Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett's claim that school choice would eliminate problems related to adults monkeying with student test scores makes no sense at all. Whenever student testing is used for high-stakes decision-making people will be motivated to look good. That motivation will exist in every kind of public school. ...and from time to time, folks will forget the rules.
But Moffett says he has confirmation that trouble is brewing at Perry Central High School.
This from Moffett Campaign Manager David Adams by email:
Another embarrassing scandal will soon attract national attention to Kentucky schools after one eastern Kentucky high school had all of its 2009 ACT test scores thrown out, Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett said.
ACT testing officials informed Moffett [last] Friday that an investigation of test administration irregularities at Perry Central High School in Hazard will be completed within a month. ACT says wrongdoing by students has been ruled out.
"My understanding is you had some parents who moved outside the district, enrolled their kids in other public schools and found out the kids really couldn't read well at all but they had ACT scores in the high 20's if not the 30's," Moffett said. "Obviously it's impossible to get an ACT score that high if you can't in fact read."
Moffett said scandals of this magnitude would be eliminated if Kentucky offered parents and students greater freedom in choosing which school to attend because people would be more diligent in staying informed about school quality.
"Things like this wouldn't happen if we had more public school choice," Moffett said. "People who would be shopping for schools would understand if certain school districts monkey with the numbers."
"For decades we've been undereducating kids and telling the public that all things are okay. We're undereducating about three-quarters of our kids. They simply can't compete in today's global market with that level of education. We've been doing that for generations and we need to stop now."
Moffett is campaigning for governor on a platform which includes major education reform implementing market solutions as opposed to the traditional practice of just throwing money at school officials who are shielded from accountability by their political power.
"Our current district monopolies absolutely strangle parents and take away their ability to get a clear picture of how well their children are being educated," Moffett said.