Statement from Raise DC's Executive Director and Co-Chairs:
Like so many in the District of Columbia, Raise DC has been closely following the recent investigation and reports regarding DC Public Schools’ high school attendance and graduation outcomes.
While much attention is currently being paid to outcomes of our high school seniors, we know many of the challenges these students face don’t begin in 12th grade, nor can they be addressed by teachers and school administrators alone. The investigation's findings reflect breakdowns in the ecosystem – beyond DCPS – that led to youth who were not equipped with the skills needed to graduate. This underscores the importance of taking a cradle-to-career approach to education – one that charges adults across various sectors with the responsibility to work collaboratively to support students in ways that can position them for success through their entire academic journeys and into the workforce.
The reality in DC is that far too many of our students are not academically where they need to be. A cradle-to-career approach emphasizes the importance of creating the right conditions for success early on in a child’s life. It also recognizes the responsibility of meeting students where they are today and offering viable options for students to show we won’t give up on them. Tools such as credit recovery can provide that needed second chance, but only if the tools are used well and sparingly, instead of as a broad-brush solution to fix larger systemic challenges.
The investigation's findings are sobering, and adults in the District need to take collective responsibility and confront the underlying problems that have led to this current reality to shape a better way moving forward. Raise DC remains steadfast and committed to working closely with our many multi-sector partners to create a citywide system in which all DC children and youth have opportunities to thrive.