At present, EPSB is swamped with hundreds of allegations of wrong doings by Kentucky educators, each case requiring time to clear. For example, KSN&C has been monitoring the case of FCPS Special Education Director Kathy Dykes whose questionable ethics will have been the subject of a full investigation for a year by the time EPSB next meets in August.
Thanks are due to the courageous staff and students at Male who blew the whistle.
This from the Courier-Journal:
State cites Male High principal in ACT cheating scandal
A Kentucky Department of Education investigation has found several standardized test violations at Male High School and has referred former principal David Mike and two other staffers to the Education Professional Standards Board, where they could face sanctions.
The report, released Monday, followed months of scrutiny after students alleged Mike and others helped them cheat on a standardized test — and then asked them to lie to ACT officials investigating him in December.
Mike, who took over the job of principal last year at Male — one of the district's higher-performing high schools — has already been reassigned to non-instructional duties and prohibited from administering ACT tests without permission.
In addition to Mike, counselor Rhonda Branch and teacher Debbie Greenberg have also been referred to the Education Professional Standards Board. All three are being referred because the violations could prove to be intentional, KDE commissioner Terry Holliday said.
KDE's investigation into the administration of the ACT Compass Test in 2013 at the school found several violations, according to the report, including:
• Students were assisted by teachers and other students answering Kentucky Compass secure test items while using a Compass diagnostic program as a practice test.The report says that it was not "general knowledge" that there were live ACT Compass test questions on the "practice tests" when the events took place.
• Students were allowed students to take a practice test repeatedly, increasing their exposure to real test items.
• Proctors helped students answer live test items during practice test sessions.
Nevertheless, "these actions increased the number of students who reached college readiness and improved Louisville Male High School's overall" state accountability rating, the report said.
The report also cited apparent attempts to cover up the incidents. That included a finding from interviews that Mike told a teacher to destroy student "practice test" notebooks instead of sending them to ACT.
"Two staff members indicated that Mr. Mike and/or Ms. Greenberg tried to coach them as to what to say to the investigators when questioned. A student indicated she felt intimidated or bullied by Mr. Mike into lying for him about the Compass cheating," the report said.
Mike declined to comment, a JCPS spokesman said. Greenberg and Branch could not be located. Greenberg retired July 1; Branch is still employed, Jackey said.
According to the professional standards board, the case will be reviewed and the board could revoke or suspend professional licenses. They can also impose probationary conditions or issue a written admonishment. Respondents can appeal in circuit court.
"There's a lot of due process involved," said Alicia Sneed, director of legal services, noting that the board could take more than a year.
Because Fall 2013 ACT Compass scores had already been invalidated, and since there is no evidence of any inappropriate activities during the spring 2014 ACT Compass exams, no further action will be taken regarding students' test scores, Holliday said in a letter to JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens.
JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey said Monday the school district is studying the state report as part of its own investigation.
Meanwhile, Holliday recommended ethics training and additional test administration training for the three employees, if they assist in any future state testing.
"JCPS takes the recommendations in this report very seriously and will ensure the employees mentioned follow these directives so that student learning and achievement remain the focus of their efforts," Jackey said in a statement.
He said JCPS is conducting two investigations, one based on KDE and ACT findings and a second into allegations of unprofessional behavior.
School board chairwoman Diane Porter said she was still digesting the report, but said testing is "something we want to make sure we're doing correctly." She declined to comment further.
Mike, formerly principal of Western High, is also under a separate investigation, started May 30, by JCPS for "unprofessional behavior" that "does not involve testing" at Male High School. He had been allowed to stay at the school during that investigation, Jackey said.
Sneed said the Education Professional Standards Board gets about 100 improper testing allegations a year, but opened only 10 cases last year, mostly in instances that appeared intentional, she said. Many of the others were accidental.
Concerns about the scandal have boiled over at Male school council meetings, and in May, about 40 students protested the cheating allegations outside JCPS headquarters on Newburg Road.