Education Fake News: Black High School “Miracle” was Fraud

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

Rather than investigate an obvious scam, the media published education fake news until forced by whistleblowers.

The media now reports this as possible school malfeasance, but their education fake news story was part of the problem. There is no way that anyone could be legitimately naïve enough to believe this story.

If you paid attention to that story and how if performed (or failed to do so) in 2016 to its phenomenal record this year you said to yourself “How is that possible?”

Yet, not one reporter asked himself that same question! NPR even extolled the school:

Ballou is in the southeast region of D.C. and by nearly any measure, the school is struggling. Staff at Ballou are tasked with overcoming major barriers established by poverty.

“Often, black students in an urban environment are not told that college could be the next step,” says Yetunde Reeves, the school’s principal.

Last school year, the graduation rate was just 57 percent. And, when it came to meeting citywide standards in English, only 3 percent of students passed. No one passed the math.

But now the truth begins to come out as NPR reports, “What Really Happened At The School Where Every Graduate Got Into College.

An investigation by WAMU and NPR has found that Ballou High School’s administration graduated dozens of students despite high rates of unexcused absences. We reviewed hundreds of pages of Ballou’s attendance records, class rosters and emails after a district employee shared the private documents. 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.

According to district policy, if a student misses a class 30 times, he should fail that course. Research shows that missing 10 percent of school, about two days per month, can negatively affect test scores, reduce academic growth and increase the chances a student will drop out.

Teachers say when many of these students did attend school, they struggled academically, often needing intense remediation.

“I’ve never seen kids in the 12th grade that couldn’t read and write,” says Butcher about his two decades teaching in low-performing schools from New York City to Florida. But he saw this at Ballou, and it wasn’t just one or two students.

An internal email obtained by WAMU and NPR from April shows two months before graduation, only 57 students were on track to graduate, with dozens of students missing graduation or community service requirements or failing classes needed to graduate. In June, 164 students received diplomas.

“It was smoke and mirrors. That is what it was,” says Butcher.

Read the entire NPR story.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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