Former Montgomery Co. School Board President Charlotte Meadows Speaks

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By Ashley Thompson

Charlotte Meadows had been with the school board for 6 years. Throughout the grade changing scandal she's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Allegations of grade changing in Montgomery Public Schools first came to light last October. Since then, 7 administrators have been placed on paid leave. Parents at these schools still have many questions regarding the ongoing investigation and feel like they're not getting answers, something Meadows says she understands.

"That was probably one of the problems I had, that it seemed like we were always trying to not be upfront about what we were doing and so the responsiveness accountability was not very apparent," says Meadows.

It's still not yet clear who exactly was changing grades but Meadows speculates that some within the school system felt pressure to produce acceptable graduation numbers.

"I can see where there was a strong will amongst everyone in the school system to see the school system succeed. And so it could be the perception was that they were being told in several different ways to do whatever it takes to make students graduate," she explains.

But doing 'whatever it takes' had its consequences and Meadows believes some in Montgomery Public Schools took things too far.

"It's my opinion that's probably what happened," she says. "I think people heard the same words but interpreted it slightly different. And some people interpreted it on one side of the grey line and some people interpreted 'do whatever it takes' on a different side of that grey line and it was, what i call cheating."

Hearings will soon be held for these administrators placed on leave and Meadows says the public may allowed in.

"The due process hearings are up to the employee whether or not they are open or closed. So if there's a hearing that's going on and the employee believes that they're innocent, they may likely ask their friends to come."

Meadows says her experience as President of the Board throughout the grade-changing scandal has left her with some regret.

"For me personally its just been sad. One of the things that still bugs me about this whole grade-changing issue is the fact that there were 200 students. For those 200 kids, we could have changed the trajectory of their lives."

Charlotte Meadows is now working for Students First, an organization that works primarily with the State Legislature to advocate for changes in policies and regulations for students.



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