Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
When I heard about the group of school districts in Atlanta Georgia purposefully altering students’ state test answers to raise the overall scores and get more funding, I would not say I was surprised, but I was saddened. Cheating by school districts does occur. For example, in 2012, a Texas Superintendent was sentenced to prison for his cheating and deception to raise scores.
There have been other allegations in Philadelphia of potential area wide cheating… and in San Diego involving former A3 charter schools as well. And even the Atlanta situation is ongoing as some teachers are proclaiming innocence.
Who will be next? And, if there is more cheating to boost student’s scores, what does that mean for students and their futures?
If Schools Would Cheat On Standardized Tests, Would They Cheat Their Students?
Wherever there is a money motivation, temptation lurks. If someone has low ethical standards, they can go the way of the criminal, even seemingly exemplary school administrators, superintendents, and teachers. This is a good time for a reminder to all parents to be skeptical of the schools and to question what (and if) students are actually being taught. Are they really learning? Or is someone faking it?
The irony is that during the ten years of the Atlanta districts’ falsification, I would bet that many students were suspended or otherwise punished for cheating themselves. Perhaps they were even expelled.
It may be funny were it a movie, with some cute star as the Superintendent. But, not in real life. School district schemes to raise test scores illegally harm thousands of students, cheating them out of their educations.
Students Were Wronged by School Cheating Scandals
How much do you want to bet that many students were placed in special education as a result of these school cheating scandals so they could avoid their exams or take a simpler version, and avoid being scored. The special education label could have changed those students’ trajectories forever. The students labelled special education probably just needed to be educated by actual educators that cared that they learned, not what their score was.
What was the impact on students whose scores were faked? Were they actually behind 3 years in math? Have they been able to catch up?
Were efforts put into educating, focusing on actual understanding of materials, rather than rigging test scores, how many thousands of students would have advanced? Instead, students have been left adrift and maybe unable to catch up after ten years of devastation in the schools.
Something has got to change with the school system, perhaps putting knowledge and understanding above test scores. And, the cheaters and deceivers need to be booted out. Fortunately, I don’t think it would take much to find them, if someone just looked.
Student attorney and advocate Michelle Ball represents parents and students across California. As an education lawyer in Sacramento, she can reach across the state to Lincoln, Modesto, Rialto, Orange, Newport Beach and many other places.