District of Columbia Public Schools officials have long maintained that a 2011 test-cheating scandal that generated two government probes was limited to one elementary school. But a newly uncovered confidential memo warns as far back as January 2009 that educator cheating on 2008 standardized tests could have been widespread, with 191 teachers in 70 schools "implicated in possible testing infractions." The 2009 memo was written by an outside analyst, Fay "Sandy" Sanford, who had been invited by then-chancellor Michelle Rhee to examine students' irregular math and reading score gains. It was sent to Rhee's top deputy for accountability.
DCPS officials have said they take all cheating allegations seriously, but it's not immediately clear how they responded to Sanford's warnings. Only one educator lost his job because of cheating, according to DCPS. Meanwhile, Rhee fired more than 600 teachers for low test scores - 241 of them in one day in 2010.
hell. This is Waiting For Eberhard Faber.
Merrow provided a copy of the memo to USA TODAY on Thursday. Its findings stand in stark contrast to public statements made both by Rhee and her onetime deputy, Kaya Henderson, now D.C.'s chancellor. In a Jan. 8 statement coinciding with Merrow's broadcast, Henderson noted, "All of the investigations have concluded in the same way that there is no widespread cheating at D.C. Public Schools." She added, "We take test security incredibly seriously and will continue to do so even after our name has been cleared." Sanford's memo warns its intended recipients to "keep this erasure study really close (sic) hold. No more people in the know than necessary until we have more conclusive results." The memo suggests, "Don't make hard copies and leave them around. Much of what we think we know is based on what I consider to be incomplete information. So the picture is not perfectly clear yet, but the possible ramifications are serious."
"As chancellor I received countless reports, memoranda and presentations. I don't recall receiving a report by Sandy Sanford regarding erasure data from the (DC Comprehensive Assessment System), but I'm pleased, as has been previously reported, that both inspectors general (DOE and DCPS) reviewed the memo and confirmed my belief that there was no widespread cheating."
one right here about the possibility of changing dairies that supply our milk, and there's
the annual assessment on crayon-munching and paste-eating, especially among my
own personal staff. I am a busy woman. I can't be expected to remember every report, especially one that might indicate that the things upon which I have based my entire
career, and which have brought me considerable fame and fortune, are the functional equivalent of swampland in Polk County.