It is almost a given that when you begin investigating a corrupt organization, you run across evidence of new issues you did not know existed. No surprise, NCVPS is just such an organization. While reviewing documents provided to us in response to our public records requests for the APUSH course, we ran across dialogues about other courses. Following is one such dialogue about a non-AP course between two NCVPS teachers and awarding students grades they do not deserve based upon their work in the course.
On July 8, 2016, NCVPS teacher Christy Blankenship reaches out for help from colleagues including Sandra Waters on an issue that is challenging her. She writes:
“I’m wondering what your personal/professional guidelines are when working with a student who is learning English as a second language.
I find it somewhat troublesome that schools will allow ELLs to take core courses over the summer with NO support. That said, the situation is what it is.
I have one student in particular who is just not coming close to meeting the expectations of the assignments. Even after we spoke about TRYING to write things on your own, regardless of word count expectations, I’m still getting stuff that is copy/pasted from the Internet without any other input from the students whatsoever.
I give NO credit for copy/pasted material, but what is a reasonable expectation for a student who just doesn’t speak English very well”
Ignoring for a minute the irony of Blankenship telling Waters that she gives “NO credit for copy/pasted material”, we found the reply from Waters very disheartening:
“I have a student in a similar situation… No English at all, no school support either… I am being very lax in grading, I have spoken to the ela and let them know that while the student will pass, she won’t be more than just proficient in ah1. I am giving a passing grade if the attempt is made”
Clearly, Waters is willing to pass a student who does not deserve the grade, and Blankenship’s reply suggests she is likely to do the same. Waters also laments:
“Agreed and it’s more than frustrating when the schools don’t help”
When we read this exchange, it reminded us that the failure to adequately teach our students is not limited to the NCVPS APUSH course (more on that in our next post), nor to NCVPS AP classes but is much more widespread. This dialogue reflects attitudes by the wider school system – NCVPS courses at all levels, and face-to-face schools, etc. Then we read this article about how school systems in North Carolina are using online credit recovery classes to falsely boost graduation rates without really teaching students. Former Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson frequently cited rising graduation rates as her major achievement in office, and she unreasonably protected NCVPS from investigation into the misconduct we have described. What a sad reality all around.