Baltimore Allows Education Reform Lawsuit to Proceed

Jovani and Shawnda Patterson with attorney Scott Marder | Image by WMAR

A lawsuit against the Baltimore public school system alleging grade and attendance manipulation is being allowed to proceed after a judge denied Baltimore City and Baltimore City Public Schools’ motion to dismiss.

The groundbreaking suit was filed earlier this year by Jovani and Shawnda Patterson. The West Baltimore couple claims the school system is manipulating enrollment figures to secure funding and that, as taxpayers, they have the standing to sue and demand students receive a quality education.

“In our case, the taxpayers are saying that the school system and the city are wasting their money. They are engaged in illegal behavior and misconduct, and as a result, our tax dollars are being wasted,” said Scott Marder, the Pattersons’ attorney.

The couple is not seeking any monetary damages through the lawsuit; rather, the Pattersons want reform implemented in an underperforming school system reportedly plagued for years by allegations of fraud, mismanagement, and corruption.

“This is the first lawsuit that is attempting to reform the schools in this way. I’ve never seen it done quite this way, where taxpayers are stepping up and saying, ‘We’re angry,'” Marder said.

More recently, investigators discovered millions of dollars in local and state taxpayer money had been misallocated to multiple Maryland public school systems, including Baltimore’s, due to administrators allegedly altering attendance records, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“Taxpayers everywhere should be paying attention. Maryland taxpayers, taxpayers around the country fund Baltimore City Schools,” stated Marder. “They need to be aware, and they need to be paying attention.”

The Baltimore school system has also repeatedly been scrutinized over claims that principals and teachers, under pressure from the system’s leadership, changed students’ grades to inflate performance metrics artificially.

The Baltimore public school system was famously depicted in the 2000s by the HBO drama The Wire. The Peabody-award-winner spotlighted the alleged institutional dysfunction at the core of the city’s school system.

The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) also recently made headlines regarding similar allegations.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, Andrea Whelan, a former DISD employee and whistleblower, is currently suing the district. She alleges DISD terminated her employment in retaliation for her reporting the discovery of evidence of grade and attendance manipulation in at least two schools.

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