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Teaching Students How to Cheat and Fail
Townhall.com ^ | December 3, 2017 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 12/02/2017 9:23:17 PM PST by Kaslin

No one seems especially shocked.

Last week on WAMU, the National Public Radio affiliate that broke the story, the Washington Post’s Robert McCartney called it “fraudulent” and “a terrible embarrassment.” But he quickly added, “It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, though, to anybody who has been following District schools for any length of time.”

In an analysis for the Post, Valerie Strauss concluded, “It is, unfortunately, familiar.”

The “it” involves Ballou High School, described as “a historically troubled school serving some of the city’s most disadvantaged students in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.” However, earlier this year that very school received a great many accolades for dramatically improving its graduation rate and for the remarkable fact that every single one of their 164 graduates had been accepted to a college or university.

Pay-dirt! At long last a turnaround in public education: a significant percentage of poor kids actually receiving an education and getting a leg up, a chance at prosperity.

The next step would be to discover what the folks at Ballou HS are doing and spread their tried-and-true methods far and wide . . . right?

Well, maybe not. There is a fly in the ointment. While everyone fully agrees we must investigate to determine what exactly the teachers and administrators have been doing — with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Antwan Wilson, the D.C. Public Schools Chancellor, announcing the launch of a thorough review — few expect digging up much worthy of emulation.

Here is what we know for sure: In 2015, a mere 51 percent of students graduated. That rose to 57 percent in 2016, and 64 percent earlier this year. Moreover, no one is disputing that all 164 graduates have been accepted to a community college or university.

But a few questions just won’t go away: Did the students deserve to graduate? Are they at all prepared for college?

School documents obtained by WAMU show that “half of the graduates missed more than three months of school last year, unexcused. One in five students was absent more than present — missing more than 90 days of school.” In fact, “[t]he majority of Ballou’s 2017 graduating class missed more than six weeks of school.”

Those numbers are especially problematic given that DCPS policy states that students who miss a class 30 times in a school year “should fail that course.”

Could we be witnessing high achievers, bored because they have already mastered the subject matter being taught?

Jane Spence, chief of secondary schools at DCPS, seemed to hint at such a possibility. “It is expected that our students will be here every day,” she stated. “But we also know that students learn material in lots of different ways. So we’ve started to recognize that students can have mastered material even if they’re not sitting in a physical space.”

Imagine the future savings on school construction and building maintenance!

Or wait just a minute. Though test scores have been on the upswing at Ballou, they remain abysmal.

Results in 2016 on a standardized test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers found that only 8 percent of Ballou students “met or approached meeting standards in math and that 9?percent met or approached standards in English.” In 2017, those percentages improved, sure, but were still only 10 percent for math and 22 percent for English.

WAMU reporters spoke with numerous teachers (many interviewed on conditions of anonymity) who flatly claimed they were pressured to give grades that students did not earn, so those students could nonetheless graduate.

“Last year, DCPS put school administrators entirely in control of teacher evaluations. . . .” And those evaluations, which judge teachers and administrators on student performance, can mean as much as $30,000 extra in bonus pay.

The incentive? Obvious. And the disincentives are present, too: “It’s clear from this reporting that administrators, that school system management was putting pressure on teachers to pass and graduate kids” — despite lack of qualifications, argued the Post’s McCartney.

“And those administrators need to be exposed, disciplined and probably in some cases fired.” But don’t hold your breath. McCartney spies a “white-wash” in the offing.

Chancellor Wilson and Secondary Schools Chief Spence walked out of an interview with WAMU when queried: “how did all these kids miss so many days of school, apply to college and still graduate?” Later, at the behest of the mayor they returned but remained oblivious to the detailed accusations being leveled at the Ballou administration — and perhaps even higher up.

In fact, with the investigation barely underway, Wilson has already expressed his intention to keep Ballou Principal Yetunde Reeves, who has decided not to speak publicly about the controversy.

We have seen this movie before. Test scores and graduation rates show real improvement and then the public discovers the results are unreal, fraudulent, the product of teachers cheating, not for their students, but for their own financial gain and at the behest of administrators, who also gain financially.

I But a few questions just won’t go away: Did the students deserve to graduate? Are they at all prepared for college?

School documents obtained by WAMU show that “half of the graduates missed more than three months of school last year, unexcused. One in five students was absent more than present — missing more than 90 days of school.” In fact, “[t]he majority of Ballou’s 2017 graduating class missed more than six weeks of school.”

Those numbers are especially problematic given that DCPS policy states that students who miss a class 30 times in a school year “should fail that course.”

Could we be witnessing high achievers, bored because they have already mastered the subject matter being taught?

Jane Spence, chief of secondary schools at DCPS, seemed to hint at such a possibility. “It is expected that our students will be here every day,” she stated. “But we also know that students learn material in lots of different ways. So we’ve started to recognize that students can have mastered material even if they’re not sitting in a physical space.”

Imagine the future savings on school construction and building maintenance!

Or wait just a minute. Though test scores have been on the upswing at Ballou, they remain abysmal.

Results in 2016 on a standardized test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers found that only 8 percent of Ballou students “met or approached meeting standards in math and that 9?percent met or approached standards in English.” In 2017, those percentages improved, sure, but were still only 10 percent for math and 22 percent for English.

WAMU reporters spoke with numerous teachers (many interviewed on conditions of anonymity) who flatly claimed they were pressured to give grades that students did not earn, so those students could nonetheless graduate.

“Last year, DCPS put school administrators entirely in control of teacher evaluations. . . .” And those evaluations, which judge teachers and administrators on student performance, can mean as much as $30,000 extra in bonus pay.

The incentive? Obvious. And the disincentives are present, too: “It’s clear from this reporting that administrators, that school system management was putting pressure on teachers to pass and graduate kids” — despite lack of qualifications, argued the Post’s McCartney.

“And those administrators need to be exposed, disciplined and probably in some cases fired.” But don’t hold your breath. McCartney spies a “white-wash” in the offing.

Chancellor Wilson and Secondary Schools Chief Spence walked out of an interview with WAMU when queried: “how did all these kids miss so many days of school, apply to college and still graduate?” Later, at the behest of the mayor they returned but remained oblivious to the detailed accusations being leveled at the Ballou administration — and perhaps even higher up.

In fact, with the investigation barely underway, Wilson has already expressed his intention to keep Ballou Principal Yetunde Reeves, who has decided not to speak publicly about the controversy.

We have seen this movie before. Test scores and graduation rates show real improvement and then the public discovers the results are unreal, fraudulent, the product of teachers cheating, not for their students, but for their own financial gain and at the behest of administrators, who also gain financially.

I wonder how many Ballou graduates can spell corruption.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: education; highereducation; publiceducation

1 posted on 12/02/2017 9:23:17 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Very interesting. Thanks.


2 posted on 12/02/2017 9:34:40 PM PST by EliRoom8
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To: Kaslin
And those evaluations, which judge teachers and administrators on student performance, can mean as much as $30,000 extra in bonus pay.

you GOTTA be kiddin me...

3 posted on 12/02/2017 9:36:57 PM PST by Chode (You have all of the resources you are going to have. Abandon your illusions and plan accordingly.)
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To: Chode

It should surprise no one.


4 posted on 12/02/2017 9:40:06 PM PST by Kaslin (Quid est Veritas?: What Is Truth?)
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To: Kaslin

KO-RUP-SHUN

Close enough!


5 posted on 12/02/2017 9:41:28 PM PST by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Kaslin

A strong back is a terrible thing to waste.


6 posted on 12/02/2017 10:30:57 PM PST by Governor Dinwiddie
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To: Kaslin

Obviously, the problem is insufficient funding.


7 posted on 12/03/2017 3:20:22 AM PST by Tax-chick (I want to go to Colombia!)
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To: Kaslin

IIRC, didn’t several teachers and administrators in the Atlanta public school system go to prison for similar hijinks?

Since DC schools are federal, I imagine the punishment for defrauding the government out of $30 grand might be significant.

But then again, maybe not.


8 posted on 12/03/2017 3:40:27 AM PST by Jacquerie (ArticleVBlog.com)
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To: Kaslin

The whole leftist establishment is cheating. Affirmative action is cheating. Minority set-asides is cheating. Social promotion is cheating. Blaming Whitey is cheating. So no wonder that cheating is rampant


9 posted on 12/03/2017 4:08:31 AM PST by I want the USA back (The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. Orwell.)
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To: Kaslin
Did the students deserve to graduate? Are they at all prepared for college?

That's a joke, right?

The whole system is rotten to the bone, and when it collapses, it will drag our nation, what's left of it, down with it.

Forced high school, at least an academic program including three years of math through Trig or Algebra II, three years of science including Bio/Chem/Physics, four of history, english, three or four of a foreign language, and a mix of writing, speaking/debate/logic, is so far beyond the ability of our median high school population that constant, sustained, and methodical lies and cheating are required to keep it going.

Successful mastery of this traditional American high school diploma program was achieved by 25% of the white population in 1941 (who were MUCH better prepared than the white population of today), this is probably close to the fraction of the white population that should go to high school for four years today.

And "are they at all prepared for college"?

No. They are not at all prepared for college. College is a dysfunctional stew of drug use, intoxication, sexual excess, and petty criminality. Less than 10% of "students" currently in college belong there. If 80% of the college seats vanished tomorrow, the nation would be much better off - except the first to go would be the small fraction who actually belong there.

Compulsory education, or at least its systematic implementation through popular democracy, will destroy our people. The first step to sanity is to end it at grade 8.

There's a reason most high schools look like prisons.

10 posted on 12/03/2017 4:27:39 AM PST by Jim Noble (Single payer is coming. Which kind do you like)
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To: Jacquerie
I imagine the punishment for defrauding the government out of $30 grand might be significant.

It would be trivial next to the punishment for telling the truth.

11 posted on 12/03/2017 4:29:03 AM PST by Jim Noble (Single payer is coming. Which kind do you like)
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To: Jim Noble
"Compulsory education, or at least its systematic implementation through popular democracy, will destroy our people. The first step to sanity is to end it at grade 8." As an educator, I agree that our system is completely broken. However, the we have built our cultural around this system of free day care for the masses. The only way I can see to, somewhat, improve this situation is to create a three tiered, or tracks, education system after grade 8. During grade 8 the students would choose, based on test scores, work samples, and work ethic/interest. These tracks would look something like: Track One -A straight to work path where students learn job and life skills to help them get a job. Track Two -A Technical school track that would prepare students for an associates or a technical type degree. Track Three -This would be a track for the top tier students who are going to a four year university. This tier would include the high maths, sciences, and other skills necessary to truly prepare students for college. Combine this tracking with a discontinuation of the Federal Student loan program and you will happier and better prepared students.
12 posted on 12/03/2017 6:18:33 AM PST by Xenodamus (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. -TJ)
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To: Jacquerie

Atlanta.

Deja vu all over again.


13 posted on 12/03/2017 7:03:55 AM PST by moovova
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To: Kaslin

Atlanta redux.

L


14 posted on 12/03/2017 7:06:06 AM PST by Lurker (President Trump isn't our last chance. President Trump is THEIR last chance.)
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To: Kaslin

Liars gonna lie.

Let’s just see how many complete even 1 year of college.

How bout 1 semester...or 1 class


15 posted on 12/03/2017 8:45:07 AM PST by DanielRedfoot (Po Dunk)
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To: Kaslin
Once again Southpark's satire predicts reality.
16 posted on 12/03/2017 9:32:40 AM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (The first step in ending the war on white people is to recognize it exists.)
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To: Jim Noble

Agree. High Schools, like too much of local government, serve to enrich employees rather than serve the public.


17 posted on 12/03/2017 9:55:36 AM PST by Jacquerie (ArticleVBlog.com)
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To: I want the USA back

40 years ago, I was working as a payroll supervisor. They were changing the system from manual checks to computer system checks for over 750 employees on weekly paychecks in 7 different states in 35+ different locations.

My supervisors decided that I should have an assistant & they put the local head hunters to work.

I got many ‘applicants’, but they were woefully unprepared for such a job. All had high school diplomas, they said.

One applicant still stands out in my mind:

She came in & filled out the application. She claimed to have attended 2 different business schools. I asked her why she didn’t just graduate from the first one & I got a story which didn’t hold water. So I kept up the questioning.

She had written the word bussiness in 3 different places on the application. I strongly felt that IF she had attended 2 different business schools, she should have known how to at least spell that word correctly.

I told her we were still deciding on many applicants & let her leave the office. The head hunter was on the phone with me within 10 minutes, as per their normal follow thru.

She wondered how soon her ‘applicant ‘ would be starting the job. I told her NEVER at this job opening. When she asked why- I told her the lady didn’t have very clear handwriting, which was critical for this opening,and more than that, she could NOT SPELL BUSINESS. She had spelled it wrong in 3 different places on the application.

The head hunter couldn’t understand why that mattered. I tried to explain to her that this office processed PAYROLL checks & permanent records of same. Such information was sent to both Federal & state locations for permanent records, and future Social Security payments. IF the names were NOT spelled correctly from the start, those persons would have a devil of a time getting their correct Social Security payments in the future.

The headhunter didn’t get my point. I told her NOT to send me any more of HER APPLICANTS.

That problem was 40 years ago. Schools have NOT gotten any better. I can spell-—it is just my typing that is bad.

I have been self employed as a bookkeeper/accounting person since 1980, and I still have 2 clients. One has been a client for over 47 years, the other over 44 years. Glad I never hired anyone to help me.


18 posted on 12/03/2017 4:17:40 PM PST by ridesthemiles (uen)
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