Cheating on State Tests Found at Two Los Angeles Schools

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2011

The state has thrown out the test scores of a top-performing Los Angeles school and of the highest-scoring campus in the nationally known Green Dot charter group after cheating was uncovered involving several teachers.

Short Avenue Elementary in Del Rey and Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood were barred from receiving academic rankings released last week by the California Department of Education. {snip}

At Short, three teachers are accused of changing answers or coaching students to the correct answers or both. At Animo Leadership, a science teacher is accused of fixing wrong answers.

{snip}

Cheating scandals have received increasing attention nationwide. In the Atlanta school system, 82 educators have admitted cheating, with misconduct documented at 44 of 100 schools. In Washington, D.C., concerns have risen about cheating in response to the high-stakes improvement mandates of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Locally, at six charter schools operated by Crescendo, principals were ordered last year to require teachers to review the state tests in advance and then use that material to prepare students. L.A. Unified recently closed those schools in the aftermath of the scandal.

{snip}

Deasy said he planned to launch a deeper investigation, including into whether scores from past years are legitimate. Short Avenue had until now been a success story, with a mix of students that substantially reflects the district at large. About two-thirds are low-income and about two-thirds are Latino. Other ethnicities include white (11%), black (9.4%) and Asian (8%.) Last year, the school’s performance index ranking was 848, well above the state target of 800.

{snip}

With a valid score, Animo Leadership would have approached an 800 API, which high schools serving large numbers of low-income minority students struggle to attain. The school, which was the founding Green Dot campus, has been named among the top 100 public high schools by U.S. News & World Report.

“It would have been our highest-scoring school,” [Green Dot chief executive Marco] Petruzzi said. “That’s why I’m so disappointed.”

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: According to U.S. News and World Report, Hispanics make up 98.9 percent of the student body at Animo Leadership School.]

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Tony Soprano

    I see this story explains why when I visited the on campus bookstore to buy a college book for my daughter there was an armed policemen guarding the store against shop lifters. I also noticed home many more blacks were on campus at the time. 30 years ago I attended this same college and everyone was white. NO need for armed policemen. What kind of conclusion can I make here.

  • Anonymous

    “It would have been our highest-scoring school,” [Green Dot chief executive Marco] Petruzzi said. “That’s why I’m so disappointed.”

    He seems disappointed in that they got caught. Well you cheated, and that’s why I am disappointed. Different cultural attribute i suppose. Performance, is well about performance. Not a test score that you game.

  • Question Diversity

    “It would have been our highest-scoring school,” [Green Dot chief executive Marco] Petruzzi said. “That’s why I’m so disappointed.”

    Never mind the fact that the only reason it was your “highest scoring school” was because of cheating. That’s like lauding a murderer for his great passion and energy.

  • Anonymous

    Cheating at a Mexican school in California? Absolutely shocking!

  • NBJ

    Yet another cheating scandal. Why am I not the least bit surprised? The future of this country looks more dismal by the hour.

  • Anonymous

    I work in ‘the system.’ All ‘high performing’ urban schools (read: ‘diverse’) cheat. All of them. ‘Nuf said.

  • Detroit WASP

    We have several all black magnet schools in Detroit with VERY high scores. I mean the scores are up there with private schools. I wonder…

    I have always been and advocate of not letting teachers test their own kids. On SAT or state testing day, the teachers should switch schools. Teachers from school A go to B and B go to A to administer the tests. No one is going to cheat for another school.

  • sbuffalonative

    I’ve said it before. Whenever you read about a minority school that makes remarkable claims of academic achievement (usually reported in the New York Times), you can be sure cheating was involved.

  • Anonymous

    @ Tony Soprano – 1 – “I see this story explains why when I visited the on campus bookstore to buy a college book for my daughter there was an armed policemen guarding the store against shop lifters. . . . What kind of conclusion can I make here?”

    That your daughter should be attending college elsewhere?

  • Shawn (the female)

    The incidents of cheating by school personnel are just now beginning to come to light. Even with the massive amount of cheating in schools in all 12 grades (assuming tots are making it through pre-K and kindergarten on their own merit) the scores are still abysmal? They have to cheat just to get the numbers only THIS bad? Along with a 20% average drop out rate, it’s only common sense to doubt the ability of a black to actually be able to do his EEOC-hired job.

    Due to the environment of the holding pens we call schools, many whites are disgustingly under-educated, as well.

  • Bill R

    You can be SURE the teachers (whom probably are nearly all minority) are NOT cheating for the White kids, correcting the test for the White kid, or giving the White kid the answers before the test. I wonder what that might just be teaching the White kids (however many are stuck there) about race, fairness, Black Run America, tolerance, etc.

    For SURE it is teaching contempt for authority, for the educational process, and for by extension contempt for trying to achieve on merit alone. Great job, public schools.

    You are teaching an entire generation to be cynical, lawless, sneaky, rebellious, and under handed as well as just plain stupid. SEGREGATE! NOW! Before the entire country goes bankrupt both financially and morally trying to raise up those who cannot, or will not, be raised up. So we may at least have a next generation who will be producers and achievers able to sustain our culture and country. That would be the White segment of American society, as always, of course.