The tests are given to children in grades 1-8. The results determine whether schools meet federal benchmarks under the No Child Left Behind Act. Good scores mean high praise and cash bonuses. Failure to meet standards could mean losing hundreds of thousands in federal dollars, and could cost teachers and administrators their jobs.
The article goes on to explain that some believe there was a coordinated effort to commit this fraud. Interestingly, the superintendent of the Atlanta school system was awarded superintendent of the year in 2009 for bringing up the school system's test scores! Maybe that award ought to be looked at again...
As I've said before, where there is money there is fraud and where there is a lot of money there is a lot of fraud. The problem here is that there were little controls so we had to rely on the integrity of the teachers and administrators to prevent the fraud. My guess is that Georgia is not the only place that this fraud is being committed.
When government funds are based on performance, there is a need for controls and/or audits or else the integrity of individuals will be tested and often strained. I would hope we could rely on integrity among teachers and school administrators, but, unfortunately, integrity is becoming a rarer and rarer commodity in today's world. Here is a quote from a parent with children in some of the schools found cheating in Georgia:
This is doubly sad when the children are being taught by the teachers that cheating is okay! Wow--is there no integrity among these teachers?!"What is happening? Are our teachers cheating? Is the administration cheating? Have we created a cheating culture? You know, it's so many things to think about as a parent," Hayes-Tavares says. According to (this mother), her own children knew there was a problem, telling her that it was common for teachers to give students test answers.
Unfortunately, I suspect that integrity will continue to be in short supply as families fail to instill it in children. If we're counting on the school system to instill integrity in children, well, need I say more?!