Anyone that teaches in Georgia has been keeping abreast of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial if you have not, you should tune in. Any educator knows that one simple four letter word is the key to student growth and of course, job security. Data is the operative word and learning to interpret it and have your students do likewise is the key. Data is driving every school decision and the key for any educator is authentic growth. When your students can grow and tell you why they are growing in the classroom, a modest gain is the key to showing authentic growth.
What is disturbing is when students at one Atlanta Public School showed 30% growth in one year and had no connection to how they did it, the educators that had erasure parties and were perhaps led right from the top show that high stakes data can lead to a failure of ethics. Every day, the failure of ethics from plea bargains that are forgotten about on the witness stand show deep the culture of it can run in some school districts.
An excerpt from the Atlanta Journal Constitution gives one example of how educators rubbernecked with glee when looking at the results but knew something was amiss.
Arn St. Cyr testified Monday in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial and recalled how excited teachers at Harper-Archer Middle School were to see double-digit gains in the Spring of 2009.He and former principal Michael Milstead said they weren't told to cheat, but St. Cyr said he had no explanation for a roughly 30-percent improvement other than cheating. Milstead said sudden improvements in students' math scores seemed especially questionable.
While 30% is attainable for some students and even more for some, nowhere do you see where students showed any type of improvement by APS running up to CRCT years in question.
To read the complete article, click the link below.
The trial continues and with careers in tatters and in ruin, this is an example of what some schools have adhered to in order to make inauthentic gains.