LARGO, Md. - A war of words has broken out over the grade-fixing probe in Prince George's County Public Schools. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan blasted county leaders for not taking the investigation seriously. Now, he is planning on meeting with the Prince George's County NAACP directly to address their concerns.
On Thursday, the Prince George's County NAACP fired off a letter to Gov. Hogan pleading to meet with him because of what they call "an injustice" to students.
Hogan said the meeting will happen, but he is still very concerned about what he sees as lack of action by Prince George's County and its school officials in what the NAACP is calling a grade-change scandal.
"When the findings came in and found widespread wrongdoing, both the county and the school system refused to take it seriously," Hogan said. "Now, we have a letter from the NAACP pleading with us to get involved and take it to the next level. I'm concerned that they didn't take it seriously. I said that at first."
In their letter, the Prince George's County NAACP told Gov. Hogan they are "deeply concerned about the PG County Performance Audit of graduation grade changes." They also added "we believe that the grade change scandal is just the effect, while the cause runs deeper."
Prince George's County NAACP President Bob Ross wrote:
Dear Governor Hogan,
The Prince George's County branch of the NAACP strongly urges you to meet with us this December regarding the injustice to the students of Prince George's County Public Schools. Of course we are deeply concerned about the PG County Performance Audit of graduation grade changes, but we believe that the grade change scandal is just the effect, while the cause runs deeper.
The Maryland State Department of Education has a simple vision to "Ensure all students have access to a world class educational system that prepares them to graduate ready for post-secondary learning, rewarding work, and success in society and life," as posted on the website. However, the vision is diminished in PG County which consistently falls at the bottom of the state.
The PGCNAACP and county needs to see that our Governor cares about our children and our future. You have taken the first step by ordering the audit. Now we need to know the state has our back to make sure the audit's recommendations are implemented accurately and expediently. We cannot leave PG County administration alone to handle this matter. The level of dishonesty leads us to believe that a deeper investigation needs to occur and that more state involvement is necessary.
PGCNAACP believe education is the civil rights issue of our time and every single graduate that was issued a diploma without meeting the basic requirements and/or missing over 50 days of school had their civil rights violated. The students impacted will suffer greatly for the rest of their lives because of the neglect and selfishness of our school system's leadership. Another issue we must tackle is figuring out why our students are performing so badly that there would even be the necessity to pass children that are failing. It appears that our school system has been failing our children from an early age and the end result is the children left behind, whether they are passed or failed, are not prepared to effectively contribute to the economy of our state today or in the future.
At our meeting, we would like to include our NAACP Education members, a small group of parents and community leaders. We look to you for your leadership and involvement in our county on such an important matter.
We look forward to your response.
Both Hogan and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker shared the same stage on Thursday at the groundbreaking for the new University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center in Largo.
Baker said he still supports embattled Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell. He also stated the governor's comments were wrong because the county has 60 days to respond the grade-fixing report.
"Maybe he didn't read it or doesn't understand it," said Baker. "Either way, I can't answer that question. But what I can tell you is that they have taken it serious because we met about it and we continue to meet with Dr. Maxwell and his senior staff about making changes there. So I don't know what the governor is talking about."
Baker is running for the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor while Hogan is up for reelection next year. Hogan's office said the meeting with the NAACP will take place in two weeks.
FOX 5's coverage on grade-fixing allegations in Prince George's County Public Schools: