation by the state.

“You’re cheating the students,” a teacher said. “They’re not learning good work ethics. They’re pretty much being led to believe that entitlement is the norm, and it’s not.

“If they go to college, they are going to be in a great deficit because they didn’t learn that content,” said the guidance counselor. “And so I feel like we’re setting them up to fail.”

Stay with FOX 5 for the latest on this developing story. Contact the reporter at Lindsay.Watts@foxtv.com.princegeorges1

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