Faking the Grade: Audit finds widespread attendance tampering in DC schools

Faking the Grade: Audit finds widespread attendance tampering in DC schools (Jay Korff/ABC7)

A system-wide failure of DC schools and administration—that’s how DC Councilmember David Grosso, chairperson of the Committee on Education, described the findings of an investigation showing that one-third of students who graduated last school year in D.C. shouldn’t have.

Parents of DC Public School System students ABC7 News spoke with were equally stunned and appalled when we told them the news.

According to a report issued Monday by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, staff members at nearly every school in the system knowingly altered attendance records so more students could graduate.

Danielle Allen’s child is a freshman at Dunbar High School.

Related: Faking the Grade: DCPS grade fixing audit released; Dunbar principal placed on leave

“Are they actually in school because if our kids are not in school as a parent I feel as if we should definitely know that. That plays a big part in everything," said Allen.

The three top violators in terms of Neighborhood Schools: Anacostia High where nearly 70 percent of its seniors violated attendance policy to the point they should not have graduated, Ballou High at 63 percent and Woodson at 47 percent.

Another stunning admission: The report says attendance records were changed at Dunbar High last school year 4,000 times for 118 graduating seniors. Dunbar principal Abdullah Zaki has since been placed on leave.

“It’s very disappointing. It is and not just for Dunbar but DCPS period. It’s very disappointing," said parent Sherita Hawthorne.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and school system leaders are vowing to change a culture in DC schools that pressures staff to graduate some students regardless of their performance.

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