The Philly Test Score Scandal

Dr. Susan Berry's excellent article on the school cheating scandal in Philadelphia is a miniature roadmap to financial disaster, intellectual mediocrity, political corruption, and moral decay. Citing a report by Steve Gunn at EAGNews, Dr. Berry lays out the high points (if we can call them that):

● Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and El Paso are other leaders in test score fixing;

● Philadelphia's teachers are represented by a powerful union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers;

● Their bosses are represented by the Teamsters (Local 502 of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators);

● The district runs a $300 million deficit;

● Nearly 3800 employees have recently been let go;

● But 395 are being paid over $100,000 per year;

● The district spends more than $132 million a year for teachers' health insurance while the teachers contribute $288,000 (2%);

● There's a $5.2 million annual slush fund (officially, a "wage continuation plan" for sick or injured employees);

● Along with another $36 million for severance pay.

Who's responsible for the test score scandal? According to the unions it's not coddled, overpaid teachers and incompetent or corrupt administrators.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said that while he does not condone cheating, district officials have placed strong emphasis on test scores and have converted low-performing schools to charter schools, which are publicly financed yet run by independent groups that generally hire nonunion teachers.

Hmmm. Demanding results and encouraging competition from better-run schools apparently left public school teachers no choice but to cheat their students, who were deprived of remedial help by inflating their test scores.

"There was a mood in the district that people knew they have to improve student outcomes or they would be in trouble," Jordan said.

How progressive! It's almost worthy of Pelosi. It was all about feelings, a sense of dread that short-circuited his members' ethical and moral sense. Poor them.

Teamster boss Robert McGrogan showed solidarity by blaming the investigators. Let's see, where have we heard that one before? The honorable Elijah Cummings, perhaps, covering Barack's backside in the House Oversight Committee IRS hearings. Or Barack covering Eric Holder's by declaring executive privilege in Fast and Furious.

The fish rots from the head.

Mr. Stewart is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. He is writing a book on the establishment clause and welcomes feedback at 

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