MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Last week it was revealed that Alabama's huge jump in high school graduation rates between 2011 and 2015 was not accurate, to put it mildly.
Occupational Diplomas were counted as graduates, something not allowed by the U.S. Department of Education. And an unnamed number of local school systems increased their graduation rates by awarding credits that were not earned.
This makes Alabama's education system look bad, but that's not the worst of it.
It is a disservice to those students who earned a diploma, but may not be the worst of it either.
Perhaps the worst thing is what this says to all Alabama public school students and their parents: that it's OK to bend the rules or ignore the facts or cheat or even lie… that the ends justify the means.
Now it's time to say the right thing to our young people: that we admit when we're wrong and we fix our mistakes.
We should hold the system and individuals accountable for these transgressions.
New state Superintendent Michael Sentance has ordered a review and restructuring of the State Department of Education's methods. I hope he gets this problem fixed so that we can go about the business of improving public education, not misrepresenting it.