ANNAPOLIS, Md. — One day after the Maryland State Board of Education voted to dedicate a full-time Department of Education employee to monitor Prince George’s County’s schools, Gov. Larry Hogan called for the county’s school system CEO to be fired.
“It should have happened a long time ago, but I’ll say today — the county executive needs to fire Kevin Maxwell,” Hogan said Wednesday about the Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO, responding to a reporter’s question at a news conference in Annapolis.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker — who happens to be Maxwell’s boss and the front-runner among the Democrats hoping to unseat Hogan — said he’s standing by his school chief.
Maxwell came under intense scrutiny after members of his own school board called for an investigation into allegations of widespread grade fixing across the system.
An initial audit by the state school board found no evidence of grade fraud, but an audit conducted by an outside firm hired by the state board and released in October found numerous deficiencies in record-keeping and that hundreds of students appeared to have graduated without meeting state standards for their diplomas.
Baker insisted that Maxwell’s management has been a benefit to the school system. “If you look at his management of the second-largest school district in the state, we have seen it improve,” he said.
Baker points to increased enrollment and expansion of programs from advanced placement to career technology as evidence of what he says is an improving school system.
He then tried to say the Maryland State Board of Education’s performance was lacking. “It is the state school board’s job to certify every graduation,” Baker said, suggesting that the board’s initial audit was deficient.
Referring to the governor, Baker said, “Maybe he should go straighten out the state school board because, evidently, something is lacking right now.”
On Wednesday, the state board voted to establish requirements for the Prince George’s County school system to document in writing its progress in meeting benchmarks in its “corrective action plan” that was filed as a result of the outside audit.
The board also called for another third-party audit once the corrective actions are in place.