Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Systematic cheating to pass tests in Atlanta's School system

By KIM SEVERSON: New York Times 
ATLANTA — A state investigation released Tuesday showed rampant, systematic cheating on test scores in this city’s long-troubled public schools, ending two years of increasing skepticism over remarkable improvements touted by school leaders.
The results of the investigation, made public by Gov. Nathan Deal, showed that the cheating occurred at 44 schools and involved at least 178 teachers and principals, almost half of whom have confessed, the governor said.
A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation existed in the district, which led to a conspiracy of silence, he said in a prepared statement. “There will be consequences,” Mr. Deal said.
That will certainly include dismissals, according to school board members and the interim superintendent, Erroll B. Davis Jr., and could possibly result in criminal charges.
Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta called the release of the investigation “a dark day for the Atlanta public school system.” The cheating, he said, showed a complete failure of leadership that hurt thousands of children who might have been promoted to the next grade without meeting basic academic standards.

At the center of the cheating scandal is former Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, who was named the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year and has been considered one of the nation’s best at running large, urban districts.
Dr. Hall, who announced in November that she would be leaving the job at the end of June, left Tuesday for a Hawaiian vacation.
Read the entire story.
As Diane Ravitch says in NYT letter to the editor:
"When high stakes are attached to tests, people often act in ways that compromise educational values. High-stakes testing incentivizes narrowing of the curriculum, gaming the system, teaching to bad tests, and cheating. 


Anonymous said...

People are afraid of tests because they expose mediocrity and show who does the best. We need tests to be given without bias, so we can see which kids are doing the right thing and which are doing the wrong thing. The main thing I learn from tests is, that as a morally neutral barometer of human goodness, they provide the most accurate assessment of people. It doesn't care your class, race, religion, gender. How good of a person are you? Do you look up words, do you study weekends and Summers? If so, you will be rewarded. Asians really set the example on this, the results show all Americans should re-order their family life to be more like Asians.

Duane Campbell said...

In this case you argue that Asians have a unique, powerful success story in the U.S. Schools. You argue from anecdotal evidence. This hypothesis has been repeatedly examined by scholars. The evidence does not support your assertion. People get to this conclusion often by not paying attention to the differences between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, generation Asian immigrants. And, by ignoring the evidence on the school crisis of Asians such as Hmong, Minh, Laotion, Philipinos, and others. Note. In further posts, you must identify yourself by name. Anonymous posts will not be accepted.

Duane Campbell said...

For more on this see Immigration in my book, Choosing Democracy a Practical Guide to Multicultural Education. 2010.