Ex-Schools Chief Sentenced for Faking Test Scores

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The former superintendent of elementary schools in El Centro was sentenced to 10 months in federal custody Monday for submitting false results on standardized school science tests and bogus reimbursement claims.

Dr. Michael Klentschy, 68, built a national reputation beginning in the 1980s as an innovator in how to teach science to elementary school children. His “kit-based” methodology won numerous converts and awards — as well as a steady flow of research grants and work for Klentschy as a consultant.

But in pleading guilty in San Diego federal court to wire fraud charges, Klentschy — who headed the El Centro district from 1994 to his abrupt retirement in 2007 — acknowledged test scores from district students for the 2004-05 school year that he submitted as part of a federal grant were false and inaccurate.

As a result, an official who oversaw the grant said that the data supporting Klentschy’s approach, which the superintendent persuaded districts nationwide to adopt, was now “useless.”

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