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This Skill Is Important To Learn. It’s What Separates Us From The Animals. Except the Weasel.

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Shockingly, there is further good reason to believe that implausible immediate gains on test scores made by local schools facing powerful positive and negative incentives to produce them under con artist Michelle Rhee were generated by cheating:

District of Columbia Public Schools officials have long maintained that a 2011 test-cheating scandal that generated two government probes was limited to one elementary school. But a newly uncovered confidential memo warns as far back as January 2009 that educator cheating on 2008 standardized tests could have been widespread, with 191 teachers in 70 schools “implicated in possible testing infractions.”

The 2009 memo was written by an outside analyst, Fay “Sandy” Sanford, who had been invited by then-chancellor Michelle Rhee to examine students’ irregular math and reading score gains. It was sent to Rhee’s top deputy for accountability.

The memo notes that nearly all of the teachers at one Washington elementary school had students whose test papers showed high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures and asks, “Could a separate person have been responsible?”

As Charles notes, the response is a classic of the non-denial denial genre:

In a statement, Rhee said she didn’t recall getting Sanford’s memo: “As chancellor I received countless reports, memoranda and presentations. I don’t recall receiving a report by Sandy Sanford regarding erasure data from the (DC Comprehensive Assessment System), but I’m pleased, as has been previously reported, that both inspectors general (DOE and DCPS) reviewed the memo and confirmed my belief that there was no widespread cheating.”

How convenient! As for the last part:

The USA TODAY investigation led to inquiries by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General. Neither found evidence of widespread cheating, but both primarily focused on just a handful of schools.

The D.C. electorate of 2010 really deserves a lot of credit.

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