Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pressure to cheat

On another post Anonymous wrote:

This article in the current New Yorker shows where high stakes testing can take you. I do NOT condone cheating, but can understand why these teachers felt they had to.


Anonymous said...

Is Pure Reform tracking calls? Hmmmm? Very interesting?

Questioner said...


Anonymous said...

When I started reading the article i somehow was hoping it was fiction. we parents can be clueless.

Anonymous said...

“The people who say poverty is no excuse for low performance are now using teacher accountability as an excuse for doing nothing about poverty.”

Anonymous said...

Poverty is not an excuse for low performance!

Those who use it as an excuse are not quality teachers. Quality teachers know how to teach any child rich or poor. Quality teaching is about engaging minds. When that is done effectively, creatively, productively students are given the skills that are needed solve problems.

Quality teachers make classrooms places where children KNOW intuitively, inherently, inexorably that it is the best place they could be since their needs are being met to the extent that they feel good about who they are and what they can do.

Quality teachers do this every day without excuses!

Anonymous said...

Pressure to cheat????? Why not pressure to teach?

The skills students need to pass just ONE test per year are clearly identified, spelled out in minute detail with examples and lessons and units and practice opportunities in abundant supply. So, just teach these skills in ways that are relevant and exciting to whoever the students are in teachers' classes.

Students can learn anything that a teacher can teach!

Questioner said...

It would be great to know who a few of these quality teachers are, esp in a non magnet school.

Anonymous said...

Did you read the article? "Two students, he said, were raped in the neighborhood that year. Others lived alone, with neither parent at home, or were on the verge of being placed in juvenile detention. When a student was arrested for stealing cars, Waller went to court and asked the judge not to send him to jail."

But, yeah, sure, if only there were quality teachers, those kids would be doing just as well as kids WITH parents in their home, regular nutritious meals, no sexual abuse, and regular attendance. Teachers are like superheroes who can erase crime and neglect and a continual state of stress overload with a fabulous lesson plan.

Teachers CAN do a lot, but you do a huge disservice to them when you don't hold anyone else accountable for the wretched conditions in students' lives.

Anonymous said...

It takes much, much, more than a lesson plan, especially when teachers are consigned to scripted, managed curricula.
And certainly, as long as you keep reiterating over and over again the excuses (heretofore cited) . . . you will never take the actions necessary, as quality teachers do each and every day, to make the difference that only a quality teacher can make in the lives of the children that 1:05 cites, and, even in schools that are among the lowest in a city, state, or nation.

A school full of quality teachers would literally change the lives of 1:05's children!

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous 8:24 and 9:04 and I hope everyone reads the article thoroughly. While poverty is not an excuse for low performance it is sometimes a cause of low performance. Can we all at least agree to that? If we had a Math teacher take a kid into his home to feed, clothe and educate him, would everyone in admin applaud and want to see such practices increase? The article described how Waller wrote the targets for teachers on the floor with marker. I don't know what being employed by pps feels like but I have heard the stories of how demoralizing it has been to be a teacher booed at a school like UPrep. The marker and booing tactics seem similar to me. 11:20, all the kids who appeared to do well on the Criterion test felt pretty damn good about themselves and they all knew what Parks was for them. It is not that the teachers cheated to attain such recognition and good feelings that is the problem. The environment that was created drove people to do what they did in the name of helping kids succeed is the problem.

Anonymous said...

What teachers were booed at U-Prep?

Where in the school did this happen?

What caused the booing?

What was done about it?

Questioner said...

That happened a number of years ago, was discussed on this blog, someone can probably search for the link- probably titled something like Incident at Uprep.

Anonymous said...

Short version: all school assembly at UPrep. Principal had the students who were proficient or advanced stand up and everyone clapped for them. Then, he had the students who weren't proficient or advanced boo their teachers. Because, you know, it must be all the teachers' fault (whereas, the good scores had nothing to do with them).

Nothing was done. I believe this was in the second year of UPrep.

Anonymous said...

Education begins at home. Period.
Behind the achieving student is a parent who cares. This transcends socio-economics, but it is true that there are more absentee parents/adults in lower socio-economic environs than other.
Continually deflecting the problem onto the backs of teachers simply smacks of ignorance. You've been challenged to spend a few days on a teacher's classroom before---a teacher at a low achieving school, of course--and walk a mile in his or her shoes. Yet, I have never heard you wish to take the challenge.
Watch the teacher contend with inane, scripted curriculum.
Watch him/her contend with filling out myriad teacher evaluation nonsense.
Watch him/her stop instruction frequently to correct outbursts.
Watch him/her deal with outright disrespect.
Watch him/her try to contact a parent.
If he/she does, listen to him get cursed out.
Watch him write a referral that gets a nice laugh out of the student.

And try to teach and impart the wisdom and knowledge you so eagerly report that "good teachers" can do, even as central admin cuts the legs from under those good teachers.

But instead of doing that, it's easier to sit on the couch and turn the channel.

By the way, I have never heard of a teacher feeling pressure to cheat. I HAVE heard of administrators feeling that pressure, however.