HIGH-STAKES CHEATING: Powerful piece by the LATimes on an abusive leader of Los Angeles charter school organization, Crescendo, who in 2010 cowed school principals into engaging in blatant cheating on tests. The schools were belatedly closed; the leader, John Allen, eventually let go. (He sued for wrongful dismissal, finally settling with the district.) Is this story a condemnation of charters--or of the pressure-cooker environment to churn out great test scores? What's clear: those hurt include the 1,400 students and their families who had put their trust in Crescendo and Allen. The few heroes? Teachers who spoke out against cheating and are still ready to teach. Writes the LATimes: "Allen's mission to reach students in some of Southern California's poorest areas will be carried on by some of the teachers who became whistle-blowers."