From our friends at Jackson Jambalya.

Board member: State Superintendent admitted to school ratings fraud

Tom Burnham and Ken Thompson inflated ratings, said School Board member Bill Jones
In a May, 2013 Clarion-Ledger story on Mississippi public school ratings that were falsely inflated by former education employee Ken Thompson, Thompson defended his actions, calling the calculation adjustments he made negligible and saying that he was overworked. (See “Some Miss. schools’ accountability ratings inflate after ‘arbitrary’ appeals process,” May 15, 2013.)

According to the Clarion-Ledger, Thompson said in an interview that “he would not change his decisions — decisions that were, by nature, subjective. He also said his department was understaffed and had too narrow a time frame to complete a review of the appeals.” He described some data changes he made as “negligible” and said his decisions were not “arbitrary.”

But that’s not the picture painted by School Board member Bill Jones in a September 2011 meeting regarding an internal investigation of the Mississippi Department of Education.

Jones said he suspected the rating for the school district in his home town of Petal had been falsely inflated by Ken Thompson.

When Jones confronted former state Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham about the issue, Jones said Burnham admitted to the ratings fraud. Jones said Burnham’s comment was: “Well, we try to help these districts. You know, if we can help them, we help them.”

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