Monday, August 15, 2011

Waterbury Teachers May Have To Pay For Costs Of Cheating

The Connecticut Post reported that the State Department of Education may try to get a law passed to make teachers caught cheating to pay for the costs of investigating and correcting the problems caused by their cheating.

It surely seems like a good idea -- the costs to the State of cheating scandals is large. Investigators have to be paid, students will need to be retested, and well, apparently there's a lot of money at stake. If teachers and administrators were involved in actually changing student answers to fake passing the CMT, then they clearly have some personal responsibility for their actions.

And what these "educators" have done is just like stealing.

But, that being said, they aren't the only ones to blame these days. There are a lot of people out there that have claimed to educate students, but given them a sham. The State is to blame for setting such low and vague standards that they could be met merely by exposing students to a topic. Meeting the state standards should mean you've learned something.  All too often the standards are set so low that anything will count.

Then there are the Boards of Education that set graduation requirements so low that a high school diploma ceases to mean anything.  And the curriculum administrators that force teachers to use a new program because someone at a conference somewhere convinced them it would solve all of their problems, or purchased programs because they claimed to be "research-based" but never bothered to read or evaluate the quality of that research.

The textbook companies and myriad of education companies that create appealing, but vacuous, curriculum and materials, and reap the profits of our schools' failures. Yes, they are to blame too. 

Or the schools of education that have set the bar so low, and removed all elements of content from the required knowledge of newly minted teachers, that they are not prepared (by any measure) to take on a classroom and succeed.

And then there are the unions and the teachers themselves, that have watched passively as their profession lost credibility and respect, and spent too much time protecting the incompetent and not enough time worrying about what is best for students.

And, finally, parents need to be honest ourselves. We've trusted too much, and we've happily believed that we could just pop the little ones on the bus and all would be well.

So let's beat up on the dishonest teachers of Waterbury -- those that knowingly changed student answers should pay the costs of their actions. But the widespread problems of our failing education system will not be addressed until we take a critical and honest look at all levels of the education bureaucracy. There is plenty of blame to go around.

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