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Yahoo: America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal unfolds in Atlanta


DieselPwr44

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http://news.yahoo.com/americas-biggest-teacher-principal-cheating-scandal-unfolds-atlanta-213734183.html

Award-winning gains by Atlanta students were based on widespread cheating by 178 named teachers and principals, said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday. His office released a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that names 178 teachers and principals – 82 of whom confessed – in what's likely the biggest cheating scandal in US history.

This appears to be the largest of dozens of major cheating scandals, unearthed across the country. The allegations point an ongoing problem for US education, which has developed an ever-increasing dependence on standardized tests.

The report on the Atlanta Public Schools, released Tuesday, indicates a "widespread" conspiracy by teachers, principals and administrators to fix answers on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), punish whistle-blowers, and hide improprieties.

It "confirms our worst fears," says Mayor Kasim Reed. "There is no doubt that systemic cheating occurred on a widespread basis in the school system." The news is “absolutely devastating," said Brenda Muhammad, chairwoman of the Atlanta school board. "It’s our children. You just don’t cheat children.

When you base so much on one test and never consider the work the student's done during the year or even care to look at the student's growth during the year, this was bound to happen.

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In Freakonomics, the author brought up several examples of this happening in Chicago schools. This is one of the main reasons merit pay would not work in public education. Schools already do it to get more funding, imagine what individual teachers would do for more salary.

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When you base so much on one test and never consider the work the student's done during the year or even care to look at the student's growth during the year, this was bound to happen.

In Freakonomics, the author brought up several examples of this happening in Chicago schools. This is one of the main reasons merit pay would not work in public education. Schools already do it to get more funding, imagine what individual teachers would do for more salary.

I agree with both of you and this is a major reason why I'm against this focus on standardized testing, the pressure on schools and teachers for funding is incredible and when you put that type of pressure on schools there is going to be cheating. The other reason I'm against it is that it takes up a massive amount of time. Seriously, my son just finished the 3rd grade and for three weeks in May they were doing CATS testing that meant the 4th quarter effectively ended at the midterm point, the rest of the year was spent testing and by the end of it they were so burned out that we started seeing behavior issues at home after school. Not to mention the pressure for reward that they put on the kids; ours had an afternoon at a Chuck E Cheese type place that was paid for by the school. However, if the student failed to fill in a single bubble they lost their reward, I know of two or three of my sons friends who missed out because they missed a bubble. IMO to do that to a 9 year old is just wrong. I can see major behavioral issues etc, but a single bubble...give me a break.

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When you base so much on one test and never consider the work the student's done during the year or even care to look at the student's growth during the year, this was bound to happen.

How do you measure that growth or competency though?

Is it any harder to bump grades over the course of a yr?

I'm not a real fan of merit pay,but IT nor standardized testing is the problem....dishonesty by teachers and administrators is

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No Child Left Behind: Yet another failed Bush era policy that still lives in the supposed "change" administration.

:ols: Sorry SS, but I guess Obama was supposed to heal the lame, cause the blind to see, fix the economy, solve immigration, heal healthcare and make everyone millionaires, and while he's at it fix the entire failed educational system in our country all with the Republicans stonewalling at every turn....sorry if I :ols:.

---------- Post added July-6th-2011 at 08:34 AM ----------

I'm not a real fan of merit pay,but IT nor standardized testing is the problem....dishonesty by teachers and administrators is

It's not one or the other...it's both. Standardized testing does not do what it is supposed to do. My son's teacher had to cut short certain studies in math in order to cover more material that was going to be on the test, she did this knowing that the kids hadn't mastered the lessons, but also knowing that they needed some exposure to more material. It's making sloppy teachers, and it's cheating our kids, I for one am tired of it.

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:ols: Sorry SS, but I guess Obama was supposed to heal the lame, cause the blind to see, fix the economy, solve immigration, heal healthcare and make everyone millionaires, and while he's at it fix the entire failed educational system in our country all with the Republicans stonewalling at every turn....sorry if I :ols:.

That's what his supporters billed him as.

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I've got to agree with twa here.

Can somebody explain to me how we can expect teachers that are willing to cheat and lie to be "honest" teachers and be honest about grades?

The testing isn't driving the cheating. The incompetence is driving the cheating.

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That's what his supporters billed him as.

Not the one's with any sense about them, please stop pretending that one idiot is representative of the whole, that's a Faux News trick and it doesn't work, nor does it inspire confidence in you as a poster for doing so. Can we please keep this on topic without trolling?

---------- Post added July-6th-2011 at 08:38 AM ----------

I've got to agree with twa here.

Can somebody explain to me how we can expect teachers that are willing to cheat and lie to be "honest" teachers and be honest about grades?

The testing isn't driving the cheating. The incompetence is driving the cheating.

Again, it's both, there is a massive amount of pressure placed on these tests and when you tied school budgets to good performance you WILL get cheating. Name me a single industry or part of life where any of us would expect to not see cheating with this same amount of pressure applied? We need a system, and this standardized (teaching the test) isn't working, not for teachers, and not for our kids.

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:ols: Sorry SS, but I guess Obama was supposed to heal the lame, cause the blind to see, fix the economy, solve immigration, heal healthcare and make everyone millionaires, and while he's at it fix the entire failed educational system in our country all with the Republicans stonewalling at every turn....sorry if I :ols:.

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Yes, because we all know it would have been so strange for him to repeal policies that were bad from a previous administration. I trust you noticed that I blamed Bush in the main and only Obama for perpetuating. Take the D colored glasses off once in a while and you might see the forest for the trees.

By the way, which one of the items you mentioned has he made any substantial positive change in? (Please include actual stats)

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I'd like to think that the tests could be designed in a way that they measured what the kids have learned.

Teachers cheating on tests is not an argument for no testing. It's an argument for better supervision and prosecuting those responsible. Much like a lawyer can get disbarred, none of these people should be close to testing or school administration again.

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It's not one or the other...it's both. Standardized testing does not do what it is supposed to do. My son's teacher had to cut short certain studies in math in order to cover more material that was going to be on the test, she did this knowing that the kids hadn't mastered the lessons, but also knowing that they needed some exposure to more material. It's making sloppy teachers, and it's cheating our kids, I for one am tired of it.

There is certainly room for improvement,but w/o standardized testing there is no good way to judge results or educators.(not to mention it makes catching cheaters like this easier)

which certain studies are you referring to...and why are they not in the test?

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Name me a single industry or part of life where any of us would expect to not see cheating with this same amount of pressure applied?

In most companies in America personal bonuses and job retention at all levels is based on performance. And yet most companies behave ethically. And those that don't deserve to be fired or face prison time.

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There is certainly room for improvement,but w/o standardized testing there is no good way to judge results or educators.(not to mention it makes catching cheaters like this easier)

which certain studies are you referring to...and why are they not in the test?

You say room for improvement, but as long as there is this focus on standardized testing there is going to be "teaching to the test" which is every bit of a manipulation as the outright cheating. The studies that were cut short, for one multiplication for third graders. They spent about two weeks on it before moving on to division. I asked his teacher about it and her response was just as I figured, she needed to cover the other material that was going to appear on the test even though she knew the kids hadn't spent enough time on the multiplication.

---------- Post added July-6th-2011 at 08:49 AM ----------

In most companies in America personal bonuses and job retention at all levels is based on performance. And yet most companies behave ethically. And those that don't deserve to be fired or face prison time.

And yet, there are still padding of performance reviews, and padding of stats across the board. You say most companies behave ethically, I would ask you to prove that assertion. Because, I don't believe that most people in this world will act ethically when their bonuses and jobs are on the line...case in point the economic collapse.

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I've got to agree with twa here.

Can somebody explain to me how we can expect teachers that are willing to cheat and lie to be "honest" teachers and be honest about grades?

The testing isn't driving the cheating. The incompetence is driving the cheating.

I can see that reasoning.

OTOH, I also have to admit that when I read that, what I thought of are the people claiming that the people who hire illegal immigrants aren't part of the illegal immigration problem. Whereas when I think of their role in that problem, what I imagine are people standing on the US side of the border, waving $100 bills at starving Mexicans, calling "I'll give you this, if you make it across".

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I'd like to think that the tests could be designed in a way that they measured what the kids have learned.

Teachers cheating on tests is not an argument for no testing. It's an argument for better supervision and prosecuting those responsible. Much like a lawyer can get disbarred, none of these people should be close to testing or school administration again.

So, fire all the cheaters, close all the schools with cheaters problem solved...oh no wait now we have overburdened the other schools that absorb the students from the closed schools, and or we've created a massive vacuum of teachers, a job that too few people want in the first place. Whew, glad we fixed that.

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Again, it's both, there is a massive amount of pressure placed on these tests and when you tied school budgets to good performance you WILL get cheating. Name me a single industry or part of life where any of us would expect to not see cheating with this same amount of pressure applied? We need a system, and this standardized (teaching the test) isn't working, not for teachers, and not for our kids.

Is there any mechanism of assessment that you suspect these people wouldn't have cheated on?

Your argument is general to all mechanisms of assessment and generally leads to the conclusion that we can't assess learning/education.

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I can see that reasoning.

OTOH, I also have to admit that when I read that, what I thought of are the people claiming that the people who hire illegal immigrants aren't part of the illegal immigration problem. Whereas when I think of their role in that problem, what I imagine are people standing on the US side of the border, waving $100 bills at starving Mexicans, calling "I'll give you this, if you make it across".

Exactly right, it's not an either-or, it's both-and, and to think that more security is going to fix this...well...rose colored glasses we shall wear.

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So, fire all the cheaters, close all the schools with cheaters problem solved...oh no wait now we have overburdened the other schools that absorb the students from the closed schools, and or we've created a massive vacuum of teachers, a job that too few people want in the first place. Whew, glad we fixed that.

So the answer is to leave people in place that clearly don't have the kids best interest as a priority?

And I don't know where you live, but right now there is an over abundance of teachers in NJ for most grades. They canceled an "annual" teacher's job fair last year in my part of NJ and didn't even bother to try and put one together this year.

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The test doesn't include multiplication?

Nothing wrong with teaching to the test if the test covers the critical areas,especially in math

Yes, the test covers multiplication, but the kids did not spend enough time with it in order to score well on the test. What happens is that important lessons are cut short because the teacher needs to cover more material. It's not about "covering the areas" its about teaching the material, but what's happening is that teachers are forced to short important lessons in order to cover more material and the kids are paying the price for it....seriously two weeks for third grade multiplication?? And then you want to test the kids on it....come on.

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Yes, the test covers multiplication, but the kids did not spend enough time with it in order to score well on the test. What happens is that important lessons are cut short because the teacher needs to cover more material. It's not about "covering the areas" its about teaching the material, but what's happening is that teachers are forced to short important lessons in order to cover more material and the kids are paying the price for it....seriously two weeks for third grade multiplication?? And then you want to test the kids on it....come on.

Then alter the test so it covers less information, or alter the school year/day so the teachers have more time.

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So the answer is to leave people in place that clearly don't have the kids best interest as a priority?

Never said that either, but to think that testing is the be all and end all is head in the sand thinking, self preservation is the strongest human motivation and you threaten people and they will respond accordingly, for better or worse, and in most cases for worse.

And I don't know where you live, but right now there is an over abundance of teachers in NJ for most grades. They canceled an "annual" teacher's job fair last year in my part of NJ and didn't even bother to try and put one together this year.

We don't have an abundance, but we are cutting school budgets every year, and in fact several good teachers have been laid off in the past few years here.

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How do you measure that growth or competency though?

Is it any harder to bump grades over the course of a yr?

I'm not a real fan of merit pay,but IT nor standardized testing is the problem....dishonesty by teachers and administrators is

Yes it is. 50 random questions that ask you facts don't determine whether you can apply concepts to real life. Is it really important to know what exact day this certain General marched through New Orleans during the Civil War? No. Does it count on a test? Yes.

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