Administrators and teachers at six charter schools operated by Crescendo Schools were caught cheating on state exams last year. Crescendo’s founder and executive director John Allen had orchestrated the scheme, directing principals at the schools to break the seals on state tests and use the actual test questions to prepare their students. All the principals complied, though several teachers later reported the cheating to officials at LA Unified School District, which oversees the charters. In a statement today, incoming LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy recommended a renewal of Crescendo’s charter, though with a built-in yearly review. Is the pressure to perform well in state testing enough to excuse cheating by school principals and teachers? And with two other charter schools under LAUSD still operating despite charges of embezzling and theft, what transgression is serious enough to close a charter school?
A. J. Duffy, President, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)