Another public-school cheating scandal in Philly?

posted at 2:43 pm on April 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In Atlanta, federal prosecutors indicted 35 “educators” for a conspiracy to cheat standardized test scores in public schools to cover up their failure to actually educate.  In Philadelphia, meanwhile, a similar scandal seems to have slid under the federal-investigator radar, at least for the moment.  Two principals have been forced to resign, but they’re not even going to have to give up their pensions:

Two city educators have lost their administrative credentials in the first public actions taken in a widespread Philadelphia standardized test-cheating scandal.

Former Philadelphia School District principals Barbara McCreery of Communications Technology High School and Lolamarie Davis-O’Rourke of Locke Elementary both voluntarily surrendered their administrative certificates in lieu of discipline last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Education said Wednesday.

Both confessed to cheating, an official with firsthand knowledge of the investigations said. According to state records, McCreery erased and changed students’ answers, created an answer key, and manipulated student data; O’Rourke also erased and changed answers and gave students answers.

But hey, at least these dishonest public employees will never teach again and have access to those student tests again.  Right? Wrong:

Though they gave up administrative licenses, McCreery and O’Rourke get to retain their Pennsylvania teaching certificates, but any potential employers would be notified they lost their supervisory credentials.

It also appears that McCreery and O’Rourke will keep their pensions.

Why not?  Well, unless they get convicted of a crime related to their work, the pension system has to pay out their commitment.  If they get jobs teaching again, the two will be able to add to that pension. So why not have police charge them, as the feds did with the “educators” in Atlanta?

Unlike the Atlanta cheating scandal, where 35 educators have been indicted on criminal charges, neither McCreery nor O’Rourke will be subject to criminal penalties, state officials have said.

Beginning with the 2012 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, educators had to sign affidavits acknowledging that if they tampered with tests, they would be subject to criminal charges; without that affidavit, officials don’t believe they had the juice to press charges.

Say what? I’d wager that most of the people in prisons for felony convictions never signed statements acknowledging that committing crimes such as fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud before being charged and convicted in court.  Ignorance of the law is not a defense.  If a defendant can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have criminal intent — and falsifying student tests in order to boost their own performance rating certainly qualifies as intent — then one doesn’t need a signed pledge from the defendant that they promise never to be criminals before charging them with crimes.

Nor are these isolated cases.  Fifty-three schools in Philadelphia are under suspicion of having falsified their test results.  The children in these schools have been cheated out of an education, and their parents and fellow taxpayers have been cheated out of the accountability they deserve for the expenditure of public funds in these schools.  If the only outcome from that is early retirement with full pension for the cheaters, don’t expect that to stop any time soon.

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Lemme make some easy money… Wanna bet the district’s prosecutor is a Democrat?

Archivarix on April 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

The people advanced through academics by misguided terms (AA, chiefly, but also public school manipulation of “failure means you’re succeeding” grading schemes) are now teaching and administrating public schools.

This is what happens when you insist on “fairness” instead of accuracy and grade on delusions instead of achievement or lack of it.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 2:48 PM

without that affidavit, officials don’t believe they had the juice to press charges.

Well, he didn’t press that “are you a criminal?” button when he stole all that stuff and killed all those people.

So, you know, let him go. I’m sure this was a one time thing anyway.

Gatsu on April 4, 2013 at 2:48 PM

And it’s not happenstance that these public education scandals, for lack of a better word for it, occur in Democrat-majority and DNC-heavy areas.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Oh come on HotAir!!

You’re going to have ot do better than this is you want
to get anywhere with the people of the Keystone State.

How about this headline:

school cheating scandal NOT found in Philadelphia

Now THAT’S a headline!

ToddPA on April 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Public schools in urban areas are a scandal nationwide, with or without cheating.

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 2:50 PM

“Are we learning anything?”

s/b “Is we learning anything?”

“Yes, we is”.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Public Schools = FAILURE

Axion on April 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Beginning with the 2012 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, educators had to sign affidavits acknowledging that if they tampered with tests, they would be subject to criminal charges; without that affidavit, officials don’t believe they had the juice to press charges.

“Don’t make us get tough on these people………………please don’t”.
/”Officials”

Bitter Clinger on April 4, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Public Schools = FAILURE

Home Schooling for those that can, should.

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Match up Allen West, Condi West, and some other black conservatives and get them on a several-year tour of inner cities talking about education, in general, and the sorry state of Democratic control over education in their city.

Stay on the plantation, folks.

BuckeyeSam on April 4, 2013 at 2:59 PM

They all signed the affidavit because they knew the power structure would ignore it later.

Let me guess…the Dem power structure?

PattyJ on April 4, 2013 at 2:59 PM

33 years of the DoE – Priceless

I heard on ABC news yesterday morning when they were discussing the Atlanta cheating scandal that there were over 100 other school districts where investigators believe that cheating on standardize testing has occurred.

Sickening

Sad to say but most of these districts will more than likely be in inner cities. Why do Democrats hate inner city kids so much?

D-fusit on April 4, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Yeah, but they aren’t criminal criminals.

rbj on April 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Suggestion: We have a lot of returning veterans who are unemployed. If a vet’s qualifications are even close, place him or her in a teaching position or an administrative position where these cheaters are getting fired. Maybe a little can-do attitude from some true Americans can turn these hellholes around.

BuckeyeSam on April 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

All charges should be dismissed, with prejudice.

Everybody knows that the bastard child of Affirmative Action is cheating.

This attempt to besmirch the dignity of educators is nothing but the vestiges of racism.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

If you can’t convict a democratic legislator with a mountain of money stashed in his freezer, how can you be expected to convict these guys? Dems mostly get a free pass.

Deano1952 on April 4, 2013 at 3:06 PM

If you can’t convict a democratic legislator with a mountain of money stashed in his freezer, how can you be expected to convict these guys? Dems mostly get a free pass.

Deano1952 on April 4, 2013 at 3:06 PM

LOL, what a flashback!

Kinda, sorta like a Mayor snorting a line of coke as long as an anaconda, and getting re-elected.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Lemme make some easy money… Wanna bet the district’s prosecutor is a Democrat?

Archivarix on April 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Does the Pope pee in the woods? It’s Philadelphia.

blammm on April 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Sad to say but most of these districts will more than likely be in inner cities. Why do Democrats hate inner city kids so much?

For purposes of control. If inner city kids were really educated, they’d be knowledgeable, inquisitive and prone to independent thinking, which would lead them to question the motives of Dems, which in turn would lead them to be just a might peeved.

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Send in the New Black Panthers..Cheating problem solved.:)

Dire Straits on April 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

I’ve got a great idea, no really you’ve going to love this.

Let’s create a massive federal bureaucracy staffed by union people like these two professionals to control our healthcare system.

Man, I’m so bright I have to wear shades; don’t hate me because I’m beautiful AND intelligent.

Bishop on April 4, 2013 at 3:16 PM

“When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

- Albert Shanker, one-time President of the AFT and the UFT

“Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.”

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.”

This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.”

- National Education Association General Counsel, Bob Chanin, in his farewell address.

Resist We Much on April 4, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Send in the New Black Panthers..Cheating problem solved.:)

Dire Straits on April 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Dooood, DOJ and the teachers unions’ will never allow a radical right-wing group like the NBPP in public schools around impressionable, young children. Have you never read what education experts like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn have written on the subject of childhood education?

Resist We Much on April 4, 2013 at 3:21 PM

One of the biggest failures is the use of comic sans in the graphic.

Sarjex on April 4, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Related: Chicago teachers Union Thug calls Chicago public schools chief racist (both are African-American).

Stop the Dem-on-Dem hate!

Charges of racism have been leveled most prominently by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who fired up a crowd at a downtown rally last week by pointing out that most of the students affected by the proposed closings are black. “Let’s not pretend that’s not racist,” Lewis said.

Byrd-Bennett said demographic changes in the city have depleted schools in communities on the South and West sides. She also noted that the “overwhelming” majority of CPS students are minorities.

“To refuse to challenge the status quo that is failing thousands of African-American students year after year, consigning them to a future with less opportunities than others, that’s what I call racist,” she said.

visions on April 4, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Kinda, sorta like a Mayor snorting a line of coke as long as an anaconda, and getting re-elected.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 3:07 PM

I’ll see your mayor and raise you a governor. When I arrived on Guam, courtesy of the Air Force, in 1982 they were in full election season. Two Governor candidates were squaring off. The one that eventually won had recently gotten out of prison for malfeasance when he had been the governor previous to the current one.

chemman on April 4, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Might this all be happening because teachers HATED Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act? Maybe lots of these districts decided to start cheating so they could turn to the REALLY important work: turning our children into good, little socialists.

Just a thought.

NavyMustang on April 4, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Resist We Much on April 4, 2013 at 3:21 PM

lolz..I forgot about Ayers and Dorhn being the great “pillars” in education that they are..:)

Dire Straits on April 4, 2013 at 3:32 PM

All this dancing about. The educators are Bbbbllllaaaccckkkk. See: HERE

They are already screaming racism, not because the tests are rigged against the black kids, but because the indited educators are black.

After reading “The Bell Curve” we should understand that 85 I.Q. or less inner city blacks are NEVER going to learn, ever. Constantly whipping the teachers (who are assaulted, beaten and raped but their own students) for not making low I.Q. blacks “college ready” is truly like trying to teach a horse to sing, if is always a failure and it annoys the Horse.

Better to try to teach them plumbing or some other trade, but that would interfere with the egalitarian dream that we are all the same and race is a “social Construct” on both sides of the isle.

Bulletchaser on April 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Picture:

Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning!

Well, actually yes. I teach Latin in a public high school and emphasize that it’s important to take risks, make mistakes, and then fix the mistakes. In fact, I tell them that if they’re not making mistakes, they’re not trying hard enough. (Of course, after a certain point I will call them out loudly and in front of everyone. “How could you possibly think that the direct object would be in the nominative case?!”) We do a lot of work that isn’t graded, but is mandatory, including practice tests; all of this is preparatory to tests that are graded (and graded strictly).

However, I do have two problems with the picture you posted. First, stepping-stone should have a hyphen (pace the Monkees, though I see that as usual the OED agrees with me).

And even (much) worse, nobody in education should ever, ever, ever use Comic Sans.

Tzetzes on April 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

chemman on April 4, 2013 at 3:29 PM

If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.

- Lenin

;O)

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM

BREAKING!

Entire GA US House delegation submits bill to de-criminalize cheating on standardized tests

BobMbx on April 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Well, actually yes. I teach Latin in a public high school and emphasize that it’s important to take risks, make mistakes, and then fix the mistakes. In fact, I tell them that if they’re not making mistakes, they’re not trying hard enough. (Of course, after a certain point I will call them out loudly and in front of everyone. “How could you possibly think that the direct object would be in the nominative case?!”) We do a lot of work that isn’t graded, but is mandatory, including practice tests; all of this is preparatory to tests that are graded (and graded strictly).

However, I do have two problems with the picture you posted. First, stepping-stone should have a hyphen (pace the Monkees, though I see that as usual the OED agrees with me).

And even (much) worse, nobody in education should ever, ever, ever use Comic Sans.

Tzetzes on April 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Why do you all who make such a point of critiquing the spelling, grammar and/or punctuation of others always express your criticism by including errors in spelling, grammar and/or punctuation (as you have, above)?

And this (since, now, two comments have included this criticism):

nobody in education should ever, ever, ever use Comic Sans.

…that font is commonly included on most if not all OSs and I recall teachers in public education think they’re being extra-friendly-nice-and-cool by being extra-friendly in person and in print. Thus, Comic Sans is popular in most “public” situations that involve communicating to children.

I don’t care for the font myself but that’s my explanation as to why it’s seen just about everywhere in public education involving all ages, in church bulletins, in local government publications, etc.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 4:05 PM

…that font is commonly included on most if not all OSs and I recall teachers in public education think they’re being extra-friendly-nice-and-cool by being extra-friendly in person and in print. Thus, Comic Sans is popular in most “public” situations that involve communicating to children.

I don’t care for the font myself but that’s my explanation as to why it’s seen just about everywhere in public education involving all ages, in church bulletins, in local government publications, etc.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 4:05 PM

More:

Asking why Comic Sans is frequently used in public literature (education, local governments, etc.) to communicate “fun, friendliness, happy, welcome” attitudes is like asking why girls like sparkly stuff and purple and boys like GIs, tanks and rocket ships.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Lemme make some easy money… Wanna bet the district’s prosecutor is a Democrat?

Archivarix on April 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Eric Holder: “Do you know how that makes my people look?”

slickwillie2001 on April 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Asking why Comic Sans is frequently used in public literature (education, local governments, etc.) to communicate “fun, friendliness, happy, welcome” attitudes is like asking why girls like sparkly stuff and purple and boys like GIs, tanks and rocket ships.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Comic Sans – the Ebonics of fonts

BobMbx on April 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Cheating in Philly? Impossible! It’s a Democratic city!!

MaiDee on April 4, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Come on, now. In the movie Stand and Deliver, it turned out that Jaime Escalante and his students weren’t cheating and they were able to have the original scores reinstated. I’m sure these people are innocent.

SailorMark on April 4, 2013 at 4:34 PM

I think you error here is the investigation in Atlanta was by the Governor of the State with special prosecutors and investigators.

No Feds were interested in looking, in fact Obama invited Hall to the WH for an award and she was given money as well.

It was Sonny Purdue who finally put an end to it. Everybody knew, including the businesses in Atlanta who were trying to get people to move there by promoting the “fantastic” school system.

REPEAT EVERYBODY KNEW!!! FOR YEARS!!!

It just got so blatant they couldn’t ignore it anymore. No school goes from something like 46 to 5th in a year.

http://truthandcommonsense.com/2013/03/30/can-bureaucrats-and-others-ever-be-held-to-justice-it-took-a-while-but-in-atlanta-the-answer-is-yes/

Thank God, finally. I’ve seen corruption in government for so long and still see it today.

Them and then the rest of us.

archer52 on April 4, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Why do you all who make such a point of critiquing the spelling, grammar and/or punctuation of others always express your criticism by including errors in spelling, grammar and/or punctuation (as you have{,} above)?

What, u no like my Oxford comma? (Sometimes I use it and sometimes I don’t, even in the same sentence. Over the years I’ve moved from German-style logical punctuation to Greek-style rhetorical punctuation, which comes closer to representing actual speech.)

…that font is commonly included on most if not all OSs and I recall teachers in public education think they’re being extra-friendly-nice-and-cool by being extra-friendly in person and in print. Thus, Comic Sans is popular in most “public” situations that involve communicating to children.

Lourdes on April 4, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Plenty of fonts come standard – I rather like Palatino Linotype – and hundreds more are available for free. There’s no reason always to reach for the ugliest of them and there are better ways of being friendly than using an unserious and unprofessional font.

(I have a sign on my classroom door – white letters in the Optima font on a blue background – that reads Omnem, o Vos Qui Intratis, Spem Ponite ["All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here"]. A bit of tongue-in-cheek dark humor actually goes a lot further than a “whimsical” typeface.)

Tzetzes on April 4, 2013 at 4:59 PM

I blame bush and no child left behind. It takes a GOP POTUS to take over the local schools and federalize them. Obama with his common core is just finishing the job.

Take back local control of schools and this crap will stop.

unseen on April 4, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Come on, now. In the movie Stand and Deliver, it turned out that Jaime Escalante and his students weren’t cheating and they were able to have the original scores reinstated. I’m sure these people are innocent.

SailorMark on April 4, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Spoofed on South Park in an episode that is perhaps appropriate for the current situation.

Tzetzes on April 4, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Where are our Trolls?

Del Dolemonte on April 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Where are our Trolls?

Del Dolemonte on April 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The OFA faxes are down, and they have been ordered to abstain from freelancing.

tom daschle concerned on April 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

chemman on April 4, 2013 at 3:29 PM

In some ways I miss Guam (98-00). In other ways (like their third world politics) I don’t miss it a bit. Now, if I could just figure out how to keep the US military off my back, I might make someplace like, say, Tinian into a nice benevolent dictatorship……..

GWB on April 4, 2013 at 5:42 PM

I cannot imagine this happening at my school, or even in the district. We go to extreme lengths to avoid even the merest hint of impropriety, and the idea of such outright cheating…well, it’d have to be way under the radar.

Bob's Kid on April 4, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Let us just say that the attitude toward entrenched gross corruption differs in the South and the NorthEast. We all have crooks. In NE there is no critical mass for reform.

Just sweep it under a rug, pretend all is better now.

etaoinshrdlu on April 4, 2013 at 7:15 PM

I’m sure they’d never consider rigging elections, right?

OxyCon on April 4, 2013 at 8:22 PM