If you have followed the story of the D.C. Cheating scandal, you know that suspicious test scores were flagged at a large number of schools in the district during Michelle Rhee’s tenure. Rhee met with every single principal and got a commitment to raise test scores or be fired. This pressure was effective in perverse ways.
Jay Mathews here explains what happened in stark and alarming detail.
The epicenter of the cheating scandal was Noyes campus, where the gains were meteoric. The principal, Wayne Ryan, was given star treatment and elevated to the central office. The school received a Blue Ribbon award for its incredible test score gains.
Ryan’s successor, Adele Cothorne, came from Montgomery County, a high-performing district in Maryland. She quickly realized that the students’ skill levels did not match the claims. She suspected cheating. She reported her suspicions to two administrators in central office. (One of them, Josh Edelman, is the brother of Jonah Edelman, head of Stand for Children.)
But who got into trouble? The principal who reported her suspicions.
Now, the matter is in the courts. Adele Cothorne has left education, and D.C. officials deny all her claims, as they deny that there was ever cheating, anywhere, in any school. They apparently hope the matter will disappear if they stand together, attack Cothorne’s credibilty, and deny everything.
Just close your eyes, click your heels twice, and try to believe that passing rates can jump up by 40 points, bonuses given out, high-fives for all, then drop down another 40 points. But nobody did nothing.
Move on, move on, nothing to see here.