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City Schools Investigation confirms grades “rounded-up” to pass students

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BALTIMORE (WBFF)-- It’s the report Baltimore City Public Schools didn’t want you to see. It took FOX45 suing City Schools to get it. But now, after six months, the first results of the district’s internal investigation into allegations of grade changing at Northwood Appold Community Academy II, or NACA II, have been released.

Buried in a footnote, the investigator confirms an “unwritten practice” of rounding-up failing grades of 58% or 59% to 60% to pass students. This unwritten practice isn’t happening just at NACA II, according to the report, it’s happening within the Baltimore City Schools System.

“It is absolutely grade changing. And I would argue illegal grade changing,” says Jeanne Allen, CEO of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, DC. “It's tragic because these students will not have accomplished one of the most important things they need to accomplish to be productive and contribute to society.”

Despite this “unwritten practice” of rounding up failing grades to passing, the investigator found the allegations “unsubstantiated”. Because, according to the report, the investigation was not about whether grades were being changed, but if the principal “directed or had knowledge” of any grade changing. And despite the investigator’s efforts, the principal elected not to be interviewed by anyone from Baltimore City Public Schools.

Project Baltimore also found that only four of the 17 teachers at NACA II were questioned in what the report calls “an extensive investigation.”

“Every adult involved should have been interviewed,” says Allen. “I think this was absolutely intended to get the outcome they wanted.”

Nearly two weeks before filing this report, Project Baltimore sent North Avenue a list of questions about its investigation, which included why the “findings” and “recommendations” are redacted. FOX45 was told a statement was forthcoming. We’re still waiting.

“This is something you need to bring in people from outside, who have some objectivity,” says Allen. “I would call this investigation not really an investigation. I would call it a review that is intended to protect a system that long ago ceased to do what it was supposed to do, educate our kids.”

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