"I Don't Give A F***": Top Maryland Education Official Caught Using Encrypted Msg App As Grade Scandal Deepens

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Sep 09, 2023 - 12:00 AM

Investigative journalist Chris Papst of Fox45 News' Project Baltimore has been leading the charge in exposing a massive grade scandal and subsequent cover-up in the country's fourth most funded school system. The corruption isn't confined to the Baltimore City Public Schools level; it extends all the way up to the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. 

The latest report Papst shared comes weeks after his team found metadata for 98 text messages sent or received by Maryland Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury in the first quarter of this year -- around the time the state changed grades that no longer can be seen. 


2022 MCAP data from original upload (WBFF)


2022 MCAP data from revised upload (WBFF)

And why would the state change the grades? Well, it's alleged that Superintendent Choudhury needs good optics for the crime-ridden metro area after Papst's team released this shocking report in February: 'Education Crisis': 23 Baltimore City Schools Have No Students Proficient In Math

Papst believes these text messages hold the answer to why the state government made the statistical cover-up. His latest report includes "an encrypted cell phone app and never meant to be seen by the public are now shedding light on what's happening at the Maryland State Department of Education," according to the Project Baltimore report. 

Here's the report:

The messages appear to support concerns over the state superintendent's leadership, transparency, and creation of a toxic workplace culture.

Project Baltimore asked Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury about the messages at the August 22 state board of education meeting.

"Mr. Superintendent, have you ever used the Signal Application in commission of your job?" Project Baltimore's Chris Papst asked.

Choudhury replied, "I have no comment. For my job, no."

"You've never used Signal for your job?" Papst asked again.

"No," replied Choudhury.

On record, Choudhury told Papst that Signal wasn't used for work-related purposes. However, new screenshots from a senior employee in Maryland Public Schools (who wished to remain anonymous) suggest otherwise. 

Project Baltimore obtained screenshots of conversations between Choudhury and high-ranking employees within the Maryland State Department of Education.

Each one is a "Signal Message" sent by "Mohammed Choudhury" to at least one high-level employee at MSDE who asked not to be identified. Project Baltimore received multiple text threads, which the source says were sent between late 2021 and 2022.

In the screenshots, Choudhury's name and picture are visible. The phone number is also registered to the superintendent. In the messages, Choudhury certainly appears to be talking about work.

In one screenshot, Choudhury "set the disappearing message timer to 1 hour", which applies to select messages.

Choudhury writes, "All of that teacher assignment stuff is too much."

In another Signal message, Choudhury tells an employee a project needs "A LOT of work." He goes on to say, "as of now, I'm not even close to green lighting anything there".

In another instance, Choudhury appears to berate his employee, saying, "What feels like a waste of time is tell (sic) me last minute we are changing survey links when I told you I didn't want to do this."

The employee responds, "I don't understand what you see the issue to be"

Choudhury writes back, "I'll make it easy for you guys. Your (sic) not changing it. It's staying as is. Don't meet with me today. Done. That's a directive."

"So cancel the Qualtrics license?" Asks the employee.

Choudhury responds, "Yes, I don't give a F*** about Qualtrics at this point."

What remains troubling is why the superintendent would use Signal on his personal phone, with some messages disappearing in one hour for work-related tasks. 

"And if those messages are set to disappear, they can't be accessed under open records laws. Parents and taxpayers cannot see what's being said by their state superintendent about public schools," Project Baltimore said. 

Here's more from Papst. 

Papst asked Tina Williams-Koroma, founder and CEO of TCecure, a Baltimore cybersecurity company: "Does it concern you that the highest-ranking public education official in the state is using signal to conduct state business?"

"Yeah, I think it's concerning to me that some of the information in records may not be accessible and discoverable," Williams-Koroma replied.

Where is the national outrage?