Public Demands Answers as Maryland School Test Scores Remain Redacted
In a recent development, the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Mohammed Choudhury, agreed to an interview with Fox’s Project Baltimore after the news outlet’s persistent efforts to shed light on heavily redacted student test results. However, the public will have to wait until the next monthly meeting of the school board to learn more about the matter.
The controversy began in January when the Maryland State Department of Education released the MCAP scores, which were later taken down from their website following Fox45 News’ reporting. When the scores were reposted in March, numerous data points were replaced with asterisks, preventing the public from understanding the performance of certain schools. This move prompted widespread concern and accusations of a cover-up.
Maryland Board of Education President Clarence Crawford confirmed that the issue would be included on the agenda for the next meeting and discussed in June. However, concerned parents, taxpayers, and lawmakers seeking answers regarding the redaction of test scores will have to exercise patience.
The Maryland State Department of Education claimed that the redaction was performed to protect student privacy due to the learning challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They cited “enhanced deidentification” and adherence to federal law as the reasons behind their decision. However, it was later revealed that federal laws had not changed, and the department made this decision independently.
Project Baltimore made multiple attempts to speak with Superintendent Choudhury, including during previous board meetings, where he had locked himself behind closed doors. Finally, during the recent board meeting, Choudhury agreed to an interview with Project Baltimore, though the conversation offered few new insights.
When questioned about the data changes, Choudhury cited the implementation of a new test and shifting class sizes as reasons. The exchange between Project Baltimore and the Maryland State Department of Education representatives revealed a lack of forthcoming information and left many questions unanswered.
An Inspector General of Education report, released earlier this month, confirmed Project Baltimore’s findings that states have the authority to choose and implement methods to safeguard student privacy. This implies that the state deliberately restricted the amount of information available to the public.
The interaction between Project Baltimore and the education officials lasted just over four minutes, with Board President Crawford often responding on behalf of Superintendent Choudhury. Despite efforts to extract further information, the officials evaded providing satisfactory answers.
As the public eagerly awaits the forthcoming school board meeting, the community is left wondering about the motives behind the redactions and seeking transparency from the Maryland State Department of Education
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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.