Teachers caught in the big Atlanta schools cheating scandal complain about the pressure of achieving scores and targets from administrations in the school districts. Furthermore, they are attesting that it is the fault of the "No Child Left Behind Act." The Atlanta Journal reported today that the findings from the investigations gave three primary areas for the wide-spread cheating.
The report indicates that all schools would be considered failing under the "No Child Left Behind Act" expecting 100% proficiency. The stern actions of sanctions against teachers and principals keep them in fear of job loss. However, the teachers and principals are to take responsibility and expect to offer students the ability to gain perfect proficiency in common learning areas such as reading, writing and math? This excuse is sadly the result of educators that are not interested in education but in the paycheck and summer holiday. Too many excellent teachers get a bad reputation falling into the same class as teachers and principals that find it necessary to cheat instead of teach.
The article in the Atlanta Journal goes on to say, "Georgia and other states, as well as the federal administration and Congress, should treat the Atlanta scandal as a national warning call. Assessment and accountability policies much be overhauled to promote genuine educational quality, not just easily manipulated test scores."
Today the education system does need an overhaul. Teachers should not be able to sit in classrooms and not focus on the needs of the students. Whether a student comes from a low-income home or is learning English as a second language, all students deserve a chance. Blaming metrics and testing and indicating that they feel intimidated by losing their job if they can't perform is a cop-out. Everyone feels worried about their jobs if they cannot perform, teachers should be no different.
Living in Georgia and knowing from experience, the test is not too complicated for an average student. All students ought to be able to learn the information and pass the tests with quality teachers. Cheating is ridiculous and only a warning sign that the system does need an overhaul. Changing standards of testing or dumbing down the tests for students is not the answer. The overhaul needs to be from the classroom and by finding teachers that want to teach. Any teacher that uses excuses to cheat on state testing should not have a job.