Saturday, March 30, 2013

Let The Revisionism Begin

I'm sure someone will try to blame this on NCLB:
In what has been described as one of the largest cheating scandals to hit the nation's public education system, 35 Atlanta Public Schools educators and administrators were indicted Friday on charges of racketeering and corruption.

The indictment is the bookend to a story that was once touted as a model for the nation's school districts after the district's test scores dramatically improved in some of its toughest urban schools.

Among those indicted by a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury was Beverly Hall, the former schools superintendent who gained national recognition in 2009 for turning around Atlanta's school system...

A state review determined that some cheating had occurred in more than half of the district's elementary and middle schools. About 180 teachers were initially implicated in the scandal.
What evidence do I have that NCLB wasn't what started the cheating?  This little fact:
The alleged cheating is believed to date back to early 2001, according to the indictment, when standardized testing scores began to turn around in the 50,000-student school district.
NCLB wasn't signed by President Bush until January 8, 2002.

No, you can't blame Bush, Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, or any of the others who voted for this law.  This was just cheating, plain and simple, and you can only legitimately blame the people who did it.


allen (in Michigan) said...

In a sense it is the fault of NCLB.

Previous to NCLB there wasn't much reason, beyond pride, for education professionals and elected officials to concern themselves with whether kids were learning. Public education was a smorgasbord and whether a kid chose to partake was their decision. Yeah, there was eyewash concern given to motivating students but whether the kids were motivated or not, there was no impact on the professionals and probably not much impact on the elected officials either.

NCLB changed that, noisily and on a nationwide basis.

Now there are consequences to running a lousy school. Consequences that impact all the professionals and even the elected officials. Now there's something at stake and when there's something of value at stake some people react honestly and some dishonestly.

Darren said...

"In a sense it is the fault of NCLB."

Except that I pointed out that the start of her cheating predates NCLB. By my reckoning, that torpedoes the cause-and-effect relationship.

Mike43 said...

Look at the contracts of the administers. I bet there were testing incentives built into their contracts, and consequently their compensation.

The love of money is the root of all evil. I don't think they counted on a scrutiny of the results. And to an extent, they were correct. No one looked at this for years.

allen (in Michigan) said...

If you accept that cheating doesn't occur where there's nothing to be gained by cheating then there would have to have been some other high-stakes testing regimen to rationalized Ms. Hall's decision to engage in widespread cheating. A little digging produced this:

<1>Georgia law, as amended by the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, requires that all students in grades one through eight take the CRCT in the content areas of reading, English/language arts, and mathematics. Students in grades three through eight are also assessed in science and social studies. The CRCT assesses the state-adopted curriculum as defined in the CCGPS and the GPS. -

So, to amend the first sentence of my previous post, it's the fault of high-stakes testing by making cheating worthwhile.

That's the general case. I was wrong in this specific case.

P.S. what's the list of HTML tags we can use? BLOCKQUOTE gets rejected.

Darren said...

MY point, which you keep dancing around, is that NCLB didn't cause this.

maxutils said...

If you don't administer tests that are easy to cheat on, there will be less cheating. Doesn't give a pass to those who cheated ... but it does highlight the idiocy of pegging salaries to test scores, and of basing progress to multiple choice tests.