Indirect allegations that improved its test scores by cheating have provoked strong reactions in Montgomery County.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an investigative story yesterday calling into question the Wheaton school's National Blue Ribbon status.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr and denounced what he saw as allegations that the school must have tampered with test scores. Furthermore, he said in a statement Monday morning that the story perpetuated racial and socioeconomic stereotypes.
And he offered up a more succinct criticism on Twitter:
"Alan Judd and @AJC assume that when black, brown and poor kids achievement improves it must be cheating rather than hard work of staff."
“That tweet is right on the money,” said Jean Claude Zenklusen, the Montgomery County PTA coordinator for the Albert Einstein High School cluster, which includes Highland. “I read that article, and I was fuming.”
Highland has a lot of factors working against it, Zenklusen said, particularly a high percentage of students on free or reduced lunch. But improvements have come about not by cheating, but by sheer hard work.
"Between the administration and the parents, they have turned this school around," he said.
Zenklusen, whose own children attend , said that whenever he visits Highland, he's struck by the students' enthusiasm for their work.
Zenklusen remembers when the administration was scratching their heads, trying to figure out why so few parents came to PTA meetings. Then they changed the time from evening to morning, inviting parents to stay for meetings after walking their child to school. Attendance sharply increased.
Although the Highland PTA recently lost its incorporation because of some confusion with English-language application forms, Zenklusen said the cluster is working to get them reinstated.
What do you think? Did the Atlanta Journal-Constitution raise fair questions about how the school achieved dramatic improvement? Or does the article just perpetuate stereotypes in public education? Tell us in the comments.