FBI investigation into massive DCPS fraud?!?!

This is enormous.

Apparently the FBI is now beginning to look into the massive fraudulent scheme to make DC education officials and their “reform” effort look good.

“ThE Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Education and D.C. Office of the Inspector General are investigating the school system, with a focus on Ballou High School, where questions about graduation rates first emerged, according to a current and a former D.C. government employee familiar with the probe.

The FBI, the D.C. inspector general and the U.S. Department of Education all declined to comment. The FBI’s involvement in a matter involving graduation rates is unusual…”



I and many others have been documenting these scams and others like this one for a longtime. Many of us (including Jeff Candy) have called for criminal investigations. I hope this one isn’t a complete whitewash — as a number of others have been.

(And I’m including a previous one by Alvarez & Marsal, but not so much this time… )

But the third hand, let’s recall that A&M and OSSE are precluded from doing any such thorough investigation into charter schools! So the public gets what somebody paid for: either a cover-up or a serious investigation. (A coverup can be written in a couple of afternoons, by two lawyers and an accountant. A real investigation takes months and months and a large team of trained and experienced investigators and forensic experts of all types (e.g. statisticians, computer analysts of all sorts, handwriting & paper examiners, etc, etc. I think I can figure out which one’s cheaper.

In Atlanta, Georgia, there was similar massive fraud some years ago involving changing test scores; some people got very large bonuses, by tampering with students answers; a number of Atlanta “educators” and their former superintendent, are now in prison for this after confessions, trials, convictions and sentencing and whatever appeals they may have tried. Big news and you can look it up.

I would say the educational fraud here in DC over the past decade is just as serious as that in Atlanta. Ive personally heard allegations of serious fraud from teachers here in DC, and But I don’t have any smoking gun memos from one Rheefirmist educrat to another, though I’ve showed that Rhee told complete bare-faced lies on her resume about an educational miracle she claimed to achieve in Baltimore.

Jay Matthews IIRC wrote that I was being too harsh on Michelle Rhee: it’s not a lie if she thought it was true, and she was just going by what her principal told her and she hadn’t written it down.

Well, Jay, let’s assume you’re right for a moment: let’s assume Rhee really thought that she had taken a class with 90% of them scoring at or below the 13th percentile, and in only two years (she followed the class and team taught with another teacher, so she had them for two years, back in the early 1990s in Harlem Park Elementary, an Edison Tesseract project, where they engaged in a controlled experiment to see if in fact a charter school could get better results on numerous measures of improvement) Rhee had managed somehow to make it so that 90% of them were now … wait for it …. above the 90th percentile!

If Rhee didn’t realize that accomplishment was itself beyond miraculous, then she’s too stupid regarding statistics to have a job in education. At all. Ever.

But if Rhee had really believed that she had really done that — an accomplishment (90% of a group of randomly selected kids moving from below the 13th to above 90th percentile!) then she would have gone to her employer (Edison/Tesseract), along with her principal, and all the data printouts from CTBS, proving that she had indeed performed this utter miracle. Tesseract then would have gone to the authorities in Baltimore and at UMBC and jumped up and down and demanded that their contract be continued, because they had this team of miracle-producing teachers in their successful, measured, experimental charter school, and they had beaten every expert everywhere and produced an educational miracle that had never been equaled, anywhere!

But Tesseract got closed down anyway by Baltimore, saying that Edison cost more money and got essentially the same or slightly worse results, while providing a slightly worse education overall. And nobody said boo about Rhee’s mythical miracle. Because it existed only in Rhee’s mind. (And notice: she gave no fictitious credit to this almost-completely-unknown co-teacher. If she had tried, her colleague would have told her, “No, that’s not what happened. What really happened was this…”

So there are only two, not three choices. We know from the statistics that I (with help) unearthed, that there was no such miracle in Harlem Park under Michelle Rhee’s watch.

It’s clear that her numbers were made up by her — much the way Ronald Reagan and many politicians (like #45) do. And most people have probably heard wild tales about family members; some of them are actually and literally true; some are downright lies meant to harm or amuse; and some of these stories get changed, gradually, as we retell them. And when we look at documentary evidence, sometimes we see we didn’t remember things quite the way they really were.

So, perhaps there was some sort of a small increase in CTBS scores at her grade level. But you have to ignore the very high rate of decline in the student population at her school (what effect did that have? It could vary) and the extremely high number of kids whose scores were so low that they weren’t counted (that will HUGELY improve a class’ average).


(1) Rhee is too mathematically illiterate to know how statistically impossible her made-up figures are and the effect of cutting out all the low-scoring students’ scores;


(2) She understood the statistics just fine and decided to go with the lie because she knew that most people (that includes most reporters and politicians) don’t understand mathematics or statistics well enough and are intimidated by anybody who spouts numbers.

So —

she’s either hugely stupid or a big fat liar.

Which is it?



Published in: on February 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] observers, like G.F. Brandenburg, have called Rhee and her bag of tricks a hoax from the beginning, the beginning that is when she […]


  2. https://baltimorebrew.com/2011/02/11/did-michelle-rhee-juke-her-baltimore-stats/
    This article reappeared today


  3. Rhee is probably a narcissist-psycho with criminal-mind syndrome. That means she thinks she can’t be caught because she thinks she is a stable genius and smarter than the rest of the world.


  4. […] observers, like G.F. Brandenburg, have called Rhee and her bag of tricks a hoax from the beginning, the beginning that is when she […]


  5. […] observers, like G.F. Brandenburg, have called Rhee and her bag of tricks a hoax from the beginning, the beginning that is when she […]


  6. Former Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall is not in prison; she died of cancer in 2015. She was indicted but I think prosecution was delayed for medical reasons.


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