Atlanta teachers lesson for their students – Get paid! Cheating’s okay!

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Ah, teachers, teachers!

It seems redundant to attack teachers today. They’re so busy doing themselves in. The newest “trend” in teaching isn’t some new exotic approach to phonics, or new new math. Nope, the new thing in education is cheating.

Not students, we’re not talking about students cheating right now. We’re talking about teachers and administrators who cheat. We’ve run several stories on this blog about teachers who have cheated – many teachers – creating phony student test scores. This is going to be another such story, I’m afraid.

Why would a teacher do such a thing? Why would a teacher fake a student’s test to guarantee their students score higher in testing? If you’ve been reading my posts, you know the answer is MONEY.

Incentive programs have been set up in place in many school districts. Classes that perform well are rewarded – or at least their teachers are, with bonuses. Some of the bonuses are up to $10,000! Yes, a $10,000 carrot for people who are already severely overpaid! More money to…um, get them to do the job we supposedly paid them so well to do in the first place, for…um, nine months. That they never really did. They took those big paychecks, and paid sabbaticals and the like. And teachers generated a nation sinking in illiteracy and unemployment. This happened in D.C.

And then there are school districts where, rather than forward financial rewards to teachers who succeed, teachers were threatened with dismissal if test scores didn’t rise. This was apparently the case in Atlanta. Same difference, folks. Instead of focusing on students and their needs, these criminals are only interested in their own worthless hides.

Over the past year, several places in the U.S. (notably D.C.), have suffered from scandals where teachers stayed up late and actually did some work – erasing wrong answers and penciling in correct answers in state tests.

You see, financial and job incentives for teachers do work! Of course, the original idea of these incentives was to improve the quality of education by showing support to teachers whose students were doing very well in school. A very fine idea indeed to locate the few good teachers in the system and reward them for their fine efforts. Unfortunately, this kind of incentive plays directly into the real reason most teachers became teachers. They didn’t do the work that they did to improve the lives of students, as their unions insist with crocodile tears running down their cheeks. Ah, no. To quote a teacher who wrote me on this site and who beautifully summed up the vast majority of teacher’s philosophy of life and work – “show me the money.”

So to the disgusting particulars in Atlanta. Earlier this year, Atlanta students got award-winning test scores in standardized national tests. To the unaided eye, it appeared that the Atlanta school district had pulled off a miracle over the past few years! Historically an under-performing district, suddenly they were launched into the national limelight as a shining example of the success of institutional education. That is until this week, when Governor Deal of Georgia released a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation listing 178 teachers and administrators – 82 who have now confessed to the crime – who cheated in order to artificially elevate scores on the CRCT (the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test).

56 Atlanta schools were investigated. Cheating was found in 44 of those schools. At one Elementary school, teachers held a party over one weekend…a “changing party”, and they weren’t changing diapers. They got together, cooked up some hot dogs, shared the punch bowl, and altered tests with erasers and #2 pencils. When confronted with growing public awareness of this crime, one principal advised teachers to deny any knowledge of what was openly being done. In simple terms, he advised teachers to lie. “He told them to “stick to the story, it will all go away”.

There’s a principal with principles.

Teachers do stick together – at the expense of their students, their communities, the nation’s finances, any integrity they may have once possessed, and the education of our nation.  Not to mention thousands of parents fooled into the belief that their child WAS getting educated and was in a “good school district” over the past umpty-ump years.  Sorry, people of Atlanta – you’ve been robbed.  Hope that you’re “mad as hell and not going to put up with it anymore.”

This is only one of dozens of such cheating scandals across the country this year.

And of course the teachers are cheating! What else can they do to keep their jobs? They can’t teach, that is all too sadly obvious – and they know they can’t teach. If they were not aware of their complete failure as educators, or if they were successful educators, why would they cheat? The miserable truth is that they HAVE failed, they KNOW they’ve failed, they KNOW they have no way of fixing schools or of getting a good result – and they also KNOW THEY WANT TO GET PAID. And so they cheat.

Okay, those of you who write me (mostly teachers) in defense of teachers, this is not an isolated case! Over 80 teachers and administrators have ADMITTED THEIR CRIME! More will follow. Later today, it is likely that their license to teach will be removed, closing the door to these losers to classrooms in institutional education forever.

Some of you are nodding and saying “see, the system worked!” It sure did, if you believe that the actual purpose of the educational system is to control and degrade the population, as I do. That system just robbed many hundreds of students of their lives, again. For what lesson will the student learn from their teachers this time? Two lessons: 1) The student is not capable of passing a test by himself, and 2) Cheating is what adults DO. Getting paid is EVERYTHING, ethics be damned.

And what will those soon-to-be unemployed teachers and administrators learn? And their compatriots across the country, after dozens of these scandals, what are teachers learning? “Cheat better?” “Don’t get caught?” They’re certainly expending a great deal of effort on cheating and getting paid.

It gets worse. The former Atlanta school superintendent and her top aides were found to have purposefully destroyed or ignored evidence of cheating. The very person most responsible for protecting students and their education, the honesty and effectiveness of schools –destroyed or ignored evidence! The corruption ran all the way to the top. The arrogance of such action is simply mind-boggling.

This has been going on in Atlanta for perhaps a decade. The desire for cash and attention for the district that would flow in based on improving test results, that and of job protectionism, has served as its guiding ideals for years. This is the case, of course, in many school districts in America.

One can only grieve for the children of Atlanta.

I’ve am currently forwarding a plan to shut down all public schools over a 6 year period. I’m starting to think that 6 years is too long.

As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

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CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

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4 comments on “Atlanta teachers lesson for their students – Get paid! Cheating’s okay!”

  1. Michelle says:

    Why not be angry at all men because of what one man did in Colorado last week? Why not be angry at all cops because of the few who have been found in wrongdoing? It doesn’t make sense, that’s why. And yet you seem to have it in for all teachers.

    I am a homeschooler. Many of my friends are teachers who are homeschool moms as well. They are fed up with the system just like you or I. Why hate them?

  2. Wow, Michelle, you need to actually READ the article. This wasn’t the work of one person, or a few. Over 80 confessed! 80 of your “friends”, the teachers confessed! If you’d read more of the articles at this blog, you will discover that such abuses and worse are an epidemic, nation wide, involving many thousands of your “friends”, devastating for children that you seem not too concerned about. I don’t see you even mentioning the harm done to children, here – you seem concerned only for your teacher friends. Am I angry at them? Oh, yes, and so are a quickly growing army of people.

    And invoking Colorado?! Shame on you! Don’t write again, you’re not welcome here, I don’t care if you are a homeschooler.

  3. Wow, I’m a homeschooler as well and cannot believe your venom. Why are you lumping all teachers as “overpaid” and only in it for the money? Was what these teachers who work in Atlanta totally and completely wrong? Absolutely. Their students deserve so much more. But how many teachers work in the greater Atlanta school districts? How many teachers work in Georgia? How many in the Southeast? How many in the whole country? I wonder if you would find that the number of “cheaters” is less than 1 percentage point, and to say that the majority of teachers are working the system to get more money is blatantly arrogant on your part. In my opinion and experience, the vast majority of teachers are doing it for the love of teaching, not the money, because they don’t make a whole lot for what they do. Do the math. A per student per hour breakdown gives them less than dollar an hour, less than a babysitter makes!

    Just curious, is your post motivated by money to sell your curriculum? *waits to be told not to write here again as well, LOL*

  4. Well, CAS (no name, huh…curious), for your info – The number of teachers brings it to just over 4% of the combined teacher and staff population of Atlanta School District’s schools, probably well over 6-7% of their teachers. Not one percent, as you claim. Cheating scandals like this are found all over the country.

    Ms. Hall, the Superintendent of the Atlanta district who oversaw all this cheating, said in court in 2013 that the state investigation launched by former Gov. Sonny Perdue would likely reveal “alarming” behavior. Exactly. Yet Ms. Hall repositioned all the teachers involved in new schools rather than fire them. Hmmm. (I understand the new man demanded their resignations. But that most are still with the district. Hmmm. Time will tell, I suppose.)

    As to attacking ALL teachers, well, I believe that schooling doesn’t work using the tools they use (testing, grades, homework, student evaluations, teacher evaluations, teacher incentives, national and local standards, classrooms, etc), and this Atlanta scandal was yet another in a list of many THOUSANDS of events, small and large, that prove this to be so. Teachers who participate in this system know full well it doesn’t work, that it destroys lives. They can see it in the faces of the millions of students who have dropped out, if they’re not certain. Yet these teachers – some of them capable, certainly, and perhaps well-intentioned – keep taking those pay checks as student’s lives are destroyed. So they are all culpable for perpetuating and using a system that destroys lives…and they all get paid, many of them VERY well. Should I even mention the Chicago strike that recently netted teachers in Chicago a raise of $88,000 a year, up from $80,000? (Tenured and long-term teachers make a lot more.) That’s pretty good pay where I come from…for 9 months work, and then add the MANY perks and a retirement package estimated to be worth some $2 MILLION per teacher! Sensational! I’m in the wrong business! (I was a teacher, but I quit after a year with LAUSD. I should have, um…did what I did.) Public schools are bankrupting the nation. But you approve, I’m sure, because I suspect you somehow benefit. Yes, they’re all so well-intentioned. Why, the Chi teachers listed over 60 negotiating points explaining why they struck. That’s a lot of concerns, including their disagreement with having to work an eight hour day, and how DARE the state ask them to! And though they said it was all “for the kids”, well, not one negotiating point had a thing to do with education or their students – it all had to do with teacher perks and pay, all of it. And they won.

    More. In 2004, The Department of Education stated in a publicly-issued report that 6-10% of all students in public schools (that’s about 77 million as of 2010) will be SEXUALLY ABUSED (verbally or physically) by teachers and staffs of schools, during their time in school. That’s some 4-7.7 MILLION kids who the Dept of Ed stated will be SEXUALLY ABUSED by teachers or staff. That’s A LOT of kids being abused by A LOT of teachers, certainly in the many, many thousands of teachers. Still want to defend this system, these people? Then shame on you.

    Lets not even mention the abuse that takes place on campuses between students, right – not if you’re a shill for teachers as you are, “CAS”. In a poll of over 2,000 High School students taken last year, over 40% of the students said they’d been abused by other students – and could receive no aid from teachers or staff. Projected to all schools, that’s some 25-30 MILLION kids abused while teachers and staff…do what? Stay uninvolved? Collect their pay? Yes, let’s avoid the numbers so you can make a tidy attack against me and my “venom” personally.

    As to me, yes, I have a homeschool curriculum, and thanks for the plug! I avoid mentioning it here, generally. It’s Steps, and it took me over 12,000 hours to author and put together, and another 4-5,000 hours since to maintain, for which I’ve been paid…let’s see, maybe about $2-3 an hour to date! (I should take out of that total the costs I put out, in the $thousands, but I never have. Ah well, I’m just a lazy bookkeeper.) And I’m happy I did it, as it makes far more possible successful homeschooling (read the reviews parents write us) for ages 5-High School, allowing families to NEVER HAVE TO ATTEND A SCHOOL, the purpose of the exercise.

    I started writing the courses for my own two children, who I had just pulled from a private school with its own problems. I worked some 10-15 hours a day, seven days a week, for about 10 years. I gave up my own livelihood as a director and writer to do it, because I felt a need at first to see my kids safe and educated, and then to see other kids in the same situation. So, there you go and again, thanks for the plug! I can certainly use it! Maybe someday I’ll be able to claim I’ve made $4 an hour for my hard work! I’ll mark it in my calendar. Of course, compared to what public school teacers make for their, um, work, I’m just a piker. In fact…guys working at McDonalds make more than I do per hour! Way more! Wow! Depressing.

    About the only thing you got right (and even a broken clock is right twice a day) was that I will not allow you to write again. This site shares one trait with our schools – it’s not a Democracy, the “people” don’t get to decide how things are going to go, here. I don’t allow teacher shills to have a say here, and you’re clearly one of that disgusting breed. They often lie, even claiming to be “homeschoolers,” though indeed, some public school teachers do homeschool their kids – and wisely so. I think they know something about public schools that prevents them from sending their own kids to one. Now if they could just get honest for a minute and do for other kids what they’re doing for their own kids. Ah well, I won’t hold my breath for them – or you, “CAS”.

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