CCD Editor’s note: The same teachers who are willing to lie and cheat to improve their student’s grades are also schooling our children on global warming. This is what passes for academia in America. From The Economist:
Convicted of racketeering, 11 educators were handcuffed on April 1st for their roles in a cheating scandal within Atlanta’s public schools (APS) that stretches back to 2001. The criminal investigation that led to the beginning of the trial last August involved more than 50 schools and hundreds of interviews with pupils, parents and staff. One teacher was acquitted.
And how did it all begin? Suspiciously high scores on the Criterion-Reference Competency Test, standardised exams that assess competency in maths, English and other skills, prompted first a local newspaper, and then Georgia’s former governor Sonny Perdue, to start asking questions.
The improved performance of the 50,000 or so pupils who attended APS was indeed remarkable. At Parks Middle School, for example, the share of 13-year-olds who “exceeded expectations” concerning their mathematical ability rose from 1% to 46% in a single year. The head of APS during the period, Beverly Hall, was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators in February 2009.
A gubernatorial investigation found in 2011, after looking closely at erasure marks on test sheets, that more than half of Atlanta’s elementary and middle schools contained classrooms with an average number of wrong-to-right corrections more than three standard deviations above the state average. Eyebrows were raised because the chances of such erasures happening randomly is just one in 370.
At least 180 teachers were accused of cheating, of which 82 confessed to taking part. Some gave out answers, others changed them or let less able children copy from smarter ones on the sly. A grand jury indicted 35 teachers in March 2013; 21 pleaded guilty and the remainder went to trial—save one educator who passed away, and Ms Hall herself. What pressure she applied to teachers, if any, to ramp up scores will never be known. Too ill to take the stand, Ms Hall died from breast cancer in March.