More teachers banned from classroom in APS cheating scandal
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announces the findings of a special investigation of alleged cheating on state test scores in the Atlanta Public School System at a press conference in July 2011.
April 13th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

More teachers banned from classroom in APS cheating scandal

by Donna Krache, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) – Georgia’s Professional Standards Commission (PSC) has revoked the teaching permits of 67 more educators implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.  Some of the teachers were barred from the classroom for two years; others had their certificates permanently revoked, according to WSB.

The PSC now has 100 cases left to review connected with the cheating allegations.  It has made recommendations for 83 cases so far.  The names of the teachers who have lost certification will not be made public until all appeals are complete.

Earlier this week, an APS tribunal voted to terminate an elementary school teacher.

Another has already been fired, one has retired and 24 have resigned, according to WSB.

Officials are under pressure to make decisions stemming from this case quickly, as the district may be forced to offer contracts to accused teachers who haven’t been let go by May 15.  In addition, implicated teachers whose cases have not yet been addressed remain on the APS payroll, costing the district hundreds of thousands of dollars each month.

Read more on the latest developments in the Atlanta cheating scandal from WSB.

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Filed under: Cheating • Policy • Practice
April 12th, 2012
06:28 AM ET

My View: The other types of cheating

Courtesy Michael Lisnet/Math for AmericaBy Gary Rubinstein, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note:  Gary Rubinstein is a high school math teacher and the author of two guidebooks for new teachers, “Reluctant Disciplinarian” and “Beyond Survival.”  He is also a two-time recipient of the Math for America Master Teacher Fellowship. He blogs at

In a recent investigation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution analyzed data from nearly 70,000 schools and found indications of standardized test cheating in as many as 200 districts.  When a school tampers with standardized tests, certain people benefit while others suffer.  The principal of the cheating school might get a bonus, while the honest school might get shut down.

Though test tampering is bad, I have examined eight other common types of cheating for my blog that I believe are even worse.

No. 1

In my opinion, a huge cheat that would cost nearly nothing to fix is the way some charter schools claim they get miraculous results with the “same kids” as the “failing” public schools down the road.  Studying the newly released New York City teacher data reports,  I found strong evidence that some charters in New York have incoming students who are a bit above average.  Not only that, but the improvements achieved with those students were also merely average. This cheat helps some charter school CEOs get rich, but that money comes at the expense of the public school that unnecessarily loses its funding.  All schools should have to accurately publish information on their incoming students, including prior academic achievement.

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Filed under: Cheating • Issues • Voices
Update on the Atlanta cheating scandal
April 5th, 2012
06:55 AM ET

Update on the Atlanta cheating scandal

By John Martin, CNN
(CNN) – Atlanta Public Schools is preparing for annual, state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests later this month. This high stakes testing session is the first after an inquiry by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation suggested that at least 178 APS educators had cheated on the CRCT. The inquiry concluded the cheating had possibly gone on for years, up to and including the 2009 exam.

After the report's release, Superintendent Erroll Davis made a promise to Atlanta parents: "None of those implicated will be in the classroom when school starts this fall." Resign or be fired – that was the message coming from Davis' office, in letters and in meetings. About 70 educators named in the report retired or quit.

Of the teachers that remain, educators with three or more years of experience have tenure. The district cannot terminate them without due process. The district might even be forced to offer contracts to accused teachers who haven't been let go by May 15.

Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Keith Bromery recently told CNN that about 100 educators who have been implicated in the investigation remain on the APS payroll, on paid administrative leave. The accused educators are costing the district $600,000 to $1 million a month.

APS is in the process of terminating all of the alleged cheating educators. The district "hopes to do all of these by the middle of May," Bromery told CNN.

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Filed under: Cheating • Legal issues • Policy • Practice • Testing
Your comments: Cheating widespread?
March 30th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

Your comments: Cheating widespread?

by the Schools of Thought Editors

(CNN) - This week we reported on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s investigation into possible nationwide cheating on standardized tests.

Read: Report: Test cheating may be widespread.

There were hundreds of comments on this story, many of them focused on different aspects of this story, from security, to teacher evaluation, to No Child Left Behind pressure, to flaws in our culture. Here’s a sampling of what was posted, edited for length and clarity:

WhatNow said:I  know people want accountability in schools, however, when you tie test scores to a teachers’ job security, you set the groundwork for problems. Once upon a time, we used the bell-shaped curve to decide if a teacher was doing their job. For those who don't know, that meant we actually expected some students to excel, most would be average and some would even fail. Somewhere along the line, we decided that all should be passing with high grades. If not, it must be the teachers’ fault. Why? Not everyone will be great in school. Not everyone deserves an A. Everyone deserves the opportunity to an education. This does not mean that all will be successful. We need a new way to evaluate teachers.”

Leila said: “If test scores are tied to job security, we will see many more cases of cheating, especially in underserved school districts where people live below the poverty line, where many kids live in motels rather than real homes, and where many kids are living with relatives because CPS intervened or parents are incarcerated. Exaggeration? No. This is reality. It is a challenge to motivate kids who come to school sick, are battling with domestic issues, and poverty. Try teaching the art of persuasive writing, proper diction, syntax, sophisticated vocabulary and compound sentences to kids who quite frankly have far more important and life threatening issues to deal with when 3:00 comes around. In my school, we are not only educators, but we are counselors, listeners, advisers, and sometimes protectors. There ARE other factors out there involved in educating our at-risk, underperforming students.”

kls817 said: “Maybe we need to keep the tests out of the hands of the teachers, who might be tempted to edit them. Have a third party administer and collect the tests. This does involve a small amount of additional head count, but it is needed.”

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Filed under: Cheating • Policy • Practice • Testing • Voices
March 28th, 2012
03:28 PM ET

SAT cheating scandal leads to new security rules

A college entrance exam cheating scandal leads to new nationwide security rules.  CNN's Mary Snow reports.

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Filed under: Cheating • Policy • video
March 27th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

SAT, ACT institute tough new measures to prevent cheating

Sweeping new security measures to prevent cheating on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams were announced Tuesday.

Beginning with exams taken in September, students will have to submit a photo of themselves when they apply for a test. That photo will be printed on the student's test admission ticket and the roster provided to proctors at testing sites. Testing staff will compare the submitted photo to a photo ID and to the student in person at the testing site.

Photo checks will take place when the student arrives at the testing site, during breaks and when tests are handed in.

Student photos will also remain in the testing databases and be checked again by high school counselors and college admission officials once scores are calculated and submitted.

The new rules were announced at news conference in Nassau County, New York, where 20 people were arrested last fall in a SAT/ACT cheating scandal.

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Filed under: After High School • Cheating • Policy
March 25th, 2012
10:45 PM ET

Report: Test cheating may be widespread

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) An investigative report published in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution found indications of standardized test cheating in school systems throughout the U.S.

The seven-month long investigation of testing data examined 1.6 million records from almost 70,000 public schools nationwide. Suspicious score increases, high numbers of erasures and other irregularities were uncovered in about 200 school districts.  The indicators found were similar to those discovered in Atlanta Public Schools, says the AJC.

Atlanta as cheating ground zero

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has broken news before about test cheating.  In 2009, the paper reported “statistically unlikely” test score gains at some Atlanta schools.  A state review determined that some cheating had occurred in more than half of the district’s elementary and middle schools.  About 180 teachers have been implicated in the scandal.

So far, one teacher, Damany Lewis, has admitted to cheating and been fired. Other educators suspected of cheating who have not accepted a “resign or be fired” deal are being brought before a tribunal to hear their cases and determine what actions will be taken.

Former University of Georgia Chancellor Dr. Erroll Davis was named interim superintendent of APS last year. He replaced Dr. Beverly Hall.  Hall resigned in June 2011 after 11 years as the head of APS. She was the recipient of praise and awards for her role in the district’s increased graduation rates and higher test scores.

Officials from APS and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are still investigating what has become known as the “biggest cheating scandal in American history,"  but according to the AJC, Atlanta is not alone in its testing irregularities.

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Filed under: Cheating • Policy • Practice • Testing
Cheating scandal turns foes into allies
February 24th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

Cheating scandal turns foes into allies

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast Jim Roope tell the story of how the former head of the teachers union (who very much disliked charter schools) will now become its principal. And he is getting help from a former school board member who disliked the teachers union as much as the former union head once disliked charters.

By Jim Roope, CNN

(CNN) A cheating scandal at a Los Angeles charter school system last year has resulted in an unlikely partnership in the creation of a new charter school system.

Last year, John Allen, the executive director of Crescendo Charter Schools, a six-campus charter school system in L.A., allegedly told teachers at all six schools to unseal the state standardized tests and create a lesson plan that teaches directly to the test.

Some of the teachers refused Allen’s request as they viewed it as cheating. First grade teacher Elise Sargent said their jobs were threatened if they didn’t comply.

“There was a lot of confusion going on,” said Sargent. “For a while there was a lot of undercover talks about how we are going to get this out. We needed to make sure the Los Angeles Unified School District knows about this,” she said.

Sargent said the hesitation came with the fact that the teachers at Crescendo were not unionized and so were not sure the union would help or protect them. Sargent said they braved a call to then teachers’ union president A.J. Duffy.

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Filed under: Charter schools • Cheating • Podcast • Policy • Practice
Keep kids from cheating in school
Technology, busy schedules and distractions all make it increasingly easier for kids to cheat.
January 17th, 2012
12:26 PM ET

Keep kids from cheating in school

By Melissa Balmain,

( - You're a typical fourth-grader. You've got soccer three afternoons this week, two birthday parties, piano, chess club, recycling club, and making-stuff-from-duct- tape club. On top of all that, you're supposed to write a big report about tornadoes - and you know Mom and Dad will freak if you bring home a bad grade. Would you be tempted to save time with a little cutting and pasting from the web?

If you're like plenty of students, you would. It's a perfect storm out there for cheating: jam-packed after-school schedules, high expectations from parents and teachers, and technology just waiting to help kids make an end run around the rules. Studies show that by the time they graduate from high school, 80 to 85 percent of kids have cheated at least once, says Eric M. Anderman, Ph.D., a professor of educational psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus.

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Filed under: At Home • Cheating • Practice
Manila's forgers graduate with honors from 'Recto University'
Fake official documents can be bought off the street in Manila for as little as 500 pesos (US$11)
January 17th, 2012
12:18 PM ET

Manila's forgers graduate with honors from 'Recto University'

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN

(CNN) - If you don't have the time, inclination and, more importantly, the money to go to university in Manila, you can still get a degree. It will cost you between $US10 and $US60, it will take about two hours to complete and it will be fake.

Welcome to "Recto University," the name Manila mockingly gives to the strip of document counterfeiters that openly ply their trade between Claro M. Recto and Rizal Avenues in the Philippines capital.

Located a stone's throw from Manila's university district and, somewhat ironically, Manila City Jail, the counterfeiters of Recto can run off a university testamur, any type of diploma, a job reference and, more worryingly, a pilot's license and a seaman's certificate in a matter of hours.

"Today business is not so good," says a hawker sitting beside a makeshift sign displaying fake diplomas, driver's licenses and job references that can be bought for as little as 500 pesos (US$11.50).

"If we do five documents a day, we're doing well," he says smiling broadly. "Sunday is our best day, because people start class or work the next day. Term time at the universities is much better for us than the semester break.

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