In Baltimore, it is being reported that dead students continued to be enrolled in classes. Why? The answer lies in three letters: FTE, or Full Time Enrollment. Schools get money that is dependent upon how many students are enrolled in the school.
When I was a teacher, I had a student who died in a car accident. Even though I was notified by the Principal of his death, the student continued to be carried on my rolls. Since taking attendance is a legal requirement, I marked him absent. After a week of this, I was contacted by the Principal and she told me that every time I did this, the computer system was calling the mother with an automated message, which stated “Your student was absent from Science class today.” The Principal said, “Do you have any idea how upsetting that is?” I said, “Well, he isn’t here. Maybe we could change the mother’s number in the system, or remove him from classes.” The Principal said “We are working on that. For now, just mark him as present.” I asked her to email those instructions to me. She got angry and refused. I marked him present as I was told.
That continued for a month. As a teacher, you do what you are told, or your contract won’t be renewed for the next school year.
Now the news from Baltimore was far worse than that, in that they carried the dead students for years. However, the difference is one of degree, not of principle. So, I can believe it.