For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, regarding the first report of the independent investigation of graduation and attendance at public high schools in the District of Columbia:
“Today, the Committee on Education received the results of phase one of the investigation into attendance and graduation at Ballou High School and internal procedure of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), as conducted by independent contractor Alvarez & Marsal through the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE). Additionally, we have received OSSE’s own report on citywide attendance of DCPS high schools and the oversight and review of the Public Charter School Board (PCSB) methodology.
“The results are extremely troubling. I am deeply concerned with the findings of inappropriate use of credit recovery courses, intentionally misleading attendance coding, and the pressure exerted by administration to pass students with failing grades. It was the hope of the community that these allegations were isolated or inflated, but the first wave of reports tells a much more harrowing tale. We still await the internal investigation being conducted by DCPS and on the remaining portions of the independent investigation to understand the full scope of the issues. I have spoken with State Superintendent Hanseul Kang and Chancellor Antwan Wilson about their initial reactions to the reports and expressed my grave concerns.
“On February 8, 2018 I will reconvene the public roundtable that began on December 15, 2017 to publicly review the findings of the Chancellor’s internal report on DCPS high schools and OSSE’s independent investigation. I will be looking to government leadership to present their findings as well as offer immediate and long-term solutions that address the systemic issues we are facing in our neighborhood high schools.
“I continue to encourage the public to build on the testimony we received over the course of the last month by submitting testimony to the Committee on Education. Testimony will be compiled as part of a formal Committee Report and anonymity or redaction will be granted upon request.
“I encourage the public to review the initial reports and provide comments here and sign up to testify for Committee on Education performance oversight hearings for DCPS, OSSE, PCSB, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education this February and March.
“It is heartbreaking that we have failed these students. In all likelihood, their senior year was not the first time they struggled with school related subject matter or with attendance. Therefore, as a city, we must all come together to find immediate solutions that move us forward and rapidly away from these unethical practices.”