Remember all the hype about the amazing District of Columbia schools, about how they had improved more than any other urban district thanks to the reforms launched by Michelle Rhee and nurtured by her successor Kaya Henderson? Test scores rising, graduation rates soaring.

The hype seems to be unraveling.

An audit in January reported that fully 1/3 of graduating students had not met minimum standards to graduate.

Now, G.F. Brandenburg says that the scandals continue.

He writes:

“Not in my wildest dreams could I make this stuff up about how completely incompetent and criminal is the leadership of DC Public Schools. But these incidents are all reported in today’s Washington Post.

“1. The flagship DC high school for the performing arts, Duke Ellington, was found to have fraudulently given about 30% of its highly-coveted student slots to kids whose families neither lived in DC nor paid out-of-state tuition. Those fraudulent slots of course meant that hundreds of talented DC students were rejected. (Part of the reason for Ellington leaders getting away with this is the overlapping public and private leadership of the school, allowing them to report much less detail to any central authority. Similar to the situation in charter schools here and elsewhere.)

“2. Somebody has fraudulently erased the records of unexcused first-semester absences for a bunch of students at Roosevelt SHS so they would be eligible to graduate. These students had been absent so much that they had received Fs. However, their records now indicate that they had ZERO absences in the first quarter. Teachers reported the erasures but are afraid of reprisals.”

He goes on to describe the seniors at Roosevelt HS, where only 29% are on track to graduate. He points out that 38% of the class dropped out.

D.C. used to be the reformers’ favorite district, after New Orleans. Not so much now.