Cheating-Teaching: Atlanta Educators

A month ago, my boss asked me to explore the reasons we cheat, and, at the time, I did not want to invest the energy, because it was irrelevant. The reasons may be understood as somewhat justified, but it seemed so black and white to me. It was inappropriate–just plain wrong. Now, the details of the Atlanta Public School system’s cheating scandal unravel each day with a new administrator, teacher, or principal coming forward to admit his or her guilt in what is being called the largest public school cheating scandal.
Details of the 2 ½ year investigation, involving over 178 administrators in this case, are a nasty blemish on the public school system. Atlanta is not an isolated case, with reports of multiple cheating scandals on standardized testing in various states.
The reasons and excuses are many: There was a culture of cheating (sounds very Lance Armstrong-ish); there were rewards both monetarily and career wise; the weight of standardized test scores was too heavy on teacher evaluations; and, of course, the whopper to blame for all this cheating is No Child Left Behind. I felt compassion for one teacher, a single parent who was afraid to lose her job, if she did not conform to the cheating culture. In the end, she lost her job because she chose to cheat. The reasons should not be ignored, and their validity requires a deeper analysis of current measurements of effective learning and teaching.
But, at the end of the day, you are an educator. Sorry, but you are held to a higher standard of sound judgment, because there is no other appointment more honorable than teaching. Teaching is a distinguished profession that embodies truthful, respectable, ethical, conscientious behavior. You are influencing, molding, encouraging and promoting the growth of another human being with potential to do something marvelous, like–teach.
I believe teachers should get paid like rock stars and be given every resource possible to reach students in their classes. Perhaps that is my naïve perspective, and I know people do not pursue careers in education for the financial benefits and accolades. Typically, the pursuit is made with the idea of imparting knowledge or a love of children.
Deception will have consequences, be it externally or internally. Cheating is a toxic method and model to impart knowledge, and love is never manipulative.
Sound off your thoughts and opinions on the topic.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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3 thoughts on “Cheating-Teaching: Atlanta Educators

  1. Cheating is stealing, taking something that does not belong to you: a grade, a rank, a promotion, a grant. Whether or not the impetus is plausible, cheating is not validated. As an educator, I feel sorry for the professionals who believe their jobs are on the line if they do not submit to the pressure to cheat. Yet, you said it well. Teaching is honorable. Cheating is dishonorable. When teachers choose to cheat, they teach that is is right to give in to pressure and they devalue a student’s individual best. Who truly wins in this game? Not the children.

  2. Alana V. says:

    We must not overlook the important fact that passing these children and inflating their grades doesn’t help them one bit.They are not learning the material and thus, are ill prepared for their futures. When I was in high school, a teacher was erasing answers on a friend’s scantron and changing them to the correct answers because he wanted to “help” him. Where is the logic in that? He was eventually fired for that and other offenses. But I just don’t understand how a teacher can care so little about the education and future of their students to do such a thing. I thought teachers became teachers (not for the money…since there is none) but for the love of students and educating them. And many do, but it looks like some fell into “peer pressure” or acted out of fear of losing their jobs (which they did anyway). In a society such as ours which is losing morale and integrity more and more everyday, why are we surprised? Maintaining ethics and morale is a constant struggle in the workplace. Sadly, it’s every man/woman for themselves. What a horrible example we are setting for future generations.

    Nice blog you have here lady!

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