by Vivian Kuo, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) – Investigators say nearly 50 schoolteachers and administrators inGeorgia's Dougherty County School System have participated in "criminal conduct and wrongdoing" in influencing results of standardized exams.
The discovery comes in a new report released Tuesday by members of a special task force appointed by former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to look into suspiciously high scores on the exams, called the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), a multiple-choice test given annually to all public school students in the state.
"Hundreds of schoolchildren were harmed by extensive cheating in the Dougherty County School System. In 11 schools, 18 educators admitted to cheating," members of the task force said in the report. "We found cheating on the 2009 CRCT in all of the schools we examined. A total of 49 educators were involved in some form of misconduct or failure to perform their duty with regard to this test."
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal called the findings alarming.
by Jennifer Davis, Special to CNN
Editor’s Note: Jennifer Davis is the co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Learning, which is dedicated to expanding learning time to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education. For twenty years she has held federal, state and local positions aimed at improving educational opportunities for children, including serving as U.S. Department of Education Deputy Assistant Secretary . She can be followed on Twitter @expanding_time.
Common sense tells us that when it comes to learning, time matters. An individual simply cannot become more proficient in any given area without committing a certain amount of time to grasping new content, practicing and honing skills, and then applying such knowledge and skills to realizing specific outcomes. Think of the chess master who plays match after match to improve his game, or the scientist who toils long hours in her laboratory to unlock the mysteries of an intricate scientific puzzle. For them, becoming more adept in their chosen field depends on the time they invest to know and do more.
The great irony is that our nation’s public schools have, by their adherence to the conventional calendar created a century ago to meet the needs of farms and factories (180 six-and-a-half-hour days), essentially disregarded the powerful connection between time and learning. We know that many parents who are financially able invest in their children’s education beyond school hours—whether it be programming in the arts, music, ballet, or tutoring. Low-income parents (and increasingly middle-income families) often lack the financial resources to provide additional learning opportunities outside of school.
In this increasingly global economy, it is in our country’s best interest to give our children expanded opportunities for learning in order to prepare them for a complex future. Our students need time both to master the basics and to engage in subjects—from science to foreign languages to art and technology—that pique their interests and encourage a love for continuous learning. We need to teach our students what it means to be a leader, a collaborator, and presenter - all skills that are vital in the 21st century. Schools cannot develop these skills thoroughly in the time currently available. The traditional school calendar limits opportunities for the deep and broad learning students need to thrive.