Monday, October 19, 2009
CRCT cheating hurts children and society
Well, as the (thankfully still investigative) AJC is reporting, there are at least 19 other schools, mostly in the Atlanta Public School System, who appear to have altered answers or otherwise cheated on the CRCTs. I am personally disgusted by this kind of activity, the motivation for which is only to protect and promote teachers and administrators. (Each teacher at a school that meets testing targets gets a $2,000 bonus in APS.) The substantial losers are the children. There is no worse crime a teacher can commit against a child than allowing that child and their parents to think that the child is doing very well, when in fact, the child may be failing - even to the point of illiteracy. Children know in their hearts that they aren't processing the material, so when they are told otherwise, a conflict arises in their head and they begin an internal struggle that if acknowledged, could be corrected, but if denied, will only fester into a horrible sense of self-worth. If children are struggling, we need to catch it as early as possible and provide intervention. Lying to a child about their abilities to save one's job or worse, to get a promotion, should be met with swift, strong punishment.
What kind of example is this setting for our youth? Although there aren't many stories about teachers cheating nationally, there are news stories all over the country about students cheating on tests. At one school system in Columbus, Ohio some seniors hacked into a teachers file folder and retrieved test answers -- so many seniors either cheated or knew about the cheating but failed to report it that the school actually cancelled the graduation ceremony. But when we don't proscecute teachers and administrators who change test answers in order to make themselves look good, are we not holding the cheating up as admirable? What about the state of our economy in the U.S. - how will we as a society survive this era of dishonesty and personal advancement regardless of the cost to others? Our society cannot survive with a high level of cheating and greed. The big picture that results from the act of cheating is frightening for us all.