Texas School District Reassigns 2 Amid Fed Probe

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

El Paso (Texas) Independent School District officials said that a high school principal and administrator have been reassigned amid a federal probe into allegations that students were improperly placed in grades to improve ratings.

The district said federal investigators are looking into whether students were improperly retained in ninth grade or promoted to 11th grade to avoid tests associated with the No Child Left Behind law.

The district's interim superintendent, Terri Jordan, announced the reassignments during a news conference

"I have made these decisions because of what I can only describe as significant failures in our No. 1 job of educating every student," Jordan said. "These failures occurred during the previous administration, beginning as early as 2008, and for the next three years."

Officials said documents show that educators were instructed to put students transferring from foreign countries in ninth grade regardless of credits obtained in their homeland. El Paso sits across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia strongly denied allegations of wrongdoing before he was indicted on unrelated fraud charges.

Jordan, who was Garcia's chief of staff before being named interim superintendent last year, decided to reassign the officials after reviewing internal audit documents and communications with federal investigators. Those documents showed violations of district policies, possibly illegal falsification of government documents and the improper promotion and retention of students to avoid federal accountability standards, according to the news release.

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