The Prince George’s County NAACP wants to meet with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan before the end of the year to revamp the county’s school system.
According to a letter from NAACP President Bob Ross, the organization requests state intervention to further investigate why an audit revealed some high school seniors who graduated the last two years had grades changed and high absenteeism.
“We cannot leave [the] PG County administration alone to handle this matter,” Ross, who has previously criticized school leadership, said in the letter. “The level of dishonesty leads us to believe that a deeper investigation needs to occur and that more state involvement is necessary. PGCNAACP believe education is the civil rights issue of our time and every single graduate that was issued a diploma without meeting the basic requirements and/or missing over 50 days of school had their civil rights violated.”
Hogan said his office received the letter Thursday morning and agreed to meet with NAACP officials, but didn’t say exactly when.
He reiterated the school system investigation began after four county school board members requested earlier this year the state examine the situation.
“I am concerned that [some county officials] didn’t take it seriously,” he said after a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon for a new hospital in Largo. “We hope that the [Prince George’s] delegation … comes to the meeting, too. It is beyond me why the county doesn’t do anything about it.”
The state Department of Education released a 211-page document Nov. 3 that sampled 1,212 seniors in the 2016 and 2017 classes and discovered nearly 30 percent either didn’t have proper documentation to determine if they’re worthy to graduate, or simply ineligible.
Among those students sampled, about 5 percent “were determined to be ineligible to graduate due to a student not earning sufficient credits on their transcript to graduate or a student not meeting the service learning requirement.”
The state hired Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services of Northwest in August to investigate the problem. However, the audit found that no school-wide collision took place.
Schools officials said a report will be prepared by the state’s 60-day deadline in January. During that time, the state’s Board of Education will review the county’s plan for remediation and determine if any additional state action may be required.
Meanwhile, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III continues to support school system CEO Kevin Maxwell and his administrative team.
“We’ve always admitted there were challengers and we’re using that to move forward,” Baker said. “I’m very proud of the work Dr. Maxwell has done. We have challenges, but we are achieving great things in our school system.”