State documents reveal standardized test irregularities; aging prisoners strain government budgets

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In three recent years, 33 New Orleans public schools have been flagged for problems and possible cheating on standardized tests, including an excessive number of changed answers, plagiarism and improper test proctoring, according to records provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.

There were 51 separate instances of irregularities or infractions at those schools in 2010, 2011 and 2012, causing 130 tests to be voided.

The Lens counted 15 incidents that would be considered major infractions under state guidelines.

The article notes that not all infractions are proof of cheating. On the other hand, the stakes on these tests are very high, considering that they may determine a teachers’ job security or end-of-year bonus. In a companion piece, The Lens explains its methodology and links to the source documents. On Thursday, Lens education reporter Jessica Williams will discuss her story in a live chat at 12:30 p.m.

“Our officers now, instead of not even considering DNA, are looking at it as their first option when they go out on these cases,” said Deputy Chief Kirk Bouyelas, of the New Orleans Police Department. “It’s not just the murders and the shootings and the serious crimes, it’s even on the property crimes.”

“This place was not built to accommodate people like this,” [Warden Burl] Cain said. “I’m telling you, we’re really feeling it.”

“The Brown-Vitter bill really galvanized the debate about ‘too big to fail’ and capital ratios,” said Camden R. Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, an industry group that supports the agencies’ proposed rules. “It really focused the regulators’ attention on these capital issues.” With their latest move, the regulators hope to make the rules clearer and tougher.

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