WASHINGTON — High school principals are stuck in a political tug of war in Prince George’s County — that’s according to a letter attributed to all high school principals in the system and sent to media outlets by Reginald McNeill, principal at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The letter is the latest response from Prince George’s County’s education community after allegations of widespread fraud were made by four members of the school board who say that the 81 percent graduation rate for the 2016-17 school year is the product of manipulation of student records.
In the two-page letter, there are complaints that the school system is under “unfair, ugly scrutiny” after four board members — Edward Burroughs, Raaheela Ahmed, David Murray and Juwan Blocker, a student member — claimed there was widespread fraud: graduation rates have been inflated across the system.
Kevin Maxwell, the county school system’s CEO, has categorically denied the claims.
The statement, forwarded by McNeill, puts blame for the current controversy, in part, on “aspiring politicos” who’ve sought oversight of the $2 billion school board budget and its operations “by any means necessary.”
The letter states: “Not surprisingly, achievement has lagged. Chaos has been the only constant.”
Instead of the fraud alleged by the four school board members, the principals’ letter says increased support for students and better tracking of student achievement led to the boost in graduation rates.
Calling for an end to what they say is the “tug of war,” the letter states, “Students and families deserve representatives who care more about a child’s future than scoring political points.”