Whitewash by DC’s Inspector General on Cheating on High-Stakes Tests in DC Public Schools

The DC Inspector General’s office has issued a report that attempts to cover up the blatant cheating by adults that occurred over a period of years in a number of DC public schools.

It’s quite a whitewash.

If you want to see the entire report, it’s a PDF that at times can be quite tricky to pull up from the web. Try cutting and pasting this entire link into your browser instead of just clicking on it:

http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Files/downloads/ABOUT%20DCPS/Press/OIG%20Report%20-%20Testing.pdf

Please do read the entire thing. Its lack of logic is amazing.

Here’s part of my take on it:

During the investigation, one teacher at Noyes ES explained to the investigators exactly how she was directed to cheat:
(1) Arrange the seating so that the students who were unlikely to pass the high-stakes test were seated in theback of the room during test time. There, whatever cheating the adults did would not be visible from the hallway.
(2) Then stand next to those kids and quietly point to the questions they got wrong.
(3) Keep pointing until they finally bubble in the correct answer.
(4) Make it official school policy that none of the DC “state” (OSSE) monitors were never allowed to enter the classrooms to watch how the tests were administered; in the one case where one of the monitors entered a classroom, call that monitor on the carpet and make sure it never happens again.
Notice, this is a teacher saying, in essence, “Here is how I was instructed to cheat.” Naturally, the IG blows off the allegations in the best whitewash style, since the principal denied all of it and claimed that the statistically impossible number of wrong-to-right erasures were simply students following best educational practices. (Hogwash!)
However, the part about the monitors being forbidden to enter the classrooms is confirmed by the IG.

Let us recall that Wayne Ryan, the former principal of that school, earned big bucks and glory as a result of  these cheating schemes, and so did the teachers and other staff. Note in the report that the only reason that the OIG investigated was because DCPS got a huge black eye from solid investigative reporting by the staff at USAToday. Not because the testing company itself said there were tons of classrooms with statistically impossible numbers of wrong-to-right erasures.

Somehow the IG couldn’t find the child whose anomalous Noyes were featured in that newspaper report. They interviewed 23 students — probably hand-picked by Noyes administrators–  and the ones they interviewed didn’t remember any cheating.

Well,  duh. If you were a strong student, you sat in the front of the class during test week, and you couldn’t see the teachers cheating with the weaker students.

Nothing in the OIG report about the erasure parties held by the Noyes administrators where they went into the room where the tests were stockpiled, and began erasing wrong answers and bubbling in correct answers.

They did note a number of other examples where teachers got access to the questions early, photocopied the questions, and drilled their students on how to answer them correctly.

But since Wayne Ryan  denied it all, then the IG said, in essence, “Case closed.” Even though Noyes’ proficiency rates fell from ~85% of the students all the way to ~25% after more stringent security.

Incredibly, the IG saw no reason to investigate any other school.

Move along people, nothing to see here. Syke.
Kaya Henderson, the current DCPS chancellor, is of course playing a double game. She was #2 under Michelle Rhee, when Ryan was awarded with publicity, being held up as a positive role model in official DCPS literature, ads, and Rhee pronouncements.

He even got promoted to assistant superintendent.

He was clearly cheater in chief at Noyes, under the Rhee-Henderson regime.

Not too long after Rhee resigned, and after the USAToday series, Ryan was quietly allowed to resign from DCPS with no explanation.

Henderson now says its a shame that a handful of staff members at Noyes cheated. The implication is that it was a handful of  teachers. No admission that it was Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson’s poster boy — an assistant superintendent, no less — who was the cheater-in-chief.

And of course Henderson and the OIG now pretend that there was no other cheating in DCPS. Well, if the OIG doesn’t bother to investigate any other schools, then they most likely won’t find any cheating!

If this isn’t a whitewash, then pigs fly like hummingbirds.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] GF Brandenburg, who writes regularly about DC schools, says it is a whitewash. […]

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  2. DC’s Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby arrives at the Century Aurora 16 multiplex and admonishes those present for saying mean things about the nice young man in the orange hair and the body armor. “Nothing to see here, move along….”

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  3. I wonder if Jay Mathews has reconsidered his enthusiastic support for Michelle Rhee during her term as chancellor of DCPS. Meanwhile, the children continue to be shortchanged.

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  4. […] recent whitewash job by Inspector General Willoughby in Washington, DC should be compared to the more thorough, yet still imperfect, investigations in […]

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