Viewpoint: The time for leadership is here

New Dougherty County School Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree has an early opportunity to prove he is a strong and independent leader. The CRCT fiasco, the school system hoped was behind it, is only getting worse.

No school leader has had the courage to stand up and say it's likely, or even possible, that teachers or administrators tampered with the tests. It would be nice if Dr. Murfree would do that and promise to get to the bottom of what really happened.

The state ordered the system to investigate why so many classes in so many schools had suspiciously high numbers of wrong answers erased and changed to right answers on last year's standardized tests.

Instead, the school system set out to prove the state was wrong and there were no problems at all. That wasn't good enough for the state. The Governor's Office of Student Achievement sent the Dougherty County system's report back with a demand for more answers.

Now, CRCT results from THIS year raise more doubts. The scores dropped nearly across the board. The questions about possible tampering last year were primarily about elementary schools. State monitors oversaw the testing this year in eight of those schools. With those monitors watching, scores in 19 of 21 categories in elementary schools dropped.

Numbers for individual schools aren't available yet, so we don't know how much the scores changed in schools the state says had questionable results last year. But it's highly likely they dropped, perhaps dramatically. And it's time for somebody to find out why.