Missing DCPS cheating memo is revealed


The January 2009 memo, by consultant Faye “Sandy” Sanford, informed DCPS official Erin McGoldrick that erasure patterns suggested widespread cheating. (LearningMatters)

In January 2009, high-ranking D.C. Public Schools officials were made perfectly aware that high rates of wrong-to-right erasures indicated a possible epidemic of cheating on the city’s high-stakes standardized tests. We know that now because a memo spelling out those concerns, written by a DCPS consultant, was anonymously leaked recently to former PBS education reporter John Merrow. The memo’s release raises another round of concerns about how seriously former Chancellor Michelle Rhee took the cheating allegations, whether investigations by the D.C. and federal inspectors general were sufficient, and whether high-stakes exams are reliable vehicles of accountability. It comes two weeks after three dozen Atlanta educators were indicted in connection with a cheating scandal rooted in an erasure analysis of similar scope. Said one prosecutor there to Merrow: “There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that adults cheated in Washington. The big difference is that nobody in D.C. wanted to know the truth.”

In other news:

The Metro station of the future may feature brighter lights, stainless steel and glass — is it a betrayal of the system’s historic architecture? (Post)

New lottery ticket contract, like old lottery ticket contract, allows multinational vendor to avoid local subcontracting law (AP)

911 tape of Chandra Levy neighbor describing “bloodcurdling scream” now at issue in Ingmar Guandique appeal (PostWTOP)

Public housing list closes today — have we “completely forgotten to consider the housing needs of the workers who make this place run”? (Post column)

Anita Bonds is “an unrehabilitated racialist” and is “shamelessly playing the race card,” says Jonetta Rose Barras (Examiner)

And she’s got Council member Kenyan McDuffie’s endorsement (Post)

United Medical Center CEO on alleged $400,000 overtime scheme: “I would have thought this might have materialized a little sooner” (Post)

Is Phinis Jones’s Ward 8 CBE haven an “incubator” or a scam? (WaTimes)

Inclusion of D.C. budget autonomy legislation in Obama budget is a step forward (Post editorial)

ACLU lawsuit: Cop slammed 10-year-old’s head on table in Wilkinson Elementary cafeteria (PostWaTimes)

Arts and Humanities Commission budget goes from $13 million to $7 million under Gray proposal (Examiner)

Behold the quiet but resolute activism of D.C.’s immigrant community (TPM)

Region’s leaders agree: We all can just get along — except when it comes to FBI relocation (WBJWRC-TV)

Streetcar governance and financing remains a matter of hot debate (GGW)

Brand-new health firm outscored all other Medicaid contract bidders (WBJ)

Suspect’s car was bloodied after cop hit-and-run, authorities say (Examiner)

D.C. Court of Appeals says Goldman Sachs protesters are free to protest (Legal Times)

And dismisses Stadium Club liquor license challenge (City Desk)

Union mailer: “We deserve better than Patrick Mara” (Loose Lips)

Kenyan McDuffie is not a big fan of the tiny houses behind his home (Housing Complex)

Inside the mayor’s “magic money” budget wish list (DCFPI)

McMillan haters gonna hate (Housing Complex)

Foxhall resident David Gregory: Big-time NIMBY (Reliable Source)

The “Boogeyman” has D.C. roots (WTOP)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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Mike DeBonis · April 11, 2013