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Factors should be considered in scandal

Is changing CRCT test answers a breach of trust? Absolutely, but so is a major bank CEO lying to stockholders causing thousands of people to lose substantial income. Have bank CEOs been punished for their mistakes? Some did lose their jobs but received nice severance packages. None have so far gone to trial and are not likely to.

How does this apply to DOCO teachers and principals who allegedly changed test answers?

Here is a likely scenario: Let's say you are a school principal and have just been called to your boss's office for a conference.

Boss to Principal: "Mr./Mrs. Principal, the test scores in your school last year are unacceptable and must be improved. I will have to suggest a change in the leadership unless the scores improve this year."

Reality: 1.) Test scores cannot be improved significantly in one year by student performance. 2.) The job market for educators is currently the worst it has been in decades.

What would you do? Resign, knowing that the likelihood of employment would be near impossible? There are factors that should be considered before the "fire them all" pundits have their way.

The first is the pressure put on principals and teachers by principals for mandated improved test scores that is partly motivated by the quest for federal dollars. The second is that the administrator who set up the testing set up a flawed procedure leaving open ample opportunity for fearful school personnel to change test answers.

The flaw was that testing was not done by unbiased persons. The teachers gave the test to their students. This gave opportunity to change test answers. Testing should be done only by staff not connected to the school being tested.

Dougherty County has, with a few exceptions, highly qualified principals and teachers who have a tough assignment. Are they perfect? No, but as a whole they certainly have higher standards than most.

What to do with those who did change test answers? I suggest that consideration be given to all of the factors that set up this perfect storm. Those who are found guilty and can retire should be required to retire. Those who cannot retire should be fined significantly and given a chance to continue in education with certain legally agreed restrictions. The fines should start at $10,000 and move higher depending on the degree of involvement.

BILL BATES

Albany

Comments

waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

I really don't agree. You are using the "I was just following orders" defennse. The behavior was still wrong. Especially for Teachers. I remember when Teachers were supposed to set an example for the community. Morally, Appearance Wise, and Example Setter, that was what a Teacher was. Now you say it was pressure. I believe it was taking the easy way out. I believe the Princip[les and Administrators failed these students years ago, and deserve removal. The examples of their teaching are walking around with diplomas, and they can hardly read, or do simple math. This has been getting worse every year. Just the number taking remedial classes to get into Colleges should tell you something. No you want to excuse cheating by blaming pressure. Sorry, it won't wash.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 5 months ago

This scenario sounds good, but why are teachers still allowed in the classroom after they have received failing rates for years. Are the principals not allowed to terminate them. With computers, reports and comparisons can be done easily. A teacher should never be hired just because they are family/friend.They should be reviewed by committees. It is a sorry situation that the school system needs policing, but obviously they are not doing their jobs. You could also limit the number of teachers hired by any one given college. They are all taught to teach the same way, be it good or bad. Lure teachers from out of the city schools. Variety cannot hurt.

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