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Author Topic: 178 Teachers, Principals, and Administrators Implicated In Atlanta Cheating Scandal  (Read 3563 times)

ehbowen

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Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.

Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.

Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.


From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution...

This is beyond belief. It makes me seriously want to return to the days of tar and feathers.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

RandallS

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Quote from: ehbowen;2670
This is beyond belief. It makes me seriously want to return to the days of tar and feathers.

Sadly, this is what happens when the sole major way schools and school employees are judged is by results on standardized tests. Not only do you have students who aren't being taught anything beyond how to score well on the test, but you have major incentive for "cheating" at the administration level.
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ehbowen

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Quote from: RandallS;2671
Sadly, this is what happens when the sole major way schools and school employees are judged is by results on standardized tests. Not only do you have students who aren't being taught anything beyond how to score well on the test, but you have major incentive for "cheating" at the administration level.

I agree with you in regards to the standardized tests. "Teaching the test" is endemic, even when there is no organized cheating. Unfortunately, though, in all too many cases without the standardized tests there would be no teaching at all...remember how and why we went to those tests in the first place. ETA: Remember Why Johnny Can't Read?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 06:02:24 pm by ehbowen »
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

Sage

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Quote from: ehbowen;2674
I agree with you in regards to the standardized tests. "Teaching the test" is endemic, even when there is no organized cheating. Unfortunately, though, in all too many cases without the standardized tests there would be no teaching at all...remember how and why we went to those tests in the first place.

 
Can you explain the how and the why? I'm 21. There was no "before standardized tests" for me. (Who do I blame for making me fill out those gorram bubbles for 12 years?!?)
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ehbowen

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Quote from: Sage;2677
Can you explain the how and the why? I'm 21. There was no "before standardized tests" for me. (Who do I blame for making me fill out those gorram bubbles for 12 years?!?)

 
I learned to read before I ever entered school (Thanks, Dr. Seuss!). I began first grade in 1969. Back then testing was barely a blip on the horizon. I remember being tested in seventh grade and that was about it before I entered high school.

In those early days you spent your time learning the curriculum...say a couple of weeks on the Revolutionary War, a week or so on writing the US Constitution, then some time on the War of 1812 and the slavery issue leading up to the civil war. When one of these tests came around you took it, then forgot about it and went back to the curriculum.

Problem was, a lot of schools were graduating students who quite literally couldn't read their diplomas. (They still are, except now those students have by hook or crook passed a test which makes it seem like they can.) Where the situation really went downhill was when they started tying teacher pay and bonuses to performance on these standardized tests. Naturally, the teachers started focusing like a laser on the content of the tests, and all thought of a balanced and rounded curriculum went out the window.

I can hardly claim to be an expert on modern schools; I have no children and my sister's eight kids are all home-schooled. The oldest kids are tutoring others in Latin and rhetoric and know enough logic and philosophy to run rings around me. My major exposure to present-day education is when I work the elections at the local elementary school...and all I see is "TAKS test! TAKS test! TAKS test!" I feel for these kids...but I sure don't have a two-sentence answer to the dilemma.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

Waterfall

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Quote from: ehbowen;2688
I learned to read before I ever entered school (Thanks, Dr. Seuss!). I began first grade in 1969. Back then testing was barely a blip on the horizon. I remember being tested in seventh grade and that was about it before I entered high school.

In those early days you spent your time learning the curriculum...say a couple of weeks on the Revolutionary War, a week or so on writing the US Constitution, then some time on the War of 1812 and the slavery issue leading up to the civil war. When one of these tests came around you took it, then forgot about it and went back to the curriculum.

Problem was, a lot of schools were graduating students who quite literally couldn't read their diplomas. (They still are, except now those students have by hook or crook passed a test which makes it seem like they can.) Where the situation really went downhill was when they started tying teacher pay and bonuses to performance on these standardized tests. Naturally, the teachers started focusing like a laser on the content of the tests, and all thought of a balanced and rounded curriculum went out the window.

 
I learned to read before school too, but that was thanks to Reader Rabbit. I learned to read from a computer... no wonder I'm such a nerd!

But I don't see how the standardized tests have changed anything. Besides the fact they take time out from actually teaching to cover material specifically for the test. They still teach a bit about this and a bit about that, then give a test and then everyone forgets it.

I think the standardized tests just end up hurting more than anything else. I was behind in math in high school and was therefore taking a sophomore level class as a junior. When standardized test time came around, the teacher stopped teaching geometry and started teaching math for the test. As a junior, I wouldn't be taking standardized tests, so for me, it was an entire month wasted. Not that geometry or math in general is actually useful to me, but I didn't want to sit around doing work for a test I wasn't going to be taking, especially since the level of math was too low, even for me (and this is saying something considering I have dyscalculia).

RandallS

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Quote from: ehbowen;2674
Unfortunately, though, in all too many cases without the standardized tests there would be no teaching at all...remember how and why we went to those tests in the first place. ETA: Remember Why Johnny Can't Read?

I suspect the percentage of students who still cannot read at a functional level is slightly lower than it was back then. Not because of standardized tests or better teaching, but because a few more students have an incentive to read: we can thank Facebook, texting, and the like for that.
Randall
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ehbowen

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Quote from: RandallS;2711
I suspect the percentage of students who still cannot read at a functional level is slightly lower than it was back then. Not because of standardized tests or better teaching, but because a few more students have an incentive to read: we can thank Facebook, texting, and the like for that.

 
Possibly. Even so, while reading is fundamental (remember that line?), WHAT you read and retain is also important. I wonder how many of those who are exchanging text messages really "get" the three branches of government, or how to balance a checkbook, or who Julius Caesar was, or how to find the Ivory Coast on a map, or any of the myriad other things which make the difference between a subject and a citizen.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

RandallS

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Quote from: ehbowen;2716
I wonder how many of those who are exchanging text messages really "get" the three branches of government, or how to balance a checkbook, or who Julius Caesar was, or how to find the Ivory Coast on a map, or any of the myriad other things which make the difference between a subject and a citizen.

First, one can do all of the things you list without being able to read well at all. Reading is important, but inability to read well does not equal inability to learn. My nephew, for example, has learning disabilities that make it very hard for him to read anything like you or I would consider well. He still knows a lot of history and government -- he just did not learn much of what he knows from books. And his math skills aren't bad at all. Unfortunately, he standardized test taking skills are about as poor as his reading skills.

Second, I think the "difference between a subject and a citizen" bit is somewhat insulting to people in Great Britain and other countries with a monarchy where the technically correct term is "subject" not "citizen."  I know this statement is fairly common in the US, but it always annoys me.
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ehbowen

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Quote from: RandallS;2733

Second, I think the "difference between a subject and a citizen" bit is somewhat insulting to people in Great Britain and other countries with a monarchy where the technically correct term is "subject" not "citizen."  I know this statement is fairly common in the US, but it always annoys me.

 
Understood. Will you allow me to retroactively substitute the term "serf"?
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

RandallS

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Quote from: ehbowen;2759
Understood. Will you allow me to retroactively substitute the term "serf"?

"Serf" certainly works better for me.
Randall
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sailor

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Quote from: Waterfall;2692
I learned to read before school too, but that was thanks to Reader Rabbit. I learned to read from a computer... no wonder I'm such a nerd!

But I don't see how the standardized tests have changed anything. Besides the fact they take time out from actually teaching to cover material specifically for the test. They still teach a bit about this and a bit about that, then give a test and then everyone forgets it.

I think the standardized tests just end up hurting more than anything else. I was behind in math in high school and was therefore taking a sophomore level class as a junior. When standardized test time came around, the teacher stopped teaching geometry and started teaching math for the test. As a junior, I wouldn't be taking standardized tests, so for me, it was an entire month wasted. Not that geometry or math in general is actually useful to me, but I didn't want to sit around doing work for a test I wasn't going to be taking, especially since the level of math was too low, even for me (and this is saying something considering I have dyscalculia).


In theory teaching to the test ensures that the teacher is covering the approved curriculm. And is going to cover enough of the material in a timely matter to cover what's on the test.

In a good school system, there will be some subjects that hurt the kids by teaching to the test. Math happens to be one of them. If the test is going to be on Algebra 1, and the class is doing pre-calculas and did algebra 1 4 years ago, stopping to review for the test is hurting the pre-calc class to ensure they still remember basic algebra.

Even if you didn't have standardized tests, you'd still expect the teacher to teach to the test. They'd be teacing to the final exam they are going to write instead of a state standard curriculm.

RandallS

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Quote from: sailor;2841
Even if you didn't have standardized tests, you'd still expect the teacher to teach to the test. They'd be teacing to the final exam they are going to write instead of a state standard curriculm.

I'd expect the teacher to write his/her final exam to match the material covered in class. This is somewhat different than teaching to a standardized test -- which is more like  writing the final exam before the school year starts and then forcing your teaching to slavishly follow what is on that prewritten exam regardless of class interests or abilities, or the 20 days of school you lost to that unplanned hurricane/budget cuts because the state legislative could not agree on a budget/etc.
Randall
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sailor

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Quote from: RandallS;2908
I'd expect the teacher to write his/her final exam to match the material covered in class. This is somewhat different than teaching to a standardized test -- which is more like  writing the final exam before the school year starts and then forcing your teaching to slavishly follow what is on that prewritten exam regardless of class interests or abilities, or the 20 days of school you lost to that unplanned hurricane/budget cuts because the state legislative could not agree on a budget/etc.

 
Flip side though would be an expectation that a US History class that is supposed to cover from Colonial period thru "now" (anything from 1945 to 1980 to 2000 to 2011) would actually get there. You really can't compare classes if one class gets thru to "now" if the other group is stuck on the 1770s by the end of the year.

Yes, you lose the ability to teach to class interests (or maybe just teacher's interests) if each individual teacher gets to decide how much or how far the US history class should go / cover. You could easily end up with students who move from say Austin to Houston finding that they fail US History II since their Austin teacher only got thru 1756 but the Houston teacher expected the students to have gotten thru the War of Northern Agression.  Heck, you could see the same failure in the same school if there are two US History I teachers who cover vastly different amounts of material.

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Quote from: sailor;2968
You could easily end up with students who move from say Austin to Houston finding that they fail US History II since their Austin teacher only got thru 1756 but the Houston teacher expected the students to have gotten thru the War of Northern Agression.  Heck, you could see the same failure in the same school if there are two US History I teachers who cover vastly different amounts of material.


I had the same teacher for US History I and II. I received 95, and 98, throughout both classes my teacher kept threatening to fail me because I was not taking enough notes.  I kept asking him are the notes for me or for you? Getting a 98 on the regents finally shut him up.
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