The chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee said Sunday that he has no plans to reinvestigate allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests during the tenure of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Council member David Catania (I-At Large) said he will instead focus on improving the integrity of future tests, which are used to evaluate schools and teachers.
Catania’s statement came three days after the public airing of a 2009 memo indicating that as many as 191 teachers in 70 D.C. public schools may have committed testing infractions in 2008.
The memo, based on an analysis of wrong-to-right erasures on answer sheets, contained no proof of cheating and warned that there wasn’t enough information to draw firm conclusions. But it stoked questions about whether Rhee and other school officials, including current Chancellor Kaya Henderson, were aggressive enough about responding to suspicions of cheating.
Rhee and Henderson both said they did not recall receiving the 2009 memo, and school system officials pointed to multiple investigations — including by local and federal inspectors general — that found no evidence of widespread cheating.
Catania said that in light of the 2009 memo, he is “bewildered by the narrow scope” of a investigation by the D.C. Inspector General, which lasted 17 months and focused only on one school. But he said reinvestigating five-year-old allegations “would be impractical and would yield little in terms of accountability.”
“Among other things,” he said, “simply identifying and interviewing the hundreds of witnesses would overwhelm the Council’s limited staff and resources.”
It makes more sense to focus on tightening test security and strengthening efforts to identify cheating in the future, the council member said.
Unless the clamor for an investigation grows, Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson are going to skate on this.
It has been quite clear previous to this that the fix is in when it comes to Rhee.
The powers that be do NOT want to know anything about Michelle Rhee and cheating - not Barack Obama, not Arne Duncan, not the D.C. City Council, not the elite media.
And it looks, at least for now, as if that impunity for Rhee is going to continue.