On Tuesday America will find out if Michelle Rhee’s DC miracle was a fraud. From Washington Post reporter Emma Brown:
Student standardized-test scores at an award-winning D.C. school dropped dramatically in 2011 after the principal tightened security out of concern about possible cheating, according to a new “Frontline” television documentary to be broadcast Tuesday.
The hour-long program raises questions about whether District officials have adequately investigated persistent suspicions that public school employees may have tampered with tests during the tenure of former schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.
Adell Cothorne was principal of the District’s Noyes Education Campus for one year, in 2010-11. She told “Frontline” that just after students took a midyear practice version of the city’s annual standardized test, she stumbled upon three staff members sitting late at night in a room strewn with more than 200 test booklets.
One of the adults was at a desk, holding an eraser. The other two sat at a table, booklets open before them.
“One staff member said to me, in a lighthearted sort of way, ‘Oh, principal, I can’t believe this kid drew a spider on the test and I have to erase it,’ ” Cothorne told filmmakers, offering the first such direct testimony about potential tampering with answer sheets in D.C. schools.
Cothorne told “Frontline” that she reported the incident to the central office, but to her knowledge nothing was done. School system officials said Friday that without having seen the documentary, they could not comment on Cothorne’s allegations.
Another report is forthcoming from Arne Duncan’s DOE and it could turn out that the worse part has been the cover-up. The implications for Florida are far-reaching as Rhee co-chaired then governor-elect Rick Scott’s transition team. It was Rhee’s DC IMPACT model which was the template for Florida’s state-wide teacher evaluation system, SB 736. To discredit Rhee in this manner where her test scores are found to be fraudulent will embarrass Scott and the republican legislators who walked her system through. Moreover, those who have chosen to hook up her wagon will rightfully have their wisdom and judgment scrutinized.