From Canada to Georgia, teachers complain of pressure to change grades to mask high failure rates

testing (Medium)Interesting AJC story on an Atlanta high school principal who resigned after accusations he bullied and intimidated teachers into raising failing grades.

Grade inflation has been in the national news as schools face increased pressure to improve student achievement, an issue Georgia knows well after the CRCT cheating scandals in Atlanta and Dougherty County schools.

Even Canada, held up as a model of effective education reform, has seen complaints from teachers of mounting pressure to alter grades so fewer students fail under a stricter accountability system.

Closer to home, teachers in a Tennessee for-profit virtual school complained of an email that directed them to drop failing grades. In a recent investigation, Nashville’s WTVF/NewsChannel 5 found that a Tennessee Virtual Academy administrator instructed middle school teachers to delete failing grades.

The case has had reverberations nationwide as the parent company of Tennessee Virtual, K12, the nation’s largest online educator, attempts to win contracts in other states.

The email advised Tennessee Virtual teachers: “After … looking at so many failing grades, we need to make some changes before the holidays,” stated the email. The email advised teachers to “take out the October and September progress [reports]; delete it so that all that is showing is November progress…If you have given an assignment and most of your students failed that assignment, then you need to take that grade out.”

The virtual charter school defended the practice in a response to the TV station.

According to the WTVF report:

“By going back into our school’s electronic grading system and recording students’ most recent progress score (instead of taking the average throughout the semester) we could more accurately recognize students’ current progress in their individualized learning program,” principal Josh Williams said in the statement.

“This also helped differentiate those and identify those who needed instructional intervention and remediation.” Williams compared K12’s grade deletions to the “common practice in traditional schools” of allowing “make-up tests, alternative assessments and extra credit opportunities.”

Yet, the internal email also suggests that Virtual Academy teachers had already attempted those sorts of efforts to boost student grades. “In early December, all teachers gave their students an opportunity to improve their grades by giving additional assignments,” it says. “Yet, we are still seeing failing grades.”

Similar events occurred in an Atlanta high school, according to the AJC:

Former B.E.S.T Academy High School Principal Boris Hurst ordered teachers to inflate students’ grades, berated teachers who questioned him, and issued warning letters to teachers with high failure rates, according to a notice of charges signed by Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis.

Hurst had been principal at B.E.S.T., a northwest Atlanta all-boys school, since it opened in 2010. The APS charge letter said he “ignored glaringly inappropriate grade changes” and allowed almost all of the school’s inaugural freshman class to advance to the next grade level, regardless of whether the students learned the required material.

The principal resigned after the school district’s lawyers presented their case against him at a disciplinary hearing Feb. 21, APS spokesman Stephen Alford said. The school system removed Hurst from B.E.S.T. in March 2012, and an interim principal has been running the school since July.

Hurst denied doing anything wrong, and said Wednesday that he resigned to avoid harming his career. “There was never any proof that I changed any grades,” Hurst told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was just put in a bad situation. … Just because you resigned doesn’t mean you’re guilty of anything.”

Hurst’s attorney, Rosalyn Winters, said Wednesday that he resigned because has accepted a job in Florida. B.E.S.T. (Business, Engineering, Science and Technology) Academy is a 225-student high school that started with a ninth-grade class in the 2010-2011 school year and has added a grade level each year. The school will graduate its first class next year.

The Atlanta school district will monitor B.E.S.T. Academy’s performance, and all school employees are required to take an annual ethics course as a condition of their employment, Alford said. Parent Margaret McBride said students showed her progress reports filled with zeros and failing grades, and later she saw that their final report cards had passing grades.

“The kids were seeing that it didn’t matter. Whatever they did, they were going to pass anyway,” said McBride, whose son is a junior. “My child, in particular, said, ‘You know Mom, I go to school every day, I do my best, but I look around and the kids who are not even trying are passing, so why should I continue to try? Why should I continue to study?’”

Teachers told parents they were frustrated by the grade changes, and they complained that it was hard to teach when students knew there were no consequences if they didn’t learn, said Valerie Irvin, president of the school’s parent, teacher and student association. “It was like he didn’t care if they could read or write, they were going to pass,” said Irvin, the parent of a junior. “He said, ‘We’re going to pass them. We’re not going to have a failure rate at B.E.S.T.’”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

83 comments Add your comment

Google "NEA" and "union"

March 21st, 2013
11:38 am

Pressure to change grades has been around as long as parents have.

And when parents are finally free to send their children (and their tuition vouchers) to the school of their choice, nearly all the other problems incessantly grumbled about on this blog will disappear overnight. Why? Because parents will then have no one to blame for their freely-made decisions.

Union bosses fear parental choice but teachers shouldn’t.

Private Citizen

March 21st, 2013
11:44 am

add .50 to the foundation billing for posting “non-union” screed.

other news: “Sure is a nice weather today. The sun in shining, except for the bad unions.”
+ $.50 = $1. earned today. Now, back to day trading on the market.

Private Citizen

March 21st, 2013
11:46 am

And other news, there is water on Mars. When you find that union in Georgia, be sure and let us know. “an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members’ interests in respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions”

Patrick Edmondson

March 21st, 2013
11:52 am

In Dekalb the pressure was to turn all grades below 50 into 50s so they “had a chance to recover”. This meant the average was unable to go below 50 and 60 was a D. I taught Gifted students who used this to avoid any test with which they didn’t wish to be bothered. Less able students and parents got inflated estimates of their abilities and then lowered standardized test scores when actually tested fairly.
I had students from “Christian” private schools whose parents moved them when they found out about “academic forgiveness”. If the student ardently prayed to the teacher, forgiveness was issued and the grade became an A. The parents were alerted when they got outside educational evaluation of their kids and discovered intellectual skills had dropped since they had been moved to the religious curriculum despite climbing grades. They said only students whose checks bounced failed.

beteachin

March 21st, 2013
11:58 am

Teachers should report administrators who coerce grade inflation directly to the PSC. I handle it like this:
Principal: Should student 42 really be earning a C in your class? His mother says he’s always been a good student. She’s our PTA president, you know.”
Teacher: “I’m not sure about his past performance, but he is earning a C in my class. Dr. Principal, sir, you have the computer code to override my grades. Feel free to change the grade if you see fit. My grade is my best professional judgment regarding the child’s progress in my course.”
I have worked for principals who have the left the grade alone, and I have worked for principals who have changed the grade.

Inquiring Mind

March 21st, 2013
12:01 pm

They change grades in Gwinnett all the time! I know many teachers who have been forced to change grades, especially at the middle school level. They do that to promote them on to high school where they are destined to drop out. We were told in faculty meetings, that if s students grades were too low, they have no hope for passing, so teachers were asked to change grades to a 70.

Middle Grades Math Teacher

March 21st, 2013
12:02 pm

I’m home sick today — not posting on school time or resources.

I have never had pressure to change grades from any administrator I’ve worked for. I’ve been in public education for 27 years. Now, pressure to change from parents? Yes, absolutely.

Colonel Jack

March 21st, 2013
12:04 pm

In the last school system in which I taught, the same pressures were being applied. There were no “zero” grades to ever be given; the lowest grade acceptable to the Powers That Be was a 60. (We didn’t use Ds in our system.) The line about a “chance to recover” is bulldookey, because if the student doesn’t want to do the work, they don’t want the chance to recover, either.

In my (never-to-be) humble opinion, this pressure to change failing grades is based on one thing – appearance. Schools can’t look as if they are failing, because then, someone is being left behind – and you can’t have that in this era of “No Child Left Behind.” There’s a real problem with this. It’s like painting the outside of an old house while paying absolutely no attention to the major structural problems inside the house. It looks wonderful, but once you step inside, you fall through the floor. That’s what this grade inflation is producing … kids who pass but can’t do anything.

Funny how things like this didn’t seem to happen before the “reformers” got hold of education, isn’t it? Kids who didn’t work failed. Period. Their self-esteem wasn’t a factor in the decision – and it shouldn’t be today. Do the work, earn the good grade, feel great about yourself.

Sheesh.

Google "NEA" and "union"

March 21st, 2013
12:05 pm

@ Puerile Citizen:

The teachers’ union provides you with an easy-to-Google reference to their union status. Or you can just click here to read it. Georgia Association of Educators members pay an extra $168 yearly to fund that link, and to bankroll the Democrat Party.

But maybe you know better than the NEA itself what their status is?

charles

March 21st, 2013
12:08 pm

Enter your comments here

charles

March 21st, 2013
12:14 pm

I would guess everyone has experienced a poorly designed assignment where failure was high and that the grade was dropped or the skill reevaluated in a better format or tests where curves were adopted. I would hate to see standard test driven evaluations remove teachers ability and flexibility to accomplish what is most important in a classroom – enable real learning and progress. One would have thought the cheating scandal and Ms. Hall’s removal might set the state for major reforms and restructuring. It seems the weasil’s have just blended into the fabric of a failed enterprise.

Dr. John Trotter

March 21st, 2013
12:15 pm

If I may be permitted to post a comment without “Georgia coach” (who identified himself or herself as an administrator the other day on this blog) and “Private Citizen” (who appears to be virulently anti-union of any sort) whining and complaining to the blog mistress, then I will deign to say that this “systematic cheating” (yes, this type of cheating is “systematic” and of a different breed than the systematic cheating on standardized tests) is very, very prevalent. I have been writing about it for years now. I even wrote an article yesterday when I mentioned it. In fact, I added it to make a grand slam of four when talking about the four major problems in public education: (1) Defiant & Disruptive Students; (2) Irate & Irresponsible Parents; (3) Angry & Abusive Administrators; and (4) Systematic Cheating.

The legislators can huff and puff, talking about trigger laws, Michelle (Sleight of Hand) Rhee, charter schools, etc., but until the four major problems are addressed, no significant improvement of any kind will take place.

Private Citizen and Georgia Coach, pardon me for posting on your blog. Just keep scrolling. I can take any personal attacks, Bootney. I have no problem with the attacks. I do appreciate your concern. But, I just don’t like being censored when I respond…and I don’t personally attack or curse in my response. Actually, it was quite innocent – and the next thing that I know, my two rather long responses were removed. I will see if this is allowed to post.

Big Hat

March 21st, 2013
12:27 pm

As soon as all public schools are defunded and closed, the sooner the corporate-funded private schools can start teaching that the Flintstones was a documentary. Then all will be right in the right-wing world.

Anonymous in DeKalb

March 21st, 2013
12:29 pm

I see Johnny Trotter left “obnoxious lawyers who annoy the rest of us on behalf of incompetent teachers” off his list of major problems.

Jovan Miles

March 21st, 2013
12:37 pm

There are, of course, multiple perspectives to this conversation.

One way to look at this situation is to address the purpose of public education. Is the responsibility of teachers to simply assign grades or is the responsibility of teacher to use the assessments he or she gives his or her students to improve the learning opportunities for those students ?

Clearly, both approaches have their place in schools. Grades should be an accurate reflection on what a student does or does not know. However, if an entire class (assuming the class has the pre-requisite skills necessary to understand the content) fails an assessment then the teacher should take some time to really address whether or not he or she did all in his or her power to teach the content.

Teachers should have the autonomy to make those decisions (fairly assigning grades or deciding when to drop a grade based on his or her own judgement) without fear or reprisal from administrators and/or parents.

BeachBoy

March 21st, 2013
12:41 pm

At my school, a teacher is place on a Professional Development Plan if more than 15% of students fail the course. Talk about grade inflation, I practically have to give grades in order to avoid the dreaded PDP.

Matt321

March 21st, 2013
12:54 pm

Hey Mr. Google, since you’re such a computer whiz, can you find the union contract that Georgia teachers work under? I’m very interested in seeing the clauses on termination for good cause, with an appeal process. Also, I’d like to see the union mandated wages that teachers earn based upon seniority – you know, the standard, union, lock step kind of employment contract that unions which are recognized by employers routinely use. Should be easy to Google on up. I’ll just sit here and not hold my breath while you find it.

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
12:55 pm

“At my school, a teacher is place on a Professional Development Plan if more than 15% of students fail the course. Talk about grade inflation, I practically have to give grades in order to avoid the dreaded PDP.”

There you have it, folks – the reason why our education system is failing. Give everyone an A – not for attendance, because a lot would not get an A even then – but for being ENROLLED. The ones who COULD become something get discouraged and don’t try as hard as they could. But the good news is that we NEVER retain anyone, so there are no hurt feelings and no 16-year-olds in 1st grade. Congratulations! If we try really hard, we can get Georgia to be 50th in the nation in education – garnering a superlative for our state.

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
1:01 pm

What ADMINISTRATORS have figured out is that schools (in some areas) are basically just warehouses for children until they get to 16 and can drop out and pursue their life of crime and/or welfare. They are only interested in promoting them out of their school so they don’t have to deal with them any more. They understand that you cannot teach a student that does not want to learn – and most of the students in “failing” schools don’t WANT to learn. You can lead that horse to water as many times as you want to – he is NOT going to drink. The ADMINISTRATORS (and sometimes the teachers) just want them OUT as quickly as possible so they will not bring down their school any more. Actually EDUCATING these children is the furthest thing from their mind, ecause they KNOW it is impossible without the cooperation of the STUDENT and the PARENT (singular intended).

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
1:05 pm

For all of you that continually blog about our “testing craze” – there you have the reason we want independent testing. Teacher’s grades have no basis in reality – too many get changed either by the teacher (under pressure) or by the ADMINISTRATOR. Testing is the ONLY way to know the true level of mastery of the subject. Of course, we should not have the TEACHERS or the ADMINISTRATORS give the tests, too much fox guarding the henhouse – it should be done by independent proctors.

Astropig

March 21st, 2013
1:08 pm

Google- Ignore these sore losers. I enjoy your posts.

On a side note…I wonder how many of these teachers and administrators actually contacted their representatives lately about the education related legislation being moved through the capitol? (And I don’t mean boilerplate template handouts provided from some pressure group to be mailed in) How many actually wrote letters,made calls and (gulp) visited in person with their state rep ? Or did they just vent on this blog as to how “unfair” it is that their favorite party is not in control and that they are put upon?

Anybody?

catlady

March 21st, 2013
1:26 pm

I remember when my mom was asked to change a grade. It was about 1980, in a psychology class, in Alabama. She told the principal,”You can do as you wish, but I will NOT give the student, or any other, a grade they have not EARNED.” He never asked again. Of course, she was something of an institution at that school.

I have never been asked by a principal to change a grade. I did have a parent call the data clerk and tell her I had authorized a grade change for her child. I quickly set that straight.

IF a teacher’s assignments and grading policy are detailed in their syllabus, there should be no need to change a grade, AS LONG AS THE ADMINISTRATORS HAVE A SPINE. This “no zeroes” and “repeated chances to make up” are silly. The real world assigns zeroes, and frequently gives you one chance to be ready and do it right. We do nothing but harm in following rules like this.

SGA Teacher

March 21st, 2013
1:26 pm

I have suffered an unsatisfactory eval plus a PDP because of failures. Students simply would not turn in work, yet I got in trouble.

Ever since, NO ONE fails my class. NO ONE. Regardless of how poor their work ethic, study habits, etc. There are ZERO failures in my class.

Strange – I have not had problems since.:)

Now, if you REALLY wanna see grade inflation, wait until next year when students do not have to pass the GHSGT for graduation. Just pass classes.

Many will wonder how a student can do EXCEPTIONALLY well in a class but BOMB the EOCT.

I will be standing in the corner by the 800lb pink gorilla.

Think about it.

Hey Teacher

March 21st, 2013
1:40 pm

In my humble opinion, the problem with grade inflation started happening when NCLB came into effect and schools started posting graduation rates. Back in late 80’s, when I first started teaching, there were other options that would not affect a schools “rating” (GED, alternative schools, vocational schools, etc). About 10 years ago most counties stopped funding summer school — everything is now online. Teachers are under enormous pressure to make sure kids pass the first time — the problem is, many of my students need an extra go-round at the material in an alternative program (like night and summer school) but they are no longer offered. We’re basically told to do what it takes to get them through — 70 is really the new “F”.

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
1:56 pm

“AS LONG AS THE ADMINISTRATORS HAVE A SPINE.”

Well, there goes THAT idea!

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
1:58 pm

“I have suffered an unsatisfactory eval plus a PDP because of failures. Students simply would not turn in work, yet I got in trouble.”

Where are the ADMINISTRATOR postings now? As Bootney say – they are afraid, because they would be ripped to shreds!

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
2:01 pm

SACS should investigate schools where pressure is made on teachers to change grades and immediate susension from accreditation should result from any coercion by ADMINISTRATORS.

William

March 21st, 2013
2:27 pm

At the school in which I taught, teachers were not questioned if giving A’s or B’s. However, if a student received anything below a B, teachers had to tutor the student after regular school hours, teacher had to contact parents via phone on regular basis, teacher had to conference with the parent and the teacher had to have a signed deficiency on file. Teaching 80 students each day, I know that I lowered the bar and I believe other teachers at my school did the same in order to not be overwhelmed with extra work. We had few parent complaints and administrators were happy. Everything appeared to be nearly perfect. But something is very wrong with this. We need expert problem solvers in education who know that appearances mean little and we are not improving our schools each year.

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
2:30 pm

“Many will wonder how a student can do EXCEPTIONALLY well in a class but BOMB the EOCT.”

They FORGOT everything they learned overnight. Isn’t it OBVIOUS? The class grades by the teacher PROVE they learned the material. Testing only shows they didn’t RETAIN it.

Mountain Man

March 21st, 2013
2:33 pm

So there it is: page after page of teachers posting actual examples of changing grades and giving students grades that are not reflective of the mastery of the subject. As SGA teacher puts it, that is the 800 lb. pink gorilla in the living room that NOBODY wants to discuss.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

March 21st, 2013
2:49 pm

APS switched to the sociocultural Standards for Teaching and Learning in the 90s. Because the New Standards Project was never finished AS. like other urban districts, never got the alternative performance assessments that were meant to mask the nonacademic focus of the sociocultural classroom. So they cheated to obscure the consequences.

We are once again in an interim when the teachers nationally and internationally (the Canadians are even more annoyed than American teachers as Fullan has pushed whole system reform further along there) are being pushed to change their classroom practices and adopt new curricula while EOCTs and nonrevised SATs are still around. So the pressure is on to raise grades to keep everyone on the trajectory in creadentials. So they will get their high school diploma and put more money into higher ed to support them to gain yet another credential that must be equitable. Then masters . . .

And Canadians do not view their school systems as high performing. Canada does well because its ed systems perform well on the Social Justice criteria that actually frame what is a high performing system. It is close to the end of the OECD report where they lay out the criteria to be high performing.

Inman Parker

March 21st, 2013
2:57 pm

What nonsense we get in the APS! Will it never end??

Ole Guy

March 21st, 2013
4:28 pm

I never did care much for the concept of professors’ grading on the bell curve (not that this method of grading didn’t pull my six outa the academic crapper a few times), for this completely wiped out the personal feeling of accomplishment when one (yea, me) occassionaly aced the test…a rarety indeed, but, nonetheless, an accomplishment which was completely negated by the bell curve. However, I could, more times than not, be appreciative of the profs’ decision to employ this method of grading…

Has the high school community ever considered this method of grading? While the pros and cons are both evident, it just might serve a positive role in jacking up an otherwise sagging grade of a student population which, by past-day standards, is “sucking wind”.

It was my belief, back in the day, that the justification behind this grading system, was based on the concept that the student body, as a whole, came to the world of academe somewhat prepared for the demands of college life; that the occassional “OOPS” might be dealt with…diplomatically…hence the term “gentleman’s C”. That occassional gentleman’s C (when I knew, without a doubt, that the passing grade was, in reality, a gift) served as motivation to double up efforts, lay off the booze for a while, a get with the program.

Perhaps this very same motivation might transform a loser generation into the tough nuts gen from which yours truly came from (some…perhaps many…out there may view this as typical of my past displays of arrogance and selfless bravado…something which I DO not/WILL not deny. However, is it not time for this generation to stop whining over the myriad obstacles they face and assume a positive stance? I believe this time is WAY overdue…GET WITH IT, YOUNGFOLKS!).

Raja curry

March 21st, 2013
4:37 pm

Is there any wonder why college students need remedial teaching before a class begins?

Mary Elizabeth

March 21st, 2013
5:01 pm

I had posted the following remarks on the previous thread, but my instructional thoughts also belong on this thread, I believe, so I am also posting them here as well:
==================================================

“I have much respect for teachers and administrators. I simply believe that the instructional design for most schools is flawed. Notice in the next thread, ‘. . .teachers complain of the pressure to change grades. . .’ that many students are actually failing and that teachers are being urged to change the grades of these students so that students do not APPEAR to be failing.

Aside from the unethical practice of coercing teachers to assign a false grade, the instructional design, itself, is faulty, imo. Students must be instructed where they are actually functioning and, as a result of achieving that, few students will fail.

I have mentioned before on this blog that about seven years ago, the DeKalb School System had decided that all 8th students would be required to take a pre-algebra course. I had realized at the time I had read that announcement that a large number of those 8th grade students would fail that pre-algrebra course because, based on my educational background, I knew that many of those 8th graders would have been misplaced in that course. The instructional design, itself, in other words, was faulty. I was aware, from my instructional background, that not all of those 8th grade students would have been ready to take pre-algebra in the 8th grade. That decision to take pre-algebra should have been an individual decision regarding the 8th grade students and not a decision for ALL of the 8th grade students.

As it turned out, at the end of that school year, between 1/2 and 2/3s of those 8th grade students had failed that 8th grade pre-algebra requirement. Whose fault was that? Was it the students’ fault that they were misplaced instructionally? Was it the teachers’ fault that they were mandated to teach a course over the heads of between 1/2 and 2/3s of the students in eighth grade? Was it the fault of the school administrators who were required to carry out a countywide decision? Where did this bad decision come from? Did it come from the county’s Department of Instruction? If so, I do not believe those instructional supervisors were aware of where the 8th grade students in the schools were actually functioning? Did that bad decision come from the county’s Board of Education? If so, then that Board of Education must not have been composed of enough members who had been educators with a background in instruction, grades 1 – 12. Did that bad decision come from parents who had pressured the school system to raise the standards of course work in 8th grade so that ALL of the students would be better prepared for college preparation courses in high school? If so, then those parents had not been well informed about a mathematics curriculum continuum, nor about the individual variances of students’ academic growth and development, nor that students will learn curriculum content at variable rates.

But, I am not into blaming anyone or any group. I want to share with others – parents, teachers, and administrators, as well as members of Boards of Education, and even legislators – what I know to be true, instructionally, so that others can learn from my experiences in education. My principal who had designed his continuous progress, multiaged model school had earned a Doctorate in Instructional Education, and he had been the school system’s Associate Superintendent of Instruction before he became the principal of his model school in order to put his knowledge of instruction into action. I was the beneficiary of his instructional knowledge, and I helped him to implement successfully his continuous progress, mastery learning school design, for grades 1 – 7.

Where there is a will to do something, one will find a way to do it. First, however, one must be aware of basic truths about instruction. The basic truth about instruction is this: Students cannot learn – and they will fail – if they are not placed on, and taught on, their precise instructional levels as individual students in grades 1 – 12.

http://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/about-education-essay-1-mastery-learning/

Pride and Joy

March 21st, 2013
5:40 pm

Parents ARE NOT the problem here.
The education bureaucracy IS.
Educrats want to show everyone what a good job they’re doing and they want to justify their big salaries and HUGE budgets. They certainly cannot do that if the students receive average and failing grades.
I know parents who ASKED the school to hold their child back and repeat a grade and the school refused.

Private Citizen

March 21st, 2013
5:45 pm

What – no pun about Gradorade?

Private Citizen

March 21st, 2013
5:48 pm

It’s got electrolytes! -I forgot the line from the movie Idiocracy, where the water has been replaced by a Gatorade type product. “It’s got… ” Never mind that plants don’t grow any more. Great movie. A “must see.”

Panthergirl

March 21st, 2013
6:09 pm

I just have one comment to add. Last year, my neighbor’s son was failing 8th grade math for most of the school year. When there was 1 week left in the school year, his grade jumped from the low 60s to passing. My neighbor believes (not 100% sure) that his teacher (at Riverwatch Middle School in Forsyth county) arbitrarily changed some grades to ensure that her son passed math.

Calka

March 21st, 2013
6:41 pm

Pre-planning a few years ago, first day back after the summer: Principal: “If a student is failing, then it is not the student’s fault, it is the teacher’s fault!” I have been mad ever since…

NWGaMathScience

March 21st, 2013
7:48 pm

I wish I could chime in and say such things never happen – but they do all the time. This is one of the reasons I actually support the EOCT idea – makes it harder (I’m sure it isn’t impossible) for folks to fake it. I am actually quite proud of the correlation between my course grades and EOCT results (r= c. 0.82 last year) but admin has never been much impressed by that. I guess I should see my job as making sure they don’t have to work so hard to only get paid two to three times as much as a teacher.

Georgia coach

March 21st, 2013
7:53 pm

John, post to your heart’s content. Just stop the shameless self promotion for your organization that protects the incompetents.
It’s not a personal attack. You need to face facts

mountain man

March 21st, 2013
8:13 pm

I heard that Georgia Coach was an ADMINISTRATOR! So how many grades have you forced YOUR teachers to change, GC?

NWGaMathScience

March 21st, 2013
8:28 pm

Now now…
They will say that they didn’t “force” anyone – and I suppose that would be technically true. But, I’ve been told by MANY older – er… experienced teachers that I should just not fight so much and it won’t hurt as bad…

Georgia coach

March 21st, 2013
8:50 pm

@mountain man. Not a single one. And by the way, I am dern proud to be an administrator, John.

Private Citizen

March 21st, 2013
9:17 pm

Dr. John, I am thrilled to see my enigmatic mystique is in if full effect, but I think you’re having a brain fizzy if crediting me with taking you to task. But hey, I’ll take my credit where I can get it and I am honored. And now, it is time for pizza. (mmm pizza…)

old school doc

March 21st, 2013
9:35 pm

As I read the article about the Principal at Best, i started to wonder: who is next? I know of so many children that have been moved up (I guess at the parent’s request) who did not pass various and sundry classes or standardized exams. I know a good math teacher who is QUITTING rather than deal with requests from her Principal to change grades.

Too sad, and who pays the price? The students, of course.

New Principal at our school circulated some sheet about criteria for grade promotion. Let’s see if he actually will stick to it. Let’s also see the outcry from parents when their kids are not passed along as they have been in years before. Should be interesting…

Dr. John Trotter

March 21st, 2013
9:57 pm

@ Georgia Coach: The truth be known, you are probably one of the angry and abusive (and probably incompetent — seeing how you blog all day) administrators who seems to enjoy inflicting pain on your fellow humans and against whom we have to protect the teachers because they refuse to kiss your posterior.

@ Private Citizen: If I have you wrong, I apologize. I thought that you were the blogger who always posts all kinds of things against unions in general. The truth of the matter is that one of the geniuses of the American experience has been the creation of a middle class which was, by the way, built largely in this country because of the right of labor to negotiate with management. One of the first American politicians to defend this right was good ole Republican Teddy Roosevelt.

@ Georgia Coach, why don’t you call your fellow administrators at Fulton’s Stonewall Tell Elementary and Gwinnett’s Bethesda Elementary and ask how they liked the MACE pickets this week? The teaches sure seemed to enjoy them, and this is all that matters to us! Eat your heart out! Better yet, start blogging with your real name. Ha! That would be a real hoot!

Dr. John Trotter

March 21st, 2013
9:59 pm

Correction: “the teachers [not teaches] sure seemed to enjoy them…”

Private Citizen

March 21st, 2013
10:43 pm

El Trotter, I wish we had a rock-steady union. Georgia schooling would be on a different better level if there was a state wide solid non-political union that protected workers rights and put an end to caprice and harassment from managers. One teacher said they got a pdp- a powerful and widely used punitive censure of a teacher, for refusing to change grades or for grading too firmly. That would not happen with a solid worker union. There is a ton of teacher harassment in Georgia. I wish I knew of a systematic cure for it. If this state had a real teacher union for the simple task of professionals being treated as professionals, it would probably double the scores and output and such of the government schools. Maybe “teachers would be allowed to teach.” But we all know this is a dream right out of a hashish shop in Daramsala, like a genie on a puff of hookah.