Open Letter to DC Mayor & Council on Faked Grades

Retired DCPS teacher Erich Martel continues to hammer the issue of massive high school grade and attendance fraud in the District of Columbia. As you can imagine, the fraud is not done to help students; it’s done to make it appear that the leadership of DCPS are doing a bang-up job.

Many of them should be indicted for these frauds., which have been going on for a very long time. In fact, Martel was removed from Wilson SHS about 8 years ago for exposing such frauds. Look near the end of his email here to see where he quotes a DPCS internal investigation that showed very clear evidence of grade tampering at another school, commonly known as CHEC.

Here’s Erich’s most recent open letter:



Please expand faked grades, attendance, graduation investigation to Columbia Hts EC & to all DCPS & charter high schools

From: Erich Martel <>

[1-14-2018] at 3:16 PM


CC           ‘Kang, Hanseul (OSSE)’  ‘A Strange (CM Bonds)’  ‘Anita Bonds’  and 47 more…

Dear Mayor Bowser,

(cc: State Supt Kang, DCPS Chancellor Wilson, DC Attorney-General Racine, DC Council Chairman Mendelson, DC Council Education Comm. Chair Grosso, DC State Board of Education Chair Williams, and Members)

Last week WJLA reported faked grades at DC’s Columbia Heights EC (CHEC). That followed the WAMU-NPR report on violations of grading, attendance rules and graduation certification procedures at Ballou HS, which likely occurred at most DCPS and charter high schools and calls for full audits of student records at all DCPS and DC charter high schools.  In 2002-03, after I reported grade and graduation violations at Wilson HS (, DCPS contracted an independent review of student grades at all DCPS high schools (2003 review link & Bell MC HS excerpt, below).

I am, therefore, requesting that you:

  1. Expand the investigation of grades, absences and graduation violations at Ballou HS to include a full investigation of allegations reported to WJLA at CHEC and to conduct a review of statistically valid sample of records of student grades, attendance and graduation certification for the graduating classes of 2017 and 2018 at all DCPS and DC charter high schools. According to the WJLA “Faking the grade” report,


“Thousands of individual student transcripts and attendance records obtained by the ABC7 I-Team reveal students passing required courses despite being marked ‘unexcused’ absent two-thirds of the school days in a semester. The records … focus on Columbia Heights Education Campus.”

2. Publicly release and post the final, full, redacted investigation report;

3. Ensure that there will be no retaliation against any teacher/staff at Ballou HS, Col Hts EC or any school whose staff reported violations of laws governing grading, unexcused absence referrals or the high school diploma certification process;

4. Report to the Council and public how DCPS, DME and other education officials in the multi-layer supervisory hierarchy linking your office of the mayor to each high school principal, failed to report these violations to you, including specific responsibility for “managing student attendance” (Oct 2017 DCPS organizational chart:

  • The positions linking the Office of Mayor to each high school principal are:
  • – Deputy Mayor for Education
  • – Chancellor of DCPS (plus a 14 member leadership team)
  • – Chief of Staff (plus 4 deputy chiefs)
  • – Chief Operating Officer (plus 5 deputy chiefs)
  • – Chief of School Design and Continuous Improvement (plus 3 deputy chiefs);
  • – Chief of Equity (plus a chief of staff; 2 senior deputy chiefs; 6 deputy chiefs);
  • – Chief of Family & Public Engagement (plus 3 deputy chiefs)
  •  Chief of Secondary Schools (plus 2 Instructional supts for 22 high schools);
  • – Chief of Teaching & Learning (plus 6 deputy chiefs; 2 directors).

Some of their job descriptions: “summarizes and analyzes data to ensure informed decision-making on DCPS’ top priorities;” “manages student attendance compliance;” “oversees student scheduling;” “promotes data-driven processes, planning & decision-making;” “dismantles institutionalized inequities;” “Instructional Superintendents … help principals ensure their schools are well-run, nurturing places of learning.”The 2002-03 review of DCPS h.s. student records

In 2002-03, Gardiner, Kamya & Assoc (GKA) was contracted to conduct an “agreed-upon procedures review” of student grade and graduation records in each DCPS high school. At each h.s., a sample of 59 students’ records was reviewed. The original report, released to the media in December 2003, is here:

  1. 1-12: the procedures and types of records reviewed;
  2. 20-22: Ballou H.S.
  3. 23-26: Bell Multicultural HS, the h.s. predecessor of CHEC (The principal of Bell in 2002-03 is the current principal of CHEC).

In each high school, significant numbers of student records were missing and when available, “grades in their student records [in many cases] did not agree with teachers’ scan sheets” (grade reporting bubble sheets).

Excerpt from the 2003 review of Bell MC HS:

 “6. Tampering (Procedure #14, page 11)

“With respect to this procedure, we note the following:

– “Scan sheets were not available for 26 of the students in our sample [of 59], 10 of whom were transfer students;

– “Of the 32 for whom scan sheets were available, 12 had grades recorded in their student records that did not agree with the scan sheets (i.e. the grades were different or a grade was not recorded in the scan sheet at all).  The differences were not supported by any documentation in the student records;

– “In all instances where the grades were recorded on the scan sheets and the student records, the grades in the student records were higher than that recorded on the scan sheets.”

“These findings could be indications of tampering with grading process, particularly since the school did not implement the grade verification process mandated by the DCPS.  In the absence of the grade verification process, tampering may exist and not be detected, and may in fact be undetectable.” (pp.25-26)


I look forward to your response.



Erich Martel

retired DCPS high school teacher (1969-2011: Cardozo HS, Wilson HS, Phelps HS)

Ward 3 resident


Where are these “Dozens and Dozens’ of DC public schools with continued, steady growth thanks to Rhee & Henderson?

Michelle Rhee said on the recent Frontline PBS special that there were ‘dozens and dozens’ of DC public schools that supposedly made steady progress on the DC-CAS over the past four or five years.

Jay Mathews only found 13 schools which did what Rhee claimed:  Brent, Eaton, Murch, Oyster-Adams, Payne, Plummer, Prospect, Ross, Thomson, Tubman, Hart, McKinley Tech, Sousa.

A commentator by the name of ‘LetsBeReal’ pointed out that a large fraction of those schools in fact were populated mainly by relatively affluent white students or were schools with selective admissions: Brent, Murch, Eaton, Oyster-Adams, Ross, and McKinley Tech.

I looked at the grade-by-grade proficiency ratings at the remaining schools and found a LOT of very suspicious rises and falls in proficiency rates for same-cohort groups from year to year, in all but one of those schools: Hart.

Here is what I found:

At Payne, the cohort that was in the 4th grade in 2012 went from 38% proficient in reading in 2011 to 55% proficient the next year, a 17-percentage-point rise, which means (to me) that it should be flagged. Either the teacher last year was doing something so wonderful that entire books should be written on how to replicate those feats, or there was cheating. Same group went from 14% proficient in math in 2011 to 60% proficient last year. Unbelievable, frankly.

The cohort that was in the 5th grade at Payne in 2012 had DC-CAS reading proficiency rates since 3rd grade of, respectively, 17%, 23%, and 46%. In math, the scores for that same cohort, by year were 23%, 35%, and 50%. Either amazingly good or brazen cheating, one or the other: in any case, it needs to be checked out.

The Payne cohort that was in the 5th grade in 2011 had DC-CAS reading proficiency rates of starting in the 3rd grade of 52%, 31% and 50%. In math, 58%, 34%,, and 31%: very suspicious as well.

Still at Payne, the cohort that was in the 5th grade in 2010 had DC-CAS proficiency rates in reading of 41%, 32%, and 63%, which is again unbelievable. The math scores were a lot steadier: 24%, 32%, and 33%.

At Plummer, I also found a lot of suspicious rises and falls. Cohort in 4th grade in 2012 in reading went from 31% in the 3rd grade to 68% proficient the next year. In math, the same group went from 38% to 81%. The cohort that was in the 5th grade in 2012 went from 40% to 18% to 46% proficient in reading over three years, which is unbelievable. In math their scores were much more believable: 36%, 32%, and 40%.

Still at Plummer, the cohort that was in the fifth grade in 2011 had reading scores that went like this over their three years there: 44%, 33%, and 36%. In math, their scores were 60%, 18%, and 29%. The cohort that was in the fifth grade in 2010 had reading scores of 47%, 22%, and 30%. In math, they were 37%, 13%, and 33%.

Prospect LC is a special education school, where teachers are apparently able to rewrite the DC-C AS to fit their students’ needs and abilities. (At Sharpe Health school, where students are often unable to walk, feed themselves or clean themselves,  between 95% and 100% of the students are supposedly “proficient” or “advanced”, but that doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in other schools.) In any case, at Prospect, I found one cohort (the group that was in 7th grade last year) whose proficiency ratings went from 25% to 0%, then 0% again, followed by two years of 5% — in reading. In math, that same cohort went from 13% to 31% to 0% to 24%, hardly reassuring. The cohort one year older had reading pass rates of 0%, 0%, 0%, 6%, and 0%. In math, their pass rates were 0%, 0%, 11%, 29%, and 25%. (I’m not making this up, as Dave Barry used to say.) And the cohort that reached the 8th grade in 2011 had pass rates in reading of 0%, 0%, 0%, and 17%.. In math, the same group had pass rates of 0%, 0%, 17%, and 42%.

At Tubman, to summarize, I found nine cases where proficiency rates jumped or fell by more than ten percentage points from one year to the next from 2008 through 2012.

At Sousa, I “only” found seven such cases.

At Thompson, I found eight suspicious rises and falls.

At Hart, I only found one suspicious rise, but if Rhee thinks that going from about 12% proficient overall to about 25% proficient is wonderful progress, then I don’t know quite what to say, given that Rhee herself bragged — falsely — on her resume that she brought an entire class or two of students in Baltimore from below the 13th percentile to above the 90th percentile, using methods that she has never shared publicly.

Both Erich Martel and I feel that a ten-percentage-point rise or fall raises a red flag. Just possibly, such a rise would demonstrate tremendous teaching. However, from our own experience, it’s much more likely the result of cheating. In any case, it needs to be checked out – but not by “See No Evil” Inspector General Charles Willoughby.

In any case, if these are the only schools which Jay Mathews found that had sustained gains, and if these schools fall into two groups: schools with mostly non-poor students and relatively large fractions of white students on the one hand; and schools with many very many suspicious rises and falls in cohort proficiency rates – with the single exception of Hart, then I think we can say pretty clearly that Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson have a pretty clear legacy:




Abetted by fraud and deception.


You can find the school-by-school, grade-by-grade proficiency ratings at for 2008 through 2011. Unfortunately, OSSE still has not released the grade-by-grade scores for 2012, but I was leaked a spreadsheet containing that data. If you would like to see it for yourself, I have posted it on Google Drive, here:


I will shortly post tables containing the exact numbers so you can see what I’m talking about.

From One Washington to the Other

This is by Erich Martel.

November 5, 2012

Charter Expansion (Ballot Initiative I-1240) Will Harm, Not Help, Public School Students in Washington State:  Insights from the Other Washington, the Washington (DC) Public Schools

–     Charter schools are private schools on the public dole:

–     Unlike real public schools, they are not obligated to keep and teach the students they enroll

–     They boost their standardized test scores and graduation rates by transferring unwanted students back to the real public school system or LEA.

–     Charter advocates, like the Walton & Gates Foundations, aim to break up public schools and replace them with a lots of charter schools, run by charter boards that report to an appointed authorizing body over which neither the public nor the state legislature has oversight authority.

–     They view the public the same way they view teachers’ due process rights:  obstacles to arbitrary management control.

–     They are bipartisan or, more accurately, a faction within both major parties. James Madison description of a faction in Federalist #10 fits them very well:

“a number of citizens …, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” 

Dear Fellow Washingtonians,

Tomorrow, you will be voting on whether or not to authorize charter schools to operate in Washington State.  I thought I would share some details about charter operations from our experience in Washington, DC, where charters already enroll over 40% of our public school students.

I am a retired Washington, DC public high school social studies teacher. This past year, I have been working with community groups to stop the mayor and DCPS chancellor from closing or transferring to charters 37 public schools. Charters already enroll over 40% of our public school students.  .

Our public schools, especially our urban ones, desperately need improvement, but stigmatizing veteran teachers, stripping them of due process protections by giving control of the schools to self-promoters like Michelle Rhee or to charter operators has not improved our schools.  For more than 20 years, as a teacher, I have exposed mismanagement, including falsification of students’ grades, social promotion and graduation, bullying of teachers, toleration of disorderly student behavior, and undermining academic integrity by putting unprepared students in advanced classes, creation of “credit recovery” shortcuts to receive graduation credits, while refusing to provide students with viable vocational options.

In this letter, I describe how charter promoters and authorizers inflate standardized test results and graduation rates and, just like Ballot Initiative I-1240 intends to do, established an appointed “DC Public Charter School Board” (like the proposed “Washington State Charter School Commission,” “independent” of public oversight, but possessing discretionary authority over public education and facilities funds.  Finally, I appended excerpts from Ballot Initiative I-1240, followed by comments.


1.   Charter schools inflate standardized test results and graduation rates by transferring students with poor behavior and poor academic performance and who are more likely to drop out; therefore:          Charter Schools are Private Schools on the Public Dole.  Here is why:

Thurgood Marshall Public Charter School is a 4-year high school, located in Ward 8, Washington, DC’s poorest ward, and a favorite of the Walton Foundation and other foundations.

If you look at the total enrollment it appears to be a very stable school from year to year:

School year           Total Enrolled      Change

2006-2007                               361

2007-2008                               365                                          +  4

2008-2009                               377                                          +12

2009-2010                               390                                          +13

2010-2011                               388                                          –   2

2011-2012                               390                                          +  2

When one follows the enrollment numbers, broken down by color-coded grade 9 cohorts, it no longer appears stable (the colors allow one to follow each cohort from grade 9 to grade 12):

Enrollment Broken Down by Grade Level

Thurgood Marshall Academy        
Year Gr9 Gr10 Gr11 Gr12
2005-06 139 109 49 24
2006-07 125 123 65 48
2007-08 129 117 73 46
2008-09 138 99 81 59
2009-10 146 100 73 71
2010-11 167 96 75 50
2011-12 148 100 74 68

Annual Enrollment Decline by Grade Level cohorts

Thurgood Marshall Academy         Enrollmt
Year 9 10 11 12 Change
2005-06 > 2006-07   -16 -44 –  1 – 61
2006-07 > 2007-08   –  8 -50 -19 – 77
2007-08 > 2008-09   -30 -36 – 14 – 80
2008-09 > 2009-10 – 38 – 26 -10 – 74
2009-10 > 2010-11 -50 -25  -23 – 98
2010-11 > 2011-12 -67 -22 – 7 – 96

How charter schools inflate their NCLB Tests:  They transfer Low Performing Students Back to DCPS, the

School “of right.”  Notice the second Grade 10 Column:  April NCLB Test, Gr10

Thurgood Marshall’s audited enrollment drops from Gr9 to Gr10 (October); it drops again in the

Six months between the October audit and the April administration of the DC CAS (NCLB) Test.

Thurgood Marshall Academy Oct Audit Oct Audit April NCLB Test Oct Audit Oct Audit Gr9> Gr10 Test: cohort Gr9 > Gr 12 cohort calculation
Year Gr 9 Gr10 Gr10 Gr11 Gr12 Loss Loss
2005-06 139 109 92 49 24
2006-07 125 123 108 65 48 -31
2007-08 129 117 104 73 46 -21
2008-09 138 99 75 81 59 -54 -80 (139-59)
2009-10 146 100 87 73 71 -51 -54 (125-71)
2010-11 167 96 88 75 50 -58 -79 (129-50)
2011-12 148 100  91 74 68 -76 -70 (138-68)
->72 (146-74
Cohort Loss, 6 yr Ave: – 48.5 ->76 (167-100)

This school loses an average of 48.5 students in the 18 months between the grade 9 October enrollment audit and the April administration of the NCLB performance test, called DC CAS.

Over a five year period (2006-07 to 2010-11), all of the DC charter high schools dropped from their rolls an average of 730 students per cohort in the 18 months between the gr9 enrollment audit and the grade 10 NCLB test, an annual average of 40% of their grade 9 enrollment.

Although publicly funded, charters act like private schools: They transfer students at any time.

How charter schools inflate their graduation rates and lower the rate of the regular public school:

Look at TM’s Grade 9 enrollment for 2007-08:  129 students.  By Gr12, the number had declined to 50.  TM reported 43 graduates to the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (DC OSSE) and a 75.44% graduation  rate.  According to that rate, Thurgood Marshall had a grade 9 cohort of 57 students (43/57 = 75.44%).  But there were 129 9th graders:  What happened to 72 students?  Why aren’t they reflected in the graduation rate?

They were transferred, most back to DCPS.  How can they do that, if they are “public” schools?

By fiat, they are pronounced to be “public schools,” entitled to public funding, but only the traditional public school remains the school system “of right.”  The local school district or LEA (Local Education Agency) remains the public school that every student has a right to attend (it’s called “school of right”).  Charter schools are NOT schools “of right.”  They can transfer students out at any time. The right to have the final say-so over who attends a school is the defining characteristic of a private school.

The strategy of the charters is to attract students by promising a safer and better academic environment.  By self-selection, it attracts the more engaged parents.  During the 9th grade year and early 10th grade year, the school determines which students it wants to keep and which ones will do poorly on the test and are in danger of dropping out.

Don’t students drop out of the regular public school?  Certainly.  When they drop out, they are still counted in the school’s cohort (denominator).  A student can only be removed from the denominator/ cohort, if he or she is transferred to another school and enrolled. The regular public school has no equivalent “default” LEA into which it can unload unwanted students.  Since charters are all in the same school zone as the regular public school, they can transfer at will.

After a student has been transferred to the LEA school of right, i.e. the “traditional” public school, he or she is removed from the cohort.  The US Department of Education introduced the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACJR) calculation with the graduating class of 2011.  It starts with the grade 9 enrollment, students transferring in are added; those transferring out are subtracted from the cohort.

When there are multiple LEAs in the same geographical district, but only one is required to enroll all students, the other LEAs have the privilege of cherry picking and then getting rid of students who don’t fit in.  That’s what they all do in DC, including much acclaimed KIPP.

The Grand Foundation Strategy:  Shift Public Policy Functions to semi-private, “independent” commissions or bodies that are accountable to a single high official (mayor or governor) and removed from oversight by city councils or state legislatures.

In Washington, DC, under mayoral control (since 2007), the mayor appoints with “advice and consent of the DC Council, the members of the DC Public Charter School Board, the charter school authorizing body and responsible for charter oversight. Once appointed, they function like an independent agency

On the Washington State Ballot Initiative I-1240, the WASHINGTON CHARTER SCHOOL COMMISSION is termed “an independent state agency,” whose 9 members are appointed 3 each by the Governor, House speaker, Senate president.  This is a pseudo-democratic scheme.  No commission members should be appointed without a public hearing before an elected body.

This would be a most unusual commission, whose members are not required to have a commitment to public education, but only to one questionable form of public education:  “All members shall have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.”  That amounts to a de facto politicized requirement, a “charter test.”  That only shows how bold and confident the charter advocates are.

Erich Martel

Retired Washington, DC Public Schools Teacher (High School Social Studies, 1969-2011)

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Excerpts of Washington State Ballot Initiative I-1240 (November 6, 2012)

The Charter Schools Authorization Initiative

November 5, 2012

Comments by Erich Martel, Retired Washington, DC public school (DCPS) high school history/social studies teacher (1969-2011: Cardozo HS, Wilson HS, Phelps ACE HS)

(Note: These comments are not based on a legal analysis.  They are based on a common sense reading of the ballot initiative.  They are also based on experience in the Washington, DC Public Schools and the expansion of the charter school sector of students classified as “public school students,” which has grown to over 40%.)

Color Coding Employed in the following excerpts:

Black, not bold:          Original wording, no comments

Black Bold:                Original wording about which I comment

Red Bold:                   Original wording of great importance about which I comment

Blue Bold:                  My Comments enclosed in double brackets [[COMMENTS:  ]]

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Excerpts from Washington State Ballot Initiative I-1240

A charter school can be authorized by one of two bodies:

(vi)       Require public charter schools to be authorized and overseen by a state charter school commission, or by a local school board;

(vii)      Require that public charter schools receive funding based on student enrollment just like existing public schools;

(viii)      Allow public charter schools to be free from many regulations so that they have more flexibility to set curriculum and budgets, hire and fire teachers and staff, and offer more customized learning experiences for students; and

[[COMMENT:            Local schools determine funding, in part, on the costs of teachers’ salaries.  If charterS are funded at the same rate as local schools, but NOT obligated to pay the same salaries as the local teacher contract requires, then they will receive more appropriated funds.  Will those funds go to support school programs or administrators’ high salaries?]]

(5) “Charter school” or “public charter school” means a public school governed by a charter school board and operated according to the terms of a charter contract

(3). . .   Charter schools are not subject to and are exempt from all other state statutes and rules applicable to [public] school districts and school district boards of directors, for the purpose of allowing flexibility to innovate in areas such as . . .personnel, funding(i.e. pay).” Code Rev/SCG:crs 9 I-2563.1/12

[[COMMENTS:  This is the real purpose of the charter:  To blame teachers for poor student performance to justify “flexibility” in hiring, evaluation, teachers’ pay and principals’ pay.]]


(2)If a student who was previously enrolled in a charter school enrolls in another

public school in the state, the student’s new school must accept credits earned

by the student in the charter school in the same manner and according to the

same criteria that credits are accepted from other public schools.

[[COMMENTS:  What is to prevent a charter school from transferring a student after the October enrollment audit, that establishes school funding, but before the April administration of the state test that is used to meet NCLB/RTTT requirements?

NEW SECTION. Sec. 207. AUTHORIZERS. The following entities are eligible to be authorizers of charter schools:

(1)  The Washington charter school commission established under section 208 of this act, for charter schools located anywhere in the state; and

(2)  School district boards of directors that have been approved by the state board of education under section 209 of this act before authorizing a charter school, for charter schools located within the school district’s own boundaries.


(1)  The Washington charter school commission is established as an independent state agency whose mission is to authorize high quality;

(2)  The commission shall consist of nine members, no more than five of… the same political party. Three … appointed by the governor; three … by the president of the senate; and three … speaker of the house of representatives.

(3)  Members appointed to the commission shall collectively possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance; management and finance; public school leadership, assessment, curriculum, and instruction; and public education law. All members shall have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.

[[COMMENT:  This is the key to the chartering process and goals:  Establishment of a publicly appointed body, that, for all intents and purposes, can operate like a private corporation, all but immune from public and stakeholder accountability.        

Even the option of local school board’s having charter authorization power is designed to give a quasi-democratic impression.  Most of the charters will be authorized by the commission.  They are probably already lined up to snatch all but a token handful of the 40 charters that can be authorized.]]

NEW SECTION. Sec. 209. AUTHORIZERS–APPROVAL. (1) The state board of education shall establish an annual application and approval process and timelines for entities seeking approval to be charter school authorizers. The initial process and timelines must be established no later than ninety days after the effective date of this section.

(2) At a minimum, each applicant must submit to the state board:

(a) The applicant’s strategic vision for chartering;

(b) A plan to support the vision presented, including explanation and evidence of the applicant’s budget and personnel capacity and commitment to execute the responsibilities of quality charter authorizing;

(c) A draft or preliminary outline of the request for proposals that the applicant would, if approved as an authorizer, issue to solicit charter school applicants;

(d) A draft of the performance framework that the applicant would, if approved as an authorizer, use to guide the establishment of a charter contract and for ongoing oversight and evaluation of charter schools;

[[COMMENT: Each charter authorizer can have a different set of criteria for a charter contract, oversight and evaluation?  By what set of standards will the state department of education oversee these different charter authorizers?

How effectively has the state department of education employed its oversight authority over the public school system so far?]]

(e) A draft of the applicant’s proposed renewal, revocation, and nonrenewal processes, consistent with sections 219 and 220 of this act;

(f) A statement of assurance that the applicant seeks to serve as an authorizer in fulfillment of the expectations, spirit, and intent of this chapter, and that if approved as an authorizer, the applicant will fully participate in any authorizer training provided or required by the state; and

(g) A statement of assurance that the applicant will provide public accountability and transparency in all matters concerning charter authorizing practices, decisions, and expenditures.

(3) The state board of education shall consider the merits of each application and make its decision within the timelines established by the board.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 210. AUTHORIZERS–POWERS AND DUTIES. (1) Authorizers are responsible for:

 (2) An authorizer may delegate its responsibilities under this section to employees or contractors.


(3) All authorizers must develop and follow chartering policies and practices that are consistent with the principles and standards for quality charter authorizing developed by the national association of charter school authorizers in at least the following areas:

(a) Organizational capacity and infrastructure;

(b) Soliciting and evaluating charter applications;

(c) Performance contracting;

(d) Ongoing charter school oversight and evaluation; and

(e) Charter renewal decision making.

[[COMMENT:  national association of charter school authorizers – This is the name of an association.  Why isn’t its name in caps?  Taxpayers’ funds will be administered by an “independent” board, that will be guided by a charter-friendly, traditional public school- hostile association of charter authorizers.  

Analogy:  a deviously named association of hedge-fund traders will be responsible for “principles and standards for quality hedge fund authorizers”!]]

(4) Each authorizer must submit an annual report to the state board of education, according to a timeline, content, and format specified by the board, which includes:

(a) The authorizer’s strategic vision for chartering and progress toward achieving that vision;

(b) The academic and financial performance of all operating charter schools overseen by the authorizer, including the progress of the charter schools based on the authorizer’s performance framework;

(c) The status of the authorizer’s charter school portfolio, identifying all charter schools in each of the following categories: Approved but not yet open, operating, renewed, transferred, revoked, not renewed, voluntarily closed, or never opened;

(d) The authorizer’s operating costs and expenses detailed in annual audited financial statements that conform with generally accepted accounting principles; and

(e) The services purchased from the authorizer by the charter schools under its jurisdiction under section 211 of this act, including an itemized accounting of the actual costs of these services. Code Rev/SCG:crs 15 I-2563.1/12

(5) Neither an authorizer, individuals who comprise the membership of an authorizer in their official capacity, nor the employees of an authorizer are liable for acts or omissions of a charter school they authorize.

[[COMMENT:  This gives the charter authorizers a free hand to experiment with students.  In essence, this greatly limits their accountability.  What recourse will a parent or teacher have for acts or omissions that damage students’ education, but that don’t constitute overt violations of statutes or other regulations?  Is this the same standard that Washington State LEAs are currently held to?]]



 (4) An authorizer may provide contracted, fee-based services to charter schools under its jurisdiction that are in addition to the oversight duties under section 210 of this act.

[[COMMENT:  CONFLICT OF INTEREST:  How can a charter authorizing body conduct fair and impartial oversight over a charter school with which it has “contracted, fee-based service(s)”?]]

NEW SECTION. Sec. 212. AUTHORIZERS–OVERSIGHT. (1) The state board of education is responsible for overseeing the performance and effectiveness of all authorizers approved under section 209 of this act.

(2) Persistently unsatisfactory performance of an authorizer’s portfolio of charter schools, a pattern of well-founded complaints about the authorizer or its charter schools, or other objective circumstances may trigger a special review by the state board of education.

(3) In reviewing or evaluating the performance of authorizers, the board must apply nationally recognized principles and standards for quality charter authorizing.

[[COMMENT: What exactly are these “nationally recognized principles …”?

Are they like the oft-heard phrase, “best practices,” often used to silence critics, when there is no independent evidence of success? 

If there are such principles, why aren’t they listed or a link provided?]]


(1) The performance provisions within a charter contract must be based on a performance framework that clearly sets forth the academic and operational performance indicators, measures, and metrics that will guide an authorizer’s evaluations of each charter school.

[[COMMENT:In other words, each charter can create its own standards of performance, its own definitions of “proficient” etc.  This will make it difficult for anyone to compare one charter school to another or to regular public schools in Washington State or elsewhere.]]


CHARTER CONTRACTS–NONRENEWAL OR REVOCATION. (1) A charter contract may be revoked at any time or not renewed if the authorizer determines that the charter school did any of the following or otherwise failed to comply with the provisions of this chapter: /…/

[[COMMENT: So, at any time, e.g. in the middle of the school year, a charter can be shut down. Then, where do the students go?

There is only one place they can go:  To the regular, i.e. “traditional,” public schools, the school system (LEA) “of right” for each school age child.

What about contracts with teachers and staff?  Where do they go?  What are the protections for their retirement funds?]]

NEW SECTION. Sec. 221. CHARTER SCHOOL TERMINATION OR DISSOLUTION. (1) Before making a decision to not renew or to revoke a charter contract, … orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, as necessary, and proper disposition of public school funds, property, and assets….

[[COMMENT:  What about the so-called “human capital assets,” once called teachers:  What provisions are made for them?]]


(1) Charter schools must report student enrollment in the same manner and based on the same definitions of enrolled students and annual average full-time equivalent enrollment as other public schools. Charter schools must comply with applicable reporting requirements to receive state or federal funding that is allocated based on student characteristics.

[[COMMENT: After the annual enrollment audit conducted by the state department of education, what happens to the funding for students who transfer voluntarily (or “voluntarily”) back to their “traditional” public school system and neighborhood “school of right”?

Does the money follow the student or will it stay in the charter school or does the chartering authority hold it?]]

(2) According to the schedule established under RCW 28A.510.250, the superintendent of public instruction shall allocate funding for a charter school including general apportionment, special education, categorical, and other nonbasic education moneys. Allocations must be based on the statewide average staff mix ratio of all noncharter public schools from the prior school year and the school’s actual full-time equivalent enrollment. Categorical funding must be allocated to a charter school based on the same funding criteria used for noncharter public schools and the funds must be expended as provided in the charter contract. Rev/SCG:crs 30 I-2563.1/12

(9) Any moneys received by a charter school from any source and remaining in the school’s accounts at the end of any budget year shall remain in the school’s accounts for use by the school during subsequent budget years.

[[COMMENT:  Is this true for Washington’s regular public schools?

What is the rationale for a school holding on to appropriated or grant source funds? That could motivate a withholding of funds one year and then using them the next to increase the salaries of favored staff.]]


[[COMMENT:  Charter funding would be based on the same per pupil formula as regular public schools, BUT charters are free to pay teachers and staff at a lower rate than the regular public schools.  Thus, a charter with the same number of students and teachers and appropriated funds as a regular public school will have more discretionary funds.

What is to prevent the charter’s board from giving the principal a much higher salary than the traditional public school? … or through some other mechanism, like bonus awards, giving funds to favored staff?]]

NEW SECTION. Sec. 307. A new section is added to chapter 41.56 RCW to read as follows: …this chapter applies to any charter school established under chapter 28A.— RCW (the new chapter created in section 401 of this act).

Any bargaining unit or units established at the charter school must be limited to employees working in the charter school and must be separate from other bargaining units in school districts, educational service districts, or institutions of higher education.

Any charter school established under chapter 28A.— RCW (the new chapter created in section 401 of this act) is a separate employer from any school district, including the school district in which it is located.

[[COMMENT:  The goal in breaking up the public schools is to end or greatly reduce due process protections for teachers.  Once teachers are intimidated, they will not feel safe in reporting violations of procedures, such as administrative tampering with test results and certification of students for high school graduation]]

– Erich Martel


Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Criticism by Teacher/Reporter on Michelle Rhee’s “Crocodile Tears” re Chicago Teachers’ Strike

Definitely worth reading:


Michelle Rhee wrote an op ed in the Washington Post on 9/28/12.
There are 512 comments.
Here are two that I wrote.  I couldn’t help but wonder at her short memory.

Chicago Teachers Strike Underscores Shift Among Democrats by Michelle Rhee

Washington Post, 9/28/12

Comments by Erich Martel

Dear Ms. Rhee, (Part I)

It’s always good to be reminded how “passionate” you are “about the rights of workers” as you continue to crusade unselfishly for the children and stand ever ready to counsel politicians on the make from either party.

Thanks to your acclaim, Chicago teachers and CTU President Karen Lewis and their many parent/ community supporters understood Mayor Rahm’s game.  They heeded the warning, “Beware of mayors bearing Michelle Rhee’s gifts.”  In the midst of a national election, they said, “Won’t Back Down.”

In your op-ed piece you made some statements that were rather surprising in light of your policies and practices back when you were our rock star chancellor in Washington , D.C.

First, there’s the 3-year cheating scandal, 2008-2010.  You were informed by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the testing company for the NCLB standardized tests, that classrooms in 103 DC schools were flagged for statistically excessive Wrong to Right erasures. You hired Caveon for a review, but restricted its forensic reach.  If you profess to care about the achievement gap, why would you allow students and their parents to be misled with potentially false results?

The bonus awards, including federal Race to the Top grants, were based on inflated scores.  Tell Chancellor Henderson and State Supt. Mahaley to institute a full and independent investigation, like the one in Atlanta .

I was really surprised to see you write, “When kids do make it to college, roughly a third need remedial work because they weren’t adequately prepared by the K-12 system.”

Did you forget how you treated math and science education in DCPS – well, all education, really?  When you and Kaya Henderson were appointed to DCPS in June 2007, DC already had in place standards that received top ratings from the Fordham Institute. The next step was to convene teachers to write aligned curricula.  As the bridge between subject standards and coherent lesson plans, their absence made lesson planning burdensome, making teachers vulnerable to poor evaluations.

You did nothing, because your & your foundation patrons’ agenda to be the lightning rod of teacher and union blame by developing a high-profile teacher evaluation instrument to find teachers ineffective and difficult to challenge when unfairly applied.  In addition and in sync with the evaluation, the union contract had to be weakened, so you could use budget changes, school closures or program changes to mass terminate scores or more teachers at one time, regardless of their evaluations and general excellence.

“Roughly a third need remedial work” – Are you forgetting that you instituted afternoon “credit recovery” in all DCPS high schools (“no traditional homework” allowed) in 2008-09?  Students cut day classes to get an easier pass.  Content mastery was a joke. I described it on Fordham’s Education Gadfly: .  Your lite diplomas: the fast track to remedial college classes.

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Dear Ms. Rhee, (Part II)

You wrote, “The US is falling behind … in math and science.”  I’m surprised you finally noticed. I arranged meetings for you with leading reading researcher Louisa Moats and with math researcher Barry Garelick, whose writings described the advantages of Singapore math and how EveryDay Math (used by DCPS) impedes math fluency.  Did you meet with them?

In July 2009, you dissolved the city-wide science dept, fired its director & moved all teaching support staff to the “the teaching & learning framework,” allegedly the basis of the IMPACT teacher evaluation, that had to be ready by Sept 2009.

The year before, you arbitrarily transferred Wilson HS’s AP Biology teacher (the most effective in DCPS) to a disorderly middle school. In 14 yrs: 124 5s; 92 4s; 95 3s; 92 2s; 38 1s): In 6 weeks, a student-initiated petition secured over 500 current and former students and parents, who cited his formative role in college preparation & why some chose science and medicine, asked you to restore him to Wilson.  You refused.  Yes, you want parent trigger laws, when they suit your agenda. When parents and students spoke up for academic integrity, you would not “back down.”

Your crocodile tears about the obstacles facing black and Hispanic students contradict your performance.  I’m reminding you of the events prior to your and Asst Supt John Davis’s involuntarily transfer me from Wilson HS in 2010: due to “significant philosophical educational differences with the Wilson HS admin” ( ):

1.  You allowed 5-year hs players on DCPS athletic teams, compromising academic and athletic integrity and NCAA eligibility.

2.  Dec 2009:  After I sent you a 10-page faculty survey (89% participation) describing hallway disruption at Wilson HS, you sent the principal assistance:  Suddenly administrators were visible in the halls, actually stopping student disruption during class time.

3.  March 2010:  When I show the principal my strategies for preventing cheating (small fonts, scrambled pages – like the SAT), he accuses me of “creating an expectation that students will cheat.  They will rise to meet your expectations.”  He confirmed it to WPost reporter Jay Mathews:  With all the cheating on the standardized tests reported to you, why didn’t you inform me and the principal that I was doing the right thing?  Do you condone cheating?  The principal is always right?

4. April 2010: I report to you & Henderson that the asst principal and several aides & deans (no parents) took 88 seniors (mostly Afr-Am) to the Bahamas during 3 school days, 2 wks before AP exams.  Many students are failing (8 w/ >200 unex absences!). Once there, students were unsupervised. ONLY the chancellor (YOU) can approve int’l trips.  I had reported similar problems the year before.  Why did you approve it w/o checking: Is Wilson special?  Afr-Am students don’t matter?


Charter Schools in DC Have A Track Record — And It’s Not Good

The Corporate Educational Deformers (or GERM) now have a record by which they can and should be judged; after all, they have been severely criticizing the regular public schools for all sorts of failings that they promised to fix by, among other things, establishing charter schools that would perform miracles with all the students that the regular public schools were supposedly giving up on and ignoring.

Two of those ills are: students dropping out, and not good enough test scores — particularly among poor students in general of all ethnicities and minority students in particular.

How are the charter schools doing?

Erich Martel, a veteran DCPS social studies teacher who has been a persistent and eloquent critic for many years of the errors and abuses perpetrated by the administrators of DCPS, now has prepared a number of charts that show how many students are in each of the charter schools’ grade levels over time. I modified the formatting a little bit and made Excel calculate the percentages of growth or decline for each cohort as they approached their senior year of high school. I hope he will forgive any errors I made.

Erich has kindly colored the cells so that you can follow each cohort of students as they move from 9th grade through 10th, 11th, and eventually on to 12th grade.

For example, in the first school listed below, Maya Angelou at Evans, you can follow the blue diagonal. You will see that in the 9th grade in 2003/4, there were 14 students. The next year, that same cohort swelled to 26 students, and in the 11th grade they had increased their numbers to 29. (Don’t ask me details on exactly how this all happened — you would have to ask somebody who had close connections to the school.)

But by 12th grade, that cohort had shrunk all the way down to 11 students.

How and why? I can only guess. But that is an enormous shrinkage from either 10th or 11th grade.

The next cohort, in green, went from 50 freshmen in grade 9 in 2004/5, to 53 sophomores (grade 10) in 2005/6, but only 50 are listed as taking the 10th grade DC-CAS; that’s what column “10 CAS” means. By 11th grade, their numbers increased to 56 students, but in the 12th grade during SY 2007/8, they lost 23 students and shrunk to merely 33 seniors.

Where’d they all go? Your guess is probably as good as mine, unless you have more inside information than I do.   When the numbers went down, at least some of the students returned to regular public schools (forced out? pressured out? got disgusted? too long a commute? we don’t know), and certainly some of them dropped out of school completely, got a job, or moved out of the city to another state. Hopefully, very few of the dropouts met an early grave! I don’t exactly know how many belong to which category; anecdotal information is not quite the same as data…

However, the data people downtown in DCPS and OSSE do have that information available, easily, since they can track each and every single student via standard computer database queries using the DCPS student information numbers; but so far they choose not to reveal it. I suspect that some data experts would love nothing more to reveal secrets like that but are under strict orders not to.

The last three columns in these charts show how the number of students changes from 9th grade to 12th grade and then from the 10th grade to the 12th grade, or from incoming 9th graders to those taking the DC-CAS as sophomores the next year. If you want to make any other comparisons, feel free to  get out a calculator and do it yourself.

In those last three columns, percentages shown in black letters mean that the student body actually grew from freshman (or sophomore) year through the senior year, 12th grade. Red lettering means it fell, i.e. students dropped out of this particular cohort in this particular school in one way or another.


So for the blue cohort at Angelou Evans, the class that was to graduate in 2007, their numbers overall went from 14 freshmen to 11 seniors, a drop of 3 kids; 3 divided by 14 by calculator gives 0.2142857…, which we rounded off to  NEGATIVE 21%, which is indicated in red and with a minus sign. That same cohort went from 26 sophomores to 11 seniors, a drop of 15 kids. A loss of 15 students, compared with a starting number of 26 students, by division, yields a loss of about 58%. Not so good.

And so on for all the other cohorts at that school and at all the other DC privately-run “public” charter schools.
In many cases, Martel simply doesn’t have any numbers. That can be for a variety of reasons. In those cases, I did not calculate a percentage of growth or shrinkage, because I simply don’t know the facts.

The myth is that DC charter schools are NOT experiencing dropouts over the high school years. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  If the last two columns were all black, that would show that HS students are flocking to the charter schools in significant numbers and are in general, not dropping out (or being forced out).

Lots of red is a very, very bad sign.

However, the vast majority of the last three columns are printed in RED, meaning that enrollment of the vast number of cohorts declined, according to this data.

So where exactly are  these miracles about solving the drop-out rate taking place in these supposedly miracle-working charter schools?

I only see two charter schools, out of the entire lot, that have a significant number of percentages printed in BLACK, showing cohort growths over time: Washington Math-Science .Tech Academy and the Booker T. Washington charter schools. The rest are either in RED, or are blank because numbers are not being released.

Let me add that I am very impressed with Martel’s data. I’ve been looking for stuff like this for quite some time!

An analysis of Rhee and Henderson’s failures

Erich Martel has a detailed analysis of how much Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson have failed to meet their own detailed predictions of student progress. In the past 2 years (not including this one), they failed to meet 34 out of 36 goals – a failure rate of 94%.

DCPEF Rhees Predicted Gains unmet 12 0603 – by martel

Published in: on June 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Strange Events at Dunbar SHS

Dunbar SHS has been in the news a lot recently. Erich Martel, a history teacher punitively transferred from Wilson, has dug deeply into the record, and has written the following:

[Attachment(s) from Erich Martel included below] 

Dunbar’s Decline Began Long Before Rhee and Continued Under Her

by Erich Martel
Dunbar HS has been in the news.  Supt Janey’s and Chancellor’s Rhee’s actions regarding Dunbar do not tell a simple hero – villain story.  Mostly, they reveal how tests and data can be adjusted to give the appearance of improvement and that students continue to receive diplomas that do not represent mastery of DCPS subject standards. The data from Dunbar HS are typical of those in many of our high schools.
For several decades, students have been allowed to graduate from DCPS high schools like Dunbar without meeting mandatory requirements in core subject matter. Standardized tests occasionally reveal, if only approximately, how great the gulf between image and reality is.  This commentary grew out of an attempt to address the following questions, which Colbert King’s article on Dunbar HS brought to mind:
1) How could DCPS officials say that “70% of the class of 2007 were expected to attend college,” when two years earlier grade 10 SAT9 tests revealed that over 90% received Below Basic scores in math and over 65% received Below Basic scores in reading?
2) Miracle or Mirage: How was the following possible:
April 2005:  SAT9 Grade 10 Math:  no students scored advanced; 3 students scored proficient;
April 2006:  DC CAS Grade 10 Math: 5 students scored advanced; 58 students scored proficient.
Hiding or attempting to manipulate reality always has consequences:  a few benefit; most pay a price.
Erich Martel
Social Studies
Phelps ACE HS
(In January 2008, I was the WTU representative on the Quality School Review Team that visited Dunbar HS, a step that was preliminary to the chancellor’s restructuring decision under NCLB)
1)  Posted data on the OSSE site are incomplete
2) What do truancy and graduation rate data show?
3)  Dunbar’s SAT9 and DCCAS results I:  Miracle or Mirage on NJ Ave.? (See attachment, sheet 1)
4)  Dunbar’s SAT9 and DCCAS results II:  Miracle or Mirage on NJ Ave.? (See attachment, sheet 1)
5) Graduation: How is it that “70% of [the Dunbar class of 2007] were expected to attend college”?
6)  Correlation of Graduation Numbers and Grade 10 SAT9 Results
7)  In-house Alteration of Students’ Records
8) Enrollment Decline at Dunbar HS (attachment, sheet 2)
9) Student Records Audit at Dunbar HS, 2002-03
1)  Posted data on the OSSE site are incomplete, probably due to the failure of DCPS – and charters – to provide them.
For example:
a) Truancy data are available for only four years:  2003-04 to 2006-07 (Attachment, sheet 1, columns J & K);
b) Average daily attendance data are available for only 2009-10 (Sheet 1, column L);
c) Graduation rate data are available for only 2008-09 and 2009-10 (Sheet 1, Column M) (Columns E & I show the senior completion rates: number of June graduates divided by the number of seniors on the October OSSE enrollment count, 8 months earlier)
2) What do truancy and graduation rate data show?
a) Truancy at Dunbar went from 18.39% in 2003-04 (the year before Janey arrived) to 16.68% (his first year); the almost doubled to 29.99% in 2005-06 before climbing to 42.86% in his last year.
c) The graduation rate dropped from 81.7% in 2008-09 to 74.7% in 2009-10.
Was that Bedford’s fault? Those rates do not report that the majority of the students needed Credit Recovery and/or summer school to pass one or more courses needed for graduation.
The real test of graduation validity:  How many graduates who enrolled in colleges or professional schools:
i.  Needed to take non-credit remedial courses before moving on to credit-bearing courses?
ii. Lasted for at least one semester?    …. for two semesters?
3)  Dunbar’s SAT9 and DCCAS results I:  Miracle or Mirage? (See attachment, sheet 1)
a) Between April 1999 to April 2005 only 22 Dunbar 10th graders (out of 1,564 tested; not including the Pre-Engineering Academy) received scores of Advanced or Proficient on the SAT9 Math.
In April 2005, the last year of the SAT9, only 3 10th grade students scored Proficient (no one scored Advanced).
Yet, one year lated, April 2006, the first year of the DC CAS, 5 scored Advanced & 58 scored Proficient, a number  almost 3 times greater than the total (22) of the previous seven years.
b)  That dramatic increase occurred at the same two years that truancy jumped from 16.68% to 29.99%.
c)  The number of Adv & Prof scores then dropped during Janey’s last year (06-07), down in 07-08 (Rhee’s first year), up in 08-09, and down again in 09-10.
4)  Dunbar’s SAT9 and DCCAS results II:  Miracle or Mirage? (See attachment, sheet 1)
a)  In April 2005, 206 Dunbar 10th graders (out of 227 tested; not including the Pre-Engineering Academy) received scores of Below Basic on the SAT9 Math; one year later, April 2006, it dropped to 82, rose in 2007 to 98, fell to 72, then 61 and finally 38 in 2010 (under Bedford).
5) Graduation: How is it possible that “70% of [the Dunbar class of 2007] were expected to attend college”? (Colbert King, Washinton Post, 12/18/10).
Consider:  According to the OSSE enrollment audit, the Dunbar HS class of 2007 (seniors, including 25 Pre-Engineering seniors) numbered 223 students.
Two years earlier, in April 2005, the tenth graders of the future Class of 2007 produced the following results on the SAT9:
Math (Total:  227 students):  attachment:  sheet 1
Advanced:  0 students
Proficient:  3 students (or 1.32%)
Basic:   18 students (7.93%)
Below Basic:  206 students (90.75%)
Reading (Total:  234 students); attachment:  sheet 3
Advanced:  0 students
Proficient:  4 students (or 1.71%)
Basic:   75 students (32.05%)
Below Basic:  155 students (66.24%)
Recall what the four performance levels are supposed to mean (source:  “Stanford 9 Special Report:  Performance Standard Scores,” Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement, 1997):
Advanced: “signifiies superior academic performance”
Proficient: “denotes solid academic performance”
Basic: “denotes partial mastery” (emphasis added)
Below Basic:  “signifies less than partial mastery”
In June 2007, Dunbar HS had 171 graduates for a senior completion rate of 76.7% (171 graduates / 223 seniors).
Assuming that these were the top students who took the SAT9 two years earlier, the class of 2007 included only 3 students who were showed “solid academic achievement” in math and only 4 in reading.  Of the 171, only 18 had shown “partial mastery” in math, while 75 had shown “partial mastery” in reading.
Of that 171, 70% (120 students) were “expected to attend college.”  Thus, leaving aside the 51 students (30%) not expected to attend college, the 120 who [were] expected to attend college showed the following performance two years earlier as tenth graders:
In Reading:
– 0 showed “superior academic performance”
– 4 showed “solid academic achievement”;
– 75 showed “partial mastery”;
– 41 showed “less than partial mastery”
In Math:
– 0 showed “superior academic performance” 

– 3 showed “solid academic achievement”;
– 18 showed “partial mastery”;
– 99 showed “less than partial mastery”
6.  Correlation of Graduation Numbers and Grade 10 SAT9 Results
By the end of the 3rd Advisory or marking period, when students take the SAT9 (since 2006, the DC CAS), they have completed or should have completed Algebra I and Geometry.  How likely is it that 99 out120 students who showed less than partial mastery in grade 10 math were likely to overcome that deficit and master Algebra II/ Trigonometry or mastery of the elements of four years of English and writing skills?
Undoubtedly, some students managed to improve over the remaining two years.  By the same token, however, the depressing anti-academic attitudes that hamper teaching and learning could very easily have led some students who did well in grade 10 to lose interest.  In fact, most of the students required easier summer school classes to meet graduation requirements.
7.  In-house Alteration of Students’ Records
As the review of student academic records at Dunbar in 2002-03 concluded ( and below) “the opportunity for tampering was greatly enhanced and the reliability of the students’ records was questionable.” Despite recommendations of a Student Records Management Task Force (August 2003), no systemic steps were taken to ensure that student records were secure against internal tampering. That was revealed in Wilson HS’s Class of 2006, when approximately 200 of the 420 seniors listed on the June graduation day program had not completed their mandatory requirements.  It is not known whether the DC Inspector General’s report of the audit of Wilson HS graduation records led Supt. Janey to tighten procedures in other high schools ( ).
8.   Enrollment Decline at Dunbar HS (attachment, sheet 2)
In order to understand the decline in enrollment in Dunbar HS, one must factor out the grade 9 increases, beginning in 2006-07, when 9th grades in high schools began to increase as junior high schools were transformed into middle schools.
Dunbar’s total enrollment dropped from 1070 in 2002-03 to 913 in 2006-07 (adjusted to 887) in Supt Janey’s last year.  The October 2009 adjusted enrollment (factoring out the grade 9 increase) is 664, down by more than 200 since Chancellor Rhee took over.
9. Student Records Audit at Dunbar HS, 2002-03
Following the revelations of altered student records at Wilson HS in June 2002, DCPS contracted with Gardiner Kamya Inc. to conduct reviews of 59 students’ transcripts and supporting documentation in each DCPS high school.  The following is Dunbar HS’s report.  It is posted on the dcpswatch website, because DCPS officials did not post it.



MARCH 30, 2003 (End of Field Work)
July 17, 2003 (DC PS Response)
September 22, 2003 (Report Submitted)

Submitted by:
Gardiner, Kamya & Associates, P.C.
1717 K Street, NW Suite 601
Washington, DC 20036


  1. Internal controls (Procedure #1, Page 7)
    The school did implement the grade verification process mandated by the DCPS. However, due to the state of the student records and the results of the procedures detailed below, we conclude that internal controls with respect to student grades were ineffective and there was no assurance that such grades were accurately reflected in the student records.
  2. Confidentially maintained (Procedure #2, Page 9)
    The procedure was completed without exception. [Comment:  This means that all alterations were done by those with legal access to student records]
  3. Completeness of Cumulative and Electronic files (Procedure #3, Page 9)
    1. Cumulative Files
      Eighteen files in our sample of 59 were incomplete. Two files were missing. Some of the incomplete files were missing more than one item. The missing items were as follows: 

      1. It is the school’s policy to create a Letter of Understanding for all students in grades 9 -12. However, the school could not provide a Letter of Understanding for 14 students in our sample;
      2. Two student’s file did not contain a transcript;
      3. Three students’ files did not contain a 9th grade report card;
      4. Six students’ files did not contain a report card;
      5. One student’s file did not contain either a 9th or 11th grade report card;
      6. One student did not have a 10th grade report card in his/her file.
    2. Electronic Files
      The school could not provide electronic data (COHI and SIS-HIST) for six students in our sample. Consequently, we could not determine the completeness of those files.
  4. Consistency (Procedure #4, Page 9)
    The school could not provide the teachers’ scan sheets for 31 of the 59 student files in our sample. In addition, 19 students had transferred in. Scan sheets were not available for these students. Also, the school did not provide report cards for 11 students, and two students’ file did not include a transcript. Of the records available for our review, we noted the following: 

    1. Two (2.0) credits were reported on the transcript of one student (for Army Jr. ROTC). The report card reported 1.0 credit.
  5. Accuracy (Procedure #5, Page 10)
    1. Carnegie Units and Letters of Understanding
      1. The transcripts of three students were not consistent with their Letters of Understanding as follows:
        1. One student’s transcript reported a credit of 1.0 for “Art 1 “. However, the Letter of Understanding reported a credit of 0.5 for the same course. Also, the transcript reported zero credits for electives. The Letter of Understanding reported 0.5 credits;
        2. One student’s transcript reported a credit of 1.0 for “Adapt Health and PE”. However, the Letter of Understanding did not report this credit; and
        3. One student’s transcript reported a credit of 2.0 for Army Jr. ROTC. However, the Letter of Understanding awarded a credit of 1.0.
      2. We could not determine whether classes taken and credits earned by 15 students were in accordance with DCPS Carnegie Unit requirements for the following reasons:
        1. Two student’s file did not contain a transcript;
        2. One student’s file contained a Letter of Understanding that was not completed by a counselor. In addition, the credits had not been properly calculated;
        3. The school could not provide a Letter of Understanding for 14 students;
      3. The Letters of Understanding in our sample did not report hours earned for community service.
    2. Mathematical accuracy of credits
      The school could not provide report cards for 11 students. In addition, the transcript of one student reported 2.0 credits awarded for Army Jr. ROTC, a one-year course while the report card showed 1.0 credit for this course.
    3. Grade changes
      The school could not provide electronic records for 6 students. The procedure was completed with respect to the remaining students without exception.
    4. Missing grades
      The procedure was completed without exception.
    5. Independent studies
      This school does not offer independent studies.
    6. Transfer credit
      The procedure was completed without exception.
  6. Tampering (Procedure #6, Page 11)
    Of the 59 student records included in our sample: 

    1. Twenty files were incomplete;
    2. The school could not provide scan sheets for 31 students;
    3. Scan sheets were not available for an additional 19 students who had transferred in;
    4. The school could not provide the electronic files for 6 students.
      We also noted that all administrative staff (i.e., principal, assistant principals, registrar and counselors) used the same password to gain read/write access to students’ electronic record. Because of these factors, the opportunity for tampering was greatly enhanced and the reliability of the students’ records was questionable.


Based on the procedures performed, we conclude that:

  1. Internal controls were inadequate;
  2. Student records were incomplete, inconsistent, inaccurate, and unreliable;
  3. We could not conclude with respect to tampering because a significant number of files selected for review were not made available to us.

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