Why Is (Some) Test Cheating Wrong, But “Miracle” School Lies Are OK?

Of course, this all began with a bombshell announcement from the Reagan administration: A Nation at Risk.

So it started with a lie.

As governor of Texas, George W. Bush, and superintendent of Houston schools, Rod Paige, the Texas “miracle” led to the presidency of the U.S. and Secretary of Education.

But it was all a lie.

While Secretary of Education following Paige, Margaret Spellings proclaimed the federal legislation, NCLB, modeled on the Texas “miracle” a success.

But that too was a lie.

As the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Geoffrey Canada was lionized as “Superman.”

But it was at best half-truth, if not a lie.

Creating a culture of fear herself, Michelle Rhee turned her role as Chancellor of DC public schools into a glorifying Time cover and story.

But it was all a lie, built on cheating no less.

Arne Duncan, credited with the Chicago “miracle”—see the Paige path above—was appointed Secretary of Education.

But, another lie.

Maybe some will find the word “lie” too harsh because most of the examples above (except for the Rhee tenure that did appear to be built on test cheating) and most of the “miracle” claims are misrepresenting data, manipulating data, or presenting partial data.

The media is eager to cover these claims, but nearly silent in covering the debunking—and there has always been debunking.

So I am now baffled about a truly important question: Why is (some) cheating wrong (for example, Atlanta), but “miracle” school lies (and SOE misrepresentations) are OK? No only OK, but those lies appear to be very lucrative for the liars (all of the people identified above have continued to prosper—not suffering significantly or legally for their false claims).

Anyone have a credible answer?

“Miracle”School and Data Distortions: A Reader

Stop Counting on Education ‘Miracles,’ Elaine Weiss

Education at Risk: Fallout from a Flawed Report, Tamim Ansary

We’re a Nation At Risk (Happy April Fool’s Day), Gerald Bracey

A Nation at Risk Revisited, Gerald Holton

From Spellings to Duncan: Using NAEP as Policy Propaganda

The “Texas Miracle,” Rebecca Leung

The Myth of the Texas Miracle in Education, Walt Haney

miracleschools wiki

Just How Gullible Is David Brooks?, Aaron Pallas

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s legacy as Chicago schools chief questioned, Nick Anderson

No Child Left Behind fails to work ‘miracles,’ spurs cheating

From “Bad” Teachers to Teachers as Cheaters: The Burden of the Impossible

Taking the Fall in Atlanta, Richard Rothstein

5 comments

  1. gfbrandenburg

    You left out the supposed miracle wrought by Michelle Rhee in Baltimore, which was entirely fictional, but which she put on her resume and used to become Chancellor of DC public schools…

  2. gfbrandenburg

    And also the clearly paid-for diploma-mill doctoral ‘dissertation’ by “Dr” Steven Perry, the miracle-maker charter-school operator in Connecticut. When he submitted the ‘dissertation’ he forgot that he was supposed to replace “Lexmark University” with his actual college name and “Anytown” with the town he grew up in. I kid you not.

  3. Pingback: Wow! Another important question about what’s going on in education! | Marginal Revolution- Educational Leadership Unchained
  4. hksounds

    “Why is (some) cheating wrong (for example, Atlanta), but “miracle” school lies (and SOE misrepresentations) are OK?”
    1. Because the Atlanta educators are black and powerless while the others you mention above, and I’ll throw in the banksters, are white and powerful.
    2. Because the benefits of the Atlanta educators went to poor black students while the “miracle” school lies go to benefit those siphoning off public funds for private enrichment, often cronies.

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