Dishonest Educators

Nearly two years ago, U.S. News & World Report came out with a story titled “Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal.” It reported that “for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history.” More than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated had cheated on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, sometimes called the national report card. Cheating orders came from school administrators and included brazen acts such as teachers reading answers aloud during the test and erasing incorrect answers. One teacher told a colleague, “I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell.” Atlanta’s not alone. There have been investigations, reports and charges of teacher-assisted cheating in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington.

Recently, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s blog carried a story titled “A new cheating scandal: Aspiring teachers hiring ringers.” According to the story, for at least 15 years, teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee paid Clarence Mumford, who’s now under indictment, between $1,500 and $3,000 to send someone else to take their Praxis exam, which is used for K-12 teacher certification in 40 states. Sandra Stotsky, an education professor at the University of Arkansas, said, “(Praxis I) is an easy test for anyone who has completed high school but has nothing to do with college-level ability or scores.” She added, “The test is far too undemanding for a prospective teacher. … The fact that these people hired somebody to take an easy test of their skills suggests that these prospective teachers were probably so academically weak it is questionable whether they would have been suitable teachers.”

Here’s a practice Praxis I math question: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million — 40,000, 250,000, 2,500,000, 1/4,000,000 or 4/1,000,000? The test taker is asked to click on the correct answer.

A practice writing skills question is to identify the error in the following sentence: “The club members agreed that each would contribute ten days of voluntary work annually each year at the local hospital.” The test taker is supposed to point out that “annually each year” is redundant.

CNN broke this cheating story last July, but the story hasn’t gotten much national press since then. In an article for NewsBusters, titled “Months-Old, Three-State Teacher Certification Test Cheating Scandal Gets Major AP Story — on a Slow News Weekend” (11/25/12), Tom Blumer quotes speculation by the blog “educationrealist”: “I will be extremely surprised if it does not turn out that most if not all of the teachers who bought themselves a test grade are black. (I am also betting that the actual testers are white, but am not as certain. It just seems that if black people were taking the test and guaranteeing passage, the fees would be higher.)”

There’s some basis in fact for the speculation that it’s mostly black teachers buying grades, and that includes former Steelers wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who’s been indicted for fraud. According to a study titled “Differences in Passing Rates on Praxis I Tests by Race/Ethnicity Group” (March 2011), the percentages of blacks who passed the Praxis I reading, writing and mathematics tests on their first try were 41, 44 and 37, respectively. For white test takers, the respective percentages were 82, 80 and 78.

This test-taking fraud is merely the tip of a much larger iceberg. It highlights the educational fraud being perpetrated on blacks during their K-12 education. Four or five years of college — even majoring in education, an undemanding subject — cannot make up for those 13 years of rotten education. Then they’re given a college degree that is fraudulent, seeing as some have difficulty passing a test that shouldn’t be challenging to even a 12th-grader. Here’s my question: If they manage to get through the mockery of teacher certification, at what schools do you think they will teach?

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  • Mary Sue

    This just goes to show what a joke Affirmative Action is when it comes to hiring teachers.

    • Deep Space

      What Williams is saying is somewhat in conflict with your comment in that its the early education that our state schools provide black students that leaves them unable to perform well on the Praxis test. Also note that, even though the majority of black test takers failed the Praxis on their first try, somewhere around 40% did not and around 20% of white test takers also failed. We have to deal with the test failures whether they are black or white.

      • Thomas Beach

        That's right. Continue to equivocate as a natural defensive reaction to overwhelming news that blacks in this country are educationally underperforming at abysmal rates in comparisons to whites and others. It makes you feel good to do so. It helps to shield you from having to face reality. I understand that. But it does nothing to either confront or help fix the problem. Try as you might, you can't run away from the numbers. And while there are numerous reasons, it's clear from Mr. Williams' unabashed reporting that political correctness, affirmative action and the rise of the AFT and NEA have collectively doomed our public schools and, most especially, black students.

        • Ace006

          Exactly right. Deep Space's attempt to spin these dismal statistics reminds me of the joke that 95% of lawyers are crooked and it's giving the rest of us a bad name.

      • Mary Sue

        Were you not reading the part where the TEACHERS could NOT pass THEIR OWN tests that they had to pass IN ORDER TO BE TEACHERS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

  • Robin

    The Atlanta Public Schools like many urban districts were piloting the Standards for Teaching and Learning created in Chicago in the early 90s. Those would be the same standards that President Obama has repeatedly said are the real common core. He should know. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was intimately involved in pushing them.

    But they are supposed to come with performance assessments where engaging in the activity or doing the project is the measure of success. That had not happened yet so even a weak criterion test was too much for the psycholinguistics taught students.

    Likewise, the weak Praxis is too much for too many teachers. Those flunking are disproportionately minority by a factor of about 5 to 1. That problem is also now being solved by pushing Performance Assessments for ed school candidates as well. Hides a mountain of ignorance as long as the right attitudes and willingness to make the student centered classroom a priority. Change the student is the goal.… is from materials taken from the California Tomorrow education initiative and backed by the Aspen Institute to go national. Virtually no accurate transmission of knowledge in these classrooms of tomorrow but a tremendous drive to make sure all students recognize a need for Fundamental Transformation.

    Teachers too. That's part of their desired dispositions and performance as well.

    • Mary Sue

      The problem is Affirmative Action is causing the hiring of people who are not qualified, because BLACK TEACHERS AT ALL COSTS, not Qualified Teachers at all costs. They're not even picking the qualified black ones when they're hiring, it's auto- "You're black, you're in. What, hire you based on merit? That would be RACIST!"

  • logdon

    Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift.

    Once this was seen as a condemnation of opportunity and conformity.

    Now? Be careful what you wish for?

  • Billy

    Does the slimy and dishonest word 'minority' include Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans?

    • Mary Sue

      Way to miss the point, Billy.

    • Sussex Girl

      To answer your question, yes and no. Chinese- and Japanese-Americans are minorities, but since as a group they value education above almost everything else, we tend to forget that they are, in fact, minorities. By and large, their girls manage to get through high school and college without becoming single mothers, and their boys usually aren’t the ones in the news for being found dead after a gang shooting. After college, they, men and women, go on to become successful IT specialists, surgeons, professors, and so on. So–yes and no. If the black community wants to approach this level of success, it’s going to have to get over the whole victimhood thing (reparations were paid 150 years ago in the blood of thousands upon thousands of Northern white boys that soaked into the soil all across the South), and teach its young people to behave with some sense of decency: no gangs, no drug dealing, no single mothers with multiple children on public assistance.

    • Poppakap

      Could you be any more disingenuous or childish in your comment? Grow up already. Furthermore, since when was the word minority slimy or dishonest? Sounds like a significant case of projection on your part Billy boy.

  • Kuffar

    “Differences in Passing Rates on Praxis I Tests by Race/Ethnicity Group” (March 2011), the percentages of blacks who passed the Praxis I reading, writing and mathematics tests on their first try were 41, 44 and 37, respectively. For white test takers, the respective percentages were 82, 80 and 78."

    Heaven forbid that the black students be accused of acting "white". So much for the idea that affirmative action will level the playing field. The only thing it levels is the disfunction of blacks to the point where to have enough minority candidates for public service jobs is to give them a 30% bonus on civil service tests to even bring them up to par with the mean of white candidates. Blacks have been dumbed down over the last 40 years to the point where they lack even basic skills to survivie hence the 50% unemployment rate among black millenials. Welcome to the plantation boys…

    • Parenthetical Phrase

      Good point and good post. I would add that blacks have also AGREED to be dumbed down. Take a look at the educational standards at traditionally black colleges. Thomas Sowell was disgusted by the low standards and the refusal by the schools to raise them or to demand serious scholarship by the professors or students.

      "Racism" is certainly used as a cover to hide the fact that too many blacks are simply unprepared for the demands of a highly technical workplace. I worked in an office where the black executive assistant to the CEO could not punctuate a sentence — she didn't even know that you have to put a period at the end of a sentence. She didn't last too long in the position. When I found out she not only graduated high school but had some college, I was shocked.

      What was the most unbelievable thing? She wasn't even aware that she was coming to the job unprepared.

  • Shery

    A great writer! I love both him and Thomas Sowell. I hate that they have been derided by the black community as traitors to their own color. They are, instead, models of incredible success. They out-perform most whites in their field.

    Walter, the sad thing is that over the years, we have known many excellent black teachers. However, we saw (as educators) with our own eyes what happens to most black children, even many who were top of their class, honor students in elementary school. When they went on up to HS the demand to adapt to the hip hop and gansta black culture was so strong that most of these students dropped out of any attempt to maintain good grades, become part of the honor society, etc. It was heartbreaking to see such talent go to waste. When passing them in the supermarket or another store, they recognized you, but lowered their heads, at first, then became more careful to ignore or bypass you.

    • Mary Sue

      Yeah, it's all due to the Affirmative Action, isn't it? I mean, when they use it, they don't even use it to find the qualified black teachers, do they? They'll just take anyone, amirite?

  • liason

    one more nail in the coffin of America!!

  • marsconi

    What troubles me most is the way majority of Black students are being literally screwed by the education system. Because Black students are not performing at the same level as the white and Asian students, we have lowered the standards for all students. So we now treat all students as college material which literally frustrates many Black students because many cannot handle the work. Many drop out of high school. ( I believe the drop out rate for Black males hovers at about 50%….someone correct me if I am off.) Most of these are people who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves but end up becoming angry, bitter and a liability to society. No wonder we have a race problem in this country!

  • Ghostwriter

    It's sad that black students have to go through this.

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  • inception

    I feel bad for anyone who lives in a culture where their self identity becomes associated with suppression and failure!

  • Moliminous

    I once had to attempt working with the then chairman of the Senate Education Committee in California. His concern was that the student population in the University of California system "did not reflect" the color and complexity of California residents. His solution? He compelled (by force of law) that the UC system immediately change its admission requirements so that "more kids of color" would be present on campus. A new mixture of students matriculated into the system the following year (and subsequently). The problem was that more than 70% of them required remedial courses in both math and English just to get started. At the end of the first year (and subsequently), more than 80% dropped out due to failing grades.

    I argued that the policies that needed addressing were NOT the admission requirements for the UC system, but the K-12 education that the students had NOT received prior to their UC admission. But rather than tackle the powerful unions, the chairman sought the easier solution–for him. The students lost and continue to lose to this day.

    It's time for a Separation of School and State. Immediately.

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    Mr. Williams: is it EVER the responsibility of the individual student to study and learn or is ALWAYS the fault of the "system" (read "white establishment")? The process of education is a combined effort of many partners: the student, the parents, the teachers, the principals, the school board, and community groups such as churches. Out of all these partners, the most important is the student.

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