Integrity: Our Most Important Product

Here’s an item I like: Three teachers in Oakland have been forced to resign over “clarifying” a question for a student taking California’s high school exit exam. For now, let’s not get into the subject of the testing mania that has taken root in public education as a method of leaving no child behind and holding teachers and schools accountable for making sure kids are learning what they need to learn. Instead, just consider the nature of the incident: A school administrator witnessed the “clarification” and ratted the three teachers out. No details are forthcoming yet about what the student asked that prompted the “clarification” or what help the teachers offered in response; all that’s known is that the teachers will lose their jobs and the test results for the students involved may be invalidated.

Crikey. We’ve got an attorney general who won’t accept responsibility for anything happening on his watch and who would probably tell you he can’t remember if you ask whether he’s wearing underwear or not. He’s just the latest line in a long series of lying, bumbling Bush higher-ups who have disgraced their offices, screwed up the jobs they were given, and won the undying gratitude of their boss. On occasion, they have blundered so badly that the president has had to send them out the door with a handshake and a Medal of Freedom. Not to worry — they all come back with books telling us what great jobs they did, what a refined sense of duty they share, how clear their consciences are, and how everyone else let them and us down.

Somehow that’s all tolerable, judging by the fact the rascals are conducting business pretty much as usual and the torch-carrying mobs you’d expect on the streets have yet to appear.

But teachers who might have helped out a kid on a state test? They’ve got to go. We can’t let anything interfere with the integrity of a system set up to provide a fig leaf for the criminal lack of concern for what happens to kids in the worst schools or for why those schools are so bad in the first place.

3 Replies to “Integrity: Our Most Important Product”

  1. Hooray for standardized tests. I don’t know what the teachers were doing with his particular student but the kid had gotten that far so he/she must have had a little something on the ball, considering the fifty or so percent dropout rate in (urban) public schools. Do the teachers have an appeals process and what was the nature of the violation? In NYC, we have kids doing great on standardized tests while doing lousy on class work. Go figure. The dropout rate is around forty-five to fifty percent here. That is a scandal, considering the budget for the public schools.
    As to the warriors at 1600 Pennsylvania. A lot of those individuals, who were standing around with there hands in their pockets on 9/11, are still in government. Now we are engaged in the “struggle of a generation” (or something like that) and the people in charge during the Pearl Harbor event of that struggle are papering over their own responsibility for the fiasco that has transpired since then. Loyalty=Merit

  2. You’re right, it’s hard to know how appropriate the action was without details. I read recently that there’s a very high percentage of teacher-assisted cheating going on with these standardized tests. It’s a reflection of how much pressure schools are under to bring the collective test scores up into the funding zone. Inappropriate pressure, IMO. Schools require an entire toolbox of fixes, but NCLB just delivers the hammer.

  3. It’s tough for me to judge what happened to the teachers, not knowing the details. But our highest level leaders should be held to much more rigorous standards. They’re in positions of the highest trust, with too much power not to be held completely accountable.
    With the greatest power comes the greatest responsibility.

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