Charges of Cheating on Tests Spark Controversy

Three days after the school district announced increases in reading test scores for nearly all grade levels, a member of the district's board alleged Friday that the improvements were the result of cheating by teachers and students. District administrators and other board members quickly dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

Saul E. Lankster told a news conference that students from two schools had told him that teachers allowed students to take home test papers before the exam and helped students write the correct answers during the exam. Lankster offered no evidence to support his charges, saying that he needed to protect the anonymity of the students he spoke with.

Hours later, three other members of the seven-member school board told a second news conference that they stood by the test results and knew of no evidence to support Lankster's charges. One member, Basil Kimbrew, later called on Lankster to resign from the board.

Teachers, who also deplored Lankster's comments, attributed the test score improvements to increased classroom efforts to improve reading skills.

"We're highly insulted," said Tom Hollister, executive director of the Compton teachers union, who called Lankster's allegations irresponsible.

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