Atlanta cheating scandal has resulted in indictments of 35 educators and a clamor to haul in Michelle Rhee and her underlings for the phony scores at Washington D.C. The question is what prompted the cheating in the first place? It was the emphasis on test scores! Even in New York there is a suspicion that many schools manipulated test scores to raise their school grades while the City and State officials and investigators chose to ignore the numerous complaints You can go back to June 2010 when blogger JD2715 wrote a very detailed and informational piece about how the inept and terrible DOE investigators ignored the cheating and financial abuses at JFK High School in the Bronx that went back seven years! Now here we are in a dawn of a new day when teachers and principals will be evaluated, in part, by student test scores. These suspect test scores, known by many educators as "junk science", will result in many good teachers losing their jobs simply because of the students they end up with and not because oi their teaching ability. With regard to testing itself, Erika Christakis said the following in her insightful article in Time Magazine when it came to the education reformer's obsession with testing as the basis for good instruction.
"Even if we eliminate all the cheating, what remains is a broken system
built on the dangerous misconception that testing is a proxy for actual
teaching and learning. Somehow, along the path of good intentions,
testing stopped being seen as a diagnostic tool to guide good
instruction and became, instead, the instruction itself. It’s as if a
patient were given a biopsy, learned she had cancer,
and was then told that no further medical treatment was necessary. If
that didn’t sound quite right, we could just fire the doctor who ordered
the test or scratch out the patient’s results and mark “cured” in the
Teachers will refuse to take the hardest to reach academically, English language learners, or special education students, simply because these groups represent the lowest scoring groups and will adversly affect the teacher's ratings. In the past a student who had problems with one teacher would end up with another teacher. However, no teacher will jeopardize his or her career by taking students that will lower their evaluation scores. In fact, I see teachers going to great lengths in excluding students who will lower their scores. Furthermore, some schools will try to exclude some of these students from the evaluation system due to attendance or by other means to help the Principal and who can blame them?
The pressure on both teachers and principals to cheat, once test scores are factored in, will result in accusations of cheating throughout the system just like Atlanta and Washington D.C. I predict that the flawed New York State evaluation system which is a "work in progress", will end up crashing since you can't fix a plane while airborne as New York State officials claim they will do, without it crashing. The problem is how many teachers will end up being terminated before the plane actually crashes and the New York State evaluation system is proven to be faulty?