Atlanta cheating scandal: Should (public) educators face jail for 'robbing' kids?

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    Jul 07, 2011 1:34 AM GMT
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0706/Atlanta-cheating-scandal-Should-educators-face-jail-for-robbing-kids

    With Atlanta in the middle of an unprecedented teacher cheating scandal where at least 178 teachers and principals in more than half the city's elementary schools changed test answers in order to make themselves and the district look good, the looming question now is whether those educators could, or should, face jail time.

    Three county prosecutors are now perusing an 800-page report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal's office which describes how educators altered government documents and lied to investigators – crimes punishable by as many as 10 years in prison – in order to get bonuses, raise the district's profile, and pad the résumés of top administrators.

    Dozens of other states have seen teacher cheating scandals in the last few years. But none has plumbed allegations as deeply as Georgia. The investigation began last year when then-Gov. Sonny Perdue threw out an internal school district investigation that downplayed allegations. Instead, he appointed special investigators to look into whether teachers and principals systematically changed test answers.
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    Jul 07, 2011 1:47 AM GMT
    Maybe... But our education policy has created these misaligned incentives via high stakes testing that is robbing students of anything beyond reading and math, have failed to raise test scores - except where cheating or lowering of standards (as in NYC) created "miracles".

    Of course, the relentless attacks on teachers and other public workers have moved from critique to character assassination of an entire profession on which our country relies to educate future citizens. Perhaps this is the logical outcome of high stakes testing, disparagement of what in most countries is an honored profession, and the deprivation of resources for inner city schools.
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    Jul 07, 2011 1:54 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidMaybe... But our education policy has created these misaligned incentives via high stakes testing that is robbing students of anything beyond reading and math, have failed to raise test scores - except where cheating or lowering of standards (as in NYC) created "miracles".

    Of course, the relentless attacks on teachers and other public workers have moved from critique to character assassination of an entire profession on which our country relies to educate future citizens. Perhaps this is the logical outcome of high stakes testing, disparagement of what in most countries is an honored profession, and the deprivation of resources for inner city schools.


    What kind of accountability would you advocate or support? Is there any form of accountability where those who have been held accountable have never attempted to cheat?
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    Jul 07, 2011 2:43 AM GMT
    The defense that public teachers are the natural advocates of the best interests of students is just not true:

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28449391/detail.html

    Among the other findings, the report stated that the changing of answers was often done at weekend gatherings, or so-called erasure parties. The report stated that children were denied special-educational assistance because their falsely reported CRCT scores were too high, and during testing, teachers pointed to the correct answer while standing at students’ desks.


    The best form of accountability is competition.
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    Jul 07, 2011 3:13 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidMaybe... But our education policy has created these misaligned incentives via high stakes testing that is robbing students of anything beyond reading and math, have failed to raise test scores - except where cheating or lowering of standards (as in NYC) created "miracles".

    Of course, the relentless attacks on teachers and other public workers have moved from critique to character assassination of an entire profession on which our country relies to educate future citizens. Perhaps this is the logical outcome of high stakes testing, disparagement of what in most countries is an honored profession, and the deprivation of resources for inner city schools.


    What kind of accountability would you advocate or support? Is there any form of accountability where those who have been held accountable have never attempted to cheat?


    I think students should be tested for diagnostic purposes and that teachers should be observed by their supervisors and evaluated according to their lesson plans, effectiveness of teaching (as measured by tests and observation), leadership activities outside of the classroom, etc.

    The reality is that while an effective teacher can be transformational for some students, no study has ever found the school environment and teacher to be responsible for more than 1/3 of a student's outcome. In other words, 2/3 of the factors responsible for student success are not within the school or teacher's ability to effect.

    That said, we want effective teachers. But the dirty little secret of public education is that you can get rid of ineffective teachers if the administrators (who are NOT union employees) actually do their job. If they observe and document the teachers performance and engage in progressive discipline as outline in the contracts, removing an ineffective teacher isn't much harder than dismissing any employee.

    The reason why contracts and unions arose was in part to protect students from having effective teachers dismissed for political or personal issues.

    When it comes to closing the achievement gap, why would we expect more from teachers than we do for professionals dealing with other highly problematic aspects of their industry? Do we blame cancer doctors for having higher death rates than pediatricians? No. We understand that they are dealing with a higher risk population and account for that in how we assess them.

    Extending the analogy, since doctors cannot control patient's diets, if they smoke, exercise, etc., we don't presume they are 100% accountable for patient outcomes, yet we expect teachers to be responsible for 100% of student outcomes. It's ludicrous.

    This is a very good recent study that analyzes what high-performing public education systems in other countries do. Sadly, the agenda in the US, which is wrongly being assessed as one would a for-profit business, is badly misguided.
    [url]
    http://www.ncee.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Standing-on-the-Shoulders-of-Giants-An-American-Agenda-for-Education-Reform.pdf[/url]
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    Jul 07, 2011 4:23 AM GMT
    No, jailtime is a waste of our taxpaying resources. These cheating teachers should instead be forced to take on other jobs where they can't really get away with cheating, like say scooping up horse shit.
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    Jul 07, 2011 4:42 AM GMT
    oh, please... if No Child Left Behind were thrown out, you wouldn't even have this problem. success shouldn't be so rigidly defined, and educators' pay should definitely not be attached to student test scores.
  • boilerup_82

    Posts: 188

    Jul 07, 2011 4:42 AM GMT
    i read a similar article, it's sad seeing the american education system in the toilet.

    Cheating aside, teachers nationwide just teach the tests. They are not allowed to use their own innovation, inspiration, or talent. Get the government out of education!!!!! Moreover, I know there are many bad teacher's out there but one key thing that will help in education is a supportive family. Why doesn't the news media attack the apathetic parents the way they attack companies that make a profit?
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    Jul 07, 2011 6:10 AM GMT
    I think that someone should be held responsible for this. Just as someone should have been held responsible and gotten into trouble for the lie-filled reports that led to the belief that there had been a Texas "education miracle," which helped Dubya get as close as he did to winning the presidency the first time. icon_wink.gif

    And was it the Texas education miracle that led to No Child Left Behind? Which may have led to this?

    So perhaps it's all Dubya's fault.

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 07, 2011 10:00 AM GMT
    Accountability ..... I love that term

    Did they change answers?
    Yes
    We know why they changed those answers and those reasons were that they were incentive-ized to do so

    Should they lose their jobs over it .... I say yes
    But JAIL??? JAIL?

    I have a question for you
    How about the accountability for the banking and financial collapse where trillions of dollars disappeared overnight
    Where are the people and corporations that were "Accountable" for that?
    Where are the people who should be in jail for hawking and making those wonderful bad mortgage bonds ?
    You're talking about putting teachers in jail and THOSE people were rewarded by keeping the money they stole from all of us and nearly brought down the world economy
    Are you kidding me?