A national scandal hit the news when Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal released a 413-page report describing how hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals had been cheating during the past 10 years on standardized tests in order to falsely report that their schools were doing a good job and the kids were improving.
A total of 178 teachers and principals (38 were principals), 82 of whom have already confessed, had fraudulently raised test scores so their schools would meet test targets set by the district and thereby qualify for federal funds.
The truth came out after a 10-month inquiry by 60 investigators conducting 2,100 interviews. The investigation showed that principals and teachers in 56 schools had been cheating since 2001 by various methods, such as erasing wrong answers on tests and inserting correct answers.
The high scores of Atlanta schoolchildren had enabled Superintendent Beverly L. Hall to collect $600,000 in performance bonuses over 10 years to supplement her $400,000 annual salary. Two national organizations honored her with the title of "superintendent of the year."
According to the report, Hall and her top staff "created a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation," concealed by "a conspiracy of silence and deniability," that allowed "cheating -- at all levels -- to go unchecked for years." Those who dared to report concerns about cheating "were held in contempt and punished," sometimes by termination.
Hall's message was to get the scores up by any means necessary, so teachers and principals were afraid of falling under her rhetorical lash and being sanctioned for failing to achieve "required results." Her own words were: "No exceptions and no excuses."
Somehow, the Atlanta scandal didn't make it onto the agenda of the annual convention of the National Education Association (NEA), held in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend. The representatives of the 3.2 million NEA members were too busy passing their usual long list of anti-parent, pro-homosexual, pro-feminist and left-wing resolutions.
The NEA adopted Standing Rule Amendment 1 to order all future NEA materials to replace references to K-12 with Pre-K-12. That's a clear message that the NEA sees its future in lining up more union members by expanding the role of public schools to get 3- and 4-year-old children.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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