Texas school teaches to the test, and only to the test

From the New York Daily News:

A Texas elementary school principal who was suspended is  taking “teaching to the test” to a whole new level.

For most of the 2010-11 year, Field Elementary School only  taught third-grade students two subjects — math and reading – according to a  July report by the Dallas Independent School District dated July 14 and  originally reported by the Dallas Morning News. Meanwhile, the students received  almost no instruction in social studies, science or other subjects.

To make up for the gap, teachers were encouraged to invent  grades.

The hyper-focus on math and reading set many students back a  year in most subjects, but boosted Field Elementary’s score on the Texas  Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test (TAKS). The school’s TAKS score helped  it earn “exemplary” status from the state of Texas.

For third graders, math and reading are the only TAKS scores  that count statewide.

According to the report, Field Elementary Principal Roslyn  Carter “directed and caused false school records to be created relating to  teachers of record, grades of students for subjects not taught, and grades from  teachers for students they did not teach.”

The report cited 10 employees for failing to report the  falsification of student records.

Carter is on paid administrative leave, while the Dallas  Independent School District investigates the false grade scandal.


Atlanta cheating scandal: “There will be consequences”

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Gov. Nathan Deal warned Tuesday “there will be consequences” for educators who cheated in Atlanta Public Schools.

In a news conference at the state Capitol, Deal said that three district attorneys, interim Superintendent Erroll Davis and the state educator licensing board are receiving full copies of a detailed report submitted by special investigators that lays out a decade of organized, systemic cheating in the Atlanta district.

Deal did not release the report, instead providing the media with a two-page summary.  He said the report names 178 educators, including 38 principals, as participants in cheating. More than 80 confessed. The investigators said they confirmed cheating in 44 of 56 Atlanta schools they examined.

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Gov. Nathan Deal’s staff briefed several officials before the news conference, including Atlanta school board chair Brenda Muhammad, vice chair Reuben McDaniel, interim Superintendent Erroll Davis, state House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed and others.

Muhammad described what she heard as “absolutely devastating. Because it’s our children. You just don’t cheat children.”

The ajc article did not mention DeKalb and Douglas counties, also targeted in the probe.

Perhaps getting out of town would be a good idea

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Investigators looking into cheating on standardized tests in the Atlanta Public Schools delivered a voluminous report Thursday to Gov. Nathan Deal — the same day that Superintendent Beverly Hall concluded her 12-year tenure.

Deal is expected to make the report public as early as Tuesday, after his staff briefs members of the Atlanta school board, lawmakers and Mayor Kasim Reed, said Brian Robinson, the governor’s spokesman. “There are people who must hear about it before it’s released to the media.”

Alleged criminal acts detailed in the report are likely to be referred to district attorneys for possible prosecution in at least three counties: Fulton, DeKalb and Douglas.

Hall, 64, made no public appearances in her final days as superintendent and has not announced her plans.