Statement from PGCPS Chief Executive Officer on Graduation Rate Allegations

Prince George's County Public Schools
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Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell gave remarks regarding graduation rate allegations during the June 22, 2017 Prince George’s County Board of Education meeting. The full text is below.

Good evening.  

I want to start by congratulating our newest alumni, the Prince George’s County Public Schools Class of 2017. Your success speaks for itself: More than $151 million in scholarships. Countless awards and recognitions. Opportunities for challenging careers and the pursuit of higher education. Congratulations to all!

Summer is officially in session. I encourage everyone to visit the PGCPS website for information about academic programs, activity packets and reading lists for students in preparation for the fall. Our summer meal sites at various schools, libraries and apartment complexes started this week. There are many ways that PGCPS serves students all year long and you can find more information at www.pgcps.org.

I also join Dr. Eubanks in thanking Dr. Beverly Anderson and Juwan Blocker for their service to the Board and the children and families of Prince George’s County Public Schools.

At this time, I would like to address the claims of systemic corruption regarding our graduation rates.

The Class of 2017 was just starting high school when I came back to PGCPS in 2013. My team has spent the last four years focused on giving students opportunities to meet the same expectations, the same standards and access to the same supports as their peers across the state.

The false allegations about our graduation rates strike at everything that Prince George’s County schools stand for -- past, present and future. These allegations denigrate why teachers teach and why principals lead. They are a personal attack on every teacher, counselor, administrator and employee.

I know firsthand the life-changing power of a high school diploma. I’m the only one of my siblings to graduate high school -- a Prince George’s County high school.

There has been no systemic effort, ordered by me or others acting on my behalf, to promote students in order to inflate graduation rates. The changes we have made to provide additional student supports are modeled on best practices in other districts. Our new grading procedure puts us on par with our neighboring jurisdictions. Our credit recovery system is replicated by the majority of districts in Maryland. All of our efforts are focused on providing students with multiple pathways to success.

My team and I remain open to resolving any concerns that are brought to us about what employees may have seen in our schools. We will continue our normal process of grade and credit audits and addressing any irregularities.

But I will not accept the complete mischaracterization of Prince George’s County Public Schools and the hard work of our students and staff.

Our students and staff are amazing and it is past time that we treat public education in this County with the dignity and respect that our students and staff deserve.

Thank you to all of you who continue working in service to the children and families of Prince George’s County Public Schools.