The High Graduation Rate of Black Students in Prince George County Maryland Has Brought Charges of Grade Inflation by Public Officials

By David Love,

Source: Wikimedia Commons

America has a history of dictating that Black prosperity, excellence and empowerment must never be allowed to see the light of day. The latest possible story of this is emanating from Prince George’s County, Md., as many questions arise about Black educational achievement, and accusations that evidence of such achievement in this particular school district was the result of fraud. At the urging of Black school board members and Democratic state lawmakers, Republican Governor Larry Hogan has called for an investigation in this predominantly Black county–which is among the most prosperous Black communities in the nation– over allegations of grade inflation and rising high school graduation rates….

Precipitating Hogan’s inquiry was a May 30 letter to him from four members of the Prince George’s County school board, as The Washington Post reported.  In their letter, the members made claims of “widespread systemic corruption,” including the changing of students’ grades and crediting them for classes they did not take, resulting in inflated graduation rates and graduating hundreds of students who did not meet state requirements. The board members–Edward Burroughs III, David Murray, Raaheela Ahmed and student member Juwan Blocker–say whistleblowers have “clear and convincing evidence” of the fraud. The four represent a minority bloc on the 14-member body….

Maxwell issued a statement maintaining the allegations are false, but welcoming an investigation. “From the beginning, I have maintained that politics lie at the root of the accusations,” Maxwell said in a statement, calling the claims an affront to teachers, administrators, students and parents over the past few years. “There has been no systemic effort to promote students in Prince George’s County Public Schools who did not meet state graduation requirements in order to inflate our graduation rates….

It is established that many officials regard the high academic achievement of Black children with great consternation, seeking to steal our children’s thunder and downplay their intellectual capabilities and educational achievement. They often accomplish this by changing the rules of the game after the fact. For example, the mother of the first Black valedictorian at a Mississippi high school has filed a lawsuit alleging her daughter was forced to share her title as “co-valedictorian” with a white classmate who had a lower GPA.

The recent inquiry into the high graduation rate of Prince George’s County — the county with the highest concentration of Black wealth in America — has broad support and should proceed. People need to know the truth, with the interests of the children first and foremost in their minds. If the investigation begins to smell like an assault on Black excellence, then it deserves our collective side eye.

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