The new leader of Prince George's County schools is defending criticism about his record. The NAACP says Dr. Kevin Maxwell didn't do enough to close the achievement gap for African-Americans when he led Anne Arundel County schools. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins spoke to both Maxwell and his critics about the controversy.
The new leader of Prince George's County Public Schools is defending criticism about his record.
The NAACP says Dr. Kevin Maxwell didn't do enough to close the achievement gap for African-Americans when he led Anne Arundel County schools.
State test scores are lower in Prince George’s County than surrounding counties, and there are other challenges, as well.
“We have a high rate of students dropping out of school,” state Delegate Aisha Braveboy said. “We have a high rate of students being suspended. And this isn’t a positive thing. We want to move in a different direction.”
She’s concerned after hearing Maxwell led a school system with a double-digit achievement gap between African-American students and the rest of the county.
According to Anne Arundel County schools, there was a 16 percent gap in math and algebra assessments in 2011 and a 13 percent gap in 2011 state reading and English assessments.
“We need to address this achievement gap and we need to address it now,” said Anne Arundel NAACP President Jacqueline Boond Alsop.
The NAACP filed several federal and local complaints before and during Maxwell’s time as superintendent, Alsop said.
“The population is larger of African-Americans in Prince George’s County,” she said. “And what his plan is and how he plans to do it, I can’t answer that.”
Maxwell told News4 the gap continually closed under his leadership.
“The work that we’ve done has had some success,” he said. “We’d like to see that success even greater, but I believe I have a lot of experience and a lot of ability to bring to bear on that same issue in Prince George’s County.”
While Prince George’s County is a predominantly African-American community, there is an achievement gap there with African-American students performing below most other races on state assessments.