Wednesday, August 3, 2011

School Cheating Scandal Stalks Pennsylvania

As a result of great reporting by The Notebook (www.the, Pennsylvania state government now has strong statistical evidence that implicates 89 schools in a testing cheating scandal. The evidence involves the pattern of erasures on tests taken by students, and at 89 schools the odds that the erasures were not the product of test tampering approaches 1 in 100 trillion, according to published reports.

What will the Pennsylvania Department of Education do now ignorance as bliss is not an option?

The question is sharp in part because one implicated school is Chester Community Charter School that enrolls 2,700 students that has been showcased by Governor Coebett as a model for using taxpayer funds to finance private schools. In fact Chester Community Charter was among the scoops most frequently identified for suspicious erasures, according to a story in Monday's NYT by Michael Winerip.

To make matters more awkward, Vahan Gureghian operates the school and gave the Governor's campaign its single largest individual donation--$300,000.

There are 3,300 schools in Pennsylvania so less than 3% are implicated, but rooting out test cheating by schools wherever it happens is a duty that cannot be shirked.

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