Here is the list of schools that are involved.
There are 103.
Rhee initially attacked the USA Today report and the journalists behind it with some Nixonian "These are just enemies of reform!" jive (what Alex Pareene called the "Haters Gonna Hate Defense" in Slate.)
But she had to walk that back when she realized even her water carriers like Jay Matthews at the Kaplan Test Prep Post weren't buying that excuse.
Now Valerie Strauss at that same Kaplan Test Prep Post is calling for subpoenas in this case for all involved:
One surefire way to learn whether a D.C. public school that made big gains when Michelle Rhee was chancellor actually cheated — a possibility raised by a newspaper investigation -- is to subpoena everybody in D.C. with potential involvement or knowledge and have them testify under oath. That includes Rhee.
An investigation published this week by USA Today brought new focus to previous concerns about erasures on standardized tests at D.C. schools. USA Today mentioned there were erasures that were flagged as outside the norm at 103 schools at least once since 2008 but it focused on one, Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, where big gains on tests were reported during the Rhee era.
Six out of eight classes taking the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System test in 2007-08 were initially cited by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the testing company used by D.C. schools, as having higher-than-average erasures that turned wrong answers into the right ones, USA Today said. Then, in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the same pattern was reported by McGraw-Hill, which cited 80 percent of the classrooms at Noyes.
My colleague Bill Turque wrote back in 2009 about an investigation into possible cheating at 26 public and public charter schools where reading and math scores had shot up in 2008. The Rhee administration never got to the bottom of the allegations then.
Now USA Today has looked hard at subsequent years, drilling down into the data and interviewing some D.C. officials, but only some: Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson would not allow the newspaper to interview Wayne Ryan, who had been principal at Noyes when the tests inspected by USA Today were taken and is now instructional superintendent.
Henderson was Rhee’s deputy, and was recently tapped by Mayor Vincent Gray (D) as his choice as Rhee’s successor; her approval by the D.C. Council is a foregone conclusion, at least at the moment.
Henderson repeatedly said on Monday that no cheating occurred, but then, on Tuesday, she asked the D.C. inspector general to investigate the controversy.
None of this, of course, proves that adults took the answer sheets from the kids, erased wrong answers and scribbled in the right ones so that the school would look good to Rhee.
But there is a way to find out: Subpoena everyone in the District who had potential involvement or knowledge of what happened. That includes Rhee and Henderson and Ryan and Michael Moody, who had served as special advisor to Rhee on academics, and the adults at Noyes.
There isn’t always fire where there is smoke, but, it’s time D.C. officials found out.
It is time to get to the bottom of this.
Rhee is the face of corporate education reform, a "rock star" in Oprah's words - if the most famous and visible of ed reform rock stars cheated her way to the top, or put into place a system that encouraged teachers and administrators to cheat in order to save their jobs, then it is very important we know that.
Especially since the Obama administration has basically replicated her corporate deform model for the NCLB Jr. blueprint.
So let's get these people under oath and find out what REALLY happened.
Time to talk, Ms. Rhee. Same goes for you, Ms. Henderson.
Raise your right hands, please.
Who knows, maybe Oprah will even do a show about the importance of firing crooked school chancellors.