You may remember the Texas education "miracle". That was the wondrous school reform program W implemented when he was governor of the state in the 90’s and on which he based the No Child Left Behind law.
The centerpiece of the miracle was the Houston Independent School District (HISD) whose superintendent at the time, Rod Paige, became W’s first Secretary of Education.
Except that the "miracle" turned out to be all smoke and mirrors when it was revealed that the extraordinarily small drop out rate in many HISD high schools was accomplished through Enron-quality accounting practices. And now a grand jury is going to hear evidence in the scandal.
The scrutiny into HISD’s questionable dropout numbers began at Sharpstown High School, which reported no one had quit school in the 2000-01 school year.
The Texas Education Agency eventually stripped HISD of its "acceptable" accountability rating amid doubts about the accuracy of dropout figures at high schools districtwide. The TEA restored the rating a year ago after determining HISD had cleaned up its data-reporting practices.
But Houston is not the only district in Texas that fudged the numbers to make miraculous things happen in it’s schools. The Austin school district was indicted in 2000 for tampering with scores on the state standardized tests. They pleaded no contest.
Just some things to think about when someone from the administration spouts off on accountability and shovels out statistics about how well NCLB is working.