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This Weekend's Top MuckReads: School Cheating and Dubious Debt Collection

Plus disability rights and an inmate's lament.

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Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.

‘Ashley Treatment' On the Rise Amid Concerns From Disability Rights Groups, The Guardian A controversial procedure that limits the growth of severely disabled children "has begun to spread" among families. Though disability groups claim the treatment violates rights, parents who have chosen it believe it ultimately leads to a higher quality of life for the child. The Guardian has more in an email exchange with the first patient's father. Contributed by @amichel

‘Compelling' Evidence of Cheating in Many Philadelphia Schools, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Fifty-six Philadelphia public schools are under investigation for systemic student cheating on standardized tests. Contributed by @dylancpurcell

OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit-Card Collections, American Banker

Documents were trashed. Robo-signing was rampant. Computer systems showed different amounts of debt. JPMorgan Chase is under federal investigation for its practices in collecting credit-card debt, and millions of dollars in previous judgments on debt payments could be thrown into question. JPMorgan Chase declined to comment. Contributed by @paulkiel

Inmate's Lament: ‘Rather Be Dead Than Here,' The New York Times

El Salvador's 19 prisons were built to hold 8,000 people; today, 24,000 inmates are crammed into the cells. Overcrowding across Latin American prisons has led to disease, safety issues and cries of crisis from human-rights groups, prison administrators and investigators.  Contributed by @srubenfeld

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs, The New York Times

The most-read resignation letter in years: A Goldman Sachs exec wrote that a culture shift, from one of integrity to one of greed, prompted him to leave the firm after nearly 12 years. The day of publication, Goldman lost $2.15 billion of its market value, and a debate picked up on the "very nature of capitalism."

Foreign Exchange Students Sexually Abused in Program Overseen by State Department,  MSNBC 

Each year, more than 25,000 foreign exchange students come to America. Though most have a great experience, oversight issues let sexual predators slip in as hosts. And when abuse does occur, evidence suggests the program sends students back home with little or no support. Contributed by @DafnaLinzer

The Exoneration of Bennett Barbour, Slate 

Virginia's governor ordered DNA testing as part of an audit of criminal cases that cleared Bennett Barbour of a 1978 rape conviction, but the state didn't inform him until nearly two years later. Barbour could be one of dozens of wrongfully convicted men cleared by Virginia's DNA review, but the state hasn't moved quickly to notify them; nor has it released a complete list of names. Contributed by @ProPubPR

These stories and many more can be found at ProPublica. You can also subscribe to a daily #MuckReads email or follow ProPublica on Twitter. Reader submissions are key to making #MuckReads a success — please contribute!

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