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Mystery Signatures Raise Questions About Oversight

Bird You don't have to give a hoot about the DC public school system to find today's Washington Post education story (A $2.9 Million Payout, With a Few Shortcuts) worthwhile reading. 

Full of juicy details, it describes how a former DC principal started and grew a professional development program that, for all its potential effectiveness, seems to have lacked any real oversight or structure. 

The district gave out big money without a contract, the approved program didn't mesh with other district efforts, the program founders fought internally and one ended up dropping a dime on the founder, and -- my favorite part -- current and former district officials are denying that approval signatures found on various documents are actually theirs. 

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I received professional development from TI (the organization in question), and I have to say I'm really sorry to hear all this. I'm sorry because it was by far and away the best professional development I ever got from anything associated with DCPS, and was far better than anything I ever even heard of. Teachers I knew in non-TI schools were so jealous when I told them of what we got, and several asked me for curricular materials. I knew there were problems when the people involved quit (all of whom were spectacular), but I didn't know they were this bad. I really hope they don't end up shutting TI down for this - fixing the problems that poor oversight allowed to happen would be far more preferable than scrapping a program loved by teachers and principals.

i guess i should add that the two women still running the group always seemed to do a great job in providing high-quality services and classroom materials for us. My students' achievement would have definitely been lower had I used the standard DCPS curriculum rather than the Balanced Literacy method taught by TI.

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