Ex-Schools Chief in Atlanta Is Indicted in Testing Scandal
During his 35 years as a Georgia state investigator, Richard Hyde has persuaded all sorts of criminals — corrupt judges, drug dealers, money launderers, racketeers — to turn state’s evidence, but until Jackie Parks, he had never tried to flip an elementary school teacher.
Ms. Parks admitted to Mr. Hyde that she was one of seven teachers — nicknamed “the chosen” — who sat in a locked windowless room every afternoon during the week of state testing, raising students’ scores by erasing wrong answers and making them right. She then agreed to wear a hidden electronic wire to school, and for weeks she secretly recorded the conversations of her fellow teachers for Mr. Hyde.
Read the whole story. Frankly, I'm surprised that the NYT ran the story, it's that bad. Teachers were expected to assist in the cheating; school principals were replaced in 9 out of 10 schools; the superintendent made over a half-million dollars in bonuses in her seven year tenure basically through widespread, rampant, unchecked raw cheating. Whether it was avarice or pride that led to the cheating, one thing is certain: thousands of children were cheated of the education they deserved; hundreds of teachers were forced to participate in behavior absolutely contrary to what is right; and the damage done by the culture of corruption and cheating will have implications for decades.
It's hard to imagine the hell those teachers went through. They knew they were doing something wrong; most of the teachers "chosen" were single moms who couldn't afford to lose their teaching jobs. That is nothing short of despicable - this evil person chose teachers who were the most likely to do whatever they needed to keep their jobs and held the threat of firing over their heads. These teachers were forced to cheat - both on the tests themselves and also their students out of an education - with the constant sword of Damocles of termination should they not live up to expectations.
45 years in prison seems a bit light, if you ask me...
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)