Chancellor Rhee Corrects the Record
D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee, after reading my latest post [Seen Cheating? Tell Me About It] contacted me to correct accounts of her reaction to the suspicious erasures on the 2008 standardized test for D.C. elementary school students.
My colleague Bill Turque's Wednesday story in the Post said "Rhee decided against a closer look" at the possibility of cheating at a few schools with unusual numbers of wrong to right answer changes after the testing company's investigator---who detected the erasures---declared his own data "inconclusive." The story said Rhee overruled then D.C. state superintendent of education Deborah A. Gist, who wanted the investigation to continue.
Rhee said she did not overrule Gist, who has since left D.C. to become Rhode Island's commissioner of elementary and secondary education. Instead, Rhee said, she asked Gist's office for clarification of the erasure reports. She wanted to know, for instance, which classes in each school showed usual numbers of answer changes. She did not get answers to several of her questions, she said. Rhee said that the investigator not only had said the data was inconclusive, but made it clear that "you cannot make any assumptions that any cheating happened based on this analysis."
After Gist left, Rhee said, she asked Gist's replacement, Keri Briggs, to review the situation. Rhee said Briggs told her the investigation had not produced enough information to justify a further look, and told Rhee not to pursue it. Turque said his Sept. 7 story said pretty much the same thing, but as I often do, he misremembered his own reportage.
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