Friday, July 22, 2011

When Schools Veer Way Off The Path and Cheat: Atlanta Philadelphia, South Los Angeles- Who's Next?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

When I heard about the group of school districts in Atlanta Georgia purposefully altering students' state test answers to raise the overall scores and get more funding, I would not say I was surprised, but I was saddened.  Wherever there is a money motivation, temptation lurks.  If someone has low ethical standards, they can go the way of the criminal, even school administrators and teachers.  This is a good time for a reminder to all parents to be skeptical of the schools and what (and if) your children are actually being taught.  Are they really learning?

The irony from my point of view, is that during the ten years of the Atlanta districts' falsification, I would bet that many students were suspended or otherwise punished for cheating themselves.  Perhaps they were even expelled.  All by the cheaters.  It may be funny if it were a movie, with some cute star as the Superintendent, but it is not- thousands of students were cheated out of the education (however pitiful to begin with) they should have received.  

Additionally, how much do you want to bet that many students were placed in special education as a result of the situation who were simply not taught.  For, if they had such high scores, but failed all their classwork and classroom exams, there must be something awry- they needed to be labelled with a lifelong disability. No, they needed to be educated.

How many students who were told by their proud parents about their high test scores were lost in the shuffle over the ensuing years to gangs, drugs, or juvenile delinquency?  I am sure these students felt they were letting everyone down as they were so "smart" (based on their false test scores).  Sadly, they were smart, but they were not taught, so their smarts did not "come out."  

This was not the only district which was cheating...  Just last week, there were allegations in Philadelphia of potential area wide cheating... and in South Los Angeles charter schools as well.  If true, this is equally disgusting.  Who will be next?  And, if they are next, what does that mean for our children and their futures?

Something has got to change.

Best,
Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Website: http://www.edlaw4students.com/

Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page [http://edlaw4students.blogspot.com/]. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

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