Georgia’s Professional Standards Commission last week issued punishments to 11 educators implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. Eight teachers received a two-year suspension of their teaching certificates, and three administrators had their certificates revoked.
These are the first sanctions in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal, and there will undoubtedly be more. Georgia’s Professional Standards Commission, which is responsible for teacher licensing statewide, is looking at nearly 200 cases in connection with this scandal, including the system’s former superintendent, Beverly Hall.
Each of the 11 will receive a formal letter from the commission next week, outlining the moves against them and giving each educator 30 days to respond.
The Nation’s Largest-Ever Cheating Scandal
As Care2′s Amelia Thomson-Veaux wrote here in July, a state probe had revealed widespread, systematic cheating in nearly half of Atlanta’s 100 public schools as far back as 2001. Over the past decade, the Atlanta public schools garnered significant acclaim for their steadily rising test scores – and so we found out why.
These punishments are separate from potential criminal charges and moves by the school system to fire the teachers.
From Education Week:
The eight teachers sanctioned by the commission can reapply for their licenses in two years, while the administrators’ revocations are permanent. All rulings can be appealed up through state administrative and Fulton County Superior Courts. Some cases could take years to be resolved under the appeals process.
“These are 11 cases we felt like had compelling evidence to give to the commission,” said Kelly Henson, head of the licensing agency. “It’s the same message we want to send no matter the ethics violation. Education is the most honorable profession, and part of our job is to protect not only the students, but the integrity of the institution.”
The commission did not release the names of the educators sanctioned because they have 30 days to appeal the ruling.
Is Cheating Inevitable With High-Stakes Tests?
With the stakes ever higher on these federally mandated standardized tests, it’s likely that more instances of educators changing answers on those tests will be uncovered. Principals are under pressure to raise scores, and they in turn put pressure on their teachers. Some students and teachers are even offered cash rewards.
The only solution is to move away from a total reliance on these tests as a way of measuring student performance, and start using multiple measures, and especially assessments that don’t involve filling in bubbles.
What do you think?
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