Cheating Scandal Claims Two Philly School Administrators

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook reports that two former Philly school administrators have surrendered their credentials to the state, the first people to face any sanction in connection with suspected cheating that inflated test scores at underperforming schools for a number of years. The Notebook says: “They are Barbara McCreery, the former principal of Communications Tech High School and this year principal of Bok, and Lola Marie O’Rourke, former principal of Locke Elementary. Both Comm Tech and Locke were among the 53 Philadelphia schools investigated for irregular patterns on PSSA scores.” McCreery has reportedly retired at Bok; officials say that more administrators are expected to face action of some sort in the scandal.

That scandal, of course, is one of the last remaining legacies of former Supt. Arlene Ackerman, who died earlier this year. While controversial, she hung onto her job tenaciously, in part, by claiming that Philly students under watch had made substantial progress in federal accountability tests. When cheating was suspected, however, security standards were tightened—with the result that many schools that had seen huge rises in achievement suddenly saw their scores regress. More punishments are expected. “This will be far from done,” said one administrator. “It sounds to me that two people had been identified by the state. I don’t know how many more will be coming, I really don’t know.”