Culture of acheatment

Cheating has traditionally been the domain of desperate students. Now, desperate districts are joining the deceitful ranks. For years, pockets of teachers and administrators in Camden, New Jersey, have cultivated an "informal culture of cheating" as a means to boost test scores. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that many Camden teachers have received the same message from their superiors: "Raise scores by any means necessary...and many interpreted that to mean cheat." The Inquirer launched a ten-month investigation, combing through test results and school board investigations, to uncover hard evidence that corroborated rumors of cheating. And a state grand jury is now looking into the district's suspiciously high test scores from 2005. Who's the culprit? No Child Left Behind? Unlikely, considering that the Inquirer found that Camden's culture of cheating dates back to the 1980s. Talk about a need for restructuring.

"Cheating's roots deep in Camden," by Melanie Burney and Frank Kummer, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 17, 2006

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