Two Former Principals Charged in State Cheating Investigation

By David Limm (Philadelphia Public School Notebook)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed criminal charges against two more former Philadelphia principals.

Barbara McCreery, 61, former principal of Communications Technology High School, and Arthur “Larry” Melton, 70, former principal of Bok Technical High School, were arrested Thursday as part of the state’s ongoing investigation into adult cheating on standardized tests.

They were taken into custody and charged with crimes of “tampering with public records or information, forgery, and tampering with records or identification,” according the attorney general’s office.

A grand jury presentment said that Melton admitted to making an answer key and to personally changing students’ answers on test sheets as early as 2008 or 2009. In an interview with investigators, Melton had cited an “intense” pressure on principals from the District with respect to PSSA test performance.

McCreery, too, admitted to fixing test booklets in 2009 and 2010. According to a grand jury statement, she estimated fixing up to 15 booklets each morning in her office using an answer key she created after reviewing the test herself.

Melton and McCreery are now the sixth and seventh District educators to be criminally charged for their role in the culture of cheating that led to sizeable gains in PSSA reading and math scores.

Read the full story from The Notebook’s David Limm.

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