The worst example a public charter school can set is cheating.
Cheating to boost graduation rates, which ultimately raises school letter grades, that ultimately assists a school in receiving funds from the state for bonuses--is about the worst example any school could set.
There are allegations against one of our charter schools that are brewing to a roiling boil today, and I reiterate that at this point they are just that---allegations---of widespread grade tampering.
However, the evidence that continues to come in to me on this matter is enough for me to start asking some tough questions---which I have done and which I will continue to do.
From just a small part of what I have received on this matter:
"Many teachers changed grades, deleted zeros, deleted overdue assignments, forged passing grades, combined assignments, gave answers to tests, allowed additional time for over due assignments to be turned in, and falsified attendance records because it was asked of them in order to pass XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Seniors onto graduation so the school could maintain its “A” rating..XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX was seen by several people telling senior XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX the answers to online class work in the front office using the computer closest to the office door near the girl’s bathroom after school on May 28th. One parent (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) of a graduating senior (XXXXXXXXXXXX) called XXXXXX XXXXXXXX to
find out how XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX who barely had a “C” average ended up with such very high grades on XXXXXXX final report card? XXXXXXXXXXXXX knew something was wrong withXXXX XXXXXXXXXX grades. XXXXXX commented that even if XXXXXXXXX had studied and passed everything during the last two weeks of school there was still no way XXXXXXXXXX would have earned such high grades. XXXXXXXXXXX knew there was no way XXXXXXXXXXXX honestly earned those grades. XXXXXXXXX never got a return phone call from XXXXXXXXXXXXX or XXXXXXXXXXXXX."
How could Escambia County School District Administrators allow school recognition money to go to a school if there were crimson red-flags going up all over the place alluding to and alleging that widespread student record falsification was occurring?
Worse, how could those in power and those that control decision-making in this district allow the school board to not be made aware of these allegations of fraud?
Worst of all---a full 9 1/2 months after the first revelations of grade falsification were reported---- more than a week prior to the class of 2014's graduation on May 31st 2014---how could we allow Governor Rick Scott to still come to Pensacola and smile while turning over a check for this, a significant portion of which will be going to this one school? I've felt sick to my stomach all day over this. Disgusted does not do justice to how I feel right now. Blindsided, betrayed, and marginalized
I smiled and shook hands with the Governor last week at this function.
I greeted the director of this school that allegedly cheated last week, congratulating him on this great accomplishment.
I feel like a sucker, based upon what I am now learning today. I feel like I got used like a useful idiot. And the Governor, he's brought in for the photo-op--terrible!
At a minimum, staff should have not invited this school to this ceremony because of all of the allegations of misconduct; why would they have this school come to an event celebrating hard work by schools that actually did the work to earn these grades?
I want to know the answers to these questions and so I am on this issue until I get the truth. Five simple questions:
Who in the Escambia County School District knew of the onerous allegations of misconduct and grade altering that are being leveled against this school?
How was this program able to receive school recognition funds from Governor Scott just last week in Pensacola if the grades are not true and accurate?
When was this knowledge about alleged grade falsification gained by district employees that could have initiated an investigation?
What was done to stop this conduct?
And why was the elected board of education NOT told?