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Faking the Grade: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser addresses $8 million teacher bonuses

Faking the Grade: DC Mayor Bowser Addresses $8 million teacher bonuses (Nathan Baca/ABC7)

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser answered ABC7 News questions at a district event Friday morning about a Monday report revealing the amount paid in bonuses to DC Public Schools teachers and administrators.

“I think what we know, that has concerned us, about the graduation issues that we had at some school levels, administrators, we think pressuring teachers,” Bowser said.

That possible pressure led to 34 percent of all DCPS high school seniors graduating last year in violation of district attendance policy.

At the same time, bonuses to teachers and administrators increased year after year, even at schools graduating a majority of their students in violation of attendance policy. Bonuses totaled more than $8.7 million dollars between the school years starting 2014 and 2016.

“We don't have any indication that teachers have done anything out of line in that those bonuses were unwarranted,” Bowser said.

However, the State Superintendent acknowledged in January an audit that exposed grade inflation did not investigate individual teacher and principal bonuses.

As the ABC7 I-Team first reported in January, that scrutiny falls on the DC Inspector General, now investigating DC Public Schools alongside the FBI and the US Department of Education. There is no timeline announced for the completion of the DC OIG.

“So we will continue of course to always look at our recruitment and retention tool, which is IMPACT, to make sure that we're incentivizing people in the right ways,” Bowser said.

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