City Reports Increase in Allegations of Cheating by Educators
Here's a related NYT article on whether NYC is doing enough to combat cheating. It's good that both the city and state are taking the issue seriously and clearly there needs to be an analysis of erasures, which can be a very good indicator of cheating:
Annual allegations of test-tampering and grade-changing by educators have more than tripled since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took control of New York City's school system, outpacing a broader increase in complaints of adult misconduct in schools during the same period, according to the special commissioner of investigation.
The commissioner, Richard J. Condon, attributed the rise both to the expansion of the school system — its budget has more than doubled, to $24 billion from $11.5 billion when he took office in 2002, and the number of schools has grown to 1,700 from 1,200 — and to the higher stakes attached to standardized tests and classroom grades. The city's performance bonuses, teacher evaluations, school progress reports and decisions on closings are all increasingly tied to student performance.
"When you start giving money to the schools to do well, that's another incentive to appear to do well if you are not doing well," said Mr. Condon, a plain-spoken former New York police commissioner. "If a lot of the evaluation is based on how the students do, that's an incentive for the teachers to try to help the students do well, even in ways that are unacceptable."
But the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, said in an interview that he did not believe that the increase in allegations meant that more misconduct was taking place. Instead, he credited improved reporting, driven by things like stronger whistle-blower protections and the ease of sending an anonymous complaint by e-mail. He noted that only a few were proved each year.
"People are reporting things, that's fine; we want people to report things," Mr. Walcott said. But, he added, "people could be reporting for real and not necessarily real reasons."
Mr. Walcott's chief academic officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, went further, saying, "When there is conflict that exists in a school — sometimes between teachers, sometimes between teachers and administration — it is not unusual that there are reports and allegations made as a result of that."
August 22, 2011