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Solving DC Problems Solving DC Problems

Idea Submitted by E.M.

Teacher Review of Student Academic Records Helps Prevent Alterations and Misuse for Graduation. Council: Give Teachers Statutory Access and Make Tampering with Student Records Illegal.

Imagine schools where:

-students roam the halls and come to class with headsets and cells, but neither homework nor notebooks;

-privileged staff members are excused to attend graduate courses during duty hours or earn high salaries in jobs with vague and invented job descriptions;

-federal special education funds are diverted;

-principals conceal these abuses by withholding financial reports and by awarding diplomas to students despite missing or unearned graduation requirements.

Imagine, too, a school system whose top officials routinely disregard teachers' reports of mismanagement. That "High-Risk" school system isn't imaginary; it's DCPS.

Fixing an "At-Risk" school system requires the statutory empowerment of teachers to review financial reports. Since teachers have a professional stake in the integrity of student academic records and, as "school officials" per the federal Buckley Amendment, are authorized to view student records, teacher access to student academic records constitutes an internal transparency check against their alteration and misuse to hide mismanagement and failure to educate.

The D.C. Council should enact legislation,

A. Giving teachers access to school financial reports and, under Buckley Amendment authority, student academic records;

B. Penalizing

- Diversion of appropriated funds;

- Alteration of student academic records;

- Awarding of diplomas to students who haven't completed graduation requirements;

- Failure of DCPS officials to correct internal reports of violations.

When principals can no longer withhold public financial records, manipulate student records or award unearned diplomas, and DCPS officials are held accountable for failure to correct reported violations, mismanagement will have nowhere to hide.

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