Mayor’s Fiancée Facing D.C. Education Scandal

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Mayor Kevin Johnson’s fiancée is facing questions over an allegedly widespread cheating scandal involving school teachers under her watch in Washington D.C.

A USA Today investigation found evidence that staff members were changing wrong answers to correct ones on standardized test sheets to receive bigger bonuses. The report found 80 percent of classrooms at one school were flagged.

Michelle Rhee, the former Washington D.C. public school chancellor, told a CBS camera crew in the nation’s capital that she took action every time she was aware of irregularities and believes a full investigation will show the cheating was not pervasive as feared.

“I think its not going to be a problem once the new investigation happens,” Rhee said. “You want to make sure the cloud is lifted, but people are very clear and confident about what was happening.”

Rhee declined to comment on what specific measures she took to combat reports of cheating.

Rhee served on Sacramento’s St. Hope school board from 2006 to 2007, where she met her future fiancée, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

STAR test scores from those years showed improvements across the board. The California Department of Education reported no irregularities in the school’s standardized testing.

Rhee did not escape scandal at the school; her name came up in a congressional report, calling her a “fixer” who did damage control.

Federal investigators looked into the school and Johnson for misuse of funds, ultimately fining the school but reinstating its eligibility for federal dollars.

The Washington D.C. school board held a hearing Wednesday to discuss how to tighten security measures during test taking.

Rhee’s new non-profit, Students First, is being headquartered in Sacramento. She has said she intends to raise $1 billion for education advocacy.

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