Previously redacted findings released in City Schools investigation
BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF) -- After first refusing, North Avenue has released its findings from an internal investigation into alleged grade changing at a Baltimore City high school (which can be found on this page).
Project Baltimore sued to get the results of the investigation which centered on Northwood Appold Community Academy II, or NACA II. The findings had been redacted. As a result, Fox45 pressed forward with the lawsuit. Now that they have been released, we’re still left with many questions.
The investigator states, in the findings of the report, that there’s no evidence to support the allegations. Six seniors had grades changed, but for legitimate reasons. Not much was learned from the findings, which raises the question, why were they redacted in the first place? And why do the recommendations remain blacked out? What doesn’t City Schools want you to see?
“That’s what it all boils down to - enough transparency so you can see whether the people who are acting in your name are doing a good job,” says Lucy Dalglish, the University of Maryland Dean of Journalism, who sat down with Project Baltimore in December.
Roland Brown is the attorney for the former principal of NACA II. Back in August, he told Project Baltimore his client did nothing wrong. She had no comment when Fox45 reached out again for this story. It appears she also had no comment for investigators as she elected not to be interviewed about the allegations, which leads to a few more questions. How can the report be considered complete when the principal, the focus of the investigation, elected not to participate and only 4 of the school’s 17 teachers were interviewed?
“Every adult involved should have been interviewed and it should be publicly available for the public to see. These are public schools,” says Jeanne Allen from the Center for Education Reform.
As Project Baltimore reported on Monday, the investigation was not about if grade changing was happening, it was about if the principal directed or had knowledge of it. And we learned the District’s own investigator confirms an “unwritten policy” in City Schools where failing grades of 58 percent or 59 percent are rounded-up to 60 percent, which is passing. We would like to know, is that evidence of grade changing? Which takes us to our last question about this investigation, why didn’t North Avenue want anyone to see it?
“I think it’s in the public’s interest to know that,” says Dalglish. “Because, at the best it’s not appropriate, at the worst it may be illegal.”
We reached out to Baltimore City Schools with these questions two weeks ago and received this statement this week: “As we have said consistently, anything less than the highest standards of accuracy and integrity in grade reporting does a deep disservice to our students. To ensure that the public can have confidence in the accuracy of grade reporting, early this school year we provided school leaders with detailed guidance on required practices and processes regarding grade-changing and instituted mandatory training for grade reporters. We will continue to investigate thoroughly any new allegations of grade changing, and we will closely monitor implementation of required practices and processes to ensure that students and families can be confident that their grade reports are an accurate reflection of achievement."