The Notebook blog has found a Philadelphia teacher willing to explain why she helped her 11th-grade English students cheat on the state’s standardized tests. (The blog earlier broke the story that Pennsylvania officials suspected cheating may have occurred in 60 state schools.)
The teacher, who remains anonymous in the story, says she began to help her students cheat because she worried their self-esteem was crushed by taking tests they were in no way academically prepared for. If a student asked a question during one of the eight yearly testing periods, she would help him or her find the right answer, or occasionally just point to it on the exam.
A lot of public school advocates openly admit that the purpose of public school has nothing to do with “academic excellence” or even “minimum standards.” I am comfortable with supporting a public school system that admits its flaws and does not claim to be something it is not. Just let it be a public welfare distribution and daycare center, and be done with all the absurd fantasies about teacher qualifications and academic achievement.
The Atlanta scandal and a USA Today report of potential teacher-sanctioned cheating in 1,600 classrooms across six states has put pressure on the Obama administration for its focus on standardized testing. Teachers in some districts are being paid bonuses for their students’ performance on state tests, and many others have their performance evaluation tied to those scores.
USA Today report: How widespread is teacher-sanctioned cheating?
This is a natural result of broad-based mandatory standards for educational results, and the unions were really stupid to ever allow such standards to be required. They were caught by the hypocrisy of their claims that they supported highly qualified teachers and high academic achievement by students, whereas in reality they are against both. Perhaps this cognitive dissonance will lead to the massive implosion of the educational mythmaking apparatus in the US.