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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

After the DC scandal, 42% on track to graduate

Washington D.C.’s Ballou High, which bragged about getting every graduate into college, handed out diplomas to students with months of absences, a WAMU/NPR story revealed.

Ballou High graduated students with 90 days of absences or more.

Now that students have to show up and pass classes, the graduation rate is expected to fall sharply, reports Perry Stein in the Washington Post.

Last year, DCPS reported a 73 percent graduation rate. This year, only 42 percent of seniors attending traditional public schools are on track to graduate in four years. Another 19 percent, labeled “moderately off-track,” might earn enough credits via credit recovery or summer school.

At Anacostia High, the school with the smallest percentage, only 19 percent of seniors have passed or are passing the classes required to receive their diplomas. . . . At Ballou High — the school at the epicenter of the district’s graduation scandal — 27 percent of seniors are on track to graduate. Wilson, the city’s highest-performing comprehensive high school, has 56 percent of students on track to receive their diplomas.

Graduation rates are higher at the district’s magnet and selective schools.

When students who’ve earned high school diplomas without showing up to class go to college, what happens? You won’t be shocked. They fail, writes Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, which admits many D.C. students

Because attendance is closely linked to success, Trinity Washington professors “take attendance in every class,” she writes. No-shows are linked to “advisers, tutors, counselors and an extensive network of support services.”

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