Quit or be fired, educators implicated in Atlanta scandal told

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Irishdave, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Atlanta (CNN) -- The superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools has ordered that 178 educators allegedly involved in a teaching scandal resign or face termination proceedings...

    I feel the emphasis on standardized testing is a contributing factor to this climate of CHEATING
    Sad that teacher's think that CHEATING is the way to go

    "The state's report indicated there was a climate of cheating and performance-at-all-costs during the tenure of then-Superintendent Beverly Hall. Hall has denied the allegation."
     
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  3. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    And what's interesting is that Dr. Hall won national awards during her time at APS including Superintendent of the Year.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's not just teachers who think that cheating is the way to go. I think that for a cheating scandal like this to be as widespread as it is, administrators and people at the central office must have certainly been involved.

    It's sad that they felt like they needed to cheat to get their kids to pass, but it's unacceptable. Anybody who participated in the cheating or knew about it should be let go immediately.
     
  5. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    It says two things
    ONE we need ethical training
    TWO Stop making the standardized tests an evaluation tool and make it a TEACHING tool
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that cheaters cheat, regardless of the climate or the factors that contribute to it.

    What about all the teachers in Atlanta who were in the same climate but didn't cheat?

    At some point in our lives, don't we take responsibility for our decisions, regardless of the climate in which we find ourselves?
     
  7. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Wouldn't that be awesome!
     
  8. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Some of the FUN has left the building due to the emphasis on testing. But I can tell you that I will cheat for NO ONE! If someone changed my answers it would have to be without my knowledge and over my dead body.
     
  9. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    The Climate of CHEATING is related the stress that many teachers suffer from with the way that standardized testing has over taken the education field, since education is an "industry" that has difficult product to measure, standardized testing has become the yardstick for the bean counters.
    I agree that, "cheaters cheat," but during trying times people are more inclined to take the risk of doing something unethical.
     
  10. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    For years I have proctored tests and I would read through the test so if a student needed help I could help without "flying blind" (it kept me from "shooting from the hip" and saying the wrong thing or giving the answer by accident) now they do not allow a teacher to do that. Back when I took NY Regents tests you could get old tests to practice with no problems, many past tests can not be accessed now.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Since the only thing you're allowed to say to a testing student is "Try your best," there is no need to read through the test.

    Are you sure that the Regents tests aren't still available? I seem to remember not long ago grabbing tons of old Latin tests....At least I think they were Regents tests.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Released tests are certainly still available, Regents exams among them. Alice has posted a Regents link in a couple of places here. In addition, www.edinformatics.com links to a number of states' released tests.
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think the entire importance being placed on standardized testing is really making many lose focus on the importance of school: to obtain a quality education. Instead, in many places standardized testing drives everything that is being done in schools. I have said this many times, but I am thankful to be teaching internationally where standardized tests are used, but do not dictate everything that occurs in the classroom, nor does it have any bearing on a teacher's employment, or potential salary gains. There are so many teachers who are disappointed and discouraged, and, sadly, most of it comes down to standardized testing.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I wonder what strategies will be put in place to protect other school districts from hiring teachers who have quit due to cheating scandals? I think this is going to become a serious concern as many more states mandate that salaries and school grades will be based mostly on standardized tests.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    What about teachers who were threatened by their supervisors with job loss if they didn't go along with changing the answers?
     
  16. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    1. Past regents exams are available either in book form: "barron's regents review" or online from regentsprep.org. NYS does not hide past exams from the public, that is absurd to think that.

    2. It seems like a lot of people are blaming standardized testing for this. That's crazy. Each teacher is responsible for themselves. They should know what's right and what's wrong. If they choose to do something illegal and immoral then they deserve what comes to them.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm not a young teacher dependent upon my job so perhaps my perspective will be different from others. The minute my job is threatened if I don't do something illegal is when I turn into a whistle blower big time. Those people will be explaining themselves in front of a judge if they try to fire me. Of course, I would already have quit because I wouldn't work for someone like that.
    Again, a young teacher just out of the gate may think differently. I hope not, though.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm not saying that answer-changing should be condoned, by any means - just exploring the issues.
     
  19. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    In essence the tests are a good TEACHING tool but non educators have made them the quintessential proof of learning where as you know there is soooooo much more to learning then responses on a test.

    I do not condone the cheating but I do understand how and why it was done. Since I understand why I would be willing to hire them because as an educator I believe the they have learned their lesson but not ahead of a "non-cheating" teacher.
     
  20. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I have to wonder if the teachers knew... I mean, maybe the test coordinator and admin. were changing the answers after teachers turned in the tests. I mean, would the kids not see the teacher erasing answers and ask questions? It seems like someone would have to be able to PROVE that it was the teacher that did the erasing on those tests. It could have been numerous persons with more opportunity and even more motive. Just sayin'...
     
  21. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Another issue - only some teachers have the pressure of testing.
     
  22. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I do think that the American education system is going to be facing some serious issues if teachers and administrators feel that their only recourse is cheating. TG...you are right that all of us will have to begin exploring these issues.
     
  23. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    From what I have read, many of these teachers who were fired confessed. They changed the answers out of the students' view. Which raises another question...how many teachers and administrators cheated and didn't confess?
    This whole issue is troubling...I feel compassion along with some anger for those teachers who, for job security reasons, felt they had no choice. I feel mostly anger for the administrators who forced them.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dave, you can get exams back to the early 1950's here:
    http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/regentsexams.htm
     
  25. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    The whole report can be accessed and read. It is really very startling. Teachers were taking tests home, having "erasure parties" (they actually called them that), and then returning the tests to schools. The levels of cheating, hiding, and backbiting was unreal! For those who tried to stand up to the bullies (and that is what they were), they were fired, taunted, and basically bullied!! For many teachers, they were simply too afraid to say anything, for fear of losing their jobs.

    Hall recieved multiple awards as well as bonuses totalling over 500,000 dollars for the "great preformances" of the schools. She showed her true colors by tucking tail and running when it all hit the fan. She is currently in Maui, I guess enjoying the bonus pay.

    The new super has already fired some of the higher ups who knew and pushed the cheating. It's my understanding that the 178 being fired or pushed to quit are those that were active participatants and encouragers of the cheating.

    I agree with someone who said--cheaters will cheat.....but if you are a single parent and scared of being let go, you do what you have to do sometimes. It doesn't make it right but these people were very agressive in their retaliation of those who didn't fall in line.

    The sad thing is that we have 10 years worth of students who have been let down by the people that they should have been able to trust. I seriously hope some of the cheaters get jail--what they did was illegal and unethical.

    Here is a link: http://www.ajc.com/news/teachers-will-fight-call-1020566.html It takes you to an article about the teachers fighting for their jobs. Down on the left side of the article is a section of past articles about the cheating. Down towards the bottom are links that say Vol.1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 that are the complete report. It's over 800 pages. Vol 3 tells of some of the bullying and parties that were taking place.
     
  26. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Yes they knew. In some cases, the test coordinator was against the changes and was sent on 'errands' while the erasures took place. The proof was the high number of erasures, student comments about teachers telling them the answers or indicating the correct answer by their voices, and other teacher statements. The motive was to keep their job, in some cases, and to look good in others. See my earlier post for a link to the report. It's unreal. Read Vol. 3.
     
  27. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Do you really think ethics classes will be of help?

    It is pathetic to think of the magnitude of this deception. It is disheartening to think that this level of wrongdoing could flourish so easily.

    For me, I think it was a poor choice to allow people to resign. They should have been fired. No excuses. No poor things had to cheat to preserve their way of life. Period. I get WHY they cheated, I just don't get WHY it was more important than doing the right thing.
     
  28. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I guess I wanted to believe that teachers would not do this... I have to wonder how many other high performing states have allowed/encouraged this behavior.
     
  29. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    I agreed with SCTeachinTX, hoping that the teachers had no knowledge... I guess that was not the case

    Thanks for all the info Go 4th.... That was a VERY GOOD summary ... The whole story is so crazy to me. Im still trying to wrap my head around it!!:dizzy:
     
  30. shouldbeasleep

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    One of the latest articles in the AJC is about the cost of the mass firings. So many pleaded the fifth in the report, and refused to say anything when they were questioned by the panel. They are also being fired. Some were accused of it by others, but said they didn't. Those that were accused are being fired. It's not going to be an "innocent until proven guilty" situation. If your name was in the report as a possibility, you are out.

    So.....I think there will be many lawsuits coming up. They may not be prosecuted under the law, but they can be fired.

    And the district attorney in my county, just west of Atlanta, is considering prosecuting the teacher who lived in our county and brought the other teachers over for the "erasure party". He's quite a bulldog, and I suspect he might do it. (Sidenote: I taught his stepson, and the DA wasn't nearly as scary as a parent as he is in public life. But I made sure there were no questions about anything in class. And I enjoyed his step-son very much. Great kid. Thank goodness.)
     
  31. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    We were allowed make sure the student understood the question Without give them any hints
     
  32. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I guess that kind of defeats the purpose of the test whenever comprehension is involved.
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Depends on whether the test questions are actually decently written, Caesar...
     
  34. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I do not believe it is encouraged but just not questioned.
    I do not know what stress level other teachers are at but I know the teachers at my school it was high. Even my cousin a principal in Cali is thinking of retirement because of the stress level, because if a school in not "producing" the principal is the first to go.
    Many Administrators talk about poor test performances as if it is an educational Armageddon. You will do better or else, instead instilling a atmosphere of lets do better.

    In one study I read it said that some teachers are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    My question is why?
     
  35. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    On one of the standardized test the question was, "What River is the international border between the United states and Mexico?"
    A) The Hudson River
    B) The Colorado River
    C) The Rio Grande River
    D) The Columbia River

    The correct answer was listed as C
    But in my area for 20 miles the Colorado River is the international border so my students were missing the answer.
     
  36. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    One of the test questions that I have seen was how do you get a freezer out of the basement.

    a.) a 2 wheeler
    b.) a ramp
    c.) and I don't remember the other 2 answers. The correct answer was listed as b. I've never used a ramp to go down stairs in my life. A 2 wheeler is what I would use, what I've seen movers use.

    Another question I've seen is in which direction is Canada? Most people would say North. I go East & a little South.
     

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