Federal probe found no D.C. test score cheating, Michelle Rhee says

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 - 7:58 am

Education reformer Michelle Rhee said Tuesday that a federal investigation should put to rest allegations that educators cheated to improve test scores during her tenure as Washington, D.C., public schools chancellor.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General announced Monday that its investigation found no widespread cheating on standardized tests during 2008-2010.

In a statement, Rhee said the conclusion supports previous investigations into the allegations, which were the focus of a "Frontline" episode on PBS that was scheduled to air Tuesday night.

Rhee, the wife of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, runs the national education lobbying group StudentsFirst, which is based in Sacramento and promotes education reform measures.

"The results confirm what we've long believed, that the vast majority of educators would never compromise their personal or professional integrity to cheat on a test, thereby cheating children," Rhee said in the statement.

The hourlong Frontline program, which The Bee reviewed in advance, primarily recounts Rhee's time as the chancellor of public schools in Washington, D.C., two years ago. After detailing her successes and challenges, the program ends by questioning whether tremendous test score gains could be attributed to widespread cheating.

USA Today first reported in 2011 that, during Rhee's tenure, there was a high rate of erasures at Washington schools with high test score gains.

The Frontline segment questioned whether enough was done to investigate the erasure irregularities.

Rhee's statement said the probe by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General supported previous inquiries and findings by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General and two private investigations.

"At StudentsFirst we believe it is incredibly important to take all allegations of wrongdoing seriously and we thank both offices for doing so," Rhee said in her statement.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Melody Gutierrez



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