School achieves huge bump in graduation rate by just passing everyone

Looks like somebody may have finally come up with a better system than Common Core. John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, New York was having a lot of trouble with their numbers. Not enough students were graduating, and that’s bad for business. But rather than messing around with the tedious business of trying to motivate the students and their parents or examine how effective the teachers actually are, they clearly had one of those, wow, I could have had a V-8 moments. In 2009 they were only graduating 56% of their students. But by 2013 – just five short years later – they had boosted that number up to 74%. That’s some incredible progress! But how did they do it?

As it turns out, you can get the graduation numbers up far more efficiently if you just give almost everyone a passing grade.

Teaching kids takes so much effort, staffers at John Dewey HS in Brooklyn have found a quicker way to fix persistent failure rates, sources said: Just let them pass.

Investigators are probing accusations of a massive grade-fixing scheme by educators desperate to boost the graduation rate at Dewey, The Post has learned. Multiple sources claim Dewey is cutting corners by passing kids with the help of a shady “credit recovery” program that students sarcastically call “Easy Pass.”

The system allows failing pupils to get passing grades by playing games, doing work online or taking abbreviated programs that critics argue lack academic rigor.

So they’re calling it “credit recovery” these days. I suppose describing this as lacking academic rigor is fair enough, but I’m guessing that some of our readers could come up with a better summary. The best example provided is the class of students who earned extra credit in science for watching Jurassic Park. To be fair, though, I suppose there’s as much good science in that film as in some public school science classes as long as they’re watching the original. But if it was that dreadful sequel, the parents should complain.

Of course, in some cases you apparently didn’t even have to stay awake for the movie.

There were also blended “Project Graduation” courses, where kids were given an opportunity to earn credit for a variety of subjects. But teachers were stunned when students who failed to pass those courses ended up on the graduation rolls anyway after assistant principals and department changed their grades, sources said.

Through incentive programs initiated under Mayor Bloomberg (yes… that guy) there is tremendous incentive to graduate students. In fact, school administrators who meet the benchmark for how many kids graduate can even collect a cash bonus. What could possibly go wrong?

There is certainly a place for advanced or extra study programs for promising students where productive, extra work can help them bolster their grades and improve their chances at college admission. But that’s generally the exception rather than the rule, and the student is expected to perform some actual work. Just lumping a lot of kids into “extra credit” programs and suddenly seeing the graduation rates leap upward should have been a red flag immediately. But that would have required having somebody on hand who was actively looking for problems.

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