Claims surface that credit recovery program for students is 'deceptive'

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There are more concerns about the state-wide Credit Recovery Program, which allows students who are failing in their regular classes to make up those credits at a credit recovery center.

Sources say Charlotte Mecklenburg School District (CMS) students who also fail in the credit recovery program are still given a high school diploma. The sources say this type of behavior is not right for students who stay in class the entire year, complete their work, and pass the class.

"It's unfair to them that students get inside of a credit recovery and pass within two days and get a diploma," one source said.

After WBTV aired the story Thursday, education advocate Lindalyn Kakadelis, a senior consultant with North Carolina Education Strategies and a former CMS School Board Member, reached out through email. She claims families and students are being deceived when it comes to the recovery program.

Kakadelis described a conversation a teacher had with a student after the first day of school one year.

"The student looked at the teacher after class, said, 'I really don't give a damn. I don't have to do anything you tell me to do. I can take credit recovery and get my credits and graduate,'" Kakadelis said.

Kakadelis says state policy allows this to happen. She says the policy is very relaxed and needs to be tightened to ensure the community that all students are college and career ready when they receive a CMS high school diploma.

"There is nothing in the policy to give any guidance to credit recovery," Kakadelis said. "Based on this policy, a diploma could be as little as an attendance award."

Over the past four years, Kakadelis says she has contacted members of the State Board of Education concerning what she calls the "deception" of the Credit Recovery Programs.

"My concerns stem from conversations with teachers I served with," Kakadelis said. "Seems high school students, who do little-to-nothing, or nothing, in their classes know failing means they can take Credit Recovery and gain credit for the class."

The advocate says this is not just a CMS problem, but a problem the state needs to tackle.

"The bigger problem of the whole issue is the State Board of Education does no monitoring," Kakadelis said. "They cannot tell you how many students use this pathway statewide. They cannot tell you the rigor of the material that is being used to supplant the class."

Kakadelis says her concern is finally getting the attention of local school leaders. She says she has expressed her complaints to Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board member Eric Davis. He is also a member of the State Board of Education.

Kakadelis says Davis told her the CMS superintendent is looking into how credit recovery programs work and if there are any issues.

State leaders have not responded to WBTV's requests for comment, and the CMS superintendent wasn't available for comment on Monday.

Kakadelis says she will continue to push state leaders to take a good, hard look at the state's recovery program. She admits if it is thoroughly examined, it could lower the state's graduation rates.

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