As I said yesterday, I don't -- and hopefully no one does -- condone this sort of unprofessional behavior. However, the pressure on teachers and administrators to resort to this kind of behavior is undeniable. The Atlanta cheating scandal is a tale, not just of educators behaving unprofessionally, but one of threats and intimidation. See below -- especially the last paragraph.
Shocking details of Atlanta cheating scandal
It’s one thing to say there was widespread cheating on standardized tests in Atlanta public schools, as the newly released results of a state investigation showed. It’s another thing to actually read the volunimous report. The details are shocking...
District Leadership knew Principal [Christopher] Waller was cheating.... Dr. Hall also should have known Waller was cheating at Parks because once he became principal, the school immediately made dramatic gains on the CRCT and other tests. For example, between the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years, eighth-graders meeting or exceeding standards in reading increased by 31 percentage points, from 50 percent to 81 percent.... In math, the percentage of eighth-graders who met or exceeded the standards increased from 24 percent to 86 percent.”
...Dr. Alfred Kiel [the testing coordinator] “would not allow cheating so Principal Waller orchestrated Kiel’s absence from the school building so the cheating could take place. On one occasion in 2009, Principal Waller took Kiel out for a ‘retirement lunch.’ In another year, Principal Waller scheduled an impromptu after-school dance so that the teachers could stay late in the afternoon and cheat without raising suspicion. Kiel once noticed that things in his office had been disturbed while he was out and became angry. After that occasion, teacher Damany Lewis took pictures of Kiel’s office before he altered the tests so that everything would be put back in exactly the same place so as not to raise Kiel’s suspicions. No one implicated Kiel except Principal Waller.”
...“Varner saw teachers cheat on the APS district-wide benchmark tests. She proctored during this test and saw teachers point to certain questions and then identify the correct answer. After completing, the tests were scanned and scored at the school. [Teacher] Enolar Callands would watch the tests as they were scored. If the scores were not high enough, the teachers would review the tests with the students. Then, the students with low scores were sent to Callands’ or [teacher] Bess Mae Paschal’s classroom to retake the test.
...“Three teachers confessed to cheating. Two teachers pointed to answers, re-read questions, or used other cues to ensure their students chose correct answers. One teacher confessed to erasing and changing answers in the principal’s conference room where teachers were gathered by grade levels to erase stray marks.”
...Teacher Ashley “Daniel said that there were several reasons teachers would cheat. Principal Paden linked test scores to evaluations, and told Daniel that she needed better scores to get a better evaluation. Scores were posted at faculty meetings and teachers were singled out in front of their colleagues. Principal Paden threatened teachers in a meeting, and told them if she was going to be on a PDP [a professional development plan developed and implemented to correct perceived deficiencies in performance of teachers and administrators] then they should be on one also. Principal Paden made threatening statements, like ‘The door swings both ways,’ and ‘Walmart is hiring.’ ”