As Maryland state board of education continues to probe allegations of grade inflation in the Prince George’s County school system, one current and new member of the county were sworn in Wednesday.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III reappointed board Chairman Segun Eubanks and selected Donna Wiseman, a former University of Maryland education dean, to the school board. Wiseman will replace Beverly Anderson, who resigned in June, labeling the board are “dysfunctional.”
Wiseman, also a former elementary school teacher, described a recent school board meeting she attended as “intense” when a group of teachers and principals spoke out against the grade inflation allegations. Burroughs, David Murray, Raheela Ahmed and former student member Juwan Blocker signed a letter and sent it to Gov. Larry Hogan in May to examine allegations of possible corruption in the school system.
“I really have to listen a lot,” Wiseman said of working with her new colleagues. “I have to be really clear about my objectives. The board has to work more together. Kids are watching … and we need to show them how we solve some of our differences and how we work together, even if we don’t agree.”
Eubanks admits there’s been challenges among the board and school system, but said children must remain the top priority.
“It’s going to take the [full board] to really work hard at being focused,” he said. “As long as a vast majority continue to move that focus forward, then will we be able to have continued success and growth.”
Eubanks said priorities for the 132,000-student system include establishing literacy programs in elementary schools and ensuring neighborhood schools “become schools of choice.”
State law allows the county executive to appoint three at-large members, the chair and vice chair positions.
For his part, Baker said he stands by the appointments.
“When you are changing the system like we’re changing [it], you need people to understand, ‘Yes, it is going to be difficult.’ But the things that we are doing are necessary,” he said during the ceremony. “Every single child that walks through our school system will understand what it’s like to know what the future holds for them.”