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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Blogs

Teachers teach how to cheat

“We expect school administrators and teachers to teach students to play by the rules and to lead by example, so these allegations that they changed grades and coached students during exams are very troubling,” a statement from district attorney Kathleen M. Rice after the investigation of teacher’s aiding young elementary students and giving answers on standardized tests in Nassau County, Long Island.

Eighteen teachers in two elementary schools have been interviewed throughout the invesigation. That’s right the whole school might be corrupt, as opposed to just one teacher. I’m not going to lie, back in the days of recess and MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) if I was unsure or confused about a question on the test I would ask my teacher. They never really flat out gave me the answer, but they always hinted at which one was right. Is that cheating? The case in Long Island is identified as different as the suspects are believed to have provided the answers to the young second, third and fourth graders.

Why did they do it? Well standardized test scores are compared state and nationwide. Sometimes teachers see the world like a gym class and instead of kickball like their third grade students they compete by making their students the best in the district. Now the methods in which they do that can always be questioned and some high test scores are results of strong teaching, but if a teacher believes a score on a standardized test is a reflection of how well they do their job, they might be encouraged to tell students whether the answer is A B C or D.

Long Island is not the first place where teachers cheating for their students has occurred. In 18 classrooms in 11 schools in D.C. cheating from teachers was proven to be true after unusually high test scores. In this case all of the schools were Elementary schools. In the short run, yes teachers are wrong for giving students the right answers on high stakes tests, but in the long run the situation worsens. Teachers are teaching students to go against the rules in order to get ahead. Correction, they are teaching children to lose their morals as they break the rules.

The teachers getting fired is not the worse punishment that comes out of these situations. The student and child will grow up to not remember the math they learned in the fifth grade, but will remember how their teacher taught them how to get a high score by cheating. This leads to cheating in high schools and in colleges where being sent to the Principal’s office will be the least of their worries. Failing the course, or getting kicked out of the institution is a risk that they will unwillingly take based on what their teachers taught them from an early age.