Philly Cheating Scandal Drawing National Spotlight

The national media has suddenly taken notice of Philadelphia’s cheating scandal, in which more than 130 educators are accused of helping, er, improve the local results of standardized tests. Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office is mulling criminal charges in the matter.

The New York Times calls it “one of the largest such cheating scandals in the country.”

Some administrators were giving answer keys to teachers who passed them on to students. In other cases, principals took completed exams home at night and doctored the answer sheets. And in some schools, teachers and administrators gathered secretly in conference rooms with test booklets, pencils and erasers and changed wrong answers.

“Any time you’ve got cheating going on by adults, that’s egregious,” said Michael A. Davis, general counsel to the Philadelphia school district, who described some of the findings of the inquiry.

The tests spanned three years, from 2009 to 2011, and involved 138 educators at 27 schools, three of them public charter schools.

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