PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (WJLA) - Monday is the first day for Prince George's County public school students. It also marks the first school year since the state legislature made major changes to the way the district is run.
Prince George's has the lowest test scores in D.C.'s Maryland suburbs, and also ranks near the bottom of the entire state.
A bill signed by the governor in the spring has dramatically reduced the power of the county's elected school board members, and dramatically increased the power of the county executive, Rushern Baker. Baker was able to pick new school district CEO Kevin Maxwell.
He also named three new members to the school board, including new board chair Segun Eubanks. The county council also selected a new board member -- Curtis Valentine.
Although the changes to the way Prince George's County schools are run were controversial, Valentine says they were necessary.
"The improvements were happening, but they were happening slow for a lot of people," said Valentine, who is a parent of two children in the school system and a former Oxon Hill Middle School teacher.
"What we're doing is raising standards for students, and raising standards for teachers as well."
Frederick County in Maryland and Fauquier County in Virginia also have their first day of classes for public school students Monday.