Over the last decade, public schools in Atlanta have made some great progress. In 2009, Superintendent Beverly Hall even won the national Superintendent of the Year award for the amazing gains she achieved with the students in her district. For example, eighth grade reading score alone jumped 14 points between 2002 and 2009.
Except it’s all a lie. On Tuesday, a 413-page report was released by Governor Nathan Deal that revealed the biggest cheating scandal in United States educational history. According to the report:
More than three quarters of the 56 schools investigated cheated on a 2009 standardized state test, with 178 educators implicated, including 38 principals. Eighty-two teachers confessed to erasing students' answers and correcting tests. The report says widespread cheating has occurred since at least 2001 and that orders to cheat came from the top.
Say what? The teachers were cheating? Who knew that teachers could cheat? I thought that that was the sole domain of students. Apparently, teachers and administrators were ‘encouraged’ to ‘boost’ their students scores by giving answers during tests, sitting underachieving kids next to the smart ones and turning a blind eye, and/or changing the kids’ answers to the correct ones.
Some people are eager not to blame the teachers, instead looking at the district officials that put pressure on them to artificially inflate their students’ test scores. While the higher-ups certainly have to answer for their own actions, the teachers are also at fault. It’s not like they had a gun to their heads. What happened to integrity? What happened to the children?
When these kids fail to grasp concepts, they need more learning, not to be passed along like Aunt Betty’s Christmas fruitcake. Teachers claim to be in it for the kids, yet the Atlanta teachers participated in actions that would be nothing but detrimental for the students. If they really had the kids’ best interest at heart, they would not have acted the way in which they did.
Public education needs to do a better job actually educating our kids. Teaching them to cheat is not the way to do it.
Image via albertogp123/Flickr