Leave No Fraudulent Statistics Behind

A while back, Education Secretary Rod Paige made the news because Houston high schools, Sharpstown High School in particular, were caught faking drop out rates. Now, via Susan Nunes, I see that Houston high schools are also lying about how many of their students plan to go to college:

Across town, Davis High School, where students averaged a combined SAT score of 791 out of a possible 1600 in 1998, reported that every last one of its graduates that year planned to go to college.

Now “plan” is a vague, almost Clintonian Rovian word, but even so, the 100% figure is surely a lie:

At Davis High, for instance, comparison with test scores and records from the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which tracks students who enroll in public colleges and universities in Texas, suggested that not 100 percent, but less than half of Davis’s 1998 graduates enrolled in the state’s two- or four-year institutions of higher education, which generally absorb the great majority of college-bound graduates, particularly from poorer high schools.

I can believe that every student answered that “they would like to have a college scholarship,” but that’s not quite the same.

Paige was elevated from Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District to Secretary of the Department of Education based on the allegedly stellar results of Houston schools under his watch. In fact, the Texas system became the model for the No Child Left Behind Act. Like so much else with this administration, upon closer inspection the success morphs into smoke, mirrors, fraud, and lies. Also like much else with this administration, much of the truth was known beforehand, but severely under-publicized.


P.S. Susan also links to this unusual story (though she does say “For those who love conspiracy theories”).