Only 42 percent of DC Public Schools students on track to graduate this year, report says

- A new mid-year report released by D.C. Public Schools says only 42 percent of high school seniors are on track to graduate at the end of this school year. 

The report details how the city’s 3,962 senior students are faring and breaks down the data by each individual high school. Also included in the report is an update on the attendance of these students.

It shows 357 registered senior students have at least 30 unexcused absences in at least one course so far this school year and 680 students have at least 10 unexcused absences.

This new information was released before an education oversight committee hearing was held Thursday where new interim D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Amanda Alexander testified.

She said her number one priority is addressing absenteeism. However, she stated it can't fixed by D.C. Public Schools alone.

“Attendance is just not about attendance. It's about transportation issues, housing issues and economic instability that causes families to shuffle and not be able to get their kids to school on time,” Alexander said. “There is a need for other agencies to join us in this fight to get kids to school on time.”

While 42 percent of students are on track to graduate, the mid-year report also points out that the school district expects the number to rise as students are able to pass their current courses, complete credit recovery courses or go to summer school.

The school system's graduation rate has been under heightened scrutiny after an independent audit of D.C. Public Schools revealed 34 percent of students who graduated last year failed to meet graduation policies. This investigation was sparked by a report that claimed most of the 2017 graduating class at Ballou High School may have lacked the requirements to graduate, mainly due to poor attendance records.

An audit performed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education found teachers at Ballou were pressured by the principal and assistant principals to pass students who had not mastered the material and had excessive absences.

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