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Hogan calls for criminal investigation into grade changing

Governor Hogan holds a Covid Ready Press Conference
Joe Andrucyk,Patrick. Siebert
Governor Hogan holds a Covid Ready Press Conference

Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for a criminal investigation of Baltimore City Public Schools after a report from the Office of the Inspector General found “widespread grade changing practices.“

According to the report, failing grades were inexplicably changed to passing ones toward the end of the school year more than 12,500 times between 2016 and 2020. Most of these instances occurred at Patterson High School in the Hopkins-Bayview neighborhood.

Hogan posted on Twitter Thursday that he is asking the Maryland State Prosecutor to investigate and file any criminal charges necessary. He also told the prosecutor to send a report to the U.S. Attorney for Maryland to pursue federal charges if appropriate.

During an afternoon press conference Thursday, Hogan said changing failing grades to passing ones is “inexcusable” but that it has been an open secret.

“There's been an ongoing awareness of the problem and different people with the responsibility looking into it, but it took persistence and it took this IG which we had to fight hard to get on board,” Hogan said.

He also blamed the General Assembly, but his reference wasn’t clear.

“The legislature killed President Obama's ESSA legislation to try to make schools more accountable and to fix persistently failing schools,” Hogan said, “It made us — when they failed to do that — the least accountable school system in America.”

But the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a federal law Obama signed in 2015, not one on which state lawmakers would have voted.

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.