If you were waiting as I was for a firsthand account of test tampering at a D.C. public school, it came this week. A 42-year-old former principal says she was reduced to tears and hounded out of her job after she reported cheating at her Northeast Washington campus.
Adell Cothorne was hired in 2010 by then-D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to run the Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus. She had been an administrator in Baltimore and Montgomery counties. She was warmly welcomed by Wayne Ryan, the award-winning principal she replaced at Noyes. He was promoted to instructional superintendent and became her boss.
Cothorne was thrilled to land the Noyes job. Its test scores were among the best in the District, and it had been named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Education Department. But, just weeks into the school year, she couldn’t square those high test scores with what she says she saw in classrooms: mediocre teaching and faltering student performance. She began to worry that the scores were fraudulent.