The CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools asked the Maryland State Board of Education for a thorough review of allegations of widespread grade changing to boost graduation rates.
"I categorically deny any accusation of a systemic effort ordered by me or others acting on my behalf to promote students," PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell wrote in a letter requesting an investigation into allegations of grade tampering.
Nine county school board members, including the chair and vice chair, signed the letter. Gov. Larry Hogan made the same request Sunday.
Maryland Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon read the letter during the state board's meeting in Baltimore Tuesday.
"Please know you can expect full cooperation from me, my executive team and anyone else you deem pertinent," Maxwell wrote.
The board voted Tuesday in favor of an independent, third-party investigation.
"We don't have any evidence of this yet," board Chair Andrew Smarick said at Tuesday's meeting. "These are just allegations. This implicates the reliability of data, and we want to make sure the kids are well served."
Maxwell said no one on his team has told people to change grades that shouldn't be changed. He also said graduating more students is a primary goal of the school system.
"We are giving the kids second chances," he said. "Kids deserve second chances, and we're working to graduate more children so they have those post-secondary opportunities."
"I revealed what was going on in the schools, and they said they were hearing the same things," said one of the first teachers to make the allegations.
She wants to remain anonymous.
"If you don't change the grade or don't approve the work, your principal has the authority to do what's called an administrative override, and they can change the grade for you," she said.