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Grade Inflation and Visiting The Heights: Wednesday’s Show (May 20, 2015)

Earlier this month, internal HISD auditors confirmed the now-fired principal of Westbury High School ordered failing grades in a reading class to be raised to a B. Jason Catchings is appealing the dismissal. (His attorney told Fox 26 that Catchings was operating under orders from a superior, and then told the Houston Chronicle the changes were intended to […]

Earlier this month, internal HISD auditors confirmed the now-fired principal of Westbury High School ordered failing grades in a reading class to be raised to a B. Jason Catchings is appealing the dismissal. (His attorney told Fox 26 that Catchings was operating under orders from a superior, and then told the Houston Chronicle the changes were intended to be temporary, while the failing grades — given by a long-term sub — were verified).

But Westbury’s not the only Houston public school under the microscope lately for signs of grade inflation. While Reagan High School was recently cleared of wrongdoing by HISD’s Office of Internal Audit, on Monday HISD told Fox 26 internal auditors expanded their investigation to include Pershing Middle School.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Fox 26 News Reporter Greg Groogan about what’s known, and what might be the ensuing fallout from these investigations.

Also this hour: Fifty years ago George Beto, Director of the Texas Department of Corrections, and Arleigh Templeton, President of what was then Sam Houston State College, lobbied the state legislature to establish an Institute of Contemporary Corrections and Behavioral Science. This program would aim to lead the nation in the study of criminology, corrections and behavioral research. Today, it’s called the College of Criminal Justice, and it continues to research law enforcement, corrections, victim services, forensics and security. We learn more about that research from Dr. Larry Hoover, Director of the Police Research Center at Sam Houston State University.

Then: As Houston’s population continues to grow, some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods are undergoing changes. Among them: The Heights. In the latest installment of our occasional series of conversations about Greater Houston neighborhoods, Maggie Martin heads to The Heights to talk with residents about how their neighborhood has changed.

And: Houston Public Media’s Troy Schulze talks with artist Michael Petry, whose work is on display now at the Hiram Butler Gallery, about incorporating mathematics into his art — in particular, his piece AT the Core of the Algorithm, which features clusters of blown-glass spheres, arranged based on an algorithm.

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