To the Editor:
Ballou High School in southeastern Washington, D.C., accomplished what was tantamount to a miracle during the 2017 school year: 100 percent of the graduating class was accepted to college.
Praise came from everywhere, with headlines touting the apparently impossible task — not only a 100 percent graduation rate, but every senior earning their way to college.
The news was so mindboggling that a reporter for NPR affiliate WAMU decided to investigate how performance could change so drastically when approximately 25 percent had quit, disappointed with the principal’s and administration’s guidelines.
Even more astonishing were the statistics from the previous year. Only percent of the students graduated, only 3 percent met the citywide reading standards; proficiency in math was almost negligible.
The reporter, Ms. McGee, found the explanation for the “miracle” systematic fraud.
Close to 50 percent of students missed more than three weeks and 1 in 5 missed more than they attended. Teachers were directed to give the students 1/2 credit for missed work.
Seniors who were not on track to graduate attended “Credit Recovery” (a watered down version of failing classes).
Truancy requirements were not followed — 179 students met criteria for Truancy Court, 25 were referred.
At a press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser stated, “To be honest, I don’t know what mistakes were made at Ballou High School.”
The fact remains that such action by the school administration affected many teachers, but most importantly it affected the students.
The principal used DC’s evaluation system to punish teachers not willing to follow his scheme of relaxed truancy rules, non- compliance and the ridiculous remedial courses and credit for work that was never done.
The principal was removed Dec. 4 and reassigned to another position.
By the way, thanks to the Killeen Daily Herald for running the editorial of Jan. 8. Excellent article. Points out that lack of political responsibilities is the root of Puerto Rico’s slow recovery.
retired master sergeant