CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox is addressing allegations that credit recovery centers are allowing students who are failing in their classes to still receive their high school diploma. Some people believe this is an effort to increase graduation rates for CMS. Wilcox launched an investigation Monday by informing his staff to look into it.
"We take these allegations very seriously," Wilcox said. "We are trying to reach to those who lead the credit recovery centers. We also trying to spend a great deal of time looking at records so we can see trends - so we can see who made something that just defies logic."
The three high schools that are under investigation are West Charlotte, West Mecklenburg and Harding University. Credit recovery centers are facilities designed for students who are failing a class in their regular high schools. The students then attend a credit recovery center where they take the class online to help achieve a passing grade.
Sources say teachers are coaxing students into choosing the right answer during tests so those students can pass. Sources claim a student who was attending a credit recovery center graduated from high school with a .3 GPA.
"It doesn't feel right," Wilcox said. "It doesn't pass the smell test. How do you go through four years of high school and never have a class where you're doing even on average with the other kids are doing, so I think we really have to look at this."
Charlotte's superintendent says he could learn more about the investigation as early as Wednesday. Wilcox didn't say whether any staff members will face disciplinary action if it is proven that inappropriate actions took place. The superintendent says once he gets results, he will share that information with the school board in a closed door session and will possibly share the information with the community.
Wilcox is ready to address this problem. "The good thing about CMS is we have never shied away from addressing a challenge after acknowledging it exists," Wilcox said.
State policy allows the use of credit recovery programs. Educators believe the policy is weak and allows failing students to still graduate. Leaders with the State Board of Education say they will not address this matter while CMS' investigation is ongoing.