Lists of DC Public Schools With Suspiciously High Wrong-to-Right Erasure Rates

Please note that it was the TESTING COMPANY ITSELF that found all of these erasures over the past three years to be suspicious. They informed the State Superintendent of Education, who has exactly zero power in DC, so she asked Rhee and Henderson and their underlings to investigate. The latter group, naturally, stonewalled, and hushed the whole thing up.

As jaded and as cynical as some of you might think I am, I had no earthly idea that this evident fraud was so widespread. Naturally, Michelle Rhee has now said that she thinks that the USA Today investigation itself is an “insult” to teachers and students. I disagree. I think that everything that Michelle Rhee has done since she quit teaching in Baltimore has been an insult to parents, teachers, students, and honest administrators.

I think that the DC Inspector General’s office needs to investigate this fully and to indict the leaders who caused this fraud to happen.

There was a time that the IG office actually did their job and investigated serious crimes and official misdemeanors in DC; but apparently those days are over. In Atlanta, the investigation was far-reaching and has revealed widespread corruption. See this, this, this, and this. The way they got the ‘goods’ on the higher-ups was the usual: low-level teachers and counselors who did the cheating under orders or threats were offered immunity in exchange for truthful testimony.

Here is a link to the USA Today article. Lots of tables!

Is your school on the list?

By the way, classes were “flagged” as suspicious if the number of wrong-to-right erasures on a test was four or more full  standard deviations above the mean. Four standard deviations (or ‘four sigma’)  is a TREMENDOUSLY HUGE increase over the normal number of such erasures. For comparison, there are typically 2 or 3 such erasures on a single student’s test.

To put it in more familiar terms, think about the average adult man’s height in the USA: about 5 feet 9.5 inches. Anybody within about 3 inches of that (taller or shorter) is within one “sigma” of the mean – and this means, statistically, that about 68% of all adult males are between 5’7″ and 6’1″ – and that includes this writer.

So, ‘one sigma’ in terms of adult US male height is about 3 inches of variation in height.

To be over four sigma higher than the mean adult height is to be a giant.  Here is a little table that will allow you to look at what it means. When you look at it, also try to think about the fact that there are just about one hundred million adult males in the US. (100,000,000) So to be one of those 3,200 people who are four sigma above the mean is to be, basically, a freak of nature. And there are only 28 people who are five sigma above the mean. And there are only TWO humans in the entire WORLD (over six BILLION people) who are 6 sigma above the mean. (Source is here.)

Notice that four sigma above the mean (i.e., 6’7″ and higher) doesn’t even show up on this graph!

However, in DCPS, according to the testing company that scored the DC-CAS (not according to me!) we have HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of classes where the AVERAGE number of erasures is FOUR SIGMA above the mean.

There is only one reasonable explanation for this situation.

I will soon post documents from the previous investigations, so you can look at them for yourself. Stay tuned!

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Is there a seperate list of charter schools? Where do we find out information about them?


    • I will post some documents soon. Meanwhile you can look at USA Today, today’s issue.


  2. Thank you for your important work.

    Rhee is a destructive and compulsively dishonest person. Stop her before she kills again!


  3. The investigation belongs in the hands of the Department of Justice. These schools receive Federal Aide (at least Title I) and paying bonuses to administrators and teachers who should have known that there were problems is fraud. I’ve taught for 33 years and I’ve been involved in some form of end of year testing every year (NY State has an end of year Regents Exam for high school courses) and I would know immediately if students performed much better than their classwork would indicate.


    • Do u think there is just a small chance that teachers in the classrooms had anything to do with the wrongful erasing of answers on students’ tests?


      • Sure, now that there is an $8,000 price tag on reaching a certain level of ‘proficiency’ – whether it be true or illusory.
        But I think it’s mostly been local school administrations doing it.
        WHat happened at the special education schools? I don’t know anybody who works there, but that has got to take the cake.


      • It’s possible that some teachers were involved, but most likely it was the administrators who felt cowed by Rhee. Follow the paper work! Who collected the bubble sheets and where were they stored? Who had access to them from the moment the students finished the test until they were either sent in or scanned to the Education Department.

        In my school the test booklets and answer sheets are collected by the district testing coordinator moments after the test session ends. She actually is at my door to get the papers before I can even collect them. The next time I see the papers is when my department gets the test papers back (about a week later) to score the extended response questions. If I wanted to cheat I’d have to do it in full view of my entire math department. Hardly likely, unless there was a very elaborate conspiracy.


      • Right – same thing when I taught. I’d be glad to testify under oath about that, myself.


  4. There is a federal law (False Claims) that allows whistleblowers to collect from 10 to 30% of all recovered money that was gained under fraudulent circumstances. If you or any teacher has evidence proving that administrators changed answers, I hope you file a claim.

    Guy, I’d love to see you get a monetary reward for all the work you’ve done on behalf of students and teachers. Go for it!


    • What we need is for people to come forward who have seen the dirty deeds being done.


    • I don’t want any bonus. All I want is my COL.

      On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 7:13 AM, Guy Brandenburg wrote: > What we need is for people to come forward who have seen the dirty > deeds being done. >


  5. What you need most of all for False Claims Act cases are documents. They have proven to be a lot more powerful than witnesses’ accounts in sworn testimony. That said, there is not a lot of money involved, which decreases vastly the likelihood that the US Justice Department will intervene in a whistleblower (qui tam) suit. When it does, the chances of prevailing goes up five-fold.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: