Monday, November 30, 2015

Yer Cheatin' Schools?

Looks like the state might get involved in apparent cheating on standardized tests in Philly schools; just what the district needs now.

Yer Cheatin' Schools?


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Is Queen Arlene in France?

BE: Dunno, why?

JB: If so, might be time to drop the pate and head back to Philly.

BE: Because cheese steaks are healthier than pate?

JB: Noooo. Because the state Department of Education appears ready to jump into the issue of alleged cheating on standardized tests in a bunch of Philly schools.

BE: Uh-oh. Seems to me Arlene doesn't need any more problems.

JB: Agreed. Yet the Inky today reports the state has this data analysis thingy that shows almost half the schools in Pennsylvania that look suspicious in terms of possible cheating are (ta da!) in the City of Brotherly Love -- 22 district schools and 7 charters.

BE: These are the tests that Gov. Rendell and school officials tout for gains and use as the basis for pushing for more state aid and complaining that less state aid means falling back in test scores?

JB: Bingo!

BE: So we're looking at the potential of those claims being proven, what's the word?.....Bogus?

JB: That would be the word.

BE: So it's possible the district, while getting more money under Rendell, did NOT greatly improve its student scores from 2007 to 2010, thus underscoring the case made by Gov. Corbett and others that more money is NOT the answer to better public schools?

JB: Apparenrtly so. And this, I'd note, comes amid the huge cheating scandal in Atlanta public schools, which is so bad that AP reports today that superintendents are being ousted.

BE: Can you imagine the fallout here if all the reports of teachers pressured to help students get better scores so that teachers and the district can get more tax dollars prove to be true and as widespread as the data suggests?

JB: Mon Dieu!

BE: Don't you mean GRRR!

JB: Oh, oui, Grrrr.



Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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