State Board Delays Renewing Superintendent's Contract
Portions of this article were sourced from an article from FOX 45 News written by Chris Papst.
Tuesday, the Maryland State Board of Education put the renewal of Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury's contract beyond 2024 on hold. The pause was initiated based on what many consider unethical actions by the Superintendent that are detrimental to Maryland education. With the controversial and expensive Blueprint for Maryland's Education coming under fire from local jurisdictions who can't foot the bill, officials claim Choudhury's tenure could fatally wound the initiative.
When it was revealed that MSDE had removed poor scores from the State website last Spring, education officials under the Superintendent's order claimed that it was to protect the identification of students as the federal government requires. They called it “deidentification” which is a word out of George Orwell’s novel 1984.
What’s worse is that the whole premise of the removal is an outright lie.
Apparently, someone who works at the Maryland State Department of Education had enough of Choudhury’s unethical behavior and temper tantrums and let the truth out. The scores were removed to save the Superintendent’s job.
That’s a lot of salvation. Choudhury has not only done a poor job, but he has also been exceedingly rude to lawmakers, bullied state department employees, thrown temper tantrums, and attempted a full take over the jurisdiction of local school boards over curriculum taught in their schools.
It seems people have had enough of Mohammad. School boards wrote letters last winter opposing a bill that would give him more power than any school official in Maryland has ever had. Even the State School Board wrote in opposition to that action. He even flustered Clarence Crawford, the President of the State School Board, who couldn’t support the takeover Choudhury desired. This was days after Crawford had written a letter in defense of Choudhury from harsh critics in the media.
When Chris Papst of FOX 45 tried to interview Choudhury about the hiding of scores, the Superintendent ran to his office to hide.
In his wake he left a bewildered Clarence Crawford to pick up the pieces.
Tuesday, the State Board met to decide Choudhury's fate. Former State Board of Education Robert Eccles attended the meeting and gave public comment that included strong condemnation of the Superintendent's vindictive personality and his actions to repeatedly "trash partners in private and sabotage their access to valuable federal or state resources because of personal grudges."
It’s becoming evident that the Superintendent's tenure is on shaky ground as the State Board chose to keep debating the extension of his contract for an additional four years. Tuesday was not the first time the Board heard testimony of Choudhury's failures. Eccles made public comment in May where he detailed the toxic workplace culture the Superintendent created. At that time, Eccles called for an independent investigation into the high attrition rates at MSDE. On Tuesday, Eccles shared his shock that the State Board had not conducted a third party investigation of abuse, harassment and intimidation at MSDE.
In the Spring, over 2500 signatures to fire Choudhury were collected by Bryan Thompson, a blogger in Carroll County.
In a January audit of MSDE, the Office of Legislative Audits found many problems with cybersecurity, contract bidding, and how the department approves state grants.
An even more critical fact was discovered through the audit, MSDE was not effectively or properly monitoring how school systems were using funds for the Blueprint. MSDE claimed that the audit findings were "false."
Choudhury was not available for comment.