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D.C. teachers help their students cheat on standardized exams

Sunday, June 05, 2011 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: standardized exams, cheating, health news

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(NaturalNews) If you thought you'd heard it all regarding the sad state of public education in the U.S. today, think again. In the nation's capital, the teachers there help their students cheat on standardized exams.

A report last month said the D.C. Public Schools district is under investigation after officials discovered 14 security breaches by both students and teachers during standardized testing in April. The Office of State Superintendent ordered the investigation after throwing out test scores from three classrooms with "evidence or strong suspicion of test security violation."

"Two classrooms had possible testing irregularities and one classroom had a confirmed case of testing impropriety," Safiya Simmons, a spokeswoman for acting schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, told the Washington Examiner.

In all, the superintendent's office is investigating 18 classrooms after evidence was found that incorrect test answers were erased and then corrected during 2010 testing. Eight of the institutions were charter schools, but 10 belonged to the chronically troubled D.C. public school system. All three of the classrooms where the tests were tossed out belonged to the D.C. district.

Naturally, the report said, D.C. public school officials had no comment about what went on in the suspect classrooms, but really - what can they say? After all, actions speak louder than words: Two teachers were forbidden from taking part in the 2011 testing and a third teacher left the school district before the investigation was finished. Moreover at the Noyes school, one teacher admitted to a violation, USA Today reported.

School spokesman Fred Lewis said none of that was related to the suspected cheating. That denial might carry some weight if this wasn't the first time the D.C. school system has been flagged for suspicious test scores.

According to USA Today, 103 D.C. schools were flagged between 2008-2010 "for having at least one class of students with statistically high rates of wrong answers" that were erased and corrected. That's more than half the schools in the district.

Coincidence? You be the judge. At Noyes, students' passing math on the standardized tests went from 10 percent to 58 percent in a single year, earning it a National Blue Ribbon award from the U.S. Department of Education. But in 2010, during standardized testing, 80 percent of the school's classrooms were flagged for having an inordinate, suspicious amount of erasures that were replaced with correct answers.

In a separate school, seventh grade students averaged 12.7 wrong-to-right erasures, a phenom with better odds than winning the Powerball lottery, USA Today said.

And all along, the nation's large teachers unions continue to resist any real attempts at reforming public education - such as genuine school choice - and holding teachers responsible for their actions (and for actually educating our kids).

Is it any wonder the nation's kids rank near the bottom in comparison to students in developed nations, a development that is certainly not new.

Big Government and Big Union education clearly isn't working, and worse, many of the so-called professionals - the teachers themselves - can't be trusted.

The only real choice, if we're serious about improving our education system, is offering parents a choice in where to send their kids to school. Private schools offer better educational results and it's not just an option for rich kids only.

Every year we wait is another generation of kids we lose.

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