El Paso's desperate anti-cheating moves

LOS DESAPARECIDOS: In a cruel, sad twist of irony, one administrator's efforts to game No Child Left Behind and reap its bonuses led to deliberate efforts to leave students behind--and force others to simply disappear. The New York Times alerts us to an outrageous cheating scandal, first reported earlier this month, where suspected low-performing students at El Paso Independent School District were shuffled across class grades, kept from attending school on test days, and, in some cases, discouraged from enrolling altogether. All this so that the district's scores--mainly on the state test for sophomores--would look better. One (of many) startling numbers: Bowie High School reported 381 enrolled freshmen in 2007; the next fall the sophomore class count dropped to 170. Alleged mastermind, former superintendent Lorenzo Garcia, has been sentenced to 42 months in prison; six others are under investigation. Eliot Shapleigh, the lawyer and former state senator credited with bringing the case to light, called this "by far the worst education scandal in the country...In Atlanta, the students were helped on tests by teachers. The next day, the students were in class. Here, the students were disappeared right out of the classroom.”

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