Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Teachers Cheating Down In The Lone Star State?

Joanne Jacobs is telling us about teachers that may be cheating down in Texas. It seems that there are in the test scores of several hundred Texas schools. Her site has the details, and links to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times.

What concerns us here at the 'Wonks is that we believe cheating on these tests by both teachers and administrators to be fairly common-place.

This cheating ranges from teachers having "little helpers" (placards with spelling rules, math formulas etc.) posted on the walls around the classroom, teachers "helping" students understand the meaning of difficult words, and sometimes even the out-right changing of student responses.

It is said that some administrators knowingly allow such shenanigans to go unchecked, especially when the teachers involved are favorites of the administrator. Such administrators are just as guilty as if they had done the cheating themselves.

As an actively serving classroom teacher, I have heard of all three going on in my medium-sized California school district.

Some teachers and administrators will attempt to justify the cheating, using as an excuse the increased pressures caused by high-stakes government-mandated testing.

There is never an acceptable rationale for cheating.

When cheating occurs, it not only invalidates the test results, (which is a disservice to the child and parents) but is a slap in the face of all honest and hard-working teachers and administrators that are striving so earnestly to serve the needs of children.

All individuals that work in the field of education should be fully informed of the seriousness of cheating on these tests, as well as the consequences for being caught. Then any individual caught actively cheating should have his or her license to teach or administrate in the public school system revoked.