Auditors say law broken, policy & guidance lacking at Houston campus

It was barely three months ago that Houston Independent School District was immersed in a public relations nightmare with a high school principal fired for grade fixing and troubling allegations of grade inflation on a half dozen campuses.

Parents are likely to wonder what, if anything, has been done over the summer break to address the scandal.

After all the turmoil, Houston ISD's auditors generated a 15-page report focused almost exclusively on the massive failure at Westbury High School.

The report identifies a near complete absence of clear HISD guidelines and oversight of grading by substitute teachers.

The shortfall allowed former Westbury Principal Jason Catchings to elevate the failing marks of students as he improperly served as "teacher of record" for more than 30 uncertified instructors.

Auditors say the District violated Texas law by failing to inform parents that literally hundreds of students were being instructed by uncertified teachers.

HISD says it is establishing new rules and will insist that all grading be overseen by fully certified educators.

The audit also urged enforcement of existing rules against asking teachers to award a minimum grade even when a student has done little or no passing work.

Absent from the the auditors report is any substantial mention of lingering grade fixing allegations at Pershing Middle School and Reagan, Yates and Madison high schools.

Former Principal Catchings was recently awarded a cash settlement of five months pay and was allowed to resign rather than a have termination on his official record.