I received an email from Adell Cothorne, who was a central figure in bringing the DC cheating scandal to light. She is now running a cupcake shop in Ellicot City, Maryland. She told me she misses education and wants to get back into the schools. I asked her to write for the blog and hope that she will, though I understand that her lawyer may limit what she can say.

Adell took a huge risk when she worked in DC. She saw cheating and she reported it. She recognized that the children were being cheated so that administrators could falsely claim astonishing gains. She blew the whistle, and she paid the price.

For her integrity and courage, I am happy to name Adell Cothorne a hero of public education. She joins our honor roll.

She put students first.

She sacrificed her career to put students first.

She took a risk to put students first.

Adell left a good job in high-performing Montgomery County to work in DC. She took over Noyes school, which had seen a meteoric score increase. Her predecessor, Wayne Ryan, won $20,000 in bonuses and was promoted by Michelle Rhee to supervise other principals.

Adell quickly realized that the students at Noyes had not made miraculous gains. She began to suspect systematic cheating. She walked in on a group of teachers changing student answers on the DC tests. She reported her concerns to higher-up administrators but nothing was done.

She appeared on John Merrow’s Frontline program, repeating what happened. She had o leave the district and she now has sued the district as a whistleblower. Kaya Henderson, the chancellor, insists there was no cheating and that Cothorne is trying to benefit financially.

This is character assassination. It reflects badly on Henderson.

Cothorne took a stand. She saw cheating and she reported it. Why would she invent a story hat cost her her job?

One need only look at the astonishing rise and equally astonishing fall of Noyes’ test scores to know that there was chicanery. Where is Wayne Ryan, Rhee’s star principal? Why did he quietly resign and disappear? Why doesn’t he step up and explain why the scores went up so fast and tumbled down so fast?