Under "No Child Left Behind Act," public schools whose students consistently fail standardized tests can now be shut down. To protect their jobs, teachers and principals are now under intense pressure to cheat — to fudge test scores and report cards to fool parents and school administrators.
How do public schools deceive parents? Joel Turtel, author of new book, "Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie to Parents and Betray Our Children," lists some of ways public schools can “cheat”:
1. Poor students are excluded or discouraged from taking tests.
2. Teachers assign tests as homework or teach test items in class.
3. Test security is minimal or even nonexistent.
4. Students are allowed more time than prescribed by test regulations.
5. Unrealistic, highly improbable improvements from test to test are not audited or investigated.
6. Teachers and administrators are not punished for flagrant violations of test procedures.
7. Test results are reported in ways that exaggerate achievement levels. (from Myron Lieberman's book, "Public Education: An Autopsy")
In December 1999, a special investigation of New York City schools revealed that two principals and dozens of teachers and assistant teachers were helping students cheat on standardized math and reading tests.
Andrew J. Coulson, in his brilliant book, "Market Education: The Unknown History," cites an example of how public schools deliberately lie to parents about their children’s academic abilities:
“Consistently greeted by A’s and B’s on their children’s report cards, parents of Zavala Elementary School had been lulled into complacency, believing that both school and its students were performing well. In fact, Zavala was one of worst schools in district, and its students ranked near bottom on statewide standardized tests. When a new principal took over helm and requested that statewide scores be read out at a PTA meeting, parents were dismayed by their children’s abysmal showing, and furious with teachers and school officials for misleading them with inflated grades.”
In 1992, scholarly journal Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice published results of a national survey about teacher cheating. Janie Hall and Paul Kleine, authors of report, asked 2256 public-school teachers, principals, superintendents, and testing supervisors if their colleagues cheated on tests. Forty-four percent of those questioned answered yes. Also, 55 percent of teachers surveyed said they were aware that many of their fellow teachers changed students' answers, taught specific parts of tests prior to tests, and gave students hints during tests. Today, pressure for teachers and principals to cheat is even greater because of No Child Left Behind Act.