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Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 02/01/2012

New D.C. school principal left Texas under cloud

A principal recently hired by D.C. Public Schools is the same principal put on leave late last year in Dallas after investigators accused her of ordering third-grade teachers to focus only on math and reading in order to maintain an “exemplary” rating based on standardized test scores.

Investigators in the Dallas Independent School District also found that third grade teachers at Field Elementary School, where Roslyn Carter was principal, did not teach some key subjects but entered falsified grades for their students during the 2010-11 school year, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Carter denied many of the accusations made against her in the investigators’ report, obtained by the newspaper, but was placed on administrative leave. The probe began after an anonymous tip was sent to district officials.

Asked whether a woman named Roslyn Carter recently hired to take over at Garfield Elementary School in Anacostia next year is the same Carter, D.C. school district spokesman Melissa Salmanowitz responded in an email by saying “yes.” She said, however, that what happened at Field was “different” from what was reported in the Dallas Morning News last November, (and in my blog, here).

When I asked Salmanowitz to explain what happened in Texas, she responded: “We’re reviewing that now.”

I’ll update this when D.C. officials explain the considerations given to Carter during the hiring process.

The investigators’ report said that Carter was obsessed with ensuring that students at her school — the vast majority Hispanic — passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Field had earned the state’s highest school rating, “exemplary,” for two years in part based on the results of that test. (Third-graders take the math and reading portions of the assessment.)

While teachers concentrated on math and science in class, social studies, science, music and gym were ignored, and falsified grades were entered into grade books, the investigators found.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the anonymous complaint was filed on Jan. 6, 2011, the probe was launched and the report, labeled “highly classified,” was completed in July. But the school district apparently didn’t tell anybody because it didn’t become public knowledge until Dallas Morning News reporter Tawnell Hobbs obtained a copy of the report, and the newspaper published her story — and then an editorial — last November.

The editorial said in part:


“Among the many failings is the school system’s decision not to inform parents that this had happened or to begin to address the significant impact on children who are now ill-prepared for fourth grade and beyond....

“More troubling still is the timeline laid out by the report. As early as March, two months after the first complaint, investigators appear to have confirmed many of the central issues. There was still time to save at least part of the school year and to inform parents. Neither appears to have happened. The only actions were administrative. The principal, Roslyn Carter, is on paid leave after denying many of the accusations.

“It is reasonable to ask how Carter could have done this without parents knowing. The answer is in the demographics. About 93 percent of the children at Field are Hispanic; three-quarters of the school is classified as having limited proficiency in English. It is no secret that parents of these children are often not engaged with or not inclined to challenge the system. To the detriment of their children, now they know the cost of both.”

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By  |  04:00 AM ET, 02/01/2012

Categories:  D.C. Schools

 
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