Michael Winerip is on a roll. After a good piece of reporting on the Atlanta cheating scandal a couple of weeks ago, he has turned in a solid story about the testing mess rolling into Pennsylvania. ?As Winerip notes, the Pennsylvania scandal came to light on July 8, when The Notebook, a small Philadelphia-based education newspaper, reported that some 60 schools in the state, including 22 in the City of Brotherly Love had unusually high test erasure marks, a sign of test tampering.? Winerip says it is 89 schools, with 28 in Philly, but the eye-popping story here is that the Pennsylvania Department of Education had actually commissioned the study which was the basis of the July 8 story. It received the report in July of 2009, ?and, it would appear, ?sat on it until The Notebook was tipped off about it.? That's the scandal here.
And Winerip suggests that PDE's initial response to the latest news ?is not encouraging:
State officials have directed school districts and charter schools with suspicious results to investigate themselves.
This, of course, is another startling reminder of the inability of the system to police itself.? As Winerip points out, it took years of dogged reporting by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before the state took the charges seriously.
But these cheating scandals appear to be the tip of a rather large iceberg, one which suggests (if I may change metaphors) that the line between bureaucratic indolence and criminality is indeed...