Sunday, January 19, 2014

Philadelphia Public Schools Cannot Be Brothers' Keepers If Principals and Teachers Are Cheaters

   If the news of the DOJ announcing on Friday that it was going to investigate suspensions in public schools due to a disproportionate number of minorities being suspended did not get your attention, try this on for size. Suspensions that for however long seem like the worst way to encourage children to stay in school and learn. A suspended student is going to become a falling behind, low esteem, and frustrated student leading to more discipline and more suspensions until voila the student drops out and joins the ranks of those pretty much excluded from achieving any significant part of the American Dream other than the Nightmare portion and ending up in jail or prison.
    The news emanating from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, about teachers and principals engaging in test score cheating  is just as bad, a delayed fuse of failure with students not dropping out but with test scores that overstate their learning skills that will have sapped their desires to try to achieve and will implode in their careers. 53 schools, 3 charter and 50 non charter of the 291 Philadelphia public schools, 80 charter and the rest non charter are been investigated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General and a Grand Jury over cheating on test scores of those schools not by the students but by teachers, other employees and  principals, three of which have been dismissed (in the educational union world that is a Ripley's Believe It Or Not moment in and of itself. The Philadelphia Inquirer has an excellent article on this scandal worth reading. Link below
I would hope as the story unfolds someone asks the obvious question why only 3 out of 80 of the charter schools are implicated? What is it about the charter schools in Philadelphia that might need to be followed by the public schools? Hopefully also,  the paper will follow the unions' response, i.e. will the principals and teachers if in fact guilty be held accountable without thousands of dollars spent to dismiss them. One thing is certain in a test cheating scandal by the teachers and principals the real cheatees on the students whose chances of success in this world have been severely threatened. Further comment in rhyme as befitting my handle:
Who Needs A Crib Sheet If The Teachers Are Cheating For You?
The scandal in 53 Philadelphia public schools should hit a sore and exposed nerve
News of test cheating by teachers and principals is not what the pupils deserve
If test scores are improved not because of what the pupils learn and retain
But because a teacher or principal cheats to increase, students lose, there is no gain
Phony tests can only cheapen and  decrease the value of a passing grade
Undereducated into life, now trying through swirling currents of technology try to wade
Stripped of the ability to think, to compute, to read, to solve, left with only to test
If a teacher is going to boost your score, why study, why even try to do your best?
Philadelphia is not alone, 37 other states have suffered from the raise-test-scores cheat
Bad enough our students are learning only to test, with this scandal the decline of pupils chances is complete!
A fish rots from the head and three principals in the scandal have been shed
Are there more or were the teachers in the 53 schools on their own or being led?
I hope the teachers’  and principals’ unions if the charges are found to be true
Act to support integrity and urge their firing and do not try to sue
Another institution, like Congress, the President, DHHS, the media, the military et al, takes a credibility hit
When will the erosion of public confidence ever slow, when if ever will it quit?
Not as money and rewards flow based on higher test scores
If anything, we should see not less scandals, only more
To find a silver lining in this pathetic, dishonest and criminal mess
Note, of the 80 charter schools, only 3 were alleged to have been cheating on tests.
© January 19, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

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