Reports have been all over the mainstream media lately about teachers in Atlanta public schools being caught helping their kids CHEAT on system-wide standardized tests meant to measure students’ progress:
Teachers spent nights huddled in a back room, erasing wrong answers on students’ test sheets and filling in the correct bubbles. At another school, struggling students were seated next to higher-performing classmates so they could copy answers.
Those and other confessions are contained in a new state report that reveals how far some Atlanta public schools went to raise test scores in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal.
Investigators concluded that nearly half the city’s schools allowed the cheating to go unchecked for as long as a decade, beginning in 2001.
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.
And who was in office when No Child Left Behind was signed into law? Why it was THAT MEAN REPUBLICAN from TEXAS — George W. Bush. The teacher unions howl about this law — which ties student academic performance to teacher pay and retention. Bush is blamed when stories like this pop up, with not a word being said about the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who actually wrote the law !!! (Granted, George W. deserves plenty of blame for going along with one of Teddy’s schemes. )
The education bureaucrats don’t want ANY oversight. They want our tax money, and want us to go away and ignore them while they spend it. While bureaucrats are being hired for six figures in central offices all over the country, good teaches are throwing up their hands and fleeing the low pay, lack of institutional support, and poor discipline of students.
Public education has become ALL about scooping up as much government funding as possible. Quality of service to the students and the community is a distant, distant second. If test scores go down, funding will be cut, and some assistant superintendent is NOT going to get his bonus or a paid trip to that “educators convention” in Hawaii. THAT would NOT DO.
Vic Hackley, former chancellor of Fayetteville State University (AKA “Harvard on The Murch”) throws in his two cents, moaning about how there needs to be more ethics training for teachers. Those folks just need to stop victimizing these innocent young minds in the classroom!
FYI — this guy presided over FSU during a period where academic performance in the school’s nursing program declined to such a level the state nearly killed off the program.
In the military and in business, when there is an institutional or organizational failure, blame is placed squarely at the person / people at the top. Mr. Hackley, when you and your colleagues point fingers, you need to realize there are four more pointing back at you.
I am an educator at the community college level. I see quite a few examples of the end-products of the K-12 public school system. I have encountered students who actually HAVE high school diplomas, but struggle to read their college textbooks. (I had one recent high school graduate in one of my classes actually ask me to pronounce and define the word ‘sophisticated.’ He had never seen or heard the word before.)
I also encounter quite an alarming lack of critical thinking skills. Recent high school graduates are GREAT at regurgitating words they’ve memorized, but struggle to define those words or elaborate on their meaning and significance.
I’ve had students turn in only 40 percent of the work I assigned, and then act stunned when I tell them they’re failing the class.
Am I a bad teacher because they’ve come to me after 12 years of malpractice in the K-12 arena? I can work a little damage control, but I can’t pull off miracles.
The money chase is what is killing our public schools. Filling the coffers is now more important than churning out a quality product. At one institution where I teach, exchange students from India and China are tutoring native born students, in order to bring their academic performance up to college level.
Locally, and I’m sure elsewhere, K-12 public school teachers are being pushed by administrators to coach their students on how to pass standardized tests. My friend’s son, a local third grader, and his classmates spent months during the recent school year, being coached by their teacher about material they “might” see on the upcoming end-of-grade tests. They crammed for this test all day, every day. The kids took the test a few weeks before school ended. Once it was over, so was the teaching. The kids watched videos and ate pizza for the rest of the year. The kids took the state tests, and kept the money spigot open. Mission accomplished !!!
How is our next generation supposed to compete when READING, WRITING, and CRITICAL THINKING are taking a back seat to politically correct Kwanzaa celebration and feminist indoctrination?
If you really want to reform the education system, you need to “fumigate” central offices all over the country (chase out all of the political hacks), and put people in charge who are FIRST and FOREMOST teachers. Turn classroom teachers loose to unleash some creativity and inspire their students. Administrators need to clear out hooligans who disrupt classes and bully their teachers and fellow students. Grant money is based on graduation rates. Systems need to STOP graduating students who cannot read or write at a 12th grade level. Society will end up paying the bill for those kids for decades. Hold on to them, and make sure they obtain the skills they need to become productive members of society.
The lust for government money and the mindless liberal indoctrination are putting our children and our nation’s future at risk. The finger-pointing and political posturing needs to stop. Some serious solutions, radical changes, and hard work need to be implemented.