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Educators Stripped Of Licenses In Atlanta Cheating Scandal

Educators Stripped Of Licenses In Atlanta Cheating Scandal

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?

Related Stories

Cheating On Standardized Tests Confirmed In 30 States

Systematic Cheating Found In Atlanta’s Public Schools

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42 comments

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11:27AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

FORCED to cheat??........I think NOT. If you can't come by something honestly,then you shouldn't come by it at all!......To think these sort of people EDUCATE children....
Some education!

10:50AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

The current testing system is bad for education and so is the current funding system that plays off it. It puts schools in a position to need to compete for funding and what do you expect? Also we are teaching to the test and not the students and its costing us in terms of citizens that can contribute to our future.

2:57AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

yes it's inevitable but not excusable.

10:31PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

(continued) I'd love to be successfully debated by anyone who disagrees so please do some real research first. That means not to base it on anything that comes from FOX.

10:26PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

For those who are judging the teachers and nothing else, I'm sorry but this is what teachers warned us about 10 years ago with the creation of NCLB. Talk to a teacher today, anywhere in the country about what their day consists of. There is no more real teaching. Because of No Child Left Behind there's no time for it and it no longer matters to school boards anyway. It's ALL about the test. Teachers MUST focus ALL attention on THAT outcome. Afterall, If those scores aren't high enough they WILL lose their job anyway and funding will not come. So how do you have high test scores according to federal mandate when you don't have time to teach anymore? Really people... Ask a teacher what their daily job description is now. They will tell you based on preasure they're given, all that matters is to force feed ONLY what's on those standard tests and have rediculous evaluations filled out per child, per day. Ask them how much of their day is dedicated to teaching. Those I've talked to say they average less than two hours combining all students, all classes. Ask a teacher about what they think of the quality of material they're forced to teach. So thanks to government interference, we've so far lost one generation to the new American education system. Let's look at reality and stop creating scapegoats. I'm not saying these teachers were right in the least bit. But the REAL bottom line issue is the exsistence of NCLB. The whole concept needs to go. I'd love to be successfully debated b

10:07PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

the teachers and principals should not be able to teach ever again. they should all be fired but because of the union they are all still on the payroll until they go through all their appeals. what a crock. they were caught red handed. they shouldn't be getting paid at all. if they win back their jobs then they can get paid once they start working again. it is costing the tax payers millions to get rid of these crooks. gotta love those unions. people wonder why folks are against unions. it's because one you hire one you can't get rid of them no matter how bad they are. it costs more to get rid of them than just keep paying them.

8:26PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Charli P.
These teacher & others who are thinking of becoming teachers should get into another line of work if they think for a moment they can't handle it. I have little mercy to none on this particulr bunch of teachers. Best action to take is revoke their teaching liscenses permanently.

Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.

7:49PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Ouch....this is a bad time to get caught red-handed that's for sure.....

Now, I'm neither a fan of cheating or teachers in general....but for all of you guys who are rooting for them getting a life sentence....before you mentally denounce them at least consider first the amount of work, i.e., I don't know about you guys but thirty kids a class was normal in my school(think your next-door neighbour's kid times thirty...in my case, scary) they have, added to the issue of their being really underpaid considering the amount of labor and responsibility for each kid they each have on their shoulders.....what would you do under that kind of stress and pressure?

7:23PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Eldon.......They should be banned for life from teaching.
Apparently they have no principles or moral ethics.

Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.

7:19PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Cheating may not be an inevitable result of high stakes testing, but it sure does provide an "incentive" that'd be hard to resist - I wonder if these folks will be eligible for reinstatement b/4 those laid off b/c of budget cuts are rehired? Peace.

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