Details of the earlier announced school staff cheating during ACT COMPASS testing at Louisville’s prestigious Male High School continue to dribble out as authorities slowly release more information to the public.
In the latest news, action from Frankfort – not Louisville’s school district leadership – puts education credentials for three Male staff members’ on the line. This includes certifications for the former Male High principal, David Mike, who remains on the payroll in a central office position.
A few hours ago the Louisville Courier-Journal reported the case against three Male staffers has been forwarded to the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB). That board controls certification – and suspension and revocation of same – for the teachers and principals in Kentucky.
The Courier’s article also contains a link to a rather disturbing letter from Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday outlining the EPSB action.
Attached to the commissioner’s letter is a “Kentucky Assessment Allegation Report” that contains some truly troubling findings. Items mentioned in that report include a discussion of how Male students who did poorly on the ACT were humiliated. The report also says a staff member threatened other staff members with “overstaffing” (meaning loss of job) if they didn’t go along with some unmentioned activities.
Something else bothers me, however.
The report also says other Male High “staff members did not come forward with information or share knowledge of the incidents until the issue with overstaffing occurred.” This appears to refer to a separate action by the principal, announced late in the school year, to reduce some teaching staff positions at Male. The comment in the report makes it seem that teachers in Male were not really hostile to the cheating, but rather were reacting in their own self-interests regarding a loss of jobs. That might provide a disturbing clue to a much larger school culture problem that extends well beyond the three staff members referred to the EPSB.
So, it just might be a good idea for deeper digging at Male High. I wonder if there are other stories to be told by the upstanding students at Male who would not put up with cheating. Right now, the luster of Male has taken a tarnishing, and it may be up to its students, not its staff members, to set things right.
As a note, it was EPSB that took certificate action against several staff members in the Perry County Public School system several years ago following identification of cheating, also on the ACT, in at least one of that district’s high schools.
The Perry County incident shows the EPSB is increasingly likely to take action where cheating is confirmed. That is a message that the three Male staffers may shortly amplify.