Sunday, April 14, 2013

Any Teacher Cheating with Our Children Must Go To Jail!!!!!!

Should a Group of Teachers Go to Prison for Cheating? Atlanta Protesters Yelling Racism

The city of Atlanta has been rocked by a cheating scandal that has ripped the city to its core. Dozens of teachers and administrators face years in prison for cheating on a standardized test, a punishment that is unprecedented in the American school system. Now, if you’re a teacher that is even remotely connected to a cheating scandal, you could end up behind bars with killers, drug dealers and other people who’ve done terrible things.
But there are residents in Atlanta who are standing up in protest of the incident, saying that sending teachers to prison for cheating is the kind of example that would only be set in a racist state that seeks to incarcerate African Americans. Georgia governor Nathan Deal is also the same governor who recently announced that he would not support an integrated prom in the state.
“The community is saying this is wrong. We’re treating these educators like they’re criminals, like they’re drug dealers, like they’re gangsters,” said Timothy McDonald III, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church and a member of Atlanta’s Concerned Black Clergy. “Yes, fire the ones who cheated. But this is over-reaching.”
A grand jury has indicted 35 educators in the Atlanta school district, including former Superintendent of the Year, Beverly Hall. The conspiracy reached a total of 58 schools, and because state money was involved, the group has been charged with the kind of racketeering activity that is normally used to convict gangsters. Even a secretary has been indicted. Hall is being hit with an additional theft charge because her salary rose as the tests scores improved.
“I think a lot of people were fairly neutral on (the cheating scandal),” said Nathan McCall, an Emory University lecturer and writer. “And once they began to see the visuals of these educators as criminals, the history of strained race relations between blacks in the city of Atlanta and whites in the rest of the state, began to resurface.”
The state spent years investigating Atlanta public schools after determining that the rises in test scores were “statistically improbable.” Former Governor Sonny Perdue then appointed two special investigators to look into the alleged discrepancies. Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers was part of the committee, which reviewed 800,000 documents and conducted 2,100 interviews. He says that he was in tears after hearing about teachers being forced to cheat on exams.
“We had teachers faint in our interview room,” he said. “The thing I remember most was talking to some of the teachers who had been mistreated, mostly single moms. And it’s heartbreaking. They told of how they had been forced to cheat. One told me, ‘Mr. Bowers, this is a big joke. You can’t imagine how badly I feel. I cheated. I was forced to cheat. I had no choice. I spent my days as a teacher combing hair, brushing teeth, making sure children had something to eat….I taught third grade, and I cheated. If my father were alive, he would be so ashamed he wouldn’t know what to do.’ “
But the Atlanta cheating scandal is not unique. In an education space that is now determined by high-stakes testing, cheating appears to be rampant. In 2011 USA Today studied test scores across six states and found 1,600 cases of improbable test gains.
All of the educators who’ve been indicted are African American. This was shortly after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal suspended six elected school board members, five of whom are black. Some say that the real theft is occurring in the governor’s mansion.
“They’re all connected,” McDonald said. “If you look at Clayton County, DeKalb County, Atlanta, these are overwhelmingly majority African-American school districts. This is not about the children. This is about money. Every school system has contracts. This is about folks getting their hands on those contracts.”


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