The latest phony educational “miracle” comes from Philadelphia. In this case, in addition to direct evidence of egregious cheating, the scores on the tests that count were completely contradicted by other test scores at the same school: 73% of seventh-graders were “advanced” or “proficient” in reading according to the high-stakes test, but only a third were actually reading at grade level according to another test.
At some point, do you think governors are going to stop showing up to shower praise on cheating principals before having staffers do elementary reality testing? Or will the people running the testing programs institute minimal consistency checks? Even a hotline where teachers and parents can anonymously report cheating incidents – and have them investigated by someone without a personal stake in having the testing program look good – would make a difference.
Given the absence of such simple integrity measures, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the politicians who buy in to high-states testing don’t really want to know the truth about how the sausage gets made. The nonsense at this school has been going on for years, and is only now coming to light. Why should I believe any of the other claimed good results? And that applies to claims about superior performance by charter schools; is there any reason to think that charter operators aren’t cheating, too?