What Really Happened At Ballou, The D.C. High School Where Every Senior Got Into College

“I’ve never seen kids in the 12th grade that couldn’t read and write,” said Butcher, who has more than two decades of teaching experience in low-performing schools from New York City to Florida. But he saw students like that at Ballou — and it wasn’t just one or two.


Ballou HS DC, Image WTOP


Hey, screw it. Let’s just graduate them all!

And it’s not like piles and piles of money aren’t poured into DC schools. (Look at the picture above.) Much more per student than most places.

No wonder things are eroding. There is such a culture of bulls–t in some public schools that we now have a generation of kids who think they are owed a living. No matter what they produce, they deserve a living. They deserve to graduate from high school. Why? Because a diploma doesn’t mean anything anymore anyway right? But it IS a check in a box for the great BS system. And this goes all the way up to graduate school in some cases.

A society built on lies will have problems. As we see.

(From WAMU)

For months after June’s commencement, the school received national media attention, including from NPR, celebrating its achievement.

But all the excitement and accomplishment couldn’t shake one question from Butcher’s mind:

How did all these students graduate from high school?

“You saw kids walking across the stage, who, they’re nice young people, but they don’t deserve to be walking across the stage,” Butcher said.

Butcher’s concerns were not unwarranted.

An investigation by WAMU and NPR has found that Ballou High School’s administration graduated dozens of students despite high rates of unexcused absences. WAMU and NPR reviewed hundreds of pages of Ballou’s attendance records, class rosters and emails after a DCPS employee shared the private documents. The documents showed that half of the graduates missed more than three months of school last year, unexcused. One in five students was absent more than present — missing more than 90 days of school.

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