The daily reports that the percentage of Arizona elementary students passing the AIMS reading test has grown steadily for the third consecutive year in most grades, marking a “high-five moment” in the spring 2011 statewide results.
This past week we covered the Atlanta school district’s exceptional gains on state curriculum tests brought about by widespread cheating in Georgia schools — not by students, but by educators. The massive fraud involved nearly 200 Atlanta school administrators, principals and teachers who cheated to raise student test scores for as long as a decade. The beneficiaries of this deceit were not the children, rather the educators who won awards and reveled in accolades.
Now USA Today reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Education is looking into a report that has surfaced highlighting possible cheating on state standardized tests in at least 35 districts and noting aberrant scores in dozens of others. They cite certain answer patterns and erasures that are deemed “suspicious.”
And who steps up to the plate in defense of the allegations of the colossal fraud that undermines the ability of American children to learn and demoralizes educational institutions?
None other than Randi Weingarten, the head of the nation’s second-largest teachers union, The American Federation of Teachers. The largest teacher’s union National Education Association recently voted to endorse Obama in 2012. (Do yourself a favor and read this link).
Weingarten, speaking at the AFT’s bi-annual training conference in Las Vegas, said local affiliates will defend the rights of teachers caught up in cheating scandals, including the one now unfolding in Atlanta. But she said cheating “under any circumstances is unacceptable.”
Glad to hear that she was able to bring herself to utter that word, “unacceptable.” More appropriate words might be “immediate dismissal” and “withholding of benefits’ for anyone engaging in this criminality.
Weingarten said the union would “obviously” represent teachers accused of cheating to make sure that people have some kind of fairness — and that it’s not some kind of witch hunt.”
Arizona schools data and statistics can be checked out here using the AIMS Report Wizard, which provides summary data for each school, district, county and the state. The information is made available by the Arizona Department of Education. We are in no way implying Arizona’s “high-five moment” is suspect, and certainly can think of legitimate reasons scores are surging here. But the recent news appears to indicate a national epidemic.