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Kaya Henderson Was Informed Of DCPS Cheating Allegations, Report Says

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A D.C. elementary school principal's claim that she saw staff members erasing answers on students' test sheets had reached Chancellor Kaya Henderson within 24 hours, and an AP investigation finds school officials did little to follow up on it.

In 2010, a union official emailed Henderson about an allegation involving the Noyes Education Campus principal observing teachers changing students test scores. Emails show Henderson asked her staff to be in touch with union officials and one staff member responded,  'Absolutely. We were informed of this allegation. We are finalizing the investigation.'

DCPS says this email refers to allegations of cheating from the previous school year and not the one mentioned in the email.

But the AP investigation finds Henderson and other officials did not contact the school's principal, Adele Cothorne, and did little to investigate her specific claims.

Pete Weber, chief of data and strategy for the school system, counters that Noyes is probably "the most investigated school in DCPS," pointing to multiple investigations that spanned multiple years. He says "everything there is to uncover at Noyes has been uncovered."

"You ask a series of questions but you also allow people to speak broadly about anything else they believe requires follow up. So the notion that an investigation would only have covered a very discreet time frame just isn't reflective of how these investigations take place," he says.

DCPS says there is no record of Cothorne directly contacting school officials. She says she regrets that there is no paper trail, but that she reported it to DCPS over the phone. The U.S. Department of Education later investigated, but could not substantiate Cothorne's allegations.

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