The recent revelations of changes made to student grades and attendance records at the District of Columbia’s Ballou High School—changes intended to present a rosier picture than reality—represent not an isolated case but a systemwide problem, according to a Washington Teachers Union-EmpowerEd survey released yesterday and a statement from the Council of School Officers. “Pressures are put on us daily to change any grade below 50% to a 50% if a student ‘attempts,’” said one teacher. “An attempt can be just writing their name.” The WTU and EmpowerEd said the results demonstrate the need for systemic solutions to address systemic problems. “Dishonest data hides reality and tragically hurts students who need help,” said Washington Teachers Union president Elizabeth Davis (r). “We need an overhauled system that honestly reports student performance and uses the data constructively to provide the remedial help kids need to progress to the next grade, college and career.” The Council of School Officers (CSO) – whose members include DCPS principals and assistant principals – also traced the problems to the top, saying that “We refuse to allow our hard-working and dedicated members to be used as scapegoats for what appears to be a systemic problem that can be traced to the very top of DCPS leadership.”
photo: WTU Local 6 President Elizabeth Davis at press conference yesterday; photo credit Megan Fitzgerald
NOTE: Davis was a guest on yesterday’s edition of “Your Rights At Work” on WPFW 89.3FM; also appearing was UFCW 400’s Jonathan Williams, who reported on Local 400’s condemnation of prosecution of 2017 inauguration protesters, and support for free speech rights.