Here is a switch: Parents at a charter high school in New Orleans suspected massive cheating and hired a law firm to conduct an investigation. They were right. There was massive cheating.

 

 

Landry-Walker High School’s 2013-14 test results were so amazing that some New Orleans education insiders doubted they were valid. More students at Landry-Walker than at Lusher Charter, a selective-admissions school, aced geometry. In biology, the school was fourth-best in the city.

 

Skeptical of the numbers, the school’s parent organization, the Algiers Charter School Association, launched a 16-month investigation — without telling Landry-Walker’s principal — into what some feared could be widespread, teacher-enabled cheating. The association undertook a detailed analysis of student performance, hired outside lawyers and, for the spring 2015 round of testing, placed independent monitors in every single examination room at its flagship school, according to internal documents.

 

When the 2014-15 test results came back, Landry-Walker’s scores fell off a cliff. The percentage of students getting top marks in geometry fell by 51 points.