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Caught! Teachers Cheating On Students’ Standardized Tests

The huge standardized test cheating scandal in Atlanta — and beyond. Teachers cheating to bump up student scores. Why, and what it says about the state of American education.

Cheating on tests by teachers has become a problem in several states. (ilovefremont2001/Flikr)

Cheating on tests by teachers has become a problem in several states. (ilovefremont2001/Flikr)

Shame and outrage over the Atlanta Public Schools last week, as a big state investigation laid out findings of massive, systemic cheating –- by teachers.

Teachers changing student scores on standardized tests, to make their schools look better than they were.

Not subtle cheating, but gross, flagrant, eraser-on-the-page cheating. Weekend pizza parties where teachers went through stacks of standardized tests, erasing wrong answers, filling in right ones.

And there’s evidence this hasn’t only happened in Atlanta.

This hour On Point: testing, American education, and the message in the cheating.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Alan Judd, reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Shawnna Hayes-Tavares, mother of four children, ranging from 9 to 18, all of whom have been in the Atlanta Public Schools system.

Greg Toppo, K-12 education reporter for USA Today.

Daniel Koretz, professor of education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can read an article based on his book Measuring Up here.

From Tom’s Reading List:

More:

Cheating Schools in Atlanta
View Cheating Schools in Atlanta in a larger map

Here’s a video report on the Atlanta scandal:

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  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Are society has become overly competitive at every level. We are creating a collective state of mind that will be our undoing. I hear it everyday; “I don’t care.”, “Why should I ?  Would you? “ ; “ Get it while you can. “ ; “ Why not, they do it…. “.   Preachers with hookers, Priest with boys,  Enron, K Street, Madoff, Big Money Bailouts, …. From baseball to boardrooms, entropy thrives. How deep is the rabbit hole ?
    Gold is good.Good is better.God is best of all.

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      Are = our.
      Ya see, I don’t cheat. I takes my medicine.

  • Lee from NY

    I don’t know the specifics of the cases
    they are going to talk about on the show. However, you have to keep
    in mind that “cheating” on these tests does not have to be an
    overt act. It can be very subtle such as a teacher allowing an extra
    minute or two pass on a timed exam to allow a student to finish. It
    could also be a poster with a multiplication table left up in the
    back of the classroom. The problem is that when you poorly design an
    evaluation system it will create an environment where good people
    make poor choices. For example, if a police officer was to receive a
    bonus for the number of arrests made (regardless of the final outcome
    of the case) arrests would increase. That isn’t because the police
    officer is corrupt it is because the incentive influences the
    environment he/she is working in. I have been in hundreds of
    classrooms doing observations. There are tremendous teachers working
    with children in the country. They are caring and make a huge
    difference in children’s lives. The problem becomes that the system
    being established makes it an irrational choice for a good teacher to
    take low achieving students. High stakes testing will not identify
    the best teachers, it will destroy the good teachers who want to work
    with struggling students and benefit the smart teachers who learn to
    manipulate the system. Just like every other incentive program in
    every other profession in the world.

  • Kurt

    Isn’t this problem more pervasive than just schools in Atlanta? NPR’s Claudio Sanchez reported on a similar cheating scandal that made the vaunted Washington, D.C., Superintendent Michelle Rhee’s statistics look better than they really might have been. “In D.C., Michelle Rhee May Answer For Suspect Scores” was the article/story headline not long ago.
     
    Schools are not businesses in which children are assembly-line products. Evaluating teachers should be done by master teachers trained in evaluation who can observe teachers several times a year in the classroom. Have all teachers evaluated by circulating statewide evaluation teams–but wait, that would cost too much money. Probably as much as one or two bombers.

    • Cory

      Don’t forget the traditional conservative dislike/distrust/disdain for academia.  A “master teacher trained in evaluation” is code for “egg-headed lefty pinko commie” to a conservative.

      • Modavations

        We have no animus towards the Professors who have real world experience.It’s guys like Herr Geitner and Krugman and Obama,who have never worked in the “private sector”

        • ThresherK

          Ivan Kruger and Ken Lay must be your heroes.

          • Modavations

            Paul Krugman’s one and only job in the Private Sector,was working for Enron,spinning the embroglio.A post at the NYTimes is most appropriate!!!!!

          • ThresherK

            Krugman got the Bush tax cuts right. In 1999.

            The Private Sector brought us Blackwater, Halliburton and BP. Yay private oversight of public resources!

          • Modavations

            It’s not Haliburton,it’s their subsidiary, KBR.Kellogg,Brown and Root is owned by the heirs of Lady Byrd Johnson.Leave Blackwater alone.I’m a mercenary type myself.

      • twenty-niner

        Huh?

        Allow me to present:

        http://economics.uchicago.edu/

        which is no bastion of liberalism.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    If you’re going to have high stakes tests that determine federal and state funding you’re going to have problems. I’m not justifying the cheating; teachers who do this should be fired and their pensions taken away, students who do it (even more) should be severely punished. Parents who facilitate it (huge number) should be publicly reprimanded.

    What parents don’t seem to realize is that doing homework for their children (cheating) and helping them with placement tests (cheating) sets them up for failure later. We have a huge failure/dropout rate during freshman year of college. One reason why is students entering college unprepared to do the work and without the requisite knowledge that should have been gained in high school.

    Parental pressure and cheating coupled with grade inflation are causing some of this.

    The teacher cheating in Atlanta is a part of a much larger societal problem and while it’s a terrible thing, we need to go after all of it, not just this one part.

  • Cory

    Merit raises for teachers, firing those with lower performing children, profit motive in education…

    We are only scratcing the surface of a right wing, teabagger society.

    Imagine a world of ruthless competition, where the winners take all and the losers starve.  Imagine no unions to protect workers from the predatory instincts of owners and managers.

    Unbridled capitalism devours the weak and empowers the strong.

    • Modavations

      Go to Hong Kong and view “unbridled competition”,first hand!!!Next,go to Newark and view your “socialist state”.

    • twenty-niner

      Unbridled capitalism devours the weak and empowers the strong.

      The happens is socialist states as well. I offer China as exhibit one:

       

      • Cory

        It is a reach to call China socialist.  Statist capitalist is more appropriate.

        • twenty-niner

          Yes, socialist states rarely stay socialist and eventually devolve into some sort of corrupt crony-based oligarchy.

  • Jay

    Defund the failing public schools,

    give each parent a voucher so that they can send their child to a private school of their “choice” to get a real, career-enhancing education

    problem solved

    President Obama sends his two daughters to an elite private school, shouldn’t the rest of us have that same ”choice”?

    • Cory

      If you are going to get personal with the president’s children, I’ll get personal with YOURS.  I’d be willing to bet you aren’t poor, Jay.  I’d also willing to bet you don’t live in a poor urban area.  Should all children in this country be promised a quality primary education, or do we just not give a damn about the bottom of the economic scale?

      I like how you put the word choice in quotation marks. 

      Do you think the president’s kids might go to a private school for security reasons?  Who is the last president who sent his kids to public school while in office?  Your personal attack against the president is plain silly.

      I’ll offer another choice.  Re-distribute the wealth accumulated at the top in America through taxation, fees, and penalties.  Use this to pay down debt and improve the lot of ALL Americans.  Education, healthcare, and scientific advancement.

      • Modavations

        Where did Jesse send Jesse Jnr to school.Excuses,excuses,excuses!!!!!!!

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      “career-enhancing education”

      Part of the problem with formal education (both public and private) is that it’s constantly being honed to prepare people for jobs. The problem is, the jobs it’s preparing people for are gone by the time they get out of school.

      I’d rather hire a general liberal arts major who is literate, knows how to think critically and is worldly than an MBA who only knows the world from a single perspective.

      Here’s a direct quote from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook:

      “I always tell people if you try to connect the dots of your career, if you mess it up you’re going to wind up on a very limited path. If I decided what I was going to do in college—when there was no Internet, no Google, no Facebook . . . I don’t want to make that mistake. The reason I don’t have a plan is because if I have a plan I’m limited to today’s options.”

      • Wm. James from Missouri

        Well written !Also, many of the historical figures we admire the most were not the perfect beautiful people we now tell our children to strive to become. Some of them had no meaningful formal education at all. Education is a wonderful thing. It should be an ongoing pursuit.

  • Michael

    Michelle Rhee’s Cheating Scandal
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/03/29/michelle-rhees-cheating-scandal-school-test-score-irregularities.html

    Reporters Jack Gillum and Marisol Bello found that from 2008 to 2010,
    D.C.’s testing company, CTB/McGraw-Hill, recommended that the school
    district investigate higher than typical answer sheet erasure rates at
    103 of its 168 schools—possible evidence that adults had corrected
    students’ mistakes. Even D.C.’s own superintendent of education, Deborah
    Gist, recommended that Rhee’s administration launch an investigation of
    erasures at eight schools, those that displayed a consistent pattern of
    wrong answers being replaced by correct ones.

  • Gregg

    The children are the victims. If these teachers aren’t fired and heads don’t roll over this travesty then the terrorist win.

  • Modavations

    A few weeks ago they ran a story saying only 30% of 4th graders could identify a photo a Lincoln.I’ll bet only 50% of the teachers could!!!!Let’s cut to the quick.The Democrat, Welfare State has blown up the nuclear family.Until it’s reestablished ,all our consternations are for naught!!!!!!!

    • Michael

      Time frame of the Democrat Welfare State? what’s % of 4th graders on a state by state level could not identify Lincoln? Is Georgia a red state or blue state? 

      • Modavations

        This story was in USA Today,2 weeks ago.It believe the survey was conducted throughout the country.Name me a “Solon” who sends his kids to the Wash.D.C. public schools.70 % of 8th graders read below standard,but then again, the Dem.Party depends on a “dumbed down”,dependent electorate!!!!!

      • Modavations

        Start at Johnson’s Great Society.Out of wedlock birthrate for blacks was about 8%.Today, in many ghettos, it’s 90%.Every ghetto,by the way ,is Democrat run and none of the “Solons”put their kids in Public School.Where did Jesse send Jesse Jnr.?

        • Michael

          So 1960′s until now was a Democratic Welfare State? bhahahahha

          looks like your cheating on facts again 2009

          Government statistics reveal that the percentage of all babies
          born to unwed mothers nationally rose to 32 percent in 1997 from only
          5.3 percent in 1960. Among blacks nationally, 69 percent of births were
          to unwed mothers.

          http://www.dadi.org/dn_bleak.htm

          bhahaha most people learn  in school 90% does not equal 69%. Seems you cheated the school system out of a diploma.

          btw the the % seems to be higher in red states compared to blue.

          • Modavations

            I said up to 90% out of wedlock births in the ghetto.Let’s do it again:In the early 60′s Moynihan warned that the welfare systejm was forcing the father from the family.No checks with a daddy present!!!!Early 1960′s black illegitamcy rate 25%.Sept 27,2005(read NPR article Clarence Page)70% black out of wedlock rate.That’s the general population.In the ghetto………..And what’s the cause.The cause is the Democrat Welfare system.What’s sick, is that you guys know about it,but need the vote!!!!!

        • Michael

          to summarize–there is no data to show that the black “illegitimacy” figure of 70 percent has been caused by unmarried black women having more kids than they did in the past.
          In fact, the trend is the exact opposite. What is clear is that the
          behavior of married black women has changed, to the point that married
          black women are actually having less kids than married white women.

          This
          is why stigmatizing lifestyles is a strategy for neanderthals, why it’s
          always sinful to look past the weeds in your lawn in order to lecture
          your neighbor.

    • Cory

      I’ll bet 100% of posters named “Modavations” make up B.S. stats about teachers to make them look stupid.

      Any takers on that bet?

      • Modavations

        Dude,I told you this story was front page ,USA Today,about two weeks ago.How many Solons send their kids to public schools in Wash.D.C.?

  • Anonymous

    We as a culture have come to value credentials more than ability.  As such, manipulating test scores is not only a no-brainer.  It is also a guilt-free no brainer.  Since a score is a score is a score in it’s own right, independent of the education that delivers that score.

    • Michael

      If one cheated to become wealthy the cheating part becomes mute after the fact.

      some cheaters,

      -Bill Gates- (intimidation and anti-trust violations)
      -Mark zuckerberg (settlement pay out for stealing the facebook idea)
      -Michelle Rhee(which is funny in itself.
      -A-Rod (roids)
      -Every major U.S. bank (all had to pay out settlements)

      Sadly in the U.S. it pays well to cheat and if one cheats and becomes wealthy there often very little consequences for there previous actions.

      • Modavations

        I refuse to cheat!!!!!!!!My pals don’t cheat!!!!!!!!

        • Michael

          ha,

          you cheat the facts on a daily basis.

      • Anonymous

        Depressingly true.  I suppose my solace is that I have a finite life, and I feel I am spending a reasonable amount of it trying to learn and understand things in the manner of a natural philosopher, reading many texts on science and engineering.  It brings me great pleasure and what I feel is a legitimate human understanding of nature and our place in it.  But it does not make me rich.

      • Cory

        Great post.  In a capitalist free market free for all, no one asks the billionaire if he played fair to get his.

        • ThresherK

          Hey, he’s a billionaire, and by definintion better than you and I.

          Some of the really rich cop to it–being born to a millionaire’s family was never anything Bill Gate hid, IIRC, and Trump (before he was a born-again birther) mentioned “Lucky Sperm Club”.

          Makes the peasant mentality of some non-wealthy, worrying about uberrich’s marginal tax rates at this point in history, downright hilarious.

      • Modavations

        “Mute” is Public School spelling for Moot.Kat is Citties!!!!!!

        • Cory

          I’ll be watching your future post for typos, professor spellcheck.  Address the ideas instead of spelling.  Distraction from substance; the classic consevative tactic.

  • Anonymous

    This says nothing good or bad about standardized tests, yet it does tell us alot about bad teachers.  if they are willing to cheet, they will defenately not feel bad about failing to teach their students and they should be fired without review, or delay.

    • Cory

      Your bias shines through.  Not bad parents or students, just bad teachers.  Consider yourself exposed.

      • Modavations

        You don’t consider the teacher’s behavior to be obscene?

        • Cory

          I consider it an inevitability, considering the circumstances.  I think it is partisan and simplistic not to acknowledge the combined responsibility of teachers, students, parents, and government.  

          For the record, those breaking the rules should and will be punished.  I just refuse to let conservative hacks use it as yet another excuse to cheap shot educators. 

          • Modavations

            Dude,reestablish the “nuclear family”!!!How about marriage bonus,instead of marriage penalty.By the way,I’m a gem dealer,I’ve been everwhere in the worlds a million times!!!!!!Next time I fill out my taxes,I’ll register “hack”as an occupation.Quit listening to Mr.Maddow(Msnbc)and listen to me.

          • ThresherK

            Who’s Mr. Maddow?

          • Modavations

            Mr Maddow,the host of the 9:00 MSNBC show.I keep pitching and the balls keep flying right past your nose.

          • ThresherK

            I thought Rachel Maddow was a female. What well-adjusted, secure-in-their-gender person needs to call her man?

          • Modavations

            Mr Maddow and the rest of those shows are nothing, but hate speech.Her last venture,Air Ameica went bankrupt.The founder got caught embezzling funds from a Boys Club in Brooklyn!!!

          • ThresherK

            I thought you grew up in Newton (not sure if that’s MA, IA, or England). But here’s a little hint:

            In the USA people who are secure in their sexuality don’t go calling a woman a man. It reeks of projection and inadequacy.

          • notafeminista

            To Thresher, Cory, crm65 et al:  If you would kindly direct your attention to my correction of crm’s correction of Brandstad.  By the way, I’m conservative and I read just fine.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, you got me.  Everyone now knows my bias is based on personal responsibility and that I believe everyone should be held to account for their actions without blaming those around them.
         
        The students and parents didn’t cheat on the tests and they both deserve to know the truth of how the student is learning or not learning.  I am guessing you must have made it through high school by cheating considering your bias to apologize for it.
         

    • Anonymous

      CHEET – CHEAT

      DEFENATELY – DEFINATELY

      REVIEW, OR DELAY – REVIEW OR DELAY

      WHO EXACTLY SHOULD BE FIRED?

      • Cory

        All the errors you cite simply prove that Branstad didn’t need to listen to some egghead lefty English teacher when he was in school.  It is a conservative badge of honor.

        • Gary

          That’s the writing of an adult that didn’t graduate from high school, a group that votes Democrat in large numbers.  Or, perhaps an African American, also likely a Democrat.  Funny that you think of Democrats as eggheads, when the truth is that they’re usually manual laborers and poorly educated  ethnic minorities.     

          • ThresherK

            Really? Modern conservatives like genuine education for its own sake? There’s not a wide swath of poll numbers to be picked by the next Republican who genuinely believes, or feels the need to appeal to anti-intellectual, anti-education sorts?

            That’s been bunk ever since Shrub’s daddy’s rich friends lent him the money to become a self-made entrepreneur so he could get a pig farm and start droppin’ his Gs.

          • Anonymous

            Gary, you really need to read some of Branstad’s post before you comment on them – Democrat!!! Hardeeharhar
            Also just because you work with your hands doesn’t = you are an idiot.

          • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

            Gary: “That’s the writing of an adult that didn’t graduate from high school”

            …who didn’t graduate from high school.

      • notafeminista

        actually…it is “definitely.”    pluck out the beam in your own eye before attending to the mote in mine.

    • Birminghamchem

      In a hundred teachers, in the Title I (poor families) school that I have taught in maybe 2, 3, or 4 teachers out of 100 taught poorly. Of the about 100 principals that I have experience with about 80 were performing their job poorly. Of a 1000 sets of parents, perhaps 500 were doing a good job raising their kids. When kids get good grades when they deserve to fail, the cause is bad principals listening to poot parents. That is, parents who put pressure on the principal to see that their kids get get good grades rather than good learning, cause principals who have no other ways to keep their jobs to pressure teachers to pass the children.
      You can cure your ignornace of what happens in a classroom by substitute teaching in your local schools.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know why you assume so much, but my comments here were limited to the cheating school teachers.  To expand this discussion to discuss all aspects of our society only goes to ignorantly excuse the cheating teachers actions because of bad principals, parents, friends, TV personalities, cartoon characters, and politicians. 
         The truth is all professionals in all types of jobs are confronted with pressure to cheat and only those with strong moral character and a sense of personal responsibility choose to NOT Cheat.  Please stop blaming society for bad teachers.  Since you like to read things that I don’t say, I will define a bad teacher with respect to this discussion.  Bad teachers are any teacher that cheats, allows cheating, promotes cheating, ignores cheating in the classroom or outside of it!

  • Linda_Kaboolian

    There is a connection between the organizational pressures that generated this bad behavior in Atlanta Public Schools and those that generated ruthless wiretapping at Murdocks News of the World.  Drive people by punitive incentive systems and the weakest and most fearful will cut corners to get by.  Create a culture where people are supported in doing hard work, being innovative, and taking risks and people will perform better.  We are getting the inevitable consequences of the values we are designing into the system.
     

  • Modavations

    Everytime Vouchers are mentioned,Randy Weintgarten and the rest of the Banshees,wail and wail and wail.

    • Anonymous

      Vouchers are a conservative’s way of making everyone else pay for their choice of sending their kids to private schools – usually of the religious persuasion.

      Here’s a novel idea – pay for private school yourself and leave my tax dollars working in the public schools as was intended.

      • ThresherK

        Yep. I’ve always wanted something like the Fundacion Eva Peron in this country, just to see who gets suckered into the idea of it.

      • Gary

        Can’t argue that vouchers–or Education Stamps–are pro-choice.  Why do you want to tell poor people where to buy their groceries with their food vouchers?

        • Anonymous

          Not all stores take food stamps so folks are already told where they can use them. Not that that has anything to do with school vouchers.
           

      • Modavations

        We pay twice as much as most countries and we’re tied with Ecuador(33rd place

        • Anonymous

          So the conservative plans to ruin our public school system appears to be working. They prefer subservient, non-intellectual public masses that they can manipulate and force into ghettos and low-paying jobs that don’t require any critical thinking skills. Keep the poor masses down and beholden to the conservative wealthy. What a way to run the country (into the ground that is).

          • Modavations

            The rascist Welfare state is the invention of the Left.Our founder,Mr.Lincoln freed your slaves.Eisenhower integrated Little Rock,Nixon’s Civil Right Legislation garnered more Republican votes then Democrat.Dixiecrats were rascit,southern Democrats.The Last Dragon was Mr.Byrd.Now you’ve destroyed the Black Family.Free your Chattel.

          • Anonymous

            Did you even attend school? Your ramblings make no sense and you don’t seem to understand history very well – oh wait you must watch Fox. That explains it!

          • Modavations

            Quit watching MSNBC and listen to me.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t watch network television or really any television and I certainly won’t get my News from TV or you. 

          • Modavations

            I won’t give up.I used to deprogram Hare Krishnas,now I concentrate on Lefty’s.Liberalism is a mental disorder,after all.

          • Anonymous

            Only in the narrow, bigoted, light-shunning eyes of conservatives.

          • Ryan_hennings

            crm65, How are conservatives bigots?  I bet you can’t answer that!

          • Ryan_hennings

            you have lost your mind

      • Ryan_hennings

        Well then allow me to withdraw my tax dollars from the public school system.

  • Anonymous

    I would venture to say that the desire to learn, and the ability to draw pleasure from learning, must be inculcated at home, first and foremost.  Note that a true scholar – even a young one – can see beyond the machinations of any particular teacher and can master material that is interesting and relevant.  My thirteen year old daughter has read literally hundreds of books (as her unkempt library-like bedroom attests.)  Because of this love of reading and exploring, I don’t really worry so much about her individual teachers.  Because she has learned how to learn, and she understands what it is to learn versus what it is to get a grade.  For whatever it’s worth.

    • Ersb64

      Thank you for doing your part to foster a knowledge of how one learns, as well as a love of learning in your child.  It is great to hear success stories like this.  This is all public education was intended to do:  provide valuable socializing opportunities and enhanced learning experiences within that setting.  It wasn’t intended to subvert parents’ positive efforts on behalf of their children.  

      Working conditions need to be fair for teachers and administrators, not at the expense of the community, but as a support to the community.  Unions arose because power wasn’t equitably shared and became corrupted.  When public schools are dismantled and we have to begin all over again trying to educate the children of our community, we will have the same debates we had over a century ago and we can reinvent the wheel all over again, if that is what we want to do.  Or we can return to feudal times when most of the population was illiterate.  Is that what is preferred?  Time will tell.

  • Cory

    I’d like to once again offer up as an “On Point” topic dissolving this American Union.  I know it seems impossible, but is it really any less likely than competing ideologies in this country finding common ground?

    Maybe 50 independent countries, maybe 2 big ones.  Some with legalized drugs, some with illegal abortion.  Some with euthenasia, others with public executions.  Some wild west, some nanny statism.

    • ThresherK

      It’ll never fly once the “wild west” states learn they’ll need to wean themselves from blue-state tax dollars.

  • Yar

    Who cheated, and who is cheated? It is wrong to change answers on a test, but it is also wrong to only hold teachers accountable for childrens’ learning.    
      Measure what you want to change! If you are only interested in changing teachers then the current tests may provide the information to do that.  If we really want to improve education, then we should measure class size, economic standing, weight of child, physical activity, availability of nutritious food, safe communities, and family stability.I saw several comments stating that I didn’t cheat,  maybe not, but you may still have benefited from a system that cheats many of its poorest citizens.  I would put youth back in school after they graduate.  Let some of the privileged kids work in inner-city schools.  I would require 2 years of public service, a modern version of the CCC,  for all youth between 18 and 24.There are not simple solutions, vouchers don’t provide for the special needs child the same as a gifted child.  Parents who have and or value education already have an advantage for their children over those who don’t have the energy or skills to advocate strongly for their child. Vouchers are a path to de-funding public education, we are cheating ourselves when we don’t pass leadership on to the next generation.

  • Jessica

    There are legal or
    sanctioned ways of gaming the system when it comes to standardized testing:

    -legislators can change the
    tests or change the scoring so that more students pass;

    -many charter schools are
    able set admissions standards and expel “problematic” students;

    -or teachers can just teach
    to the test instead of providing a quality differentiated learning environment.

    I hope these issues are
    included in the discussion.  These
    sanctioned methods are (arguably) just as egregious as outright cheating in the
    ways they shape the culture of schools. 

    The take away:  high-stakes standardized testing is a
    deeply flawed, inadequate and unjust way of measuring student achievement and
    holding teachers accountable.  Diane
    Ravitch:  “test-based
    accountability has corrupted education, narrowed the curriculum, and distorted
    the goals of schooling.”

      

  • WINSTON SMITH

    I would be willing to bet that the teachers’ unions will justify cheating and blame the need to cheat on George W. Bush instead of admitting that they are simply trying to hide their incompetence in order to keep their cushy jobs.

    • ThresherK

      Yes, the teachers are incompetent because they got this cross-section of students, with the same advantages, resources, and fully-stocked supply closets as any sparkling rich suburb.

      Yes, the teachers came up with this all by themselves. No pressure from admins, who had no pressure from appointed officials, who had no pressure from elected officials, who had no pressure from…

      The fish rots from the head first. High-stakes standardized testing all but guaranteed this would happen.

      Punishment is deserved, certainly, but your judgment is the last thing these kids need.

      • WINSTON SMITH

        if the teachers had spent the time that they spent kicking God out of schools with the resulting explosion of out of wedlock children that resulted and taking valuable classroom time to teach that gay marriage is a normal acceptable lifestyle and instead used that time to teach the 3 R’s, then the test results would have been much better without the need for the teachers to cheat.

        • ThresherK

          You’ve passed the point of trying to reason with.

          So many easy answers to your bullflop; I’ll leave it to the reader to supply them. For example, I’d love your kid to be indoctrinated with someone else’s God in the name of public education

          • WINSTON SMITH

            Actually, the public schools, teachers’ unions, and ACLU expend great amounts of energy promoting the god of humanism and atheism.  The result is that any act or philosophy (other than Christianity, of course) is justified because man is the ultimate authority answerable to no one except himself.  So yes, they do promote any and all religions except of course, biblical Christianity.

          • ThresherK

            *yawn*

            Whatever you have to call an enemy religion, bub. Whateever floats your boat. I just hope your Christianity is never taken exception to with some other sect that has more weapons.

          • Modavations

            The first thing the left does after the “putsch”is ban god.The” State” is God to a Lefty.

          • ThresherK

            …and Modavations wins the Godwin’s Law Handicap, while bringing in Commonism, too. What a surprise!

          • notafeminista

            Like the junk science of population control?  Oopsie Ehrlich screwed the pooch on that one.  How about the laughingstock that global warming/climate change has become?   Don’t talk to me about someone else’s God.  The Left has plenty of them.

          • Modavations

            It’s not cool to be a Jew,or Christian anymore,so now all the Leftys are Buddhists,or Suffis,or……

          • ThresherK

            …and you have basically called all left-wingers non-Christian and all scientists Godless.

            Get your head out of your foxhole; the real world may surprise you.

    • Alexandra Carter

      Winston, teachers’ jobs are anything but cushy. There is little to no job security because of budget cuts, salaries and benefits are minimal. It’s hard for schools to attract new teachers because of these reasons. There is enormous pressure for schools to have the best test scores, mostly due to programs like No Child Left Behind. Cheating is not an appropriate response, and I am appalled that educators would turn to such a measure. But please do not assume that all educators would do such a thing, or that they would try to turn the blame around. Teachers choose to be teachers because they want to make a difference, not because they think they will be “living the high life.”

      • Modavations

        Yeah,Kennedy and that damn “no Child Left Behind”legislation of his

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, so cushy! Teaching children who are treated like lil princes(cesses) at home who can do no wrong in their parents eyes, trying to make administrators happy, most who have no teaching experience, and the public who feel that experienced teachers are incompentent and lazy because they have been teaching for years and might have better ideas about teaching than doing it to “THE TEST” to make the school look better.
       
      Yes, let’s look at school systems who just want to get rid of experienced teachers who are paid more because they have been teaching longer in order to save a buck and force new (ie young and cheap) teachers who are learning along with their students. That is a grand plan. :(

  • Jessica

    There are legal or sanctioned ways of gaming the system when it comes to standardized testing:
    -legislators can change the tests or the scoring so that more students can pass;
    -many charter schools are able to set admission standards and expel “problematic” students;
    -or teachers can just teach to the test instead of providing a quality, differentiated learning environment.
    I hope these issues get discussed.  These sanctioned methods are (arguably) just as egregious as outright cheating in the ways they shape the culture of schools.
    The take away:  high-stakes standardized testing is a deeply flawed, inadequate and unjust method for measuring student achievement and teacher effectiveness.
    Diane Ravitch:  ”test-based accountability has corrupted education, narrowed the curriculum, and distorted the goals of schooling.”

    • Modavations

      Spare Me the endless excuses.The tests prove whether you can read,or write.May I suggest you strike “Jenny has two daddies”from the syllabus and reintroduce Huck Finn.

      • ThresherK

        Why? Some bad proofreading in “Jenny have two daddies”? Hey, I’m all for copy-editing.

        • Modavations

          No intiendo.Digame otra vez,pero este tiempo,en Ingles!!!!!!!!

      • Anonymous

        ummm, they have banned Huck Finn in some school systems – want to try another classic?

      • Ersb64

        Huck Finn is really great reading.  It would be nice if incoming kindergartners were ready to learn their letters, sounds, spelling patterns, and prosody so they would be fluent readers by second and third grade.  The key words are “ready to learn.”  So many of them take so long just to learn to decode easy, regular words.  Why is this?  I can only surmise they need more time in small-group, directed instruction.  If parents allowed us to do this, and supported the need for their child’s cooperation in the classroom, maybe students could become good enough readers to appreciate Huck Finn, and any other of the classics they might want to read, starting from the earliest ages.

        What do you think?

  • E. Burke

    I hope this morning’s show will reveal how many of these “education professionals” are members of the Georgia branch of the NEA. If “education professionals” are this daffy, this petty, this insecure–and it seems so far with this story that they are–we can begin sooner rather than later to abolish public education outright, otherwise, in short order we’ll need to completely transform our colleges and universities into the aggrandized babysitting service for “educators” that our “educators” have already made of our public schools. Yes: abolish public education, it’s still not too late (public education remains no more necessary than public broadcasting . . .).

    • Modavations

      Two weeks ago on C-Span,the topic was,is college worth the cost?.A kid called in and said he went to an East Coast,” Ivy League” college.He said  learned more working in a Pizza Shop.I went to B.C. and learned advanced Joint Rolling!!!!!

      • ThresherK

        So, that Ivy Leaguer who didn’t “learn anything” in college: Did he then go on to disavow himself of networking with his fellow Ivies in the job-seeking world? Or is he just taking advantage of the contacts that millions of other college students will never have?

        And what does this have to do with public education?

        • Anonymous

          I think he went to Harvard Business School and later signed No Child Left Behind into law.

    • ThresherK

      There’s a plane to Somalia leaving right now.

      Actually, given the state of their libertarian fantasy society, I wouldn’t put too much faith in their air traffic control–better take a tramp steamer.

    • Ersb64

      Yes, it is disappointing that Atlanta educators cheated on these tests.  I am ashamed to be an American at this point.

  • Freeman

    Tom and Guest;
                          More money, more money, more money; and all you have accomplished is corrupting and making ineffective ALL these institutions and agencies. All with NO accountability !!!!

    • Ersb64

      You’re right!  The remediation of dyslexia requires no extra personnel or individual tutoring.  Thank you for disputing all current National Institutes of Health research on dyslexia’s causes and remediations.  I am sure you are much more credible than any of the scientists and specialists who have worked on this issue over the last century.

  • James Horn

     As noted social scientist, Donald Campbell noted in 1976, “The more any quantitative social indicator
    is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to
    corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt
    the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

    This debacle could have been foreseen and was, just as the response by the media to blame teachers for the policy that made cheating inevitable.   

    The Georgia Office of Special Investigators Report said this:

    Three primary conditions led to widespread cheating on the 2009 CRCT

    - The targets set by the district were often unreasonable, especially
    given their cumulative effect over the years. Additionally, the
    administration put unreasonable pressure on teaches and principals to
    achieve targets;

    - A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation spread throughout the district; and,

    - Dr Hall and her administration emphasized test results and public praise to the exclusion of integrity and ethics.”

      http://www.ajc.com/news/volume-3volume-3-conclusions-why-1000781.html  p. 350

    and

    “What has become clear through our investigation is that ultimately, the
    data and meeting ‘targets’ by whatever means necessary, became more
    important than true academic progress” (p. 356).

    The result will be more policing and more surveillance and less trust, which was at the root of the problem to begin with.

    Jim Horn

    • Modavations

      Au contraire.The kids can’t read or write and the teachers are not much better!!!!!!!

  • Lisa Guisbond

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    Dear On Point,

     

    Your web site introduction to this program gives the false
    impression that teachers are primarily responsible for this tragic situation.
    It is not condoning unethical behavior to point out that teachers in Atlanta
    and many other states where cheating has been reported are operating in an
    environment that fosters (and in some cases demands) these behaviors.

    The Georgia Office of Special Investigators report is shocking and
    fascinating reading that reinforces the idea that this case has broad
    implications for federal education policy.

     

    Here’s just three of many quotes from the report that
    contradict the idea that teachers should take the primary blame for this
    scandal:

    “A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation
    spread throughout the district.”

    “Dr. Hall [the Atlanta superintendent] and her administration emphasized
    test results and public praise to the exclusion of integrity and ethics.”

    “What has become clear through our investigation is that ultimately,
    the data and meeting ‘targets’ by whatever means necessary, became more
    important than true academic progress.” 

    These
    pressures did not originate with teachers but were imposed on them from the
    very top, starting with the federal No Child Left Behind law and the current
    administration’s Race to the Top policy.

    To address
    these pressures and the resulting behavior in cities like Atlanta, Baltimore,
    Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlanda and other smaller
    communities, there needs to be a reassessment of our education policies and a
    rejection of high stakes testing as the driver of efforts to improve public
    schools.

     

     Lisa Guisbond
    National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)

     

    • Mnswid

      Thank you for setting the record straight!  This is a totally accurate assessment of the situation!~

    • Modavations

      The tests prove whether the kids can read and write!!!!!!!!

      • ThresherK

        No, the tests prove that the kids are taught to take the tests.

        And also whether they can use enough exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        (Sorry; I wanted to get some in before Modavations used up the entire supply.)

      • Ersb64

        If students can’t read or write, why is it automatically the teachers’ fault?  Don’t students’ efforts have something to do with whether or not they acquire literacy and math skills?  If students’ achievement is completely attributable to teachers, why are diplomas, associates of arts, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, etc. given to students?  

        Diplomas, associates of arts, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, etc. are given because we all know those students earned these degrees by working hard to master the material, and they deserve that recognition.  

        A fair measure of a school system’s performance would account for students’ and parents’ efforts as well as those at the school district level, and would sanction them accordingly.  Some argue that public schools may become relics of the past over this current high-stakes testing debacle.  How will those students and parents feel when there is no public school in their neighborhood?  This is the intent of these tests.

    • E. Burke

      The “pressures”–which did not merely emanate from the top (the challenge facing teachers is embodied first and foremost in their own education and preparation and in the students assigned to them)– forced NO ONE to cheat; this cheating was purely elective, from every description coming forward. –Hold beleaguered teachers and principals responsible for their actions? Horrors!!! 

      • Lynn

        Hold elected officials that no nothing about education, and the many, many parents that can get their nails done every week and talk on their cell phones all day but don’t provide age-appropriate discipline and a climate promoting the love of learning and teaching their children responsibility??  Horrors!!!

      • Lynn

        (proofread version)

        Hold elected officials that know nothing about education in today’s classrooms, and the many, many parents that can get their nails done every week and talk on their cell phones all day but don’t provide:  age-appropriate discipline, a climate promoting the love of learning at home, or teach their children responsibility??  Horrors!!!

  • nlns

    The responsible reaction would be to take a good hard look at the ridiculous testing mania and the absurdity of the NCLB policies rather than outrage at the results of instituting blatantly unrealistic and unattainable goals.  I’m not advocating cheating, but what else would you expect?  These laws do a pretty good job of CHEATING themselves —- cheating children out of the creative, motivating, and more relaxed education they deserve while at the same time creating an environment for teachers and administrators that is nothing short of a nightmare.

  • Greystoneins

    Wilson County, TN, in what I am sure they justify, does the same thing with their “Re-do” policy.  Students are able to re-take tests to raise their scores.  Makes the teacher and school look good and doesn’t teach the student anything more than don’t try hard the first time because you get a second chance.  Fortunately, my children know that our household goes by the first grade.

  • Michelle

    There is something fundamental being missed in this discussion.  The children!
    Many of these children, especially inner city and rural poor, do not come from a home where education is stressed as vital, so they are not encouraged in their homework or to be on time, etc.  NCLB and standardized testing cannot help a child who does not see learning as important.  Second, children who are developmentally disabled — their scores on the standardized tests are counted in the overall scores for a school.  How can a severly autistic child who has been mainstreamed into a “normal” school possibly compete with so-called normal students?  According to NCLB there won’t be any “retarded” children by 2014 because they will ALL meet some arbitrary standard. 

    • Kurt

      This isn’t true. The scores of children with learning disabilities are counted separately–but even they are expected to be able to make some progress. Lots of schools have dumped them into regular classrooms and do not follow the individual education plans for services and extra aid the child is supposed to be receiving. The idea of NCLB was to make sure these kids weren’t left behind–just dumped and forgotten. However, the RESOURCES in special ed. programs, therapeutic programs, etc. just aren’t there because IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY TO EDUCATE A CHILD WELL, even in private  schools where teachers aren’t even required to have teaching certificates/licenses to practice.

      • Jwpickren

        I used to teach children with behavior and emotional disorders at middle school level. First, we, special education teachers, were informed that our students’ scores would be a part of the entire school’s and there would not be any allowances as required by Federal law in their I.E.P.’s. I have learned from teachers and administrators from other school districts that this is true. Secondly, I wish all the tax payers knew just how much it costs to provide a free and public education for the students who qualify for special education programs. There would be outrage. These children deserve an education and should not be discriminated against; yet, the money spent does not reflect the low gain that I have witnessed. I worked extremely hard; however, to expect a student who is reading at first grade level to perform well on an eighth grade standardized exam is stupid.

  • Lydandy

    The last thing I want my child to learn in school is how to pass a test!  The problem here is that the test becomes more important than the learning, and the teachers know the consequences.  I am not a fan of standardized testing but our society has invested so much in these tests that we just can’t see a way out.

  • DTinVA

    You are focusing on the wrong point.  The whole testing system is corrupt.  Created by corrupt politicians, corrupt administrators at federal, state and local levels.  And who is getting rich off this.  Always follow the money.  Maybe to Texas where all these tests are created and made.  Hmm.  Where did our last President come from?   How much money are states putting into these tests each year?  Maybe put that money into the teaching corp instead of making some executive in Texas wealthy.  Are these wonderful reporters in Atlanta or anywhere looking into that aspect of the testing idiocy.  Haven’t seen any wonderful reporting on that!  Teachers have had no say in this idiocy since it’s inception at least 20 years ago.  This is their only way of fighting back against a corrupt system.  DON’T YOU DARE ATTACK TEACHERS!!!

    • Jimcollins

      It is not the “whole testing system” that is corrupt. It’s the entire approach to standardized testing that is a problem. I teach US History at a high school in a poor rural district. My 11th graders come to me reading at a 7th and 8th grade level. At the end of the course they take a standardized test. Most of them fail.

      I teach the same course to honors students, who do read at grade level. Almost all of them pass. I think the teachers caught cheating should all be fired, as should the principal and district personnel.

      Our society has fallen into the habit of the lowest common denominator: We only need produce students with just enough academic skill to hold some type of job and buy products they see advertised. Kids start Kindergarten without the habit of reading and parents don’t insist that kids develop the habit.

      This is the actual story. If society is okay with it, fine with me. I’ll give every kid my best shot every day.

      If society believes the 7th grade readers in my semester US History class can be “fixed” and leave reading at grade AND covering the standards, that’s fine, too.

      Stupidity is not a crime.

    • E. Burke

      Wherever did you get the idea that standardized tests are “created and made” in Texas? You might be thinking of textbook adoptions for the Texas market, but that’s another story. Standardized tests have other provenances. The SAT is owned and operated by the College Board, based in NYC; it was developed by ETS of Lawrenceville, NJ. The ACT is administered from its home office in Iowa City, IA.

  • Modavations

    Two Thursdays ago a professor was on Wash.Journal.She had something to do with SAT’s,etc,.She said that in all 7 categories,public school kids were testing at the lowest rates ever!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lisa Guisbond

    For much more information on the ways high-stakes testing is cheating our children and teachers out of a healthy school environment and on better approaches to assessment and accountability, see the FairTest web site, http://www.fairtest.org.

    Lisa
     

    • Modavations

      I graduated Newton North High School in 1969.We had tests every other day!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Ersb64

        What kinds of tests were these?  Were these tests designed to give you immediate feedback on your mastery of the subject matter, or were they intended to rate and sanction your school district for your success or failure?  If they were to help you master the subject matter, and if your teachers answered questions you may have had, then they were important tests.  If these tests were designed to dismantle a local school district, then maybe they weren’t the best tests to have taken.  I suspect your tests back in 1969 were designed to help you master the subject matter.

  • rick_evans

    I feel cheated that this program was preempted on WBUR, the home station of the show, by the president’s news conference. 

  • Anonymous

    I have been teaching for 17 years in the public school system mostly in SC.  I do not condone the cheating but recognize the extreme pressure put on teachers for their scores to improve.  The NCLB law is only reasonable if you can legislate parenting, evaluate all levels of leadership in education, and get the people making ultimatums on teaching into a regular classroom for at least two weeks.  Teaching is not an easy job but then most jobs aren’t easy.  It is called work.  When good educators are pressed upon to teach to a test, it goes against the whole idea of teaching. 
    I love teaching for the “AHA” moments of the students, when I see them thinking through problems instead of just trying to find any answer, when they can articulate what they have read and how it relates to their world today, when they understand the concept, and when they write because they have something to say.  Those are just a few of the things that keep me in the classroom til late in the day writing out the “Essential Questions” for the next day, adjusting posted lesson plans after reviewing the day’s progress, correcting papers for grades, annotating behaviors or emailing parents regarding needs for their children.  My walls no longer house the interactive bulletin boards of the past for I must post standards for the week, lesson plans, charts for writing, behavior rules, word walls (occasionally useful), essential questions, and if room allows, student work.

    Since there is no way to legislate parenting properly, evaluate teaching for longer than ten minutes in one class, and get those making decisions of what teachers should do into the classrooms, we are fighting a battle of paper.

  • AF_Retired

    1.  Kids that don’t want to learn.
    2.  You can’t make kids learn.  If they want to write their name on a paper and leave it blank they will.
    3.  If scores are to low you lose federal funding.
    4.  You lose federal funding then teaching supplies (new text books, training, materials for fostering education)
    5.  Scores go lower and either go back to 1 and repeat or try number 6.
    6.  Cheat! Get the funding and try to make it better and play catch up.

    As long as federal funding is attached to test scores it would not surprise me that cheating will continue.

    I’m not a teacher but the cycle of failure I tried to show only seems logical to me.

  • Elizabeth Lowe

    The neuroscience of learning and cognitive training have been my lifelong passion. The practical applications for teacher training and for students’ best practice is what I teach.

    As a Maine educator who has both observed and shared the changes brought about in the US over the last four decades, I find that many of us have been trying to modify the learning recipes at the same time the information explosion foretold in Future Shock, has been morphing all around us. At first, from year-to-year. And now, from minute to minute.

    What To Teach – particularly in the crucial sciences, is outdated before the ink is dry in the textbook. Online resources become the go-to answer.

    How To Teach – depends on both the intelligence level and teaching style of the adult in the classroom, and the literacy level, learning style, and disabilities, as well as other factors like high stress levels (impedes short-term memory), short sleep cycles (ditto), and a brain-fitness diet (increases long-term memory).

    When my remedial students’ standardized test scores kept dropping every fall from their previous June levels, as is common, I changed my teaching strategies and developed an accelerated comprehension model that showed two to three years gains in one year, as measured by standardized testing every fall. No more lost gains over summer vacation.

    After three years of success using these comprehension strategies, I produced a DVD for teachers and parents so they could adopt them for their own success.

    I also shared the process with the Thorndike Press publishing company and became a resource for development of new markets for existing products using Harry Potter books, as well as other series to test the model for comprehension acceleration. It worked.

    These are just a few areas I have developed for improved success for students, challenged or gifted. We can turn this system around. It takes innovation, dedication, and  teacher autonomy, which Maine supports, to get to the best practices for our students today.

    • twenty-niner

      What To Teach – particularly in the crucial sciences, is outdated before
      the ink is dry in the textbook. Online resources become the go-to
      answer.

      Good Lord. I am an engineer and I have Calculus and DFEQ texts from the 80s that are completely relevant, and well written, which is why I have them. The same goes for physics, chemistry, and even electronics, which is a fast-moving field.

      This little equation, which explains how radio waves work, has been around for about 150 years, and would be in any decent physics text book published since the Civil War:

      • Modavations

        How “bout Copernicus and Gallileo.E=MC2 has fared fairly well, to boot.Run from the Public Schools.

    • MoniqueDC

      Ms. Lowe…. your self-promotion is shameless.    Makes me wonder what you are teaching your students.   So content is updated hourly in the world.  That doesn’t exclude the basics being taught and, most importantly, HOW TO LEARN.   Something we all know is a life-long endeavor.

      • Dimandrews

        Ummm, did you miss her final comment that “It takes innovation, dedication, and TEACHER AUTONOMY, which Maine supports…”? I didn’t read it as “self-promotion,” rather an indictment of many school systems, and the education system of our country as a whole. As has been pointed out by many of the posters here, No Child Left Behind has been a dismal failure, and as long as teachers are demonized because children are too tired, hungry, stressed, or just plain lazy, and their parents are too tired, worn out, hungry, stressed, or just plain lazy, then they won’t be given the tools, including autonomy, to be effective teachers.

    • http://www.comfit.com Btarshis

      Elizabeth,

      Much like you, my views on what we needs to happen in order turn our educational system around have been shaped by my interest in the cognitive sciences–an interest that took root more than 40 years ago when I co-wrote with Dr. Allen Schneider, a physiological psychologist from (of Swarthmore), a physiological psychology text book.

      As it happens, too, I have spent most of my waking hours over the past 10 years thinking about and developing Internet-based resources whose primary mission is to accelerate comprehension–with much of this work strongly influenced in recent years by a paper I first read three years ago.  It was written (along with is colleagues) by a cognitive psychologist named K. Anders Ericsson and was entitled “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.

      In short, I think the two of us could have an interesting conversation. 

      BarryT

      • twenty-niner

        It’s called old-fashioned study. It put 12 men on the moon nearly 40 years ago.

    • RMarydjw

      Could you develop a workshop for teachers…better yet, could you be my fifth grader’s teacher for the upcoming school year! Your talents and attention to detail are needed in Ohio!!!!!

  • jim

    What is the big deal? you think there is no cheating in white suburban schools? Look what these schools churn out: crooks in Wall Street

  • Polydrum

    Fire them all!

  • John Hamilton

    I find it amusing that great thinker Tom Ashbrook is shocked, shocked that the Atlanta school system cheated on test scores. The whole system is fake. “No Child Left Behind” is fake. “Race to the Top” is fake. The politics of education at the Federal, state, and local level are fake. Our three wars are fake. Our Congress is fake. Our Supreme Court is fake. Our economic system is fake, especially at the corporate level. Our news media are fake.

    Maybe Atlanta is just producing better fake participants in our fake system than other school districts. They are actually a cut above the rest of or fake system by being open about being fake. Actually, they are in violation of the rules of being fake, by admitting their fakery.

    What we need as a people are some good fake answers about our comprehensive fakery. The old ones aren’t working anymore. It’s hard to fake full employment when the lines are so long at unemployment offices. That’s not for lack of trying – redefining unemployment, faking statistics, moving numbers around, not counting people, etc. The “Republicans” are better at it, but “Democrats” are no slouches either.

    Our era will likely be remembered as the age of sham. The age of the sociopath would be a better name.

    • Mary

      yes!  finally someone sees it clearly!

  • Amy

    This was an extremely important program.  Many thanks to Mr. Toppo for some absolutely critical
    reporting.  And I very much want to hear
    more from Dr. Koretz. Clearly he has an extremely broad, and in-depth,  understanding
    of the larger issues, and ideas about where to go from here. As he notes, the
    cheating is symptomatic of more substantive problems, which call for a clear and honest
    understanding of issues – and re-evaluation of policy. I want to hear more from
    him about this.

  • Inesillgen

    How in the world can one expect underprivileged children to succeed when funds are constantly being cut, higher and higher expectations are placed on teachers, schools and children without the assistance they desperately need, when incompetent teachers are guaranteed lifetime jobs and competent ones are not rewarded and parents don’t get involved?  There is more than one school, person, or agency to blame.

  • rose

    This program was very important and upsetting. I am 29, both my parents were teachers, and for as long as I can remember they complained about standardized tests and how they led to “teaching to the test”. A precursor to cheating, maybe. 

    When no child left behind was just a texas program, it was known it was ineffective as a way to improve students’ real knowledge. 

    The most important thing to most people is their children, yet somehow we have been induced to accept silly measures like NCLB for their education. Teachers need to paid and educated more. Students need to be in school longer. Legislators need to take k-12 education seriously.

    • notafeminista

      NCLB was never a “just a Texas program”…it was instead (if you read the law and the press release from then Sen. Teddy Kennedy’s office)a revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – in place since 1965.

      • Anonymous

        NCLB came out of the Texas school system, brought to D.C. by W and his lying, cheating first secretary of education Rod Paige. Paige was the superintendent of Houston ISD prior to his stint in DC. W & Paige successfully snookered Kennedy and brought along the moronic George Miller D-Ca as their patsy in the House. W is gone, Paige retired in shame, Kennedy died & Miller is still a moron.

  • ruralteach

    In the data driven classroom and school, teachers do not have the time to consider the data and use it in instruction.  The data that might be generated on a quarterly or yearly basis needs to be analyzed by the teacher and applied to the teaching and to the individual students.  There is not enough time in the day for this practice to be integrated into teaching when classrooms are so large, when there are parents to call, meetings to attend, and when new accountability programs are being thrown at teachers each year.  Wouldn’t it be great if teachers had teaching aids that would assist in the classroom and therefore increase the ratio of adults/teacher/instructors to students and allow the teacher, as the director of learning, to address the learning dynamics across all levels.  But, teaching is ultimately a jobs program in which every politician and parent knows how to evaluate effective teaching; teaching is totally underfunded and undervalued. Instead of creating false goals for teachers and students, our nation should focus on how each teacher can be supported in the quest to help each student attain their very best.

  • Bjvogan

    This should show the school system that punitive incentives are ineffective.  Punishment doesn’t work to motivate change in the students and it doesn’t motivate our teachers to do what society it wants.  All it does is make the punished party avoid punishment, whatever the cost.   

  • Tweiston

    We really need to give the teachers a brea and look at the systemic issue plaguing our education system. High stakes testing is bad for everyone! We need to find another way to be sure our young people are proficient!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    Use INK: drop the #2 pencil, [full Signature...for answer change]

    [pro]Tests are how I got through, in school; dodging the homework plague.
    Untalented unintelligent students will steal, “because they can”, FIRE THE CHEATS, send them to the Agricultural Fields to pick the damn produce.

  • Kpwoodard

    I’ll take Shawna’s children in my classroom any day.  She gives me hope!  She’s involved, determined, and undaunted by setbacks.  With more parents like her we could take back public education.  Teach the whole child not just a set of discrete skills.  Testing is important, but not more important than a true education where the child is taught skills and given the time to apply them through discussion, writing, acting, singing, dancing, instrumental music, and art.  Over emphasis on testing steals time away from a true quality education.  The sum of the parts do not equal a whole education. 

  • inesillgen

    It’s parents who must lead, get involved in the schools and place a high priority on education.  There are third world countries where going to school is a privilege, children are eager to learn and parents want to do all in their power to give their children that opportunity.  We have become spoiled and petty in blaming all besides ourselves.  Those who have the money can afford the best schools and won’t share their good fortune with the most needy.  Neither religion nor politics has right to dictate to all what’s best for each child.  Parents, parents, parents are the first teachers and if they don’t care the children are already lost before they ever set foot in a school.

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  • http://twitter.com/peters_jerry Jerry Peters

    All implicated and found guilty should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law….but, two of the three district attorneys who will make the decision whether or not to pursue prosecution are black. Will there be justice or will they “walk?” Perhaps law respecting citiizens of all colors should participate in a march for truth, justice and the American way! My children, unfortunately, are awaiting the outcomd of this sordid mess.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Well, I guess it might be worth while going back and checking out what happened in the 2004 Siemens Science Competition and why 1200+ students never learned the truth about what happened, thanks to over 3 dozen adults agreeing to engage in a cover up of that incident, as well, including convincing the news media not to investigate what happened! Some high placed university academics participated in that cover-up! 

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

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SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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