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Faking the Grade: New interim chancellor sits down with ABC7 I-Team

DC Public Schools Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander (ABC7 photo)

DC Public Schools Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander met with the ABC7 I-Team at Ross Elementary School Wednesday morning. Dr. Alexander was principal at Ross Elementary before becoming deputy chief for elementary schools and now interim chancellor with the resignation last week of Antwan Wilson.

“I’m feeling confident about my ability to lead us through the next six months of this school year. I’ve spent nearly 20 years in this district. I know all of our schools inside and out, said Alexander. “No one in this city has clocked more time in our schools than me, over the last 20 years, something I’m proud of.”

An analysis of new DC Public School attendance numbers show in 64 of 115 DCPS schools, chronic absenteeism (counted as 10 or more absences) is on the rise this year-to-date compared to last year-to-date. Schools with the greatest percentage increase include:

Eliot-Hine Middle: 38 percent chronic absence rate this year, 18 percent last year.

McKinley Middle: 47 percent chronic absence rate this year, 20 percent last year.

Roosevelt High: 67 percent chronic absence rate this year, 40 percent last year.

“The good thing is we have been more accurately recording attendance and ensure that every single school enters attendance data on a daily basis,” explained Alexander.

When asked about DC councilmembers concerns that DCPS Central Office administrators share responsibility for grade inflation and poor attendance exposed by the “Faking The Grade” investigative series, Alexander responded, “Traditionally I’ve been out more in the field in my previous roles, but of course I’m a member of the central office by virtue of my title. But I hope that this barrier, or even the notion of this barrier can soon be diminished.”

“I have an awesome responsibility to ensure that they are prepared for life and it’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly,” added Alexander.

The interim chancellor meets with the DC Council Education committee for a Thursday morning hearing.

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