Montgomery County Issues Fake Algebra Scores And Altered Report Cards

A story in Sunday’s Washington Post alleges that Montgomery County school officials added 15 percentage points to high school Algebra 1 math scores. Why? Because the vast majority of students failed the final exam, that’s why.

School officials provided a variety of excuses for the abysmal test results, and then simply tacked on an extra 15 percentage points to raise the failure rate from 82 percent to only 68 percent, according to the Post story  by Donna St. George. Based on the new, improved, fake scores, 623 additional students in MoCo high schools suddenly passed the test.

To celebrate, the schools printed new, improved report cards, which were mailed out three days late. (I’m not making this up. You can read the story in hard copy in the Metro section, page C3, June 29, 2014.)

Hurray for Montgomery County! Another great accomplishment for our heralded public school system.

The Post story provides additional information, but leaves unanswered a host of important educational questions. Do county test scores  have any integrity? Any validity? Is there any possible way of knowing if test scores reflect student learning or teacher performance? Who shredded the original report cards? Is there any cure for my early onset cynicism?

Taking this dystopian fantasy a step further, are test scores tabulated on the same computers used to count votes in county elections? Or the same computers used to project the traffic impact of high-density development?

Maybe the Post story is in error? Maybe I’ve terribly misrepresented the story? Can anyone provide a believable explanation?

Alternatively, can anyone provide an entertaining fictional explanation? The comment space below is available free to creative minds. No word count limit. The prize for the best entry is a week of substitute teaching in a ninth-grade algebra class.

— John Hayden

How American Civilization Collapses

(NOTE: This post from November, 19, 2009, is getting hits at my other blog. We’re now entering the unchartered waters of 2013, so maybe it’s time to take another look. The post opens with an anecdote, and it takes a while to get to the point. I’ll add a troubling note at the end. — John)

When we talk about corruption, we think of big government and big business. But corruption pervades every aspect of American culture and society. It’s a rot and decay that threatens to destroy American civilization. We hardly notice anymore.

Here’s an example of the current American zeitgeist:  Driving from West Ocean City to Salisbury. In the rearview mirror, about a half-mile back on Route 50, is one of those big, modern ambulance vehicles.    Continue reading

The Real Scandal — Petty Corruption Destroys Institutions And Families

Do we care if Gen. David Petraeus’ ego is so big he has to have a personal biographer follow him around a war zone? Do we care if a smart, beautiful, and physically fit Harvard doctoral student “works her magic” on a general? Not really.

U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commande...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it scandalous? Based on the definition of “scandal,” the answer is technically, “Yes.”

But realistically, matters of ego, ambition, and romance are simply “human.” It’s strictly a private matter.

Until it begins to corrode the quality of work being done by important institutions, such as the U.S. Military.

Petty corruption pervades modern society, from highest to lowest.    Continue reading