July 10th, 2012
11:01 PM ET

Tennessee teachers accused in test fraud

By Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) - A Memphis, Tennessee, man faces a 45-count indictment after prosecutors say he took money from teachers who paid to have other people take their certification exams.

Clarence Mumford, 58, allegedly made tens of thousands of dollars from the scheme, which operated between 1995-2010 and involved teachers and aspiring teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

"Mumford's conduct has done harm to the systems in which unqualified teachers have been able to teach, to the individual schools, to qualified individuals who could have obtained jobs filled by unqualified teachers, and, ultimately, to a generation of our schoolchildren," said Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

It was not immediately clear whether Mumford has retained representation.

According to the indictment, dated Monday, Mumford charged teachers between $1,500-$3,000 per exam. As part of the scheme, he allegedly collected teachers' IDs and made fake driver's licenses.

The purported scam involved approximately 70 teachers, according to Kristin Helm, spokeswoman at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.

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Filed under: Cheating • Issues • Teachers
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. WOW

    The tests are not that hard. I had to take the math test for high school. If you have a degree in the subject you teach then the test is easy.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  2. Just Say'n

    Have they identified the teachers that bought the exams and have they been fired?

    July 12, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  3. Teacher Lady

    As a teacher I look at some of the teachers my children have had and wonder where on earth they got their education...one even wrote in a note home to all students that they "celebrated Vetran's Day and learned about Betsy Lee Roth making the first American flag". Maybe this answers my questions about their schooling! They had someone else take their certification test! It is frustrating having to explain to your nine year old that her teacher was wrong about certain "facts".

    July 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • The Truth

      What teaachers should know the subjects they are teaching? Thats discrimination against the uneducated!

      Seriously though, the problem is teachers for some reason are coddled and they think they are special compared to the rest of the world in how their skills and performance are evaluated. If a welder does not pass his recertification test he can not weld and the company may either suspend him until he recertifies or just fire him. You don't hear welders or any other professional whine about this, just teachers. Yes, I do know many teachers, welders and other professionals who have to recertify their skills.

      Teachers must demonstrate their knowledge in the subjects they teach and just as important demonstrate their ability to teach it. If not they need to look for a new career, just like everyone else in the world.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • chefdugan

      ANY teacher that graduated from a "college of education" is unqualified to teach! When they start hiring people with subject-specific degrees the public education system will stop turning out functional illiterates.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:57 am |
      • Alexander Rogge

        "ANY teacher that graduated from a "college of education" is unqualified to teach! When they start hiring people with subject-specific degrees the public education system will stop turning out functional illiterates."

        That's the real problem. Educators go to school to learn how to be educators, which may work up until the middle school level. In junior and senior high school, however, I've seen many teachers who seem to have never attended the same courses they're teaching. They know less than the students who do the pre-reading for lab assignments, and they're perplexed when students absorb knowledge from television or books and bring informed curiosity into the classroom. The educational system regards teachers who go to school to learn Education, and who can prep for and pass some educator tests, as being more qualified to teach than a person with real knowledge and experience. It's no wonder, then, that there are so many ignorant teachers standing in front of our youth.

        July 12, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • yonyo

      The one perk about that is that at least your kids learn at a young age to question what they're being taught and think for themselves.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  4. PaulTinEG

    (Corrected spelling) I was thinking the same thing – that he needs to teach something other than English. Don't they write science reports anymore?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  5. PaulTinEG

    I was thinking the same thing – that he needs to teach something other than English. Don't they write science reports anymore?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  6. WHAT?

    The administrators at nearly every national public school push for nothing but numbers and results – nothing else matters, including students. Why are we shocked that the education system is broken and filled with fraud?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • jim

      That is a response from the ethically challenged!

      The reason why there is much demand for better performance is because performance is dismal and has been dropping for well over 4 decades. The people expect better andadministrators expect better. And the teachers should expect better.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  7. 2012marandalaw

    Reblogged this on Marinchek-Marn and commented:
    Thats just the Surface...Whats the Hidden Agenda?

    July 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  8. Deanbo

    And look at the states where it happened, shocking........

    July 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  9. Stacy

    I home some were science teachers.. . . Im looking for a job

    July 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • TurboKhan

      Good thing you're not an aspiring English teacher

      July 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • PaulTinEG

        I was thinking the same thing – that he neds to teach something other than English. Don't they write science reports anymore?

        July 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • jim

      "I home some were science teachers.. . . Im looking for a job"

      Seems that you would fit in well.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:19 am |