Academic Dishonesty: When the Schools Cheat

"The (GA) state education board last week ordered districts to investigate the cause of the irregularities in 191 schools. In one extreme case, an Atlanta middle school was flagged for abnormally high incidents of changed answers in 89.5% of its classes." Clearly there is an issue with Academic honesty in GA. Texas schools are having a similar problem. "We have informed the Houston school district that we're going to conduct a special accreditation investigation," TEA spokeswoman Debbie Graves Ratcliffe said. "Obviously with two incidents, they've got a problem. We need to determine how widespread it is."

It's bad enough that students think nothing of cheating on exams. It's also problematic that parents feel justified in "helping" students complete their work. There is nothing worse, however, than school and system wide academic dishonesty. When teachers, schools, and school districts cheat on tests and academic reporting everyone kids get physically hurt, and emotionally, and academically damaged.

High stakes testing is part of the problem. Educators feel a great deal of pressure to show that students are learning up to standards. When kids fall short, there is a huge temptation to fill in the gap in any way necessary. This may mean getting a peek at the test and working towards it. This may include providing writing prompts that will be used on the test. This may even mean erasing and correcting standardized test papers. These are some of the problems that are showing up in testing audits.Read more details

The issue does not stop at testing however. Schools also cheat on crime and incident reports. After all, no one wants to admit that there is a major behavior problem in their school and that it is potentially dangerous. Failure to make these reports correctly can cause families to move into areas with schools that can barely handle it's current population, not to mention take on more. In my neighborhood in particular. Had county reports actually shown real test scores and crime reports I (and many others) would have picked a different school district that was not crowded. Instead, we found ourselves in a trailer jungle that was not capable of serving out kids. Truthful reporting would have slowed the tide of incoming schools and given them a fighting chance of succeeding, and probably less families deciding to homeschool.