Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The High Cost of Dishonest Educators

Last week, I told you about the scandal in Atlanta that 178 public school teachers and principals had been cheating on the scores of standardized tests in order to make it appear that students were making progress in learning. That scandal is so big that it keeps unfolding. In some schools, principals held what they called "changing parties" in which teachers would erase the wrong answers written by students and write in the correct answers. Teachers confessed that they cheated because of pressure from higher-ups and feared being punished or even fired.
Four area superintendents and two principals have already been fired because of these scandals. More than 40 teachers have resigned. Other teachers are fighting for their jobs, and initiating a process that will take many months and millions of dollars to complete. Some teachers could even face prison sentences for tampering with government documents and lying to investigators.

This scandal is not just a problem of dishonest teachers and principals. It's also a problem of the harm to the kids. The students and their parents feel very hurt by what was going on. Thousands of students were promoted to the next grade who didn't have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in that grade. Parents feel that the false high test scores robbed the kids and their parents of the opportunity to fix problems that accurate test scores would have revealed. Atlanta parents can no longer trust school officials to tell the truth. Then there is another cost to the taxpayers who paid the illegitimate bonuses to school personnel who pretended their students were doing well. Now the taxpayers will bear the burden of paying for the prosecutions, hiring new teachers, trying to educate the students were promoted beyond their abilities, and even repay the federal government for the hundreds of thousands of dollars the schools received as a reward for the false test scores. The children and the taxpayers are victims of the public school mistakes.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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