Far fewer seniors attending D.C. Public Schools are on track to earn their diplomas this June after a graduation fraud investigation revealed that one in three students passed high school in violation of city policy.
Data released Thursday by D.C. Public Schools show that just 42 percent of seniors are on track to graduate, vs. 73 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, 19 percent of students are considered “moderately off track,” meaning they are failing one or two courses but could potentially earn a diploma through summer school or credit recovery programs.
Even if all 19% of “moderately off track” students receive diplomas, the graduate is still tracking 12 percentage points lower than last year.
The investigation into the fraud showed that students who were unqualified due to missing too many classes or improperly taking makeup classes were allowed to graduate.
Adding to the mess, over a quarter of freshmen have “withdrawn or transferred” out of the D.C. Public Schools system.
D.C. graduation rates reflect the percentage of students who receive their diplomas in four years. Twenty-six percent of students who started freshman year with the class of 2018 have either withdrawn or transferred out of the D.C. Public Schools system. The city still needs to determine how many of these students transferred to another school, and how many dropped out. –WaPo
Due to the investigation, this is the first year that the city has released graduation projections months before diplomas are handed out, so it’s difficult to compare to previous years. According to the D.C. Public School system website, 77 percent of the student population is economically disadvantaged.
The school system promised to strictly enforce long-ignored attendance policies – failing students if they are absent a class more than 30 times in a school year. At D.C.’s worst school, Anacostia High, only 19 percent of seniors “have passed or are passing the classes required to receive their diplomas,” according to WaPo, while 25 percent are considered “moderately off-track.”
The highest ranked school in D.C., Wilson, is tracking at a 56% graduation rate – while Ballou High School, the epicenter of the controversy which ignited the investigation, 14% of seniors have already accrued 30 absences in a class – earning automatic failing grades.