Photo credits: Prince George’s County Public Schools/Twitter
This past academic year, high school graduation rates in the 90 to 99 percent range have occurred in bunches within the predominantly black public school district of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
However, four members of the Prince George’s County public school board are not convinced that the academic success achieved by the district’s predominantly black students is valid. Late last month, the Washington Post reported that Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Republican governor, has heeded to demands to launch a full-scale fraud investigation.
The four school board members who were suspicious of the high graduation rates in the Prince George’s County public school district believe that the success was attained as a result of “widespread systemic corruption.” The four members are a minority faction of the 14-member Prince George’s County public school board.
In their letter, the four board members allege that the graduation fraud has been going on since 2014.
“Whistle-blowers at almost every level in [Prince George’s County Public Schools] have clear and convincing evidence that PGCPS has graduated hundreds of students who did not meet the Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirements,” they wrote.
These bold accusations (which some observers of the situation have called race-based) have provoked firm opposition from other high-ranking officials with the school district, including fellow board members. Deputy Superintendent Monique Davis said in a recent public statement that a previous federal investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.
“We already feel this situation was thoroughly investigated and . . . the allegations were unfounded,” Davis said in her statement, according to the Washington Post.
Edward Burroughs III, David Murray, Raaheela Ahmed, and Juwan Blocker are the four board members who have made these controversial allegations. Kevin Maxwell is the chief executive officer of the Prince George’s County public school district. He has also voiced his displeasure over these latest accusations of fraud.
“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,” Maxwell said in a statement, according to the Washington Post.