Read your classmates’ responses.
- Reflect and substantively comment on two or more of their posts in a back and forth discussion.
- Comment on ideas your classmates had about the situation that you had not thought of or approached in your own post.
- I just need one or two paragraph response with resarch
The Washington DC Public School District has been plagued with scandal in recent years. While multiple scandals have been uncovered, the most troubling of them all is the misreported graduation rates. In 2017, the district reported a “73 percent, [graduation rate], compared with 53 percent in 2011” (Khalil, 2018). While at first those numbers look encouraging, they really are not accurate. For example, “investigators found that attendance records at Dunbar High School had been altered 4,000 times to mark absent students present. The school system is now being investigated by both the FBI and the U.S. Education Department” (Khalil, 2018). Students with excessive absences were getting to graduate. Unfortunately, the desire to increase graduation rates has caused “a system wide culture that pressured teachers to favor graduation rates over all else” (Khalil, 2018).
As an administrator in this situation it would be imperative to step back and first address the real issue, which is the dishonestly that has been allowed to go on for far too long. Unfortunately, the pressure to grow graduation rates made people so desperate to achieve the goals they were given that they made choices that were dishonest, and in the end the people it hurt the most were the students. No student should be given a diploma if they do not deserve one. It only will end up doing that student more harm than good when he goes out into the world unprepared. The first step I would take is to use my core value and strength of responsibility to take ownership of the situation and start to build trust amongst the staff and families I serve. Transparency would be very important, as that is the first step in regaining the trust of all stakeholders. Moving forward I would make sure it was clear to all that it doesn’t matter what the data says. The most important thing to consider is student impact. Instead of changing attendance data, work to make sure kids come to school, and if they do not, hold them accountable for it. While these things are easier said than done, I do believe as authority figures, if we model honesty and work towards fixing problems instead of covering them up, graduation rates would improve. Maybe not as quickly as we wish they would, but they would be accurate. In the end, that is what is needed; honesty and integrity in our school systems. If the pressure was place on helping students and not fixating on data, I believe morale would improve greatly. Put the focus back on the students, and everything else will fall into place.
In September 2015, Scott Westerhuis turned a gun upon his wife and three children, set his lavish home on fire and then shot himself. At the time, Westerhuis was the business manager of the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative. This firm was responsible for administering the South Dakota Gear-Up Program, which was intended to help disadvantaged Native American students receive state assistance for college. Instead, Westerhuis directed millions of dollars to be diverted into nonprofit organizations that solely benefitted himself. The day after the SD Department of Education cancelled all funding for the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, Westerhuis killed himself and his family, instead of being held accountable for his actions.
As I consider this case, it surprises me that one could funnel so much money out of an organization before his actions were finally questioned. In my experience, every business entity holds a minimum yearly audit in which transactions are scrutinized. Now that this scandal has unfolded, I can imagine as an incoming administrator, I would insist in transparency and that all funds are accounted for and that there is no conflict of interest in doing business with associated organizations. I would welcome state officials that monitor and operate educational programs into the office to conduct training and seminars to stakeholders regarding expectations moving forward. I would work hard to gain the trust of not only the state officials, but of community members and staff employees. The values that I hold dear: “my family, my love for others, my positive attitude, my service to others and my wish to make an impact or transformation through my work and personal deeds” (Kaaz, 2019) would be essential in rebuilding this organization from the ground up.
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