Faking the Grade: DC Council questions DC Public Schools using ABC7 reporting
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
The DC Council Education committee held an accountability hearing with the DC Public Schools Chancellor, the State Superintendent and the Executive Director of the Charter School Board Thursday morning.
“An investigative report from WJLA revealed the recording of a DCPS principal, telling teachers that the DCPS central office pressured principals to pass more students,” Councilmember Robert White said.
White referenced a secretly recorded conversation with Roosevelt STAY High School's principal in 2015 directing teachers to ignore DC attendance law, first reported by ABC7 News Monday.
“Here's the thing: we have to pass and promote. If we are not then what are we here for? I'm sitting in a meeting to tell the chancellor you've got to give me more resources. I can't sit in the meeting with the chancellor and I'm with big stats in red,” Principal Young in the recording.
White called the recording, “a clear indication of widespread fraud in DCPS that was only brought to light because of investigative journalism.”
I learned of the recording shortly before, a few days before it aired. I understand there were some things that were said in 15-16. I have communicated to all of our leaders including Principal Young what our expectations are numerous times,” Chancellor Wilson said. “I can say that I've never told people to do anything other than what they're expected to do so I know I've never done that. I can't speak to what happened before I got here.”
State Superintendent Hanseul Kang also admitted for the first time what the ABC7 I-Team first reported in January, that an FBI agent was investigating allegations of grade fixing at Ballou High School.
“I am aware of the FBI's investigation. We are cooperating with any requests we receive. I have not met with them and I don't have any further details," Kang said. “My understanding is that because it's an ongoing investigation, I don't have any information that I'm able to share.”
“Chasing of data., and fudging of data to make the system look good, it's happening because we're not looking at why the system is failing, and the system is failing," Councilmember Mary Cheh said. “The mayor told us at the Mayor-Council Breakfast that the investigation is finished. No, the investigation has just started.”