Monday, February 15, 2010

Georgia Cheating Scandal

It appears most of the cheating went on in predominantly black counties. Metro counties. At least that’s the way it looks. Disappointing. Someone please dispute my findings. Tell me I am wrong!

What does this mean? Are black children ill-prepared? Are they, as stats prove, not efficient at taking standardized test? Are the teachers not productive/efficient in preparing the students as the other county teachers? Help…

This has been in the news for quite some time. I stayed away from the subject because I was preoccupied with what I would discover…

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-crct-cheating-scandal-295376.html

Brian E. Payne sharing.

According to a recent article in School Library Journal, a huge percentage of high school students–95%!!!–say they have cheated at some point in school. Their definitions of cheating ranged from allowing other students to copy their homework to cheating on tests. The statistics come from Donald McCabe, a professor of management and global business at Rutgers University. McCabe has been surveying college students for eighteen years and high school students for six years. His high school results come from surveys of 24,000 students in 70,000 schools. Sixty-four percent of students report serious cheating on tests, including copying from someone else, helping someone else cheat, or using cheat notes. Fifty-eight percent of students admitted plagiarizing. Many students were caught cheating primarily because they bragged about their skill at beating the system.

15 comments:

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

It is hard for me to comment on this because I have not been following the particular details of this latest story. I will search for more info. For now, I can only comment on my impressions about the story.

I am not surprised that the media reports that cheating occurs in academics. It is a cottage industry in schools, colleges and universities around the world. It is a somewhat lucrative business nationwide too. However, what does surprise me, if I am reading things correctly, is that it is the adult staff members and not children are the ones cheating.

I hate this type of scandal because it always plays out against the broader American canvas of race. I have been in some sort of school, training or workshop for many years. I have seen white people cheat their way all the way through grad school. The difference is that they don’t carry a national banner of disgrace which condemns all white people for the actions of the few or the one. It is so different for black people. No matter what the outcome, black kids will be associated with this latest scandal for a long time. The deeper implications are that black kids must cheat in order to get ahead, and that old “bell curve thing” has some validity - all black children are “intellectually inferior.”

Education is a dichotomy. The two main aspects of learning involve raw academics – formulas, rote learning or memorization, application of knowledge, etc. The second aspect is the human element – pertaining to students having the discipline to study effectively on their own, plan ahead and develop time management skills, take information or leadership from a teacher, etc. It is always that second aspect that trips.

Whenever I see declining scores, I always chalk it up to students not positioning them selves for excellence rather than some sort of stamp of intellectual inferiority. I always remind myself that many black youth still hold this counterproductive view that the “smart” kids are nerds or trying “to be white.” What’s sad about this is that was the same type of thinking that was prevalent 40 years ago. What went wrong and how did it survive all this time? Ironically, blacks from other parts of the world tend to have just the opposite view, they want to be the smart one.

Ironically, many people I have spoken to feel that the whole system is a cheat against black people where the rules change constantly to suit those in positions of power or those with less than honorable intentions. Many point to politicians who lie and cheat, athletes on performance enhancing drugs, domestic and international treaties that rob and cheat, teachers who grade on whether or not they like a student and so on.

It’s no secret that the academia is off course and in serious need of an overhaul. The hierarchy has taken power and initiative away from teachers, have chipped away at this notion that education is the top priority, and make decisions that fly in the face of putting children first. What remains is a system in crisis that actually turns students off to higher learning, drives them out as the truancy and drop out rates show, and railroads them straight into the eager hands of the law enforcement catchment mechanism.

This latest scandal only highlights deeper problems in education - where teachers must teach to and prepare students to pass a standardized test. The curriculum centers around this singular goal. So, our education system is not being conducted to inspire, encourage future learning, to leave no child behind, or to teach student to be productive citizens of the world. It teaches them to pass a standardize test. If a certain percentage fails that test that school won’t meet AYP. It’s no wonder so many young people are turned off and that adult feel compelled to change answers. So, I guess you could say by changing answers adult staff are meeting CYA at these kids expense.

-RK

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to RK:

I agree with all you have conveyed.

It is pathetic that there will be a dark stain lingering over the state of GA for a long time over this. It appears the cheating was signed off and sealed by the administrators. Instead of the ADULTS cheating, perhaps the schools could have sent a message by allowing the negative results/wrong answers to be revealed. Maybe then the state would address the massive failure in the standardized test. It is basic to me: Allow what will happen (test failure) to bring attention to the ‘higher-ups’. The answer changers failed the students in SO MANY WAYS…considering the test could be proven to be the problem. Not now. As it stands with the GA officials the test and implementation of the test is up-to-par. Well…

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

State senator: Not so sure about criminalizing teacher/school cheating

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/02/15/state-senator-not-so-sure-about-criminalizing-teacherschool-cheating/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Good response from Mari Ann Roberts:

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/02/15/education-professor-schools-are-pressure-cookers-ready-to-explode/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

This cheating scandal is embarrassing for blacks. The connotations and implications further deepens the beliefs about us.

-PC

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds:

What happen to the art of liberal education and flexibility in the education system? What happen to molding well-rounded kids? This ed system is a way to robot-a-tize children. The average student knows nothing about the Harlem Renaissance. West Indian culture. Indian culture. Ask a random 12th grader about Gandhi. Ask them about all the famous black authors e.g. Chinua Achebe. But they can, maybe, complete an Algebra equation. How many us use higher mathematics day to day? Addition, Subtraction, Division, and Multiplication is all most need. But yet, geometry is on a pass/fail test. Asinine!

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

This is a very tough issue that can be approached from many angles. I have never changed my students' answers or encouraged them to change any of their answers durring a state test. but honestly, i can see how that thought might cross a teacher's mind.

there are many stigmas attached to standardized test taking and many of those are often that the tests are biased against students of color. the tests that have been released that i've seen are not. in fact, they're really not that difficult. i can only speak with authority about the reading and language arts exams and even last year's math test. to top that off, the standards are so ridiculously low, (don't remember the percentage off hand) that failure is passing. you may need to get 60% of the questions correct (and that may be generous). all in all, passing geirgia's middle school standardized tests is hardly a major feat.

i say all that to suggest that when teachers are faced with predicaments like the proposal of pay for performance and students fail those very passable tests because they don't put the effort forth to pass them, you get a little pissed off. i watch many capable children test and they don't score poorly because they can't perform, they score poorly because they refuse to perform. that's a scary reality but it is absolutely true. when my sudents don't pass the reading test, i'm angry because i know it doesn't take much to pass it. you can literally fail by an average person's standards and still pass the state test. i don't think many people outside of education realize how low the georgia performance standards are.

i can go on and on. so much to say. but i think it's important to note that after a teacher busts their behind in a classroom doing a variety of activities to promote lifelong learning and to help students pass the test, it is deplorable how an able student could still fail a standardized test in this state.

-A Peaceful Journey

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to A Peaceful Journey:

This is quite revealing. Wow! The standard to pass is that low? Low by the standard of what you believe as a teacher you have taught? Shared in lessons? I ask because it appears to be a comprehension issue. What do you think?

"i watch many capable children test and they don't score poorly because they can't perform, they score poorly because they refuse to perform."

That statement is extremely scary. Refuse to perform? What does that mean? Are the students conveying: it is cool to fail the test? Do they care or value the importance of the test?

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

A Peaceful Journey Responds to Muata:

the myths behind education are so multi faceted, it's ridiculous.

there are children who don't perform because they don't take the time to answer the questions on the test. several children will tell you after 15 minutes that they are done with a 30 question reading test, because many of them choose any answer because they don't want to read--those with reading challenges and those without. some are not the best readers, but with the amount of time given to take the test, even a struggling reader can pass (based on georgia standards). some students do have comprehension problems, that's why i specified capable students. however many of those students who are in general ed with comprehension challenges can still pass, because technically you don't need "to pass" to pass. btw, standards are low across the country. some states may clearly have higher ones, but when i taught in nyc, i think students only needed to get about 48% of the questions right. it's crazy. that's why i find it very disturbing to attend meetings evealuating children and the crct (standardized test) scores are used as a tool of measurement. if they passed, that doesn't suggest they're on grade level. there's so much with this topic. uuggghhhh!

besides, in much of public education there's no pressure on students to pass becasue they get promoted anyway. i'll say that many students don't feel pressure. you can fail all of your classes and get promoted. there are definitely sectors of public education that are working, but the majority is bullshit. it seems like people are always quick to blame the teacher, and from my experience, the teacher is probably the hardest working person in the whole system which includes the students.
then you get into parents not helping, bureaucracy. it's bananas. too much to contain in an email.

-A Peaceful Journey

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to A Peaceful Journey:

This is so disappointing. America's education system...as it continues to go down the drain our kids are becoming incompetents. Losers in the bureaucracy. I never imagined that I would get to the point of accusing the American educational system of not caring about the American youth. With all that America is guilty of I cannot believe this country has turned its back on this issue e.g. the complexity of the educational mess. Too much time spent on political posturing instead of coming up with solutions. What is wrong with this country? Animals care for their children in all ways before they send them out into 'the world'. Thanks. Thanks for your dedication. Commitment. Sacrifice. You are appreciated, TEACHER. All of you are, Shirley Jean and Pat!

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

I like all of the articles that you have shared. AJC is a great source. Savannah Morning News would never have such a variety of fact or even opinion.

-SP

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Responds to Muata:

Hey Brian,

Its funny that you mentioned animals. During the Katrina disaster, animals were airlifted out while the poor and in-firmed were left to fend for themselves. In the far reaches of West Virginia and other rural areas, dog, chicken and other types of fight contests are conducted like social gatherings. These events don't even raise an eyebrow. However, Michael Vick is practically excoriated for doing what in other communities is rather commonplace.

In this society of strict animal laws, it’s not inconceivable that a person could get more jail time for cruelty to animals than man against man. I belief that the nation treats and cares more for it's pets better than black children or their education.

To answer your question more fully, I believe the nation's priorities are all messed up and in some cases just backwards. That is why a ballplayer makes millions but a teacher just enough to get by, pizza deliverers make more than hospital orderlies, and the list goes on. Priorities are messed up and the disturbing thing to me is that I don't know if could ever be fixed.

I always tell people America is not one large nation. It is 50 small nation states loosely and legally tied together by a 200+ year old constitution. Everything is open to interpretation and re-interpretation across political, economic, social, racial, regional, county and state lines. That’s why the simplest things become impossibly complex and impossible to achieve like no child left behind or a 60-year health care reform initiative that most people want. It's not just the educational system that needs an overhaul, all separate and interlocking systems need a strict review, right down to the way the nation does all its business.

At one time, it was illegal to educate black children and blacks were kept out of any educative planning. Now that it's legal and blacks are involved but, it still seems illegal since the system is in chaos and turning off students to higher learning at an alarming rate.

When student are taught just what they need to know to pass a test, I see no evidence that they are getting a global or well rounded education. That's why household policy has always been to remind my children that their education begins after 3 pm. For years, I have routinely given them assignments and presentations projects to do that taught them more that the system could ever offer.

-RK

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

A Peaceful Journey responds to RK:

i don't see the evidence of this mass amount of people in education who are "turning off students to higher learning". i always hear talk of this super power within the system, but i have yet to witness it on a level large enough to say or even suggest that it is a dominant force.

i don't know many teachers who teach just to have students pass tests. teachers are going beyond the call of duty to make sure children are prepared to compete with other children whose parents are preparing them to rule the world. i think it would be a lot easier to just to teach with the goal of simply passing the standardized tests, because you can do a lot of rote work and drills that don't require any sort of higher level thinking beyond that required for the exam. i did know a teacher who did this and her scores were always high. i didn't think it was the best thing to do, beacuse i have a much larger goal for students. however, in many ways , it is easier.

i think that it's a popular and comfortable to embrace the notion that there is a formidable force in the educational system that is preventing blacks from excelling, but i do not believe that is the case. and, i have no real evidence to substantiate that. i've been seriously thinking about writing a poem called "in defense of the white man" because we can't keep blaming other people. for the most part, we dug the hole we're in. it wasn't imposed upon us. we have an abundance of resources in the poorer, black neighborhoods that go untapped. the education is there, our people just gotta take it. it's not concealed. our priorities are all screwed up as a people, and unfortunately, a very large percentage of us don't value education. i think that the notion that the educational systemn is doing us some major disservice is a farce and many of us have accepted that. my fourteen years educating black people have shown me that of us don't want it. and that's what's most alarming to me.

i think we are a disappointment to our ancestors on so many levels and i don't know if harriet tubman or malcolm x or fannie lou hamer would accept their children messing up under the guise of the educational system's unbridled mission to destroy balck people. we have too many options for successthat have been put at our feet. i'm not blaming a system. i'm blaming us for dropping the ball.

after long day of trying to change children's minds...

respectfully.

-A Peaceful Journey

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds:

I was watching the world news last night.

A few US soldiers were securing a village in Afghanistan. They did without much resistance. A reporter asked a Afghan kid how he was doing. The kid responded,

"I want to learn to read and write!"

That was another nail driven for me. It sealed it again for me. That 'it' is, we (black folk) have to want it despite any barrier.

He (the kid) wants to learn to read and write in the midst of a brutal war. What do our kids wants?

I get chills every time I re-see that Afghan kid in my countless visions of the day. I get more chills when I play back his words in my head.

Wow!

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

RK responds to A Peaceful Journey:

I must say that I am neither blaming the white man or defending him. In fact, I mentioned how education is a dichotomy of which the second half seems to pose a problem for us. Overall, I am just stating what I’ve witnessed. My perspective is only based on the fact that I used to teach here in Georgia and my wife has been teacher in the system here and NYC for over 20 years.

As such, I express opinions not based on what I’ve heard or what I think. They are based on what I’ve witnessed. From my experience, I have never known any student to simply refuse to test well or choose to fail. They either test well or they don’t based on level of prep, understanding and commitment to getting the work done.

In countless discussions with Dekalb county teachers including my wife, one of the blaring issues for them is this whole idea of teaching to a test. I assure you that this is a real and sensitive issue among them. Teachers are frustrated with this aspect of their jobs. It’s a reality.

I thought that the statistics surrounding the increasing number of teens dropping out of schools and a tangible crisis in education all across the nation was well known. The trends I have mentioned are publically verifiable. At the end of the day, there either is a problem or there is not. I believe that most people think there is a deep and serious problem and these crises as well as the stats bare witness.

-RK