The high-stakes game of educational test scores

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.

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5 Responses to The high-stakes game of educational test scores

  1. Capt. Marvel says:

    The scores in Arizona have probably risen because illegals who can’t find work here are moving to Colorado and Utah. No doubt the scores in those states will tank since having a classroom filled with English Language Learners brings down the scores off ALL of the children, even those who are perfectly proficient English speaking Americans.

    No one likes to address this, but facts are stubborn things. I imagine that was what was alluded to in the final sentence of this post.

  2. Ellsworth says:

    This is a national disgrace! The children are the ones shortchanged in myriad ways by this deception on the part of the education community. I wonder how much in the way of salary increases was attached to those phony inflated scores?

  3. Orion says:

    First Georgia and now Pennsylvania. I wonder how many states will require the unions to defend these illustrious frauds running the public schools? What a surprise that the unionists are sending in additional contributions to Barack Hussein Obama.The public school system is a bastion of the left. Know that as you send little Johnny and Suzy off each day. They will be brainwashed by middle school.

  4. Overtaxed1 says:

    We have had so many child molesters and thieves teaching and working around our children here in Arizona. Why would it be much of a stretch to think that they would be tweaking the AIMS tests to try and convince us they are doing a good job? The teacher’s unions are full of thugs and the teachers who join them are part of a system that is responsible for necessity of home schooling.

  5. Ajo Joe says:

    Remember when schools were safe havens and teachers actually taught and expected students to responsibly perform….or else? Today such instructors would receive harsher penalties than the child molesters lurking in our schools. Many parents would ask their children about the teachers and would request those the kids referred to as “mean,” knowing their children would be expected to learn in “Mrs. Meany’s” class.