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OP-ED: Atlanta cheating scandal
April 08, 2013, 05:00 AM Los Angeles Times

If a student cheats on an important test, such as a midterm, he is punished, and rightly so. His teacher doesn't merely brush aside the offense and blame it on all the stressful and unnecessary high-stakes tests that today's unfortunate students are required to take.

Yet every time an educator is caught in a test-cheating scandal, the teachers union response is as predictable as 2 plus 2: Of course cheating is wrong, but what else can we expect when policymakers stress achievement on standardized tests -- and especially when, as in this case, there were financial bonuses attached to higher scores?

It happened again last week, as Atlanta educators surrendered to authorities after being indicted in the nation's biggest and most blatant example of systemic cheating. Close to 200 teachers and principals in the Atlanta schools admitted to fixing students' incorrect answers and other wrongdoing; the indictment names 35 people, including the former superintendent of schools.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, issued a joint statement with the head of the Georgia Federation of Teachers that condemned the misdeeds and declared that cheating could not be condoned under any circumstances.

By all means, policy makers should reexamine how extreme reliance on standards tests, which measure a limited portion of what students have learned, might harm education. But cheating isn't one of the issues they should consider. Holding pizza parties while tampering with student answer sheets, as some teachers in Atlanta did, isn't a natural reaction to academic or career pressure. It's dishonesty, plain and simple.

 

 

Tags: teachers, cheating, atlanta, tests, students,


Other stories from today:

OP-ED: Audit should dive deeply into state's books
OP-ED: Atlanta cheating scandal
Letter: Don't text and drive
 

 
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