… it’s worth cheating for. Turns out that some of the “miracles” Michelle Rhee created in the DC schools were artifacts of test-tampering. This is no surprise. It’s also not, by itself, a reason to abandon the process of measurement. But it does mean that the higher the stakes on the process the more you have to invest in cheat-proofing it. It’s annoying that the educational reform movement, which puts so much stress on being able to fire bad teachers, puts so little effort into punishing cheaters. It appears that, in D.C. the Rhee administration preferred discretion to anything that might have rocked the boat of test-score improvements. That was certainly true of Rod Paige in Houston, who parlayed a faked miracle on dropout rates into a cabinet position.
Update It was, barely, possible that Rhee was culpably negligent in the cheating and the cover-up, but no worse. However, her slime-and-defend reaction to the exposure of the cheating eliminates that possibility. She was, and is, complicit in the cover-up, if not the cheating itself. This should be a complete disqualification for her ever having any active role in educational reform. (I say that as someone sympathetic to the goal of improving public schools, even if that requires breaking some eggs.)
Alas, it won’t be.