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Thompson: A SIG Success Story is Audited

DouglassOrdinarily, Oklahoma City’s Douglass High School would be proclaimed as a School Improvement Grant (SIG) success story: 

In 2012, it posted double-digit increases in four subjects, single-digit gains in four, and declines in only three tests.  After replacing 75% of its faculty, investing heavily in after-school tutoring and intersession remediation, and implementing its SIG "academic intervention plan," the high school earned a “C” on Oklahoma’s tough new report card.  It earned “A’s” for overall student growth, its graduation rate, advanced coursework, and “overall school improvement.”  

Douglass, however, is being investigated for awarding credits to students who have not earned them.  Now, the Daily Oklahoman's Carrie Coppernoll, in Douglass Transcript Finds Spur Call for Wider Auditing, reports that less than 20% of Douglass’ seniors are on track to graduate. To ameliorate the harm to its seniors, Douglass has no short-term option but to double-down on the full array of “credit recovery” shortcuts that got the school in the mess by “passing students on.” The lastest twist, ironically, grows out the Oklahoma Gazette's Freedom of Information request.  Jerry Bohnen, in "A Tale of Email," confirms that the former principal changed grades.  The district explains that those grade-changes would not have been appropriate under its policies, but they may have been consistent with SIG standards.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.    

 

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One wonders how the Oklahoma City Public Schools officials define "succeed". It appears that their focus is on the immediate crisis of helping seniors and juniors to accumulate credits fast enough so that they can receive high school diplomas on time. But "graduate", etymologically speaking, means "progress to the next level"; and what will these students be progressing to? Rather than being prepared for college and career, they are likely to be prepared for neither, except perhaps the least demanding (and desirable) careers. This might be viewed as the real crisis: that the leadership's plans to fix the problem will leave the students almost as defenceless and unprepared for the future as if no interventions were forthcoming at all.

"The district explains that those grade-changes would not have been appropriate under its policies, but they may have been consistent with SIG standards."

I'm pretty sure that falsifying students' records is not consistent with federal SIG standards.

i think you have a great site here... today was my first time coming here.. i just happened to find it doing a google search. anyway, great post.

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