clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Former charter assistant principal has his licenses suspended for cheating

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Another Philadelphia administrator has been disciplined for his role in Pennsylvania’s widespread cheating scandal on state standardized tests.

Thomas Conway, a former assistant principal at Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter High School, has had his credentials suspended, according to the State Department of Education’s website. Cited as the grounds for discipline: "Allegations that Educator violated the integrity and security of the statewide assessment by failing to follow proper procedures related to the handling and storage of secure documents, and by reviewing the assessment for purposes of creating an answer key."

Conway has lost his administrative and supervisory credentials, along with his letter of superintendent eligibility, for a term of three years, ending April 29, 2016. The suspension of Conway’s instructional certificate will last six months and was effective starting in December 2012.

The District took disciplinary action against Conway on April 29. But on his LinkedIn profile, Conway stated that he stopped working at PE&T Charter in January of this year, ending a three-and-a-half-year stint at the school. It’s not clear whether his departure was voluntary. His profile also says that he began working as an adjunct professor of education at Arcadia University in January, in addition to being an adjunct professor of education and religion at La Salle and Saint Joseph’s Universities, where he has taught since 1999 and 2007, respectively.

PE&T Charter is one of 53 Philadelphia District schools and four area charter schools that have been under investigation for adult cheating.

Conway did not respond to a request for comment.

Charles Gibbs, chair of PE&T’s board of trustees, said only that "Dr. Conway is no longer an employee at PE&T. We have no further comment beyond that, as it is a personnel matter."

PDE spokesman Tim Eller issued a brief statement: "The leadership of Philadelphia Electrical and Technical Charter High School recognized the seriousness of this issue and took the necessary steps and appropriate actions to address these concerns. The Department of Education remains focused on and committed to ensuring the integrity of the state assessments."

Neither Gibbs nor Eller would say whether the investigation at PE&T has been closed or is ongoing.

After stricter test security measures were put in place, scores at PE&T dropped 29 points in reading and 30 points in math in 2012, one of the largest drops of any school in the city.

Eller also would not comment on the status of an investigation of potential cheating at the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School. Palmer officials have said that the investigation is closed, but Eller has never confirmed that.

In April, two principals of District schools lost their credentials in the first public fallout in Philadelphia to result from the cheating scandal. They surrendered one or more of their licenses permanently in lieu of revocation.

PDE is required to make public any disciplinary actions against educators, as well as the reasons. Other than a listing on the website of the Professional Standards and Practices Commission, PDE has not otherwise drawn attention to actions it has taken against educators as part of the cheating investigation.

The School District has repeatedly promised reports on cheating in a group of schools that it is investigating. The last promised deadline was the end of this month.

David Limm contributed to this report.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Connect with your community

Find upcoming Philadelphia events