Convicted: Nearly a Dozen Atlanta Teachers Falsified Grades to Receive Bonuses

I have never been a fan of public, state run schools. I hated them when my parents and the state compelled my attendance, and I did not think much more of them as a parent forcing my child to attend in turn. Well, thanks to faithful preaching and some independent research I came to the conclusion that my child had to be removed from this environment. This is not to say that every teacher in public schools is a wicked unbeliever, but I do contend the things they are forced to teach and the context in which they are taught are not conducive to biblical faith.

This aside, there is also the understanding or philosophy of education practiced at public schools: That there are a set of facts, and if taught to a satisfactory level, our children will be better prepared for university and life. Of course, the best way to ensure that these facts are taught is to test the students on these facts. Then, the school systems with the best scores will receive bonuses. No chance for corruption there, right?

Fox reports:

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Eleven former public school educators were convicted Wednesday for their role in a scheme to inflate students’ scores on standardized exams — one of the biggest cheating scandals of its kind in the U.S.

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You see, there is a temptation to falsify these scores because it is these scores that all other things are based on: Raises, school system funding, and the aforementioned bonuses. These teachers are being blamed for using the system as it was designed to work.  And when spoon feeding them facts did not produce the predicted outcome, the only alternative was to fake the desired result.

. . . educators said she (Atlanta School Superintendent Beverly Hall ) was among higher-ups pressuring them to inflate students’ scores to show gains in achievement and meet federal benchmarks that would unlock extra funding.

All the pressure on the teacher for the expected results make these test the central focus of the school year. Teachers do not teach subjects. They simply do test preparation for most, if not all, of the year. Though there is no doubt that these teachers cheated, who is to blame for the corruption? Is it the cheating teachers or the people who have set up the corrupt system?

Fox indicated the motive for the cheating.

The defendants, including teachers, a principal and other administrators, were accused of falsifying test results to collect bonuses or keep their jobs in the 50,000-student Atlanta school system. A 12th defendant, a teacher, was acquitted of all charges.

These teachers did financially gain from their cheating, but they did this cheating because this was how they were graded. So then, let us see if we can detect the corruption. A system is set up where the person being graded has control of the environment of the test and determines if there is any impropriety. These teachers are allowed to keep their jobs and possibly receive bonuses.

No one would be tempted to cheat in such a system, would they?

The cheating came to light after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that some scores were statistically improbable.

It is a surprise that more such cheating is not going on in such an environment. This system is broken as evidenced in our slipping in the world, as well as the fact that most people under the age of forty-five cannot reason at all. This kind of corruption is probably just the beginning, and the true victims are our children.


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