Once a National Model, D.C. Schools Now Target of FBI Investigation

February 6, 2018

For much of the past decade the D.C. school system has been the crown jewel of public policy in the nation’s capital, held up as a national model for education reformers and a shared source of pride for the District’s fractious elected officials.

Former U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan pointed to the District as an example of “what can happen when schools embrace innovative reforms and do the hard work necessary to ensure that all students graduate ready for college and careers.” Philanthropists have poured more than $120 million into the school system since 2007.

Many are now asking whether that confidence was misplaced.

With the revelation this week that more than 900 students — one-third of last year’s high school graduates — should not have been awarded diplomas because of truancy and other problems, the school system has turned virtually overnight into an embarrassment for the city and its elected leaders, who are publicly re-examining their assumptions about the system’s progress.

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