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Officials: No Stanford 9 cheating probe

(Published May 3, 1999)

By REBECCA CHARRY

Staff Writer

Although D.C. school Superintendent Arlene Ackerman pledged more than a month ago to investigate charges that teachers at Walker Jones Elementary School gave students the answers to last spring’s Stanford 9 achievement test, no investigation has been made or is planned, school officials now say.

Assistant Superintendent Joyce Jamison, charged with leading the inquiry, said no incidents of alleged cheating are being investigated because no specific cases were brought to her attention.

Three students, along with their parents, made the charges publicly at a community meeting March 8 and in a story published March 22 by The Common Denominator, which Jamison said she did not read. Two children were special education students whose report cards showed consistent low levels of achievement, yet they scored "proficient" or "advanced" on sections of the tests.

Instead of an investigation, Jamison said, school officials reiterated test procedures to teachers at the school.

"We met with the principal and talked with the teachers about how the test is supposed to be administered," Jamison said. "We had additional monitors in the school" during this year’s tests administered April 19-23.

Parents who made the charges say school officials were well aware of their concerns.

"We’ve called, we’ve sent letters. We have been fighting this for a year," said Sheila Hardy, whose son Leeante said his teacher gave him answers to the test. "We keep telling them, but it’s like they don’t want parents speaking their minds."

Hardy also charged that she has been targeted by school leaders for speaking up about what she believes happened to her son.

Shortly after the charges became public, Hardy’s younger son was expelled from the school’s Head Start program, ostensibly because he was picked up 45 minutes late, she said.

Hardy said when she called to arrange the child’s re-entry into the program, an unidentified woman who answered the phone said, "Next time you ought to think more about what you say in meetings" and hung up.

Head Start officials could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator