Lack of Transparency: Maryland State Education Department Under Fire for Concealing Student Test Results
Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is facing scrutiny and controversy over its handling of student test results. An investigation by Project Baltimore has revealed that the state is concealing and redacting school results, raising concerns about transparency and accountability.
During a recent board meeting, Project Baltimore attempted to speak with key officials responsible for overseeing the education system, including Clarence Crawford, the president of the Maryland State Board of Education, and Zachary Hands, the executive director of the state board. However, both individuals evaded questions and refused to provide answers.
Dr. Sylvia Lawson, the deputy state superintendent, also avoided answering Project Baltimore’s inquiries, accusing them of harassment. Despite being responsible for overseeing the expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars, these government leaders showed reluctance to address the concerns raised about data suppression.
The controversy stems from MSDE’s alteration and redaction of student test results on its website. Project Baltimore initially exposed this issue, which gained significant attention and criticism from parents, lawmakers, and interest groups. The availability of reliable school performance data is crucial for parents choosing homes and schools for their children.
While MSDE presented a public explanation for the redaction of student data, they conveniently omitted details about recent changes and the reasons behind them. This lack of transparency raises suspicions of a cover-up and leads to further questions about the state’s intentions.
Project Baltimore attempted to get clarification on these matters during the board meeting but was met with evasiveness. The state’s response to Project Baltimore’s email inquiry following the meeting failed to address the issue of enhanced deidentification, a method used to protect student privacy. Instead, it confirmed that data disclosure avoidance methods employed in 2022 would continue in 2023, potentially leading to redacted results for poorly performing schools.
The reluctance of MSDE officials to provide clear answers and the lack of transparency surrounding data suppression raise concerns about the state’s commitment to accountability and its handling of taxpayer funds. The controversy surrounding MSDE’s actions highlights the need for greater transparency and public engagement in the reporting of student performance data.
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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.