Sun Exclusive: More cheating uncovered in city schools
Today, we broke a story revealing that an egregious level of cheating had taken place during state assessment testing at two city schools, and one of the schools even went further in fudging attendance records to make annual progress goals mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Officials also said that two more cheating investigations are pending, but declined to name the schools.
Abbottston Elementary School and Fort Worthington Elementary School were found to have cheated on the 2009 Maryland School Assessments, city schools CEO and State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick are scheduled to announce in a news conference Thursday. A state investigation found that Ft. Worthington also cheated in 2010, and someone at the school changed attendance records to meet the full criteria of adequate yearly progress, or the infamous "AYP."
The Sun had been following the investigation of these schools since last summer when sources informed us that there was a gamut of cheating taking place at both schools. The state also confirmed last July that it was investigating Abbottston for plummeting test scores.
And the bombshell kicks off a series of critical milestones for the system: Alonso's current contract expires next Thursday, and he has yet to sign a new one; and next week, the 2011 MSA's will be released.
Staff were implicated in the test booklet and attendance tampering, officials told The Sun on Wednesday.
But it's still unclear who did the tampering, and whether the principals of the schools at the time of the determined cheating, will lose their professional licenses. Note: When officials announced last year that George Washington Elementary School had cheated, the school's former principal was stripped of her license before the news broke.
The disclosure marks the second time in little more than a year that city school officials have had to acknowledge cheating at schools recognized nationally as models of successful urban education. George Washington Elementary, a Blue Ribbon school, was visited by the first lady in 2008; and U.S. secretary of education Arne Duncan visited Abbottston in 2009 amid its soaring test scores--some at 100 percent.