Ever since John Merrow realized that Michelle Rhee was a con artist, he has been on a tear, exposing the fraudulent  claims of reformers.

One of them is that the District of Columbia is a paradigm of reform, the very quintessence of the miracles that happen when test scores are the center of a system of rewards and punishments.

The recent graduation rate scandal sent a loud signal, bringing back memories of the test score scandal in 2011 that was swept under the rug.

Merrow writes here:

“The emperor has no clothes, and it’s high time that everyone acknowledged that. Proof positive is Washington, DC, long the favorite of the ‘school reform’ crowd, which offered it as evidence that test-based reforms that rewarded teachers for high student scores (and fired those with low scores) was the magic bullet for turning around troubled urban school districts.

“But now we know that about one-third of recent DC high school graduates–900 students– had no business receiving diplomas, and that they marched across the stage last Spring because some adults changed their grades or pushed them through the farce known as ‘credit recovery,’ in which students can receive credit for a semester by spending a few hours over a week’s time in front of a computer.

“The reliable Catherine Gewertz of Education Week provides a through (and thoroughly depressing) account of the DC story, which she expands to include data from DC teachers:  “In a survey of 616 District of Columbia teachers conducted after the scandal broke, 47 percent said they’d felt pressured or coerced into giving grades that didn’t accurately reflect what students had learned. Among high school teachers, that number rose to 60 percent. More than 2 in 10 said that their student grades or attendance data had been changed by someone else after teachers submitted them.”

First came George W. Bush’s “raise the test scores” campaign, followed by Arne Duncan’s “raise the graduation rate campaign.” Both of them produced lies (cf. Campbell’s Law).  Both superficial reforms proved to be malignant in their impact upon students, teachers, and schools.  Students were lied to about their proficiency, administrators and teachers cheated, school curricula were debased, standards were lowered, and confidence in public schools dropped.

Republicans and Democrats (CAP) are scrambling to work around this latest debacle.

Merrow reminds his readers: Henderson=Rhee. No change. No evidence that Antwan Wilson will change anything because he comes from the same cult of test-and-punish.

Another setback for “reformers,” who never admit failure even as their sand castles dissolve.