Graduating high school is an important milestone, which parents, students, and teachers often remember for many years to come.
Obtaining a high school diploma is the first step a young person takes in their adult life toward being qualified to move on with their professional future. They can either decide to attend college or a university, receive vocational training, or enter the workforce at a company, which requires them to have at least a high school diploma for an entry-level job.
Every spring, millions of high school students achieve this milestone across the country and attend graduation ceremonies for their loved ones to enjoy. Unfortunately, in too many of this nation’s public school districts, a growing number of high school students do not earn enough credits to graduate with their peers every year.
With the national high school dropout rate consistently remaining at a unacceptable level annually, many U.S. state education departments are under an increased amount of pressure to improve the overall graduation rates in the districts within their borders. One U.S. state was willing to do this at any cost.
According to the website of National Public Radio (NPR), the superintendent of the department of education in the U.S. state of Alabama recently admitted to overstating the 2016 high school graduation rates in a number of school districts. Michael Sentence, the head of Alabama’s education department revealed this at a recent state school board meeting.
“This is not one of those situations where it’s just smoke. There is in fact fire,” Sentence said, according to NPR.org.
“[We] misstated student records …resulting in diplomas that were not honestly earned. This is a black eye for the department and it makes the education system here look bad, and in some ways undeservedly so,” Sentence also said at the recent board meeting.
In turn, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education has performed a federal audit on Alabama’s state education department to investigate how far officials went to lie about increased graduation rates. It is not clear at this point whether or not more serious action will be taken to render consequences for this major case of state-sanctioned fraud.