“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
Lewis Caroll Through the Looking Glass 1871
The Master: Oh! Now I can say I was provoked.
Doctor Who: Utopia 2007
There is nothing in the world more dangerous than an excuse
For several years the Atlanta cheating scandal has been percolating first in the local press then in the state press and finally nationally. For those of you who don’t know here is the entire meat and potatoes of it in a nutshell
Thirty-five Atlanta educators, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall, are named in a 65-count indictment that alleges a broad conspiracy involving cheating on standardized tests.
This story broke in 2011 and its worse than it sounds:
Eighty-two of the teachers flat-out confessed. The 800-page report said the cheating has been going on for nearly a decade. It first came to light when the state noticed an alarming number of erasure marks on the answer sheets.
Teachers and principals were erasing the wrong answers and filling in the right ones, the report said. At one school, the faculty even held weekend pizza parties to correct answers before turning them in. Over the course of a single year, scores at the school jumped 45 percent.
“We were told to get these scores by any means necessary,” said Sidnye Fells, a fourth grade teacher. “We were told our jobs were on the line.”
Moreover, Dr. Beverly L. Hall, a former Atlantic school district superintendent, has been charged with RICO conspiracy — including theft, witness tampering, and making false statements — in the doctoring of student scores on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in order to earn lucrative bonuses for herself and her subordinates.
There were those who resisted, and they paid for it:
Fells told ABC News that teachers who refused to cheat were punished and pushed out. She resigned voluntarily in 2008 partly due to the pressure to cheat.
Today it reached both Morning Joe and Good Morning America.
Did they go on about the greed of the Superintendent trying to get honors & money?
Did they shout about cheating parties and the dishonesty of the teachers involved?
Did they deplore the idea of not even trying to teach these students, mostly of color, who needed to be taught?
Did they lionize the teachers who suffered for refusing to go along with this obscenity?
Of course not! The people involved were democrats, members of the teachers union and people of color. It’s not a narrative that Democrats with bylines the mainstream media can allow. These facts can’t be highlighted by the media any more than the idea that the Catholic Church’s sex scandals were overwhelmingly committed by gay priests.
So what is to blame? Why George Bush!
He pushed the STANDARDIZED tests, the tests caused these poor teachers and administrators to break the rules, they are to blame!
It’s the gun argument all over again, it’s not the fault of the individual it’s the fault of the test that caused the teachers to cheat.
If ONLY we weren’t teaching to standardized tests these teachers and administrators wouldn’t have felt it necessary to bend these rules.
If ONLY we had a holistic approach to education so that actually knowing things wasn’t what being educated was being all about.
If ONLY even more money was being spent on education then all of these things would never happen.
And it’s a great example of the topic I talked about in last week’s subscription commentary. When you abandon the cultural values of Judeo-Christianity that the nation was built on and replace it with utilitarianism OF COURSE the right thing to do is to change the scores because teaching the students isn’t the goal, producing the right numbers to the government to get the financial rewards is.
The mistake of the teachers and administrators however is they approached this entirely the wrong way. They weren’t cheating, they weren’t changing scores, they are simply rejecting “traditional grading” and embracing “esteem grading”
Apparently a large subsection of teachers and administrators for many years have embraced this new definition of “grading” and who are we to force them to confine them to the patriarchal judeo-christian “traditional scoring”?
In fact they should be shouting to the rooftops that they have embraced “esteem grading” as opposed to “traditional grading” and if you don’t join them in that embrace you are just a racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobe gradeophobe who should be shunned by society for your bigotry.
Yeah the current pols show the public are overwhelmingly opposed to “creative grading” but the tide of history is with us.
And do you really want to tell the children of “esteem grading” that their scores aren’t as valid as those who got their scores from “traditional grading”?
Talk about hate speech.
Update: Due to a type the post said the story broke in 2001 vs 2011 fixed.
We come to Tuesday with $60 toward the weekly paycheck and a brand new monthly goal.
That means I only need 12 more people this week to kick in $20 to make our $300 goal.
Now I could of course redefine what my goal is and declare $60 success but unfortunately the holder of my mortgage doesn’t seem to want to go along so some reason.
So instead I’m going to have to start my Tuesday asking you dear reader to consider kicking into DaTipJar so I can still have that $300 paycheck and make a living