For Immediate Release:
February 21, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 -

Grosso calls on mayor to deepen graduation investigation into charter high schools and lower grades

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, today urged Mayor Muriel Bowser to expand the investigation into attendance and grade promotion at District of Columbia traditional public and public charter schools.

“After holding two public hearings on graduation accountability and receiving compelling evidence that teachers throughout the city, across grade levels, and in both sectors of public education feel pressure to pass students, it appears that these issues may extend beyond high schools,” wrote Grosso in a letter to Bowser.

He requested that Mayor Bowser direct the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) to extend its contract with the third-party firm Alvarez & Marsal, or similar independent firm, to broaden the investigation that began in December to audit every public charter high schools’ attendance and graduation policies.  It should also deepen the investigation to lower grades by examining the attendance and grade promotion in both traditional public and public charter elementary and middle schools.

Alvarez & Marsal found in a report released in January that 34 percent of the 2017 District of Columbia Public Schools graduates were awarded high school diplomas in violation of district attendance or grading policies.

“Those results were extremely troubling, but they do not tell the whole story,” said Grosso. “A cross-sector, system-wide examination will provide a more accurate picture of whether or not our children are prepared for the next milestone in their academic career before advancing.”

Grosso has requested a response from the mayor before a previously scheduled Committee on Education oversight hearing on March 1, 2018.

“I believe that with a complete investigation, our city will better understand the breadth and depth of this issue and be better positioned to develop meaningful solutions,” Grosso wrote. “