State Delegate Optimistic About Changes to Prince George's Schools

WASHINGTON — A Prince George’s County delegate is hopeful that improvements can be made in the county’s school system.

Maryland state Del. Darryl Barnes’ new optimism comes after a follow-up meeting Friday with representatives from the school board, the County Council and County Executive Rushern Baker’s office.

That meeting follows Thursday’s sometimes-testy meeting with the system’s CEO, Dr. Kevin Maxwell.

Barnes said the members of Prince George’s County delegation to Annapolis, who had been meeting with Maxwell Thursday, are alarmed by allegations that grades had been inflated or falsified to boost graduation rates, as well as issues that include the loss of Head Start funding and cases of sexual abuse within the system.

Barnes had heard from teachers in the school system who said that grades were changed arbitrarily — often without their input, he said.

When Maxwell told the delegates on Thursday that there was no evidence of grade tampering and added that he trusted the “team members” he has around him, he got some pushback from delegates.

Maxwell’s remarks left Barnes “somewhat disappointed,” he said.

The delegation is eager to see what comes from the state probe into graduation rates, he said. The Maryland State Board of Education is contracting with a third party to conduct that investigation. The selection process to choose the investigation leader is still underway.

Most encouraging to Barnes was the determination by the members of the school board, the delegation, the County Council and Baker’s office that regular meetings should occur.

“We’re going to start this dialogue on a monthly basis as we prepare for the school year to start and as we prepare to start putting together our 2018 legislative agenda,” he said.

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