Cheating toll in Dougherty: 49 educators implicated

Remember when Dougherty County said its own investigation of CRCT cheating found no evidence of test tampering and credited the improbable score swings to smart test-taking skills? That led to an angry Gov. Perdue sending in his own investigatory team.

And now the results are about to be released: 49 educators implicated in cheating.

One clear fact from the cheating scandal: Systems cannot do their own probes. Either through a lack of investigatory expertise or a lack of will, they are not capable of eliciting the truth. (The legal powers accorded to the state’s investigatory team make a big difference, as do the use of trained investigators to conduct the interviews.)

And now the AJC is reporting this morning:

As many of 49 educators have been implicated in a test cheating scandal in Dougherty County, The Albany Herald is reporting.

Former Attorney General Mike Bowers, former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson and special investigator Richard Hyde investigated cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in Atlanta and Dougherty County.

Both investigations were triggered by an erasure analysis conducted by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. That analysis showed a statistically improbable number of erasures and wrong-to-right answers on the 2009 CRCT.

In July, the investigators issued a stinging report about widespread test cheating in Atlanta Public Schools over several years. Investigators spent the last few months interviewing hundreds of people in Dougherty County, in Southwest Georgia. That school system was second only to APS in schools flagged for potential cheating as a result of the erasure analysis.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

58 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
9:10 am

Well the AJC headline writers have shown some improvement.

If you recall (at least in the online edition) the headlines screamed TEACHERS implicated in cheating scandal.

I think that was a VERY telling statement about the AJC and the respect it has for teachers.

This time they did get the headline correct, so we can safely say remediation was successful.

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
9:11 am

Clarification: The headlines screamed TEACHERS implicated when the AJC first broke the story on the APS scandal. (At least on the online editions)

Good Mother

December 20th, 2011
9:14 am

What concerns me the most at this time is that cheating can easily be accomplished without test erasures from wrong to right answers. Teachers also cheat by reading the question and using inflexion in their voice to indicate the right answer. Who is in the room to catch that type of cheating?
Well, no one, of course.

I am a proponent of standardized testing but testing without integrity doesn’t work, obviously. We need to get teachers and all interested school employees and officials out of the entire school during testing.

The teachers and staff should not be able to even see the tests or administer them. They should be off site, completely away from the students and the tests at all times.

We need proctors, disinterested parties to administer and grade the tests. Sounds expensive but I am sure it is a lot less expensive than paying the lying, thieving, APS teachers one million dollars a month to sit on their hands while they are being investigated…and the investigation, that costs a great deal too.

What really saddens me and surprises me is how easily one can get a teacher to cheat. The implied threat of losing one’s job is enough to make 46 teachers throw away their integrity and their duty to the innocent children, the victims.

Integrity and honesty in teachers are not a given. It’s a sad day for America.

carlosgvv

December 20th, 2011
9:31 am

The question is not was there any cheating in Dougherty County. The question is will any real action be taken against these 49 “educators”?

Good Mother

December 20th, 2011
9:46 am

Beverly Fraud wants to make a distinction between “teachers” and “educators.”

Who cares, Beverly Fraud?

Does it make you feel better that administrators and principals as well as teachers were lying and cheating?

It doesn’t make a hill of beans difference to me.

My child’s school system is corrupt from the top to the bottom.

It’s gut wrenching whether you call the cheaters “educators” or whether you call them “teachers” or whether you call them what they really are….CRIMINALS.

Incredulous

December 20th, 2011
9:51 am

The real questions is whether the state and local administators that are responsible for the culture of corruption will receive any consequences or penalties for their malfeasance and incompetence. Do you really think the administrators and CO staff aren’t complicit?

Sandy Springs Parent

December 20th, 2011
9:58 am

The same thing applies when the School districts do investigations into their teachers abusing students. Especially if it is one of their beloved Special Ed/Coaches. Doesn’t matter if multiple students are injured and you even have Doctors who come back and say that it is because of the abusive coaching. Fulton County will conduct their little internal investigation and find nothing. Your only hope is that along the wasy they find fincial impropieties an fire the AD, “Special Ed teacher for that”. Then as they told me they don’t need to bother to investigate him, since he resigned. Then the Special Ed teacher “Coach” knowing she would not have her buddy, got a promotion to the next school further north but with a lower SES. The only way something gets done is to bring in the press or to hire attorney’s.

WAR

December 20th, 2011
10:17 am

teachers have to cheat on tests because parents dont like to be told their children are dumb.

WAR

December 20th, 2011
10:18 am

and trust me…a majority of these kids are uber-dumb.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

December 20th, 2011
10:24 am

Only 49?

Only Dougherty County and the APS?

Come on, man!

EdDawg

December 20th, 2011
10:37 am

Just wait until Race to the Top is implemented. It’s going to get worse.

Frankie

December 20th, 2011
10:39 am

Solution….assign non-teachers to adminster the test, collect the test and grade the test….
Teachers should not even be handling the test, answer sheets, etc…

NO teachers fel like they have to help students pass a dumb exam in order to keep their job. It isn’t that the children are dumb (uber – war) it that the school system requires theteachers to teach and exam they could not even pass.

Frankie

December 20th, 2011
10:40 am

I am sure UBER – WAR would pass the CRCT exam with 100% because he is UBER- Smart….

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
10:45 am

“One clear fact from the cheating scandal: Systems cannot do their own probes. Either through a lack of investigatory expertise or a lack of will, they are not capable of eliciting the truth”

And in other related news, a consortium of 5 Mafia families in the New York area have determined, as a result of an EXTENSIVE investigation, that no violations of RICO statutes have occurred in the last ten years.

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
10:47 am

Who cares, Beverly Fraud?

Does it make you feel better that administrators and principals as well as teachers were lying and cheating?

It doesn’t make a hill of beans difference to me.

Well Good Mother, if you wish to be WILLFULLY ignorant of the systemic dynamics that are affecting YOUR child’s education, that is your choice.

There is a sickness in GA

December 20th, 2011
10:47 am

It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that APS style cheating has been very common for years, even in “good” school districts. I have no actual hard data to verify this, only anecdotes from a teacher friend of mine from another state who was talking about this back in ‘04. Fact is, due to the decimation of the newspaper industry most communities do not have the quality local reporting to even expose these types of crimes.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

December 20th, 2011
10:52 am

Let the firings begin in ERNEST!!

@ Sickness in GA from Good Mother

December 20th, 2011
11:01 am

Sickness made an astute observation ” Fact is, due to the decimation of the newspaper industry most communities do not have the quality local reporting to even expose these types of crimes.”

I’m thrilled you understand how the decimation of local news has negatively impacted society. I’ll tell you something you might already know.

Wal Mart had a great deal to do with it. Here’s why.
\
Wal Marts moved into small communities and destroyed local businesses. Those local businesses paid for the advertising that kept those local newspapers alive. Without that revenue, the local newspapers dried up. Wal Mart does not advertise in small papers. They save their flyers and ads for larger papers.

Without those local newshounds performing their worthwhile service to our society (investigation) corruption in government flourished.

Corporate greed (Wal Mart) has helped to corrupt our society by removing the investigative reporters that would have helped to keep greed and corruption in check.

I appreciate your comments, Sickness.
GM

Sam

December 20th, 2011
11:19 am

Without the power criminal prosecutions, the school systems would still be saying “We don’t see any problems:”.

These finding pretty much shoot i the head the idea that all educators are noble warriors. Of course not all educators are cheaters. Not even most of them are. But the system is substantially broken.

Tom

December 20th, 2011
11:20 am

What do you expect? These “educators” generally lack rigorous education in their supposed disciplines. Do they have math and science degrees. No. They have “education” degrees. They are not subject matter experts. The “education” degree was introduced to allow sub par individuals a shot at becoming teachers. And they did.

Those who believe giving these inept “educators”more funding, read taxpayer money, are delusional. They are wasting the money now, what makes any of you think the current crop of “educators” could do better if they simply had more money?

Also, “Good Mother,” students are not read the question, they are expected to read and answer the questions. And the skrool chilren can’t do that.

Don't Feed the Good Mother Troll

December 20th, 2011
11:30 am

She/he is completely clueless and desperately needs therapy.

Gerald

December 20th, 2011
11:40 am

Tom:

“These “educators” generally lack rigorous education in their supposed disciplines.”

That’s because folks with rigorous education in math and science refuse to work for what public educators make, and in particular will not accept the working conditions that most public school teachers (including those in the “good” schools in the majority-populated affluent suburbs by the way) are exposed to. The teacher’s unions have long said that increase teacher pay to a competitive rate to that of private industry and lower class sizes and you will attract better talent to become teachers. That is simple capitalism, people. Conservatives can’t defend low teacher pay on one hand and assail the quality of people that becomes teachers on the other, because that contradicts conservative economic values. Remember how upset conservatives got when Obama encouraged college students to choose the “higher calling” of government service over higher salaries in the private sector? Well that includes TEACHING. Quit being hypocrites, folks. (And by the way … most private schools pay teachers even less than public schools do.)

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

December 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

“teachers have to cheat on tests because parents dont like to be told their children are dumb.”

LMAO!!! True-dat!

old school doc

December 20th, 2011
12:37 pm

preach Gerald! I would have loved to have been an elementary teacher, but did NOT want the abysmal pay and lack of respect that goes along with it…
Ya get what you pay for folks–bright women in particular, are no longer going into teaching as a profession when theer are other potentially more lucrative careers.

To Tom from Good Mother

December 20th, 2011
12:49 pm

Tom says “Also, “Good Mother,” students are not read the question, they are expected to read and answer the questions. And the skrool chilren can’t do that.”

You need to read more about the scandal, Tom. Voice inflexion as a manner of cheating is already documented.

If you care, I’ll Google it for you.

Voice Inflexion from Good Mother

December 20th, 2011
12:53 pm

To Tom who says voice inflexion is not possible:

Here is the story and the investigaion in black and white: So, before you get on your high horse and dispute my claims or claims of others, it would save you some face if you did a little Googling first:

http://cascade.11alive.com/news/schools/crct-investigation-report-fickett-elementary-school/70127

Tonya C.

December 20th, 2011
12:54 pm

Gerald:

Agreed. But add to that private school teachers don’t put up with the disrespect and antics that plague public schools. Throw in no inclusion for those that can’t keep up on their own and small student-teacher ratios and you have people willing to take less money for more autonomy.

Egg on Tom's face from Good Mother

December 20th, 2011
1:11 pm

Know it all, Tom, said that teachers could not use voice inflexion to cheat. Well, Tom, here’s a napkin to wipe that egg off of your face. ALL first and ALL second grade students were read to by the teacher. The teacher read the questions to the students….

Straight from teh official report:
“In first and second grade, teachers read the test questions aloud and students
answer questions in the test booklet by marking the correct answer. (Exhibit 1). “

Incredulous

December 20th, 2011
1:26 pm

@good mother. the word is spelled “inflection”, and not “inflexion”. Dunce.

ScienceTeacher671

December 20th, 2011
1:27 pm

The only way to totally get rid of any chance of cheating would be to have people not affiliated with the school system handling every aspect of testing.

Of course, even those from the GaDOE or the testing companies could have an incentive to show that students are doing better than they are…

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
1:30 pm

Yet another case of Educational Reformers Acheiving Suspiciously
Elevated Results

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

The only way to totally get rid of any chance of cheating would be to have people not affiliated with the school system handling every aspect of testing.

Well since we are outsourcing everything else, why don’t we let employees from a call center in India take the test?

Sure would save on eraser costs.

catlady

December 20th, 2011
2:40 pm

GM: While earlier the 1st and 2nd graders were taking the test, now they do not in most systems. The others who are read to can be some sped kids or EL kids, but many of them couldn’t mark the correct answer if it were circled in red. (Can you hear my inflection on this?)

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
2:52 pm

Now I know why the alphabet song in Dougherty went “A.C, D, B, D, C, B…” instead of “A,B, C, D, E, F, G…”

FYI

December 20th, 2011
3:18 pm

@Frankie,10:40 am. Since you’ve crowed twice to “WAR” that “uber” means “war”– it’s German for “over,” or “top,” or “first in importance.”

ScienceTeacher671

December 20th, 2011
3:32 pm

Please note that I don’t think all or even most teachers are cheating, but to eliminate the possibility of such, all persons with means or motives would have to removed from the process.

As others have suggested, it would be possible to cheat in the classroom without erasing (although I think that could be easily discerned, as students are notoriously unable to keep secrets), and as we’ve seen, administrators and test coordinators have both the motivation and the means to change answers for the entire school or system.

Frankie

December 20th, 2011
3:33 pm

@FYI …..I know what uber means….it was meant as a parity on his calling children “uber-dumb”…its a JUNKWORD….
THe same way i said that he must be UBER -smart because I am sure he could post a 100% on any of the CRCT exams…since he claims “majority children” are uber-dumb.
In the future read the entire post before commenting…guber….junkword for “GOBER”

FYI

December 20th, 2011
3:50 pm

@ Frankie. The reasons many teachers cheated to be sure their students would pass the extremely easy CRCT exam was because the teachers knew the students couldn’t pass otherwise… the students were, in other words, uber-dumb.

from Unword.com: “über (ü-bûr). (adj.) Really; very; above everything else.

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
4:15 pm

@Incredulous, as much as some might abhor agreeing with Good Mother, it stands to note that “inflexion,” is a British variant of inflection.

Incredulous

December 20th, 2011
4:51 pm

@Beverly Fraud, I enjoy many of your posts. I especially enjoyed “rigor”. Inflexion refers to a grammatical change. Our use of inflection indicates a change of pitch or modulation. Merry Christmas to all.

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
5:03 pm

Hey incredulous, I went back and forth on that one. (Full disclosure, I looked it up.) It did appear that the preponderance of the evidence supports your take on it after all.

Perhaps I should have been more “rigorous” in my research. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the Dougherty County “Rigorous Investigation Standards” as a guide.

Audacity

December 20th, 2011
6:57 pm

Students don’t even have to pass the CRCT in order to get promoted to HS. How do we expect them to master HS standards when they haven’t met middle school standards? Administrators have the audacity to question teachers on why students are failing. This is an unfair burden to place on high school teachers.
They (students) were not accountable for anything in middle school. Many failed their core courses and the CRCT and still got promoted. Now, as high school students, they feel that they can exhibit the same behavior and get a diploma in 4 years. This is why we have 18 y/o ninth graders!
High expectations must be set for students starting in elementary and no student should be promoted until they’ve master the required standards. I don’t care how old “Johnny” is! If “Johnny” can’t read or write, he needs to stay put until he figures it out.
The students aren’t “uber” dumb. The adults who continue to pass these kids along are uber-dumb for setting these kids and their future teachers up for failure.

Beverly Fraud

December 20th, 2011
7:16 pm

Why has no one thought of this before? What we clearly need is a rigorous re-examination of uber-rigorousness.

ScienceTeacher671

December 20th, 2011
7:18 pm

Audacity, you obviously aren’t differentiating enough, or you’d be able to teach your students the middle school standards, the high school standards, and have them ready for college in 4 years!

(At least, that’s the gist of what we were told when we were asked how we were supposed to be evaluated on the performance of these administratively promoted students.)

Former SPARK parent

December 20th, 2011
9:27 pm

Wal-Mart didn’t kill newspapers; craigslist, eBay and newspapers’ own hubris did.

The AJC is now a fifth of what it once was, and still won’t embrace truths about internet-age media that are obvious to anyone with a brain (no one is going to pay for your stupid iPad subscription; no readers worth having still buy your newsprint version, so ditch it; your blogs are the only thing remotely “monitizable” and yet you have no clue how to make them consistently good enough to command a (micropayment) fee….etc….)

The APS scandal proved again how much we really need a healthy AJC, but if its owners and editors are determined to kill it, I guess we just have no choice but to stay on deathwatch.

Beverly Fraud

December 21st, 2011
5:38 am

(no one is going to pay for your stupid iPad subscription;

Ohhhh…former SPARK, now you’re making feel stupid for buying ALL my friends and family the iPad subscription! LOL

Or was it fruitcake I bought them? (I can’t remember, but I do remember overhearing grandma say “This is useless, at least with a fruitcake, I could use it as a paperweight until I re-gifted it)

Prof

December 21st, 2011
11:50 am

@ Former SPARK Parent, 9:27 pm: “no readers worth having still buy your newsprint version, so ditch it.”

Never! This is a call-out for the preservation of the NEWSPAPER AJC– now limping along like so many other NEWSPAPERS across the country! The newsprint articles go into much greater detail, and investigative reporting is possible with NEWSPAPERS. I will continue to subscribe to the newsprint version of the AJC as long as it is offered!!

Frankie

December 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

Students, Parents, teachers and administrators need toheld accountable.
one problem i see is that the schools does weekly testing, bench mark testing, this is put in front of the actual curriculum. They are always behind on what they are supposed to cover for the week and at the end of the school year want to cram all the stuff theycould get done earlier, into the last two weeks of school.
I had one teacher take a day off every week for abuot 2 months then want to come back and test on things the substitute was supposed to review…

Frankie

December 21st, 2011
1:56 pm

In the words of Jake “two and a half men” – why not just say “very”, “really”….who are you trying to impress using a JUNK WORD….

To Incredulous from Good Mother

December 21st, 2011
2:40 pm

Dear Incredulous, I know you really want to discredit me with your “@good mother. the word is spelled “inflection”, and not “inflexion”. Dunce,” comment…..

but one look at your keyboard would reveal the reason…the “x” key is located next to the “c” key, which, of course, indicates a typo instead of a misspelling.

Dunce? Hardly.

You’re going to have to try harder than that, “Incredulous.”