(New York Times) — In April, Dale Mezzacappa attended a panel discussion on cheating sponsored by the Education Writers Association. At the time, she was one of three staff reporters for The Notebook, a community newspaper and Web site that covers the Philadelphia public schools. While few know of The Notebook, many know of Ms. Mezzacappa. For 27 years, until the newspaper industry’s near collapse, she was a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She is also a former president of the Education Writers Association. People trust Ms. Mezzacappa to get it right. After the panel discussion, an executive for a testing security company suggested she ask state officials if they had done a study flagging schools with suspicious numbers of erasures on state tests. In May, the state responded, sending Ms. Mezzacappa a file so large she needed technical assistance to download it.
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