Bedden (Still) Has Some Serious Housecleaning to Do ...
By John R. Butcher
Carol Wolf’s recent post reminded me to revisit the VGLA scandal. The Virginia Grade Level Alternative formerly was available to students with disabilities who were capable of performing at grade level but were unable to perform on a multiple-choice, written test.
You might think that would be a small subset of the student population, even of the population with disabilities. That thinking would ignore an opportunity to cheat on the SOLs: the VGLA was graded at the local school. Following its inception in 2004, the VGLA saw an explosive growth. Here are the data for Richmond:
That growth halted after 2010, when HB 304 required a specific annual justification for every student taking the VGLA. The new math test in 2012 then eliminated the math VGLA. The new reading test in 2013 eliminated the reading VGLA except for some limited English proficient students.
Elsewhere, I discuss the abundant evidence that Richmond was using the VGLA to artificially boost its SOL scores, i.e., to cheat. To the point here, the number of Richmond students with disabilities plummeted from 5,348 in 2010 to 4,271 in 2011, a difference of 1,077. As a percentage of the membership, the number dropped from 23.3 to 18.2 percent.
All those 1,077 students did not graduate: There were only 416 grade 12 students with disabilities in 2010. There has been no news of a miracle in 2010.
The only explanation consistent with these numbers and with Richmond’s obvious cheating is that, the cheating being ended by the General Assembly, Richmond dispensed with 1,077 “disabilities” that were no longer useful for inflating the SOL Scores.
As Carol points out, VCU now has rewarded the Superintendentwho presided over this atrocity with the title of Associate Professor in “Educational Leadership.” Carol does not explain, for there can be no reasonable explanation, why VCU would thus shame itself.