DC Council blasts ‘inaccurate,’ ‘false’ info from school system

WASHINGTON – City leaders in the District are demanding answers amid a scandal that followed the discovery of high school students who were allowed to graduate despite falling short of what’s required to earn a diploma.

During a public oversight roundtable of the Committee on Education Thursday, councilmembers accused the school system of having painted far too rosy a picture before some of the information came out through media reports in the fall.

“I don’t know how we perform oversight when the information we get is inaccurate or false,” said Councilmember Robert White.

“We gave too many students a pass because our policy wasn’t clear, because our schools didn’t follow policy, and because in some cases educators felt pressure to pass students,” said Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson in response. “This is unacceptable.”

An audit of D.C. Public Schools released last month found a third of students graduated last year despite violations of school policy.

The audit found that at most city high schools, students have been allowed to pass courses despite excessive unexcused absences. It also found problems with grading and the use of credit recovery courses, which allow students make up for missed classes.

Wilson, who arrived last February, said Thursday that he wished he had known about the issues sooner and that those who tried to contact him about it had been able to reach him. He pointed to the establishment of the Office of Integrity to help oversee the school system as a reform that’s already in place.

The FBI is also reportedly investigating the D.C. school system.

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