Wilson, Bowers good choices to probe school testing scandal

Gov. Sonny Perdue chose wisely and well.

Bob Wilson and Michael Bowers, appointed last week by Perdue to lead an investigation into cheating scandals in public schools in Atlanta and Dougherty County, are experienced prosecutors. Perhaps more importantly in this context, they have also proved to be persons of good judgment, capable of sifting truth from fiction and the important from the inconsequential in what promises to be a complicated probe.

So far, previous investigations have been able to document only that cheating occurred. Armed with subpoena authority and the resources to investigate fully, Bowers and Wilson may be able to dig deeper, getting at the important questions of how the cheating happened and why.

But it’s unfortunate it had to come to this. The appointment of Wilson and Bowers is necessary because for at least the second time in this scandal, local leaders have proved more interested in protecting their institutions and their reputations than in getting at the truth. Their defensiveness and reluctance to look too closely have ended up compounding the very damage that they seek to avoid.

Here in Atlanta, Superintendent Beverly Hall and others vigorously dispute such assertion, arguing that they have responded as quickly and as aggressively as the facts allow.

In several important regards, that is undeniably true.

In Atlanta, testing security has been strengthened considerably in the wake of the scandal, and principals of the dozen schools implicated most strongly in the cheating scandal have been reassigned to other duties. Their names and those of almost 100 other school employees have also been submitted to the state for possible disciplinary action.

As Hall told the AJC last week, she has no patience with those who cheat. Any educators who altered test results “have done a terrible disservice to the children and Atlanta Public Schools, and that is a disgrace,” she said.

Certainly, the individuals who cheated or tolerated cheating by others deserve to be identified and punished. It is also true that, based on the limited evidence then available, APS officials could not have moved more aggressively against suspected staff members without compromising their right to due process and fair treatment.

However, individual responsibility represents just one aspect of the problem. As her statement above suggests, Hall has been steadfast in trying to depict the scandal as a simple series of moral failings by the individuals involved. People of integrity, she has said repeatedly, would not have cheated under any circumstances.

Hall has also pointed out repeatedly — and accurately — that there is no evidence of a broad, organized conspiracy. But that does not exhaust the range of issues that this scandal has brought to the surface.

Among the questions that Bowers and Wilson will try to answer is whether the problem was indeed limited to a dozen schools, as APS officials claim, or whether it was more widespread, as state officials suggest. Even if the lesser number proves accurate, we are left with the reality that widespread cheating occurred in a dozen schools involving more than 100 APS employees, a far more extensive problem than in any other system in the state.

Why?

That’s the question that Hall refuses to even entertain.

Personally, I can think of only two explanations: Either APS hired employees who are more prone than others to cheat, or it placed its employees in an environment in which cheating was deemed acceptable or even necessary. Either way, responsibility for creating such problems would lie at the top of the chain of command.

251 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
7:38 am

Either APS hired employees who are more prone than others to cheat, or it placed its employees in an environment in which cheating was deemed acceptable or even necessary.

Monty, I’ll take Door #2.

Normal

August 24th, 2010
7:39 am

How does this keep those pesky “Moozlin’s” out of “Amurica”?

Get with it Jay, “We don’t need no education, we don’t need no mind control…”

Isn’t that the Tea Drinkers theme song?

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
7:40 am

good gawd … Michael Bowers??? he of the 2 failed gubernatorial campaigns? I’d have a lot more respect for him if he didn’t come out with “It’s illegal but there currently isn’t a law against it” during the great slush-fund brouhaha in the early 1990s. that kind of language coming out of the state AG doesn’t really foster much confidence.

popeye

August 24th, 2010
7:44 am

The name Bowers, and the word cheating are synonymous!

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
7:45 am

Normal – “Isn’t that the Tea Drinkers theme song?”

for your consideration:

don’t know much about history …

don’t know much biology …

don’t know much about science book ….

don’t know much about the french I took …

Mick

August 24th, 2010
7:48 am

The days of testing are not unlike going to war, they both bring on collateral damage. I have nothing against fair testing as long as the test is reliable and valid. There currently is only one testing company that can claim that mantle which is SAT out of princeton. The other testing companies are for profit and make changes every year, rendering the lot of them unreliable and invalid. The collateral damage are the careers tied to test scores and the needless suffering of many students.

Normal

August 24th, 2010
7:49 am

USinUK,

You Win! :lol:

Granny Godzilla

August 24th, 2010
7:49 am

Atlanta is not alone.

If I had been caught cheating – after Sr. M. Thomasina kicked my butt, she would have handed me over to my folks for a second round.

jt

August 24th, 2010
7:50 am

Jay, and others, remind me of that French police chief in Casablanca. ..Shocked!

Why, ? It’s all about money. If you lose a child because of “failing to improve”, you lose the money.
This cheating came straight from the top. wink wink.

Furthermore, if anyone looked into Detroit, Oakland, Brookland, Chicago etc……………..they would be “shocked” too.

Finn McCool

August 24th, 2010
7:51 am

Be interesting to see what gets turned up.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
7:55 am

jt – 7:50 – I totally agree with you – when funding is based on performance, is anyone surprised that there is then evidence of cheating?

Finn McCool

August 24th, 2010
7:58 am

Off topic but…

Great show by Jon Stewart last night. He shows the Fox News people doing the “follow the money” on who is funding the Imam and the Islamic cultural center in NYC.

Stewart points out that the Fox News people never mention the evil culprit’s name.

Then Stewart does his own “follow the money” and it turns out the evil culprit is a middle eastern guy who is also the 2nd largest shareholder in NewsCorp – owners of Fox News. The show then postulates the obvious – either Fox News personnel are really really stupid or they are evil geniuses.

Catch it if you can.

SOUTHERN ATL

August 24th, 2010
7:58 am

Welcome back Jay…..If the educators were given the opportunity to teach the subject matters instead of teaching the test, this scandal probably would not be occurring right now!

L Ron Hubbub

August 24th, 2010
7:58 am

I would say that we need some state level ethics investigating commission, perhaps headed by some prominent state leaders or something like that but… .

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:00 am

Finn – “The show then postulates the obvious – either Fox News personnel are really really stupid or they are evil geniuses.”

evil savants.

but they’re excellent drivers. excellent drivers.

5 minutes to Wapner!

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
8:02 am

jt

August 24th, 2010
8:04 am

USinUK

Even more tragic,

Mssrs. Bowers and Wilson will make a boatload of money.

Whenever the federalies get involved with ANYTHING, that thing quickly regresses into the lowest comman money-grubbing bottom-feeding letigating leech-like denominator.

I’m out.

barking frog

August 24th, 2010
8:04 am

Probably going to find that the students cheated and need
remedial counseling in ethics which will require new hires
and a building or two.

Normal

August 24th, 2010
8:04 am

USinUK,
But, to be fair and balanced, I think I see their reasoning(?)…

don’t know much about history … ‘cept what Fox News tells me is true…

don’t know much biology … ‘cept how to make babies, but just say no…

don’t know much about science book … All the science I need is in Genisus…

don’t know much about the french I took … ‘Cept for kissin’ and freedom freies

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
8:04 am

Get rid of these useless standardized tests. There, problem solved. Easy, huh?

Paul

August 24th, 2010
8:08 am

Good step one on the investigators and the investigation. Once it’s written – who has the responsibilty to act? Or not act?

“or it placed its employees in an environment in which cheating was deemed acceptable or even necessary” because cheating gained…. what? Personal gain?

Finn McCool 7:58

So unlike the Atlanta School System, what Stewart’s saying is the news opinion portion of Fox pursues a line of inquiry, even if it embarrasses those at the top with money and power?

Saul Good

August 24th, 2010
8:11 am

I still don’t see how ANY of this is going to end up pulling GA from the BOTTOM of the barrel with regards to test scores. While this does need to be looked at with a fine tooth comb…what STILL needs to be done is something to make our state “competitive”… I mean how is it that we’re consistently at the bottom with regards to SAT scores? It’s bad enough how ALL kids in the US now compare to the rest of the world in science, math, etc… but if we’re at the very bottom consistently… there’s still something very very broken in the state when it comes to producing GOOD students and getting RESULTS one can measure.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:11 am

dB – 8:02 – :lol: yay, BETTY!

Peadiddy – but … but … but … then how else can we criticize the teachers???

Normal – 8:04 – (golf clap) … well played, sir!

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
8:12 am

From downstairs.

RW, not sure what connection Nader’s percentage of votes has to do with this mosqueteered hullabaloo. Cong. Paul made some damning statements about neo-cons. I happened to agree with his assessments. (Oh and way to jinx that no-no!)

Bruno, I pretty much loved everything off of that In the Dark LP. Thanks.

USinUK, I think I remember you saying you don’t do youtube at work, but for everyone else and especially for you later, Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNO72aCnVr0

Atlanta us both an enigma and a microcosm of modern day America. Arguably she is the epicenter of civil rights and the ascension of justice vis a vis black power.

But so many of those opportunities have gone south (get it?) like this cheating debacle…

Saul Good

August 24th, 2010
8:14 am

Normal… is French Toast “Freedom Toast” as well? Or is it just “banned” at most FINE breakfast establishments catering to the Tea and Crumpet crowd (who btw…have never heard of or seen a crumpet…most of all because they’ve ever ventured out of the states). ;-)

Answer man.

August 24th, 2010
8:15 am

I don’t even like being in the same state with Michael Bowers. He’s the epitome of low life trash on a grand scale.

Disgusted

August 24th, 2010
8:15 am

I have nothing against fair testing as long as the test is reliable and valid. There currently is only one testing company that can claim that mantle which is SAT out of princeton.

So a test that, by its administrators’ own written admission on the test’s enrollment form, predicts the likelihood of academic success in college correctly only 37% of the time is OK, but the others are bogus?

Interesting logic there.

ty webb

August 24th, 2010
8:15 am

ah yes…atlanta’s kids are being cheated(sorry for the pun)out of an education that properly prepares them for the future, and one “side” can only condemn “tea drinkers” and “fox news”. rah rah!

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
8:15 am

cheating gained…. what? Personal gain?

Under NCLB, it’s not so much what you gain by cheating, it’s what you don’t lose.

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
8:16 am

“then how else can we criticize the teachers???”

How about….GASP….put more of the blame on the parents! What an idea!!!

Finn McCool

August 24th, 2010
8:16 am

barking frog, how do students, without help from teachers, cheat on standardized tests? As I recall, these tests come in to the classroom sealed and there is no way to put together cheat notes on them.

Since this problem surfaced I don’t think anyone has pointed a finger at the students and there is a reason for that. It’s kinda impossible to do.

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
8:16 am

And let’s not forget, USinUK, that these test proves absolutely nothing.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:17 am

AmVet – “USinUK, I think I remember you saying you don’t do youtube at work, but for everyone else and especially for you later, Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World…”

thanks … I’ve already given myself the earworm …

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
8:18 am

yay, BETTY!

For those who don’t know much about the science book, Betty has a curriculum.

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
8:19 am

I just read Bowers bio. Very impressive. However how is it that he graduated from West Point and then went immediately into the US Air Force? Anybody know the answer to this one?

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:19 am

dB – 8:15 – VERY well said.

Peadiddy – 8:16 – I agree – too many are not involved with their kids’ education – however, if you don’t have much of an education, yourself, how can you help your child with his/her homework? and, I agree, the tests don’t prove anything about critical thinking skills

Saul Good

August 24th, 2010
8:19 am

stands….too funny…I forgot all about Betty and her awesome site! :)

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
8:22 am

” the tests don’t prove anything about critical thinking skills”

They don’t even prove that. All they prove is that you can take tests well. Just b/c you can memorize some things and take a test doesn’t prove you can apply it in the real world.

Curious Observer

August 24th, 2010
8:23 am

However how is it that he graduated from West Point and then went immediately into the US Air Force? Anybody know the answer to this one?

It’s my understanding that a graduate of any of the national military academies can choose his/her branch of service.

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
8:23 am

Without making me look it up, anyone in the know able to say just how much of a role standardized testing actually plays in whether children advance / schools are permitted to receive funding, as dictated by NCLB, in 2010?

I do know that when children do poorly on such a test in the elementary levels here in GA, they are provided opportunities to re-test, take summer school, etc. before being held back. But they do get held back based on the test scores alone, despite how well they may have done with the actual school year’s curriculum.

(I do not know how many actual “A” students fail the CRCT in GA every year, I imagine it’s not many, but there’ve got to be a few, right?)

Finn McCool

August 24th, 2010
8:24 am

If anyone is interested, the 4th season of The Wire centers around the futility of the No Child Left Behind fiasco.

Sad to think of all those days spent “teaching to the test” as opposed to actually learning. These kids will never get those school days back to really learn.

Gale

August 24th, 2010
8:24 am

Tests were intended to improve schools and teaching. Clearly, they are not succeeding. They should be scrapped. At the worst, we are no worse off that we were before. Good teachers can return to teaching and some students will benefit. We need a new initiative that motivates kids to want to learn. Now, all kids want to learn. What is it about school that seems to burn the curiosity out of them?

I agree with Peadawg (to my surprise). The biggest problem is parental involvement. Is it possible to motivate a child to learn, to maintain his curiosity, when the adults around him have given up on improving themselves?

godless heathen

August 24th, 2010
8:25 am

Oh goody, Finn and Normal have steered this thread into another mosque thread. Someone will post that the mosque is not a mosque and is not located at ground zero in 4,3,2,1 seconds.

Off topic. Did everyone get an eyeful of the new Miss Universe, Jimena Navarrete, representing Mexico? She can swim the river anytime she wants.

Paul

August 24th, 2010
8:28 am

sfb 8:15

“Under NCLB, it’s not so much what you gain by cheating, it’s what you don’t lose.”

If my memory is correct, when Pres Bush and Sen Kennedy did NCLB, the testing objectives covered a couple of subjects. To see if kids had basic competency. Pretty simple.

Then the government bureaucracy, inhabited in part by people who think “I know best” or “this is a really good idea” went to work

A gazillion regulations and standards and funding penalties and rewards later, here we are -

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
8:30 am

CO, thanks. So far this is all I have found on the matter: “…with few exceptions, West Point graduates serve in the Army and Naval Academy graduates serve in the Navy or Marine Corps. That is decided primarily by the service academy you select.”

I suppose that in 1963 given an option, he might NOT choose to be an officer in either the US Army or USMC, huh?

ty, in two days I’ve noted that you’ve made two substance-free posts here. Both WAY off-base and both ending with the words rah, rah!

http://tinyurl.com/2cbko6r

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:30 am

“Finn and Normal have steered this thread into another mosque thread” … no more than you have with your miss universe comment.

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
8:31 am

“Off topic. Did everyone get an eyeful of the new Miss Universe, Jimena Navarrete, representing Mexico? She can swim the river anytime she wants.”

All those girls need a couple of cheeseburgers. I like my women w/ some curves…not a cups..

Curious Observer

August 24th, 2010
8:33 am

While I deplore cheating in any form, I can’t help laughing about the folly of administering one national test to every student for a subject. Given the fact that just about every state school system chooses its own textbooks, the idea that a single test not based on those textbooks can accurately measure a student’s learning in a subject is ludicrous. But let’s not focus on that. Rather, LOOK—THERE’S A SQUIRREL!

godless heathen

August 24th, 2010
8:34 am

““Finn and Normal have steered this thread into another mosque thread” … no more than you have with your miss universe comment.”

And six pages of Miss Universe threading just wrapped up early this AM?

Paul

August 24th, 2010
8:35 am

godless heathen

“Did everyone get an eyeful of the new Miss Universe, Jimena Navarrete, representing Mexico? ”

After Lie to Me I flipped over to the contest. They picked the Final 5 and I listened to Miss Mexico answer a question about if it’s a bad thing for parents to give kids unsupervised Net access and if bad effects occur. I listened to a milktoast answer and thought “she’s out.”

So much for answering questions and getting elected, eh?

Erudite Erasers

August 24th, 2010
8:36 am

OT: Anyone notice the new slogan for Wells Fargo: “Together we’ll go far”.

Perdue will discover that the cheating scandal is going to play like Watergate. The pressure came from above. Follow the advantage. What possible advantage would school districts have to encourage cheating? There’s your answer and there’s your depth, scope and Deepthroat.

We are a corrupt nation, reduced to salvaging survival through conspired compromise. Jury nullification gone amuck; we’ve become a jury that tampers with itself. It can only get worse as the consequences of the shamefully-discredited Bush Foreign Policy fuels our desperation again and again.

Remember we are Americans, and armed with a #2 pencil, we’re number one! (The trickle down theory proved that).

Our instructors are teaching cheating.

Mick

August 24th, 2010
8:36 am

peadawg

Your observations on testing have been nothing short of brilliant – have a good day..

godless heathen

August 24th, 2010
8:38 am

“(Aug. 23) — Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.”

Anybody checked the White House? He’s probably the czar of something.

L Ron Hubbub

August 24th, 2010
8:39 am

How much education does it take to know that you gotta win the lottery or sign a major contract for pro ball or hit it big on reality tv, etc., in order to make it, unless you were born into money. You don’t even need faith or hope to figure that one out. Just a little change.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:39 am

“And six pages of Miss Universe threading just wrapped up early this AM?”

you mean the 6 pages of the previous topic about Cordoba House? that 6 pages?

L Ron Hubbub

August 24th, 2010
8:41 am

Anybody checked the White House? He’s probably the czar of something.

Obama fired him after he was elected.

Bruno

August 24th, 2010
8:43 am

My personal opinion is that the entire school curriculum needs to be reevaluated in relationship to “life skills”. Each of the individual academic disciplines feel that there’s is the most important, such that kids end up getting taught a bunch of stuff that they will never use in the real world. As much as I love advanced math, very, very few jobs require anything beyond arithmetic. In the end, it’s better to know a few things very well, than a bunch of things superficially.

Jack

August 24th, 2010
8:43 am

The Bowers & Wilson investigation may well result in some firings and relocating of personnel, but it won’t cure the real problem: The children involved in this cheating scandal are not taught at home how to be good students; to set goals for themselves regardless of the behavior of those around them.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

August 24th, 2010
8:43 am

AmVet, just a hunch, but maybe Bowers liked hot showers and a/c, and not c-rations and muddy rice paddies? technically it’s not draft dodging, but more like combat dodging (unless he joined the USAF to fly combat missions over enemy territory, in which case, disregard my hunch).

ty webb

August 24th, 2010
8:44 am

Amvet,
sorry, maybe if I use the word “neocon” my posts will possess more substance.

Redneck Convert (R---and proud of it)

August 24th, 2010
8:48 am

Well, I think Bowers is fine for the job. He went after people with the Death Penalty lots of times when he was in state office, and that’s what we need here. Too bad he lost a big one with the gay law and got his name in the history books there. We wouldn’t be having these problems with gay marriage if he’d of won there. Most of the gays would be in jail. I reckon you can’t win them all.

When us rednecks go after the teachers, we aim to get them. It’s their fault our kids are so barbell dumb. Except for being able to describe every race car engine and name every NASCAR driver and his number. Real chips off of the old block, them kids. Anyway, people that cheat us out of getting them need to be put in prison.

That’s all I got to say. Have a good day everybody.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:48 am

Bruno – I disagree with you on math skills – while we may not need to know how to figure the area of a room very often, math teaches analytical thinking – how to break down a problem into parts.

Literature, history, science – there may not be an everyday application to them, but we, as a people, need to know these things – to have a common point of understanding, to know where we came from, to have the past illustrated. Reading Little Women gives you some insight into what homelife was like during the Civil War. Learning about World War I gives you a foundation for literature and art produced by the Lost Generation.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
8:49 am

B-dog – btw, I asked you downstairs, but just in case you didn’t see it – did you get the gig? is everything finalized, now??

paleo-neo-Carlinist

August 24th, 2010
8:51 am

peadawg, I gotta agree with you on the value of standardized tests. they’re useless if the goal is to educate children. I thought it was the norm to tell children they are “special” and “unique” and “wonderful”? but the idea that we would present curriculum, evaluate a student’s ability to grasp and apply curriculum conflicts with the “cut corners” approach to both elementary/secondary education, and more importantly, the student application/selection process at the university level. this is one instance where comparing apples and oranges makes sense, especially when you consider there will be some bananas, grapes and of course, lemons in the mix. standardized tests are contrary to the concept of “diversity” but as I said, heaven forbid educators would have to educate, as opposed to teaching students how to master the CRCT or other standardized tests. the APS is no better or worse than any other bloated, ineffective, wasteful bureacracy. it is a jobs program for political patronage pay-offs and not a government agency dedicated to educating children and young adults. heck, the only reason public education exists, is to provide daycare for the working class.

godless heathen

August 24th, 2010
8:52 am

“you mean the 6 pages of the previous topic about Cordoba House? that 6 pages?”

Yup. My point being that some posters are having so much fun bashing the families of 911 victims, 911 responders, Fox News, etc., that they just can’t let it go. I think all that could be said about the subject was said many, many times. Personally I don’t have a dog in that fight so I could care less where the members of the peaceful religion of Islam meet.

“Homicide bomber and gunmen launch attack in Somalia’s capital, killing at least 32 people — including lawmakers — as Islamic militants declare ‘massive war on invaders.’”

Gale

August 24th, 2010
8:53 am

I am on board with Bruno. Kids are not motivated to learn things they see as not preparing them to rise above the society they see their parents in. And I still see a big part of the problem in parents that do not see learning as a way up out of the society they find themselves in. Parents involved in learning will help the kids. If the kids are learning something practical, the parent may become more involved.

Bruno

August 24th, 2010
8:54 am

“g’morning, B-dog … what’s the good news? did you get the gig?”

The decision is supposed to be made tomorrow. In the meantime, I fell asleep at the wheel yesterday and didn’t check in on the stock market while blogging. I lost my ass, and as you know, it was already puny to begin with. The pre-market trading is even worse this AM. Does anyone know wtf is going on??

“as far as whiner goes … “unarmed” doesn’t go far enough”

Are you sure that mmm, mmm, mmm is the same poster as IRYW?

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
8:54 am

“Your observations on testing have been nothing short of brilliant – have a good day..”

Thanks.

Normal

August 24th, 2010
8:59 am

“as Islamic militants declare ‘massive war on invaders.’”

It’s media statements like this that fans the flames of fear. Those terrorists are no more Muslim than I am. The media needs to just say
“As Somalli militants”…Leave Islam out of it and call them what they really are…spineless thugs.

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
9:00 am

Come on Jay, this is getting weird. Everyone’s agreeing with me. Put a new blog up!

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
9:03 am

“Yup. My point being that some posters are having so much fun bashing the families of 911 victims, 911 responders, Fox News, etc., that they just can’t let it go.”

one comment. one. hardly steering the thread off-course. unlike the Miss Universe diversion.

but, of course, you’re SO uninterested in it that you throw Somalia into the mix.

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
9:03 am

ty, no worries. And upon recollection, I’m not sure any of your posts have ever included any material substance. You know, quaint stuff like facts, appropriate quotes, sources and links…

Glad you appreciate that term though, apparently so does Congressman Paul and millions of other Americans. As the saying goes, If the foo sh*ts, wear it.

paleo and CO, it just struck me as odd, because I have never heard of it happening.

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
9:03 am

Peadiddy – we’re all as freaked out as you

:shock:

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
9:05 am

Peadawg, I did not agree with you! Ms. Mexico is certainly not the unendowed young lady you averred. (grin)

Bosch

August 24th, 2010
9:05 am

“Get rid of these useless standardized tests. There, problem solved. Easy, huh?”

Yeah! Peadawg! Agreed!

Mrs. G! Please stay here with us, I don’t like you over there with the CT nuts. It’s not good for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A better use of time should be to investigate WHY these administrators felt the need to cheat in the first place.

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
9:08 am

My point being that some posters are having so much fun bashing the families of 911 victims…

Excellent point, heathen.

“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzies. I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much.” ~Ann Coulter from her book Godless.

ty webb

August 24th, 2010
9:08 am

Amvet,
Thanks.

Bruno

August 24th, 2010
9:09 am

“Bruno – I disagree with you on math skills – while we may not need to know how to figure the area of a room very often, math teaches analytical thinking – how to break down a problem into parts. Literature, history, science – there may not be an everyday application to them, but we, as a people, need to know these things – to have a common point of understanding, to know where we came from, to have the past illustrated.”

Your analysis reminds me of the difficulty that our lawmakers are having figuring out where to cut the budget. Once the various departments are established, no one wants to give up their piece of the pie. Just my opinion, of course, but I feel like we need to start from scratch once again, and get back to the basics, with “life skills” being the benchmark for inclusion.

The reality is that learning has become fragmented, such that “dessert” is being placed on an equal basis with the “meat and potatoes”.

“If the kids are learning something practical, the parent may become more involved.”

Gale–I know that we discussed this issue a while back on the old W2W blog, and you and I had the same mindset. We shouldn’t assume that all learning takes place only in the classroom. I went to one of the easiest high schools in the country, but supplemented my learning at home. In the end, I learned more and had more fun that way then if I had gone to a high-pressure prep school.

Paul

August 24th, 2010
9:09 am

Normal 8:59
Description from The Washington Times of Central Command’s manual on this topic:

“The Petraeus counterinsurgency manual takes the position that, to understand the enemy, commanders must recognize terrorist links to Islam — its leaders in some cases, its fundraising and its infrastructure. Forces must fight “Islamic extremists,” it says, differently from the Viet Cong or followers of Saddam Hussein.

“Islamic extremists use perceived threats to their religion by outsiders to mobilize support for their insurgency and justify terrorist tactics,” the manual states.

In a section on the ideological source for Islamic terrorists, the doctrine says, “For many Muslims, the Caliphate produces a positive image of the golden age of Islamic civilization. This image mobilizes support for al Qaeda among some of the most traditional Muslims while concealing the details of the movement’s goal. In fact, al Qaeda’s leaders envision the ‘restored Caliphate’ as a totalitarian state similar to the pre-2002 Taliban regime in Afghanistan.”"

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Come on Jay, this is getting weird. Everyone’s agreeing with me.

Well, while I agree with the spirit of your stance I’ll take some issue, because you were rather absolutist with your “Get rid of these useless standardized tests” business. Standardized testing isn’t completely useless; it just shouldn’t be the sole or even the most important indicator of success or failure. My issue with high-stakes standardized testing is the “high stakes” part. There are some perfectly capable kids who simply do not test well. (I knock wood knowing that my own kid actually does pretty well on that score—just the usual pre-test anxiety any normal kid would feel, nothing debilitating).

Also, there’s something I find a little crazy about allowing individual states to adopt whatever standardized test they wish. I figure, have the Dept. of Ed maintain one set of standardized tests used throughout the nation so that you can at least do like:like comparisons to see how states are doing based on this imperfect but somewhat useful metric.

also, this “how about the PARENTS” sounds right-wingy radioish. I mean duh, obviously a kid’s home environment plays a huge role (as do that kid’s peer group outside the home) But unless you’ve got a good way to require pre-procreation competency testing that doesn’t run afoul of our Constitution, it’s kind of irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Normal

August 24th, 2010
9:11 am

What was it called in my day? The three “R’s”…Reading ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic?

I’m not sure I’m a full proponent of Holland’s education system, in which all kids are aptitude tested around age 12 to plot their educational path. Then they will study only for what their aptitude says is best for them. But maybe a variation of that system could work in America, if given two or three simular choices or paths. The point is, I believe, that no two States have the same idea as to what education is.

We do need a standard country wide system of education. Then their will be no “what ifs”. We need the Arts and Humanities, as well as the Science and Math. Our educational system needs to be well rounded, and available for all. Our true future is well educated children ready to compete against the rest of the world.

logicial consequence

August 24th, 2010
9:11 am

The system that is most notorious for falsifying discipline data, and sweeping discipline problems under the rug is the system that had to resort to widespread cheating to maintain its “gains”.

Anybody see a correlation?

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
9:12 am

AmVet – 9:08 …. ooooo, SNAP!

USinUK

August 24th, 2010
9:17 am

“We need the Arts and Humanities, as well as the Science and Math”

I agree … and so do the folkses who study education. Studying music helps performance in all other areas of study.

we need to have a broader understanding of more than just “life skills” – it’s no coincidence that the founding fathers that we admire the most (jefferson, washington, etc) had extensive libraries that cover myriad subjects.

You want answers?

August 24th, 2010
9:17 am

You want answers? Subpoena the driver. If Beverly Hall has been doing as much work as she claims she’s been doing in the car to need a driver, then the driver should know what Beverly Hall knew, and when did she know it.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

August 24th, 2010
9:17 am

heathen, AmVet beat me to the punch. when are the neo-cons going to get some new material? it’s never political/financial self-interest, it is always some noble act in defense of; Muslim women, the 9/11 families, or first responders. and yet, as AmVet notes, Ann “neo-Con Barbie” Coulture has made her feelings known, the GOP is stalling on a bill that would aid ailing first responders, and do we really care about Mulsim women, or only the women who are stoned and beaten? seems like there are some Muslim women who might like a place of worship in lower Manhattan, no?

Normal

August 24th, 2010
9:19 am

Paul

August 24th, 2010
9:09 am
Paul, I have read that and I completely disagree with that assement.
By stating that, he is declaring war on ALL of Islam. exactly what the terrorists want. He is literally stepping into **it barefoot.

Islam needs to be put out of the equation and tell the Middle East People we are fighting terrorists who hide under the mantel of Islam but are not true Muslims. They are cowardly thugs and that’s all they are, or ever will be.

Granny Godzilla

August 24th, 2010
9:21 am

Bosch

Thanks….she’s shut down for vacation.

Jay seems to be a better at keeping the trolls under the bridge….

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
9:21 am

” There are some perfectly capable kids who simply do not test well.”

That was me all through school..even college. But I could do the homework and projects just fine. Give me program and I’ll write the program. Ask me to take the Sun Java Certification test….ya….that went REAL well.

Peadawg

August 24th, 2010
9:22 am

Granny, do you capitalize your name hear and not on Cynthia’s? Or was ‘granny godzilla’ not you? I could never tell.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

August 24th, 2010
9:22 am

Paul, very interesting post. try this:

American neo-Conservative (Islamic) extremists use perceived threats to their nation (religion) by Muslim and Mexicans (outsiders) to mobilize support for their political agenda (insurgency) and justify amending/ignoring the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution (terrorist tactics)”. Sounds to me like Newt, Palin, et al are taking a page from the Islamofacist Playbook.

Matti

August 24th, 2010
9:24 am

I’m thrilled that my offspring far surpass my abilities in the area of mathematics. This is one of the single greatest factors in my hope for the future. However, I have several “math whiz” friends who just aren’t that bright. Sure, they can do complex formulation in their heads and I can’t, but guess which ones are upside down in their mortgages or blew a fortune on a new interest to keep him hooked… NOT ME!

RW-(the original)

August 24th, 2010
9:25 am

Godless was an excellent book when you got past the tiny fraction of it that dealt with the Jersey girls. Then again we have developed a society that can’t read beyond the headlines. Truly sad and maybe that’s what leads to cheating scandals like the one referenced here.

Ah well, the forest beckons early. Stay thirsty my friends.

Later

Matti

August 24th, 2010
9:25 am

Er, … “love interest.” (Strings don’t work, y’all. There’s your daily tip from a math dummy.)

Curious Observer

August 24th, 2010
9:27 am

paleo and CO, it just struck me as odd, because I have never heard of it happening.

You must remember, AmVet, that the Air Force didn’t become a separate branch of service until 1947 (before that, it was the Army Air Corps) and that the Air Force Academy didn’t come into existence until 1959.

Intown

August 24th, 2010
9:28 am

As someone who has invested heavily in Atlanta by moving intown and planning to send my kids to APS schools (the only way a family can afford to live intown), this better get fixed NOW with as little collateral damage as possible.

AmVet

August 24th, 2010
9:29 am

“Then again we have developed a society that can’t read beyond the headlines understand that the hideous quote from that book is the perfect reply to a post about denigrating 9/11 families.”

stands for decibels

August 24th, 2010
9:30 am

AmVet – 9:08 …. ooooo, SNAP!

Obviously, nobody downstairs (from what I could see) was actually “bashing 9/11 families, 911 first responders” as godless heathen so inartfully put it. If certain 9/11 families and 9/11 first responders are now taking unconstitutional stances against the enshrined, fought-for rights of religious liberty in America, they need to be criticized, just as anyone should be. But I’ve yet to see anyone sink to the level of accusing such folk as “enjoying their husbands’ deaths.”

(sorry for the off-topic drift, but I couldn’t let that “bashing” business stand.)

Granny Godzilla

August 24th, 2010
9:31 am

Peadawg

The name field remembers…..so capitol G’s here

Bruno

August 24th, 2010
9:33 am

” the tests don’t prove anything about critical thinking skills”

“They don’t even prove that. All they prove is that you can take tests well. Just b/c you can memorize some things and take a test doesn’t prove you can apply it in the real world.”

I think there is a fairly simple solution to this: change all testing to open book. Then testing will mirror “real life” a lot more closely and take the memorization factor out of it. Additionally, I believe it will reduce the anxiety factor that poor test takers face, and their scores will likely improve.

If any of you think this solution will “dumb it down”, I disagree. While at HMC, widely regarded as the most difficult science/math school in the world, a large percentage of my tests were open book. My profs were more interested in seeing what we could do with information rather than seeing how much we could memorize.

I know that this is primarily a social blog then a serious discussion blog, but I would really like to hear from everyone ideas of how to improve education. The youngest generation coming up aren’t impressing me at all. None of them appear to be able to make change from a dollar without looking at the register.