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Goodloe-Johnson apologizes for misrepresenting high school rates

Gary Davis/KPLU
Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson apologized for an oft-repeated bad statistic about high school college-readiness rates. Goodloe-Johnson is seen here in at a school board meeting earlier this year.

It was a mistake that led to misinforming the public, says Seattle schools chief Maria Goodloe-Johnson.  She apologized at last night’s Seattle School Board meeting.  Goodloe-Johnson says she wants to assure the public that changes have been made to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

The school district originally published an alarming number – claiming that just 17% of high school graduates meet the requirements to enter a four-year college. The real number is 46%.

Dozens of community leaders then repeated the more dramatic number in public speeches.  The Seattle Times reports Goodloe-Johnson is calling them to personally apologize, including state Rep. Reuven Carlyle:

"In my view," he said, "it's really the first time I have seen this administration finally acknowledge a level of ownership of a really important mistake." The district, he said, didn't realize the number had become such a touchstone. "I used it in committee many, many times," he said. "I used it on the House floor. And I'm really profoundly personally embarrassed for my community and my district and my city."

Earlier, the district had  corrected the number, once the error became public, a story first reported by The Times' Linda Shaw.  Members of the school board's Executive Committee urged Goodloe-Johnson to apologize.

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