This is America. All of our kids are smart as a whip. So, why do Atlanta teachers and administrators even have to think about erasing wrong answers on standardized tests in order to make them look good? Aren’t they good already? The history of their grades over the years would seem to prove that, after all.
That casts the Atlanta test-cheating scandal in a different light. With the educators — and this cheating on government-mandated standardized testing is actually happening all over the map with Atlanta only being the largest one yet uncovered — the human frailty involved is somewhat understandable. After all, they’ve been ordered by Washington masterminds to deliver smarter and smarter students each year or risk losing their jobs. It’s sort of like, after the runner achieves a 4-minute mile, his being told that next time out he has to run a 3-minute mile or else he’s off the track team.
Sure, the children involved are being “cheated” out of remedial courses because the false test outcomes mask their failure, but let’s be realistic. Tell a lot of parents that their children are lazy or slow learners and they’ll march to the school board and demand the bearer of bad tidings be fired.
Which, to some degree, may help explain what seems to be a greater and more widespread “scandal” that everyone seems to ignore: grade inflation. Indeed, a lot of parents and educators deny such a thing exists. And it is hard to “prove” despite considerable and rather shocking statistical evidence, not to mention changes in the “culture” where many young people (far from all, to be sure) spend far more time on various diversions than homework.
Without individuals to single out for blame, problems tend to be ignored. When there are individuals to blame, the system must be innocent.
No one should condone what some teachers/principals in Atlanta or elsewhere may have done — and remember most seem intent on fighting the allegations. At the same time, in evaluating this “scandal” everyone should understand the environment in which it is emerging.
That, far more than the human factor, is where the fault likely lies. When the system seems to be broken, that is what really requires repair. Can’t fix the educators without fixing the system.
If, instead of the students being examined about English and math and science, it were society’s members as a whole that were tested about the way education works nowadays, how many would pass?
— Marietta Daily Journal