When The Teachers Become Cheaters
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by sebekm 1 year, 6 months ago.

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Who would have thought? I’ve seen several articles over the past few years that dealt with cheating by Georgia teachers and staff, but none hit me as hard as the one I saw the other day at USATODAY.com . The article was written by Larry Copeland, and it includes references to numerous instances of cheating by Georgia teachers and school administrators that have been investigated. IMHO, this story outlines an incredible and outrageous situation which is probably just the tip of the iceberg. In my experience, if they found this much localized corruption, the problem is probably far, far worse.

“35 educators indicted in Atlanta cheating scandal

By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY, 6:41p.m. EDT March 29, 2013

About three dozen educators have been indicted in an Atlanta public school cheating scandal.

ATLANTA -- A grand jury today indicted 35 Atlanta educators on racketeering and other charges in the 4-year-old Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said the 35 were indicted on 65 counts, including racketeering, making false statements and improperly influencing witnesses.

The Atlanta school cheating scandal is believed to be the biggest in the nation's history. "What we've charged is a conspiracy, and the conspirators carried out different parts of this conspiracy," Howard said.

Among those indicted: former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall (see photo insert), who was named national superintendent of the year in 2009 by the American Association of School Administrators -- in large part because of students' improvement on standardized tests. She was appointed in 1999 and stepped down in 2011.

Hall and many of those indicted have previously maintained their innocence. Current Superintendent Erroll Davis said: "We intend to let the legal process take its course. Our focus has been and will continue to be to provide a quality education for our children in an ethical environment and fully support the 95% of teachers who were not implicated in this scandal."

A state investigation in 2011 implicated nearly 180 educators.

After reports of widespread erasures on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, then-governor Sonny Perdue appointed a special investigative panel. The state investigators found that cheating occurred at 44 Atlanta schools and involved 178 educators, including 38 principals.

About 150 of those implicated have resigned, retired or lost appeals to keep their jobs; 21 have been reinstated, and three are still awaiting appeals before a disciplinary tribunal.

The grand jury heard testimony Wednesday, Thursday and today. Howard said the panel had investigated for 21 months.”

See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/29/atlanta-cheating-scandal-schools/2036785/

Consider that the above article only addresses the Atlanta area. There has been further reporting which cites additional widespread instances of cheating by teachers and staff in other Georgia schools. In one Courier article dated December 28, 2011, it was reported that: “(i)nvestigators digging around found evidence of cheating in nearly one-half of the 26 schools in the (Daugherty county) system of 16,000 students on Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in 2009.” Also: “Other public school systems in the state also have been caught tampering with the tests. There was even an incidence in Glynn County several years ago.”

See: http://coastalcourier.com/archives/39088/

Also - note that as reported in the USATODAY.com article, Superintendent Davis says one focus has been to “fully support the 95% of teachers who were not implicated in this scandal.” This statement - if taken literally (which I think we should be able to considering the source) – makes a startling admission: he estimates that at least 5% of the Atlanta-area teachers in the educator pool at one particular point in time were probably cheaters. If we don't consider the events in the Atlanta area to be isolated and if we extrapolate this percentage to an educator population state-wide, this contemplates a HUGE number.

IMHO – all of the above illustrates a very serious problem which threatens to further corrupt the core of our society and its moral base. It is now commonplace to discover that our elected representatives – federal, state and local – are liars, cheats and thieves. But now the problem has clearly spread to a group which is a pillar of the moral compass of our society: teachers.

The shortcomings of parenting in our society are on display in the daily news. With these revelations about teacher/school administrator corruption, the questions now are: what happens to a society when the school teachers become cheaters? What happens when the children see lying, cheating and stealing glorified in the media; practiced at the national, state and local level by our elected representatives; and now see that their school teachers are liars and cheaters, too?

And an even bigger question is: what - if anything - can we do about it?

Latest Activity: Mar 31, 2013 at 2:54 PM

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JimmyMack commented on Monday, Apr 01, 2013 at 09:38 AM

Yes, this is a scary one. I know there is more than one angle to this, but every since the Education system enacted NO Child Left Behind, an unrealistic concept if there ever was one, teachers and administrators have been saddled with an almost unachievable task in order to comply with the No Child mandate. I think, some, not all, crack under the pressure of 'ensuring no child is left behind.'

It is unrealistic to think that every child has it within him or her to become a rocket scientist. Some are destined to be sales people, cooks, garbage collectors and ditch diggers.

I think a start would be a universal mandate to remove No Child Left Behind across the board and get back to reasonable and rational assessment of a child's academic progress and measurement of their individual abilities.

HMJC commented on Monday, Apr 01, 2013 at 11:11 AM

There does have to be a metric however, tying this directely to funding is why we are where we are at. It is a hard nut to crack but going back to "this is as far as this kid is going to go" is not the answer. We need more schools, we need more teachers. I would feel a lot better if that is where my taxes were going. States need to be able to have enough facilities to place children in their current skill level. There are children that are "slower" than others but with the right environment and qualified teachers; a difference could happen. No child left behind had good intentions; tying the concept of success to dollars is what made it fail.

sebekm commented on Monday, Apr 01, 2013 at 11:11 AM

My sense is fhat NCLB was supposed to help ensure that the kids met minimum standards. Instead it seems to have instigated teachers (and school principals!) to demonstrate a lack of professional ethics and their own selfishness - putting their own advancement and career standing ahead of ensuring that their students met the standards.

I also seem to recall that along with the implementation of NCLB came a boatload of money to get it done. A big contention of opponents at the time was that we weren't going to solve the problems of our educational system by throwing money at them. It looks like they got that one right.

Yes - it's a big problem, but we ought to be able to rely on the integrity of the people we trust the education and safety of our children to. If not , then we might as well go back to home schooling.

JimmyMack commented on Monday, Apr 01, 2013 at 17:33 PM

Good points Sebe. Being that the money was associated with performance corrupted it IMHO. Plus, a teacher who could not 'produce' the required number of children to advance, faced scrutiny that involved job security and or advancement.

Besides all of that, some kids just don't test well. I know, because I was one. My PSAT and SAT numbers were dismal and I ended up going to a Junior College instead of starting at UGA, which is where I really wanted to go. Got my Associates, then my B.S.ED at Georgia Southern, then my M.Ed. at jaw-ja. Had I been held to the NCLB criteria there is no tellin' where I would have ended up.

sebekm commented on Monday, Apr 01, 2013 at 17:52 PM

Yes - criterion referenced instruction was all the rage, even way back in the '70s when I was working on a project for the Army called the Skill Qualification Test. The theory was you developed a test which mirrored the tasks you wanted to verify someone's qualification on. The test score achieved was supposed to be a demonstration of skill level. The Army tied assignments and promotion to the test results. I've been away from it for many years now, and I have no idea whether they've scrapped the system or what. But whenever I see or hear the term "criterion referenced," I think of the good old days in Indianapolis, IN working on the SQT and watching Bob Knight and his Indiana Hurryin' Hoosiers go undefeated enroute to the NCAA National Championship.

HMJC commented on Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 09:10 AM


it is so wild that you mention the SQT/SDT. Reason being was that was the beginning of the end for the NCO corp. It tied civilian education and intimite knowledge of about 10 manuals. Knowledge is not a bad thing but when you placed personal perfomance above the performance of those you led it had the opposite effect. Instead of the mantra mission Soldier, self, it was make sure I have all of my own qualifications in line to get promoted. You had NCO's more worried about being proficient with a "standard" block of knowledge. Bottom line is you made it more important to make yourself look good as oppossed to taking care of Soldiers. NCLB is the same concept. A standard was attached that focused more on a schools performance instead of the student. Whe we will we ever learn that sometimes the "old" way of doing things still work?

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Yes - the SQT replaced the "old" MOS Test which supposedly tested *only* a soldier's knowledge about technical aspects of his job, but (also) supposedly didn't test their actual *skill* at performing that job. A subtle distinction with some MOS; trying to shove a square peg in a round hole with others.

As I say - I have no idea what they're doing now, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have an MOS Test variant. You know the old story: everything old is new again. One thing I found when working with the academia: oftentimes you don't have new ideas or concepts - you just have new "authors" who repackage old material using a novel slant and slap their name on it.

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 12:43 PM

...and the wheels of justice begin to turn:

The latest is that the indicted have begun turning themselves in at the Fulton County jail, with grand jury bail recommendations being announced for some of the notables:

*$7.5 million bond for Beverly Hall, who if convicted faces up to 45 years in prison.

*$1 million bond was recommended for several other accused, to include test coordinator Donald Bullock, whose attorney claimed that such a large amount constituted "cruel and unsual punishment" for his client. (It shows you where our society is when somebody claims that a bail amount consitutes "punishment." It seems to me that Mr. Bullock should have been thinking about that old lyric "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" before he allowed himself to get into this situation.)

See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/na...

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 13:18 PM

...and speaking of politickin' liars, cheats and thieves:


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