School cheating scandal hits US
The US federal ‘No Child Left Behind’ law is a prime example of why a government shouldn’t be sticking its nose in other people’s business. Under the federal law, schools that perform poorly and fail to meet certain benchmarks may be forced to offer extra tutoring, allow parents to transfer children to better schools, or fire teachers and administrators who don’t pass muster. As a result, schools have been cheating the system so they don’t get penalised – contrary to what the law was supposed to achieve. A new report for the state of Georgia has uncovered the largest-ever cheating scandal, where half of Atlanta’s schools have cheated by inflating students scores…for as long as a decade. As a result, some 11-year olds only read as well as six-year olds – and it only took the establishment a decade to notice that kids weren’t particularly bright when they left school in Atlanta?? As I said, governments always think they have to micro-manage our lives and here is a prime example of why governments should rather stay the heck out of our lives.
Hat tip: Julian B
Atlanta – A new Georgia state report details the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal, concluding that half of Atlanta’s schools allowed practices that inflated students’ scores to go unchecked for as long as a decade.
The report reveals that schools turned a blind eye to – or even condoned – teachers who erased wrong answers on test sheets or encouraged students to copy off one another.
Administrators – pressured to maintain high scores under the federal No Child Left Behind law – punished or fired those who reported anything amiss and created a culture of “fear, intimidation and retaliation,” according to the report released earlier this month, two years after officials noticed a suspicious spike in some scores.
The report names 178 teachers and principals, and 82 of those confessed. Tens of thousands of children at the 44 schools, most in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods, were allowed to advance to higher grades, even though they didn’t know basic concepts.
One teacher told investigators the district was “run like the mob”.
“Everybody was in fear,” another teacher said in the report. “It is not that the teachers are bad people and want to do it. It is that they are scared.”
For teachers and their bosses, the stakes were high: Schools that perform poorly and fail to meet certain benchmarks under the federal law can face sharp sanctions. They may be forced to offer extra tutoring, allow parents to transfer children to better schools, or fire teachers and administrators who don’t pass muster.
Experts say the cheating scandal – which involved more schools and teachers than any other in US history – has led to soul-searching among other urban districts facing cheating investigations and those that have seen a rapid rise in test scores.
In Georgia, teachers complained to investigators that some 11-year-olds could only read as well as 6-year-olds. But, they said, principals insisted those students had to pass their standardised tests. Teachers were either ordered to cheat or pressured by administrators until they felt they had no choice, authorities said.
One principal forced a teacher to crawl under a desk during a faculty meeting because her test scores were low. Another principal told teachers that “Walmart is hiring” and “the door swings both ways,” the report said.
Another principal told a teacher on her first day that the school did whatever was necessary to meet testing benchmarks, even if that meant “breaking the rules.”
Teachers from the investigation contacted by The Associated Press did not return calls or declined to comment.
Educators named in the investigation could face criminal charges ranging from tampering with state documents to lying to investigators. And many could lose their teaching licenses.