Staff at the Robert Russa Moton Charter School, one of the highest-ranked open-enrollment schools in New Orleans, violated state testing policy to help fourth-grade students pass standardized exams last year, a district investigation found. The school denies any cheating took place.
Correspondence among school, district and state officials obtained through a public records request detail allegations brought by anonymous whistle-blowers, among them a charge -- apparently substantiated -- that fourth-graders were shown writing prompts for the state's LEAP exam ahead of time to give them a leg up.
In response to the district's findings, the independent charter board that governs Moton hired the law firm Adams and Reese to conduct a separate investigation, which turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, officials for the Orleans Parish School Board sent Moton's board a letter this spring listing five "non-negotiable" steps the school must take or risk losing its contract to run the campus. Portions of the letter were heavily redacted by district staff before they were made public to protect the identity of Moton employees. But the list of "corrective actions" includes a demand that Moton fire at least one staff member and take "disciplinary action" with others...
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Robert Russa Moton Charter School
"New Orleans charter school is accused of cheating to help 4th-graders pass LEAP tests.” The Times-Picayune (LA), 8/26/2012