More GOP wariness over move to make cheating on school tests a crime

We’re picking up more Republican wariness in the Legislature over Gov. Sonny Perdue’s proposal to make adult cheating on CRCT scores a criminal offense.

On Monday, it was Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock.

This morning, the two leading members of the House Education Committee, Chairman Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth) and Vice-Chairman Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), expressed doubts about the legislation – Millar more so than Coleman.

Coleman said he was ready to approach his Senate counterpart, Dan Weber (R-Dunwoody), about holding a House-Senate hearing on the test scandal, with testimony from the state Office of Professional Standards, the governor’s office, and state School Superintendent Kathy Cox.

“I’m very concerned about the cheating. I’m not sure what the punishment should be. They already lose their job,” Coleman said. The bills, HB 1111 and HB1121, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), the governor’s floor leader, would make altering test scores a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine – and loss of any pension.

“That’s getting pretty severe,” Coleman said, though he emphasized that he hadn’t yet read the legislation and hadn’t made up his mind.

Millar was more adamant. “To me, firing the people involved is enough. I think that it’s tragic that this happened, but I don’t think it worth getting deeper into legalities,” he said. “Some of these people might have been ordered to do certain things.”

It might also be worth noting that many legislators routinely boast of having spouses, children or parents who are public school teachers. That matters.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

15 comments Add your comment

wesleywhatwhat

February 16th, 2010
12:55 pm

I will support the first Gov. candidate that supports throwing the teachers and administrators in jail that participated in cheating. They cheated the children and our future.

Army Brat

February 16th, 2010
12:57 pm

This is going to be hard to prove and thereby harder to prosecute. Let me give you an example…Every 1st and 2nd grader in Georgia used to a test booklet and not a scantran…someone manually looked at these booklets and said there was cheating. I would suggest you go check the results…One class of 20 kids had 47 changes. 9 of these changes was for one kid. So the average number of changes were 2 per child. Doesn’t that sound realistic to you. the 9 changes for one kid seems strange but the overall class sounds normal….This is what this recent witch hunt is doing.

ATLShawty

February 16th, 2010
1:00 pm

I thank we should put NeNe from Real Houswives of ATL in charge of figuring out who done cheated or not.

[...] colleague Jim Galloway is reporting in his Political Insider blog that there is more resistance from Republican leaders to the governor’s proposal to criminally [...]

Shar

February 16th, 2010
1:14 pm

Education is the single biggest line item in our state budget. The people who put their own financial gain above delivering the service they contracted for have pulled off the biggest embezzlement of state funds on record. There were options available to those who felt coerced to cheat, and those people chose to sell out our kids instead of standing for their principles.

Fines, jail time and loss of pension and teaching certificate are reasonable and appropriate punishments for these criminals.

Which is why, of course, the criminals we have in our State House don’t want to put them in place. The people cavilling at these punishments are the people who knew that Glenn Richardson was doing his very best to drain Georgia’s taxpayers of $300 million to please his squeeze. They made the wrong choice when faced with the option of selling out their constituents to a highly placed bully or standing up for what was right. No wonder they’re squeamish at punishing their fellow cheaters and moral equivocators.

vladivostok

February 16th, 2010
1:14 pm

Complete BS, more waste of money by the state during a budget shortfall; maybe we should eliminate these BS standardized tests so the pressure is gone to have the results dictated by the Governor.

Please please please, just one truly non-stupid-non-corrupt politician!!

frugal voter

February 16th, 2010
1:52 pm

vladivostok…didn’t you use an oxymoron? Wouldn’t “non-corrupt politician” be akin to “military intelligence”, or “happily married”? Even “jumbo shrimp”!

Jon

February 16th, 2010
2:10 pm

So instead of just firing them and cutting them off, Sonny wants to put them through the court system and potentially jail, all of which costs taxpayer money, no?

Wounded Warrior

February 16th, 2010
3:45 pm

Making cheating a crime=generate more revenue for the state. Selling beer on sunday should not be a crime.

Liberallily

February 16th, 2010
4:44 pm

For once I agree with some Republicans; Losing your career and public shame & humiliation is enough punishment. Making it a crime is taking it too far. It’s one thing to Punish someone, but to Ruin their life is something else. Even though what they did was wrong it doesn’t necessarily mean they are evil ppl that deserve a life sentence which is what would happen since convictions stay on your record FOREVER…what ever happened to second chances? Put yourself in their shoes and see how you would feel.

Thoughtful

February 16th, 2010
5:17 pm

Why not focus on eliminating the issue and require that the central office from each school system send proctors to other school systems’ classrooms to administer and collect the tests? Would Atlanta put its neck on the line to cheat for DeKalb or visa versa? I think not.

I am still not convinced that cheating is as common as alleged, but independent testing oversight is required for things like the SAT so why not for CRCT exams? All we’re talking about is some gas money.

It used to be that the tests only were used to judge the kids and their progress. Now the CRCTs are being used to judge the effectiveness of the schools administration and faculty. The stacks have changed but we left these people in charge of their own measures. This is inappropriate no matter how much we trust these people. It puts them in the impossible position of having to prove they didn’t cheat. Its inappropriate.

Thoughtful

February 16th, 2010
5:18 pm

Stacks should be stakes. Sorry

Warbler

February 16th, 2010
8:43 pm

Millar was more adamant. “To me, firing the people involved is enough. I think that it’s tragic that this happened, but I don’t think it worth getting deeper into legalities,” he said. “Some of these people might have been ordered to do certain things.”
Ordered by who? Quite revealing.

Perfesser Wha?

February 17th, 2010
10:42 am

The AJC wants to encourage cheating on these multiple choice tests by basing teachers’ salaries on the outcome.

If that is a good idea, then maybe journalists’ salaries should be linked to circulation, right?

[...] colleague Jim Galloway is reporting in his Political Insider blog that there is more resistance from Republican leaders to the governor’s proposal to criminally [...]