Today’s NYT story on cheating seemed to really lack some larger context.
Cheating is an issue, yes. But, in most fields professionals have results they’re held accountable for and not everyone succumbs to fraud or cheating. So Why? What are the lessons from other industries and fields? In terms of our field, what do the overwhelming majority of teachers who don’t cheat teach us? And is cheating a function of the tests or does it, like low-test scores, drill and kill practices etc…speak more to the lack of capacity in the field to deliver powerful instruction? Similarly, in the vast majority of places where the tests are not that demanding* and the only stakes attached to the tests are for the teachers should parents be outraged that adults are doing this?
My sense is that while hardly epidemic this is a bigger issue than people think, there is an incentive to sweep it under the rug and it’s hard to prove. As a state board member I had to sort through a few of these and it’s always messy and there rarely is a smoking gun. That said, shame on us if this becomes another reason to believe that education is so exceptional that accountability doesn’t apply (or isn’t needed) or that getting a handle on this has to be another three-ring circus.
Perhaps technology will save us…or I guess not reading the Wash Post today…more on that later.
*Remember, these are the same tests that are apparently too easy and basic!