Student state tests changed at two schools investigation shows

Student state tests changed at two schools

BALTIMORE - "It was a real figurative act of violence against our communities our parents and our students," said Andres Alonzo, CEO of the Baltimore City Public School System.

Those strong words came from CEO Andres Alonzo on what he says is a slap in the face and a lack of faith in what city school children can do in the classroom.

Although Alonzo says he couldn't name names, someone at two city schools, Fort Worthington on East Oliver Street and Abbottston Elementary on Gorsuch Avenue, cheated .

At Fort Worthington several students left their tests blank and were mysteriously filled in with correct answers and at Abbottston, someone changed answers on tests by erasing wrong answers and putting the right one in place.

The investigation has touched off a new set of procedures to prevent cheating.

"We do not permit teachers to examine the booklets ahead of time.   They have to be locked in a secure place and every teacher, every administrator has to sign a statement indicating they understand what is construed as cheating," outgoing Maryland School Superintendent Nancy Grasmick says.

In addition to these measures the completed tests are now transported and stored in tamper proof boxes Grasmick says would expose any problems.

Alonzo says this scandal should not take away from the progress students have made at both schools because they are the victims of what he calls adults who are gaming the system.

Abbottston Elementary was the darling of the school system back in 2009 when the even the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited the school to congratulate them on their achievement.

Jimmy Gittings, head of the administrators union, says Abbottston's Principal Angela Faltz has been singled out as the person responsible for the cheating and that it's not true.

"I want to make it very clear to the media and the public that Dr. Angie Faltz is innocent of all charges against her and I am asking the media take into consideration that that the union tried to hand this situation through the legal system and the courts," Gittings says.

Gittings says he has proof that the Abbottston principal didn't do anything wrong but declined to share his evidence.

Alonzo says because of the investigation, the schools brought in 157 special monitors who watched the testing and collection of the booklets.

Alonzo also says the investigation is far from finished.

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