The recent spotlight on Washington D.C. has been mostly about the threat of the government shutdown. Prior to that, the focus was on then-chancellor Michelle Rhee and the education reform she spread. Now the focus is back on education and recent allegations of a cheating scandal in D.C. public schools. A national study conducted by USA today targeted the Crosby S. Noyes school whose math proficiency scores have been consistently high and have indicated astounding increases over the last few years. That raised a red flag of sorts as other schools in D.C. continue to struggle mightily. Teachers and principals are accused of erasing students' wrong answers and replacing them with correct answers presumably to obtain bonuses which they were awarded if student performance reached a certain level. If the allegations are true, this story has important implications nationally as the debate continues regarding how to evaluate, score, reward, promote, and fire teachers and what role student performance/achievement is to have in that mix. The more pressure we place on teachers to increase student performance, the more temptation (theoretically) for a teacher to cook the books. The D.C. Board of Education is conducting its own investigation into the matter. However, the broader question of how to improve teaching and student performance and prevent cheating and fraud is not a quick fix but rather something that needs to be looked at and considered carefully.
You also find the full USA Today article at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-03-28-1Aschooltesting28_CV_N.htm