According to the New York Times, cheating in schools is on the rise. It’s not among students, though, but teachers, who feel increasingly pressured by yearly testing cycles to raise student achievement. And with salaries—and in some cases jobs—on the line, these guilty educators are peeking at the state test beforehand, correcting students over their shoulders during the exam, and erasing and re-bubbling answers after the fact. But is it really fair to call this a new “trend”? Gadfly’s not sold, and neither is Alexander Russo, who rightly points out that anecdotal evidence does not a case make. Indeed, what’s really on the rise is coverage of cheating, which is all the more troublesome because it’s apt to fuel the arguments of testing detractors. Let’s be clear: All industries see some cheating. It’s disgraceful and inexcusable, and the perpetrators might want to take a long hard look in the ethical mirror. But a few bad apples should prompt us to rethink the safety protocols for grading tests, not dump accountability or testing itself.
“Under Pressure, Teachers Tamper With Tests,” by Trip Gabriel, New York Times, June 10, 2010