Principal asking me to change exam scores

Discussion in 'General Education' started by limon, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. limon

    limon Rookie

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    Nov 23, 2019

    Has anyone encountered a principal who made them basically change exams scores? I have been forced twice now to allow certain students who had very low F's or very pushy parents, to 'retake' exams and surprise! the low F's earned 100%. I did not proctor the exams.

    I find this very disturbing and plan to leave at the end of the year as a result. This principal does not support me in front of parents, has not ever said kind or supportive things to me but is very critical and blames me for many of the issues that the students are doing themselves. He lets me know that he sides with the students in many ways and I find that shocking. I am an experienced teacher in a new district, and I have been very unhappy for many (obvious) reasons since I got here three months ago. What would you all do? Isn't it against the law to force teachers to change grades for only certain students? it seems grossly unfair and unethical and I am very concerned about my own professional future - : (
     
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  3. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Nov 23, 2019

    Are these classroom tests or benchmark/state tests?
     
  4. limon

    limon Rookie

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    These are district exams. I didn't make them, and yes some students either didn't take them or scored low by not studying for them. I believe that he wants the high achieving students to get better scores because their parents have complained, which is what he initially told me. He made it clear that not all students are meant to take them, just the 'ones who want to, and show some effort at learning.' He also made it clear it was a disciplinary action for me and as a new teacher I was under the gun, and had to sign a formal document demonstrating that I understood this. I asked him if this was an official disciplinary action, and am waiting to hear back.
     
  5. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Nov 23, 2019

    Wow! I am so sorry you are put in that position and know it goes on at some schools. I had a friend who was pressured a lot to change grades of failing football players. If he called it a disciplinary action and had you sign it, I am 99.9% sure you are allowed to write a rebuttal. I have only written 1 one time in my life. It took me days to revamp it to take all anger out and just leave the facts.
    When the P read the rebuttal, he totally backed down. He did not want central office to read it, and they would have if he had continued. It was almost like he said, " Never mind." He did not mess w/ me like that ever again. I'd try that and look for another job. I am sorry, but some of our schools can be dishonest and corrupt depending upon the leadership and other factors.
     
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  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 23, 2019

    Please document everything that has happened and follow Tired Teacher's advice to write a rebuttal. Look for a new job now and I may also report to the state dept of ed as well as the school district.
     
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  7. limon

    limon Rookie

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    Nov 23, 2019

    Yes, I will. I got my answer which is if I do not follow his instructions and do as he asks then this will become a disciplinary action and I will be put on an improvement plan. I told him that I would honor my contract and finish the school year and I thanked him for giving me the opportunity to teach at his school. I like to be professional and act with integrity. How incredibly sad this is to me to see this kind of behavior. : /
     
  8. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2019

    Is it possible to ask her/him a question for more clarification on an email so you have supporting evidence? Reason why I asked. I had this happened to me as well. She even wrote about it on an email. I forward that email to my personal email address so I had my copy and filed an ethics complaint against her certification with the state and I had quit. I also documented all the other stuff with dates and such. This was a charter. My first charter was awesome. loved it. hated the 45 minute commute each way. I wrote my letter of resignation and detailed each incident with dates and what had transpired. I also attached the email of what the Principal had asked me to do. As for the Bord of Directors it just so happen that of them had her son's in my class (who was an outstanding student)

    With the State of Florida, a teaching certification, you are held to a higher standard. (I don't know where you teach) This includes; integrity, expand their knowledge and skills through learning opportunities in a safe learning environment, maintain an accountability system that measures student progress and honor. I would quit. I would then also forward this to his boss because it seems your principal just wants to inflate the school's grade score and in the end it's only hurting the students.
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Nov 24, 2019

    I agree with the above. This is unethical. I see a deeper dilemma, also. In teaching, tests have deteriorated from an evaluation to a goal of finality. Instead of studying to learn, students are studying to pass a test, forget it once that goal is reached, and move on to the next test. Alongside this, teachers are being required to teach towards a percentage point on a paper rather than facilitating growth in learning. The result is to cut brain growth to achieve only 1/3 of the potential results of education.

    Only working towards percentages and percentiles tends to emphasize knowledge but it also tends to deemphasize understanding and application. Ideally, learning should begin with prior understanding and application, connect knowledge to what is previously learned, and then that knowledge becomes part of the overall understanding and application. A student's major motivation to learn should be increased learning and ability, not an A. An A can be part of the motivation, of course. But only when the test is an evaluation, a test to check if further learning is needed.

    OK, I go to the doctor. The doctor prescribes a test to see if anything needs corrected. If so, I take medicine to correct the deficiency. The doctor doesn't get punished if my test results are positive. The doctor isn't forced to retest and make sure the test comes up negative, nor is the doctor forced to change the test results. The same with teaching, or how it should be. A test is for the student's benefit of growth, not a final slap in the face. A test is to inform the teacher of how s/he can further the student's education, not a give-em-an-A-or-get-out situation.
     
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  10. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Nov 24, 2019

    Not sure if you can do this but in the UK we would advise that you get the request by email and when you respond BCC the reply to your home email so should the brown stuff ever hit the fan you have a paper trail. If he asked you verbally then email him asking him the re-itterate what he said as you were 'confused' after the conversation. Again if he refuses to respond then email him again stating what you understand he is asking you to do, again BCC the email to yourself plus any responses you get. Also, if possible retain the original grades (and papers if you can).
     
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  11. limon

    limon Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2019

    I will do these things that you suggest, I have already been keeping the documentation and will put it together and see if there is anyone who would be interested. I don't know the laws in this state, but will start asking and calling around. My first priority is to protect me and my integrity and professional reputation. It is clear to me that he will make me the problem if I don't do what he says and I don't want my good reputation ruined or any retaliation because of this. I will work on this quietly behind the scenes and then see where I can take it. I would like to finish the year for a few reasons, most of all because I don't think I have done anything wrong and leaving mid-year would hurt me professionally (maybe) and financially.

    Thank you so much for all your good comments and validation, it can be so hard to fully grasp the reality of a bad situation and that now you have to figure your way out of it. I kept hoping it would get better and it just kept getting worse.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  12. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Nov 24, 2019

    Emailing used to be a good way of documenting here, but P's have gotten wise to it. Our P ( who is NOT the brightest crayon in the box) will never reply to an email that could get him in any trouble or acknowledge that there is a problem.
    Instead, he'll come and meet w/ you when there are no witnesses. The only way I can see it working is if you summarize what he told you to do, asking for clarification. Our P would know though that you are trying to "entrap" him. Then he'd go on the defensive and start hounding you. ( Retaliation)
    Do you have a decent union? You could turn the tables on him if you do. You could have a union rep sit in on a meeting w/ the P taking notes and being a witness. If the P retaliates after that, you have the union backing you here.
    Most P's do not want to have problems w/ the union. I have seen teachers do this before and it was effective. Almost every single time, the teacher got transferred the next year to a way better school ( 1 to a worse area) and did not have problems at their new school.
    It is possible the next P's knew that they stood up for themselves and would not be bullied out of their job. Even the teacher who was transferred to a school that was more difficult to work at (due to problems not due to admin) ended up much happier. I wish you the best on this.
     
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  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    How has it come to this. I'm speaking nationwide, right now. A number or letter on a paper is not going to educate a child. And teachers should never, ever be caught in the middle like this. I'm thinking about news articles of teachers who were required to change achievement test scores. I'm thinking of kids cramped in a cafeteria practicing nonstop all day for achievement tests; if they have to practice that much, then the achievement test must not be that valid of a measurement of achievement. We used to be concerned about kids "cheating" in school; now it's the teachers.

    I'm thinking of ancient history, now. Socrates said, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel." Today he might have said, "Education is not a percentile grade, either." Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." He didn't say, "An educated mind is a mark on a paper." Plato said, "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." Today, would he have rephrased this to, "Repeat after me. Now here's a study guide. Be sure to circle these phrases when you see them on the multiple choice test." Solomon described learning as, "...To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing..; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth--let the wise hear and increase in learning...." Today, would he say, "OK, so you got an F. I'll change the grade just this one time. After all, you need to play football." My point is, learning is to learn, not just sit idly by until you can get back to your TV and video games. (What if Albert Einstein was addicted to Grand Theft Auto).

    If we don't guide the students, if their parents don't see that then need to learn, I know people who will. Drive downtown to the city section of my area. Park next to McDonald's near the shopping district in the morning. They're roaming the sidewalks waiting for another victim to sell their drugs to. They're looking for the failing students who are struggling in school. They'll mentor them into their world of crime and corruption. Their needles will replace knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
     
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  14. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Nov 25, 2019

    Are there other teachers who were told this also?
     
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  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Nov 25, 2019

    Forget the improvement plan - you will probably not be offered a contract in the spring.
     
  16. limon

    limon Rookie

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    I don't know if anyone else has been asked to do this, it's the kind of place where no one really talks to you, or each other. I don't know about other teachers, but no one has reached out to me and tried to make friends or even has come into my room to ask how I am doing. At first I thought that was really strange, I had moved here for the job. But now, I am used to it, even tho I really am not. I am a friendly person and so far no one reciprocates very much. One nice woman did admit privately that she felt 'on eggshells' around the principal and that she could never please him. Yes, that's how I feel I told her, so that was some good validation.

    Thank you so much to everyone for giving your ideas and thoughts. It means a great deal to hear all this. I have been doing as people suggested and preparing to leave. I did tell a colleague I would be leaving at the end of the year and he didn't seem to care very much so, there you are. How awful to work somewhere where they just don't care about you. : /
     
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  17. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 26, 2019

    I was told during my first year to do “whatever it takes” to pass all my students. That meant to do a test review, collect their corrections, and have them “pass.”
     
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  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Nov 26, 2019

    While this can help somewhat in their defense, keep in mind that email isn't completely useless -- even if the P never responds, it shows that he received your email. If you reference a conversation in your email and summarize it, and he received the email, then it will be on him to show his response to it.

    There is one slight danger here -- if you reference any students directly and send it to your personal email, you could be accused of violating confidentiality. So, avoid using student names if possible.
     
  19. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Nov 27, 2019

    All you have to do talk to is the state that you're in, Department of Education. I read all the comments, and never saw a response about if you're in a union or not. If so, talk to them ASAP. But whatever you are doing, go back to your way of grading and don't change it., you can jeopardize your certification. You can't play the ignorance is bliss card.

    Yes, he will ask you why, but make sure you are never by yourself or alone with him (eyewitnesses) so that way he has to email you. When he does, you can reply or insist that you have no clue as in what he is referencing to. If he takes the bait, and actually replies back saying to change the grade. This is where you need to email it home and also save it to a thumb drive, contact the DOE for your state and forward the email. That is something he cannot back out of saying he did not do. If anything, you should be safe by the whistle-blower act. Hang in there!
     
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  20. limon

    limon Rookie

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    Nov 27, 2019

    I am not in the union but have talked to the state office about this. The local people I have contacted about joining have not responded, but the executive director was very supportive and helpful. He felt that the principal was a very weak administrator to put the demands of pushy parents and students ahead of a solid, respected teacher. I would definitely join if someone would contact me back.

    It has been very clear this week who the demanding students are whose parents wanted this as they are all over this retake and are very aggressive about it. It's weird. : / I feel relieved but very sad about it all as what a great loss for the other students who are trying to learn and are honest and hardworking. It is demoralizing to know that students are valued higher than you, the adult teacher. I don't feel valued at all here, outside of one or two kind people who have told me I am doing an excellent job. Your comments and suggestions have been very helpful and validating as I try and navigate this experience, I want to protect and take care of myself and move on. Hopefully, there will be a good position where they are looking for the things I have to offer. It feels great to be liked and respected -
     
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