The New York Times has a good story cheating in schools and why it may not be the greatest idea to have states tell districts to investigate themselves. To read it, click here http://nyti.ms/qC9F3f

John Boivin, administrator for the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program, told me last month that much of California’s auditing and investigations budget has been gutted by budget cuts.

“Erasure analysis ended in 2009,” he said.

Erasure analysis played a part in the cheating scandal that enveloped Atlanta.

“As part of budget reductions in 2009, we have had to remove from our contract with ETS (the) security audits,” Boivin said.

Instead, districts investigate themselves and hand over the information to the state, he said.

“The instruction that we provide school districts is that when something comes to their attention, what they do have to do is report to us and they have to conduct an investigation,” he said. “Process-wise, what they do is that when they have completed their investigation, they submit a testing irregularity report to us.”

“It’s up to them to conduct their investigation and make their own determination and then they submit a testing irregularity report to us. Then we either have more questions or ask them to answer more questions,” he said. “Or we concur with (their) findings.”

Is that the way to root out wrong doing? Especially when the stakes are increasingly high for teachers, schools, principals and districts to produce increasingly hard to achieve results?

Locally, El Molino High School is the focus of a West County School District investigation into “testing irregularities.” To read that story, click here: http://bit.ly/qRdHAz