WDRB reports that about a year after allegations first surfaced of cheating on ACT Compass tests in Louisville’s Male High School, the principal involved has lost his bid to regain his job using Kentucky’s tribunal process.
The Compass test is a formal part of Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning assessment and accountability program. It is one of the methods used to establish that students are college ready in Unbridled Learning. Increased pass rates on Compass can boost a school’s overall College and Career Ready rates and overall Unbridled Learning accountability score even if students do not do well on the ACT college entrance test.
Speculation about the outcome of former principal David Mike’s tribunal hearing was running high at WDRB after they released an article showing teachers and principals usually win tribunal cases against local school boards.
But, not this time.
Apparently, even the school staff friendly tribunal process didn’t buy a know-nothing argument from Mr. Mike that cheating reportedly went on rather openly in his school without his knowledge.
After the tribunal rendered its decision, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Donna Hargens said:
“Test Scores do not matter if we do not possess the highest standards of integrity. We take no pleasure in the career consequences faced by Mr. Mike. However, the reputation of JCPS was at risk because of actions taken in the administration of ACT Compass testing at Male High School under Mr. Mike’s leadership. The tribunal affirmed our decision in this matter.”
In fact, the reputation of far more than JCPS is at stake here. Two other individuals were also implicated in the cheating scandal. They along with Mr. Mike still face action by the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board. As WDRB points out, that board operates mostly in secret until final rulings are rendered, so the “jury” is still out on exactly who will be held accountable and what the final consequences for all may be. But, more than credibility of those individuals hangs in the balance. The entire validity of the Kentucky assessment and accountability program rides on what happens, because if school staffers who cheat only get a wrist slap, at best, then accountability chaos will ensue.
Mr. Mike still has the option to appeal to the court system, and it is uncertain if he will actually do that. However, his inability to convince even a tribunal system well-known for its bias towards school staff in such cases indicates the courts may prove a tough environment for him, too.