Monday, March 26, 2012

Who's on national cheater watch list?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, whose investigative reporters revealed a massive cheating scandal in their city schools, has just released an investigation into test-score patterns in 49 states that can indicate a high likelihood of manipulated scores.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools isn't on the list of districts flagged as questionable (see a map here,  or look up individual districts here),  based on "improbable clusters of unusual score changes." Several districts surrounding Charlotte,  including Gaston, Iredell-Statesville, Hickory and South Carolina's York 4, pop up on the map -- in each of those cases,  because one of the last four years showed test-score shifts "outside the norm," rather than a persistent pattern.

Cities that showed such extreme swings that they resemble the patterns that clued reporters in to the  cheating in Atlanta are Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, East St. Louis, Gary, Houston, Los Angeles and Mobile County, Ala.

As the Journal-Constitution article notes,  the statistical analysis doesn't prove cheating.  And as local skeptics are likely to add,  a reasonable rating doesn't mean there's never been any monkey business,  either.


Anonymous said...

LIFT has not started yet , BUT of course I dont think it will be any success. Let them waste their money on their children.No big deal its on their plate.

Anonymous said...

This was a really interesting take on the whole article

I liked the emphasis on lacking data, i.e., %of population change from year to year

Anonymous said...

is there any way we can get UNC on this list, lol

Anonymous said...

Cam Newton at the top of the list with his former Fulton County School System

Wiley Coyote said...

Why would anyone care about cheating?

It's okay as long as you don't get caught, right?

Just do a 3% sample audit and let the other 97% go.

Anonymous said...

I guess the annual Superintendent draft will supersede the NFL in popularity. I would hope that Fulton County should be a future pick with Avossa and Muri cooking, brewing, and vaporizing numbers

Anonymous said...

When all the teachers leave like the fat pigs downtown will even matter if kids cheat? They give them the fraking test today so they can train their minds too it. Who cares we know the old admins from CMS got caught cheating in the ATL. You think they wont find out how ridiculous a MURI is in a few years? He can thank Petey for the last 4 free.

BolynMcClung said...


Here's the Texas Education Agency's story.

AUSTIN — The Texas Education Agency has no plans to investigate suspicious test scores Dallas, Houston and other state school districts that point to the possibility of cheating.

And the agency is questioning the methodology of a new report that indicated suspect scores.

Agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said Monday that authorities had contacted districts that were implicated to ensure they were analyzing necessary data and talking to school principals.

But she said uncovering wrongdoing is up to individual districts.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution published Sunday an analysis of test results for 70,000 public schools and found that standardized test scores in hundreds of systems nationwide exhibited suspicious patterns.

Ratcliffe questioned its methodology since the newspaper tracked scores by school, not by student. She said that could affect results by 20 percent

Bolyn McClung

(( Oops, copyrighted story. Sort of fits with the subject ))

TeachCharlotte said...

Want to be a teacher?

Submit your application by midnight tonight to be considered for our early application deadline!
“The single most important factor in determining student achievement is not the color of a student’s skin or where they come from. It’s not who their parents are of how much money they have –
it’s who their teacher is.”

- President Barack Obama
Make a choice that will change your life. Become a teacher. Shape the future. Our FINAL Application Deadline is TODAY, March 26, 2012 – Midnight EST.

Anonymous said...

Want to be a teacher? Are you kidding me? I would have rather work for the Nazi regime.At least you would know who was carrying a knife.

There is no reliable data from CMS.

Anonymous said...

Teach Charlotte,
Thanks for your offer but I've done it without your "help" since the bicentennial. I can't imagine a young person accepting a position in CMS or NC today. Go overseas and get some respect and a decent paycheck.
Who exactly funds your mandates? Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Teach Charlotte claims their teachers perform as well as the average first year teacher who majored in Education. The problem is, the average first year teacher isn't at the top of their game no matter where they graduated from or what they majored in. It takes 4-5 years to become the best teacher a person can be. A recent article in the Boston Globe quoted a Harvard professor who said Teach for American could be perpetuating the very problems it is trying to solve. At least TFA pays off some student loans after a 2 year period. Teach Charlotte CHARGES it's boot camp recruits $5,000 for a total first year salary of $29,000. According to most research, PARENTS are the most important factor in predicting student achievement. Teachers are the SECOND most important factor. Someone at Teach Charlotte needs to do their homework.

Anonymous said...

To TeachCharlotte:
Courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Also worth noting: TFA is SIGNIFICANTLY more selective than TeachCharlotte.

"..That growth comes as many school systems try to make teachers more effective. But Teach for America has had mixed results.

Its teachers perform about as well as other novice instructors, who tend to be less successful than their more experienced colleagues. Even when they do slightly better, there is a serious offset: The majority are out of the teaching profession within five years.

“I think ultimately the jury is out,’’ said Tony Wagner, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an instructor to the first class of Teach for America corps members.

Teach for America teachers work with not just the poor, but also English language learners and special education students. They provide an important pipeline of new teachers. But critics cite the teachers’ high turnover rate, limited training, and inexperience, and say they are perpetuating the same inequalities that Teach for America has set to eradicate.

“There’s no question that they’ve brought a huge number of really talented people into the education profession,’’ said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, which advocates on behalf of low-income and minority children, and a longtime supporter of the corps.

But, she said, “Nobody should teach in a high-poverty school without having already demonstrated that they are a fabulous teacher. For poor children, education has to work every single year.’’

Family income is one of the most accurate predictors of how well a student will perform.

Teach for America believes it can create a corps of highly effective teachers in a short time. Research, however, shows that beginning instructors improve with experience.

A Harvard study of students in Texas found that a teacher’s level of education, experience, and scores on licensing exams have a greater influence on student performance than any other factor".

Anonymous said...


But, she said, “NOBODY should teach in a high-poverty school without having already demonstrated that they are a fabulous teacher. For poor children, education has to work every single year.’’

Family income is one of the most accurate predictors of how well a student will perform.

Teach for America believes it can create a corps of highly effective teachers in a short time. Research, however, shows that beginning instructors improve with experience.


Anonymous said...


"But critics cite the teachers’ high turnover rate, limited training, and inexperience, and say they are perpetuating the same inequalities that Teach for America has set to eradicate".

Does your program really work or is it mostly about making TeachCharlotte employees and underpaid boot camp recruits FEEL good?

Anonymous said...

TEACH Charlotte.

Would you enroll your own children at a high-poverty school with an inexperienced boot-camp teacher?

Anonymous said...


TeachCharlotte's boot camp does NOT guarantee placement at a school. TFA does. Who funds this program?

Anonymous said...

Teach Charlotte what a bunch of crap pay to get a job in CMS paying you $29,000 a year. I heard you can get more by drinking Kool Aid with Ms Watts over in the LIFT district some real money. Probably with a bonus if your the right color.

Anonymous said...


Some days this blog just ticks me off.

Anonymous said...

I've had enough of "feel good" educational reform efforts.

If the jury is out on TFA, then how the heck can TeachCharlotte make the case for improving educational outcomes for Charlotte's most at-risk kids? The best teachers aren't afraid to question bureaucracy and advocate on behalf on their students. I appreciate TeachCharlotte's good intentions, worthy goals and lofty theories but Charlotte's school children have been experimental lab rats long enough. Our children deserve better than this.

Anonymous said...

TeachCharlotte's "early application" deadline was December. Then it was extended to January. Now it's March? OK kids, what month comes next?

Anonymous said...


"Due to mobility within the school system, it is often difficult to predict exact vacancies until very close to, and in some cases just after, the beginning of the school year."

Yeah, I want my child to have a stable teacher after the 20th day of school.

Anonymous said...

Well ain't it grand TeachCharlotte supporters (TNTP) are successful in Louisiana.

"The Department of Education has said that Louisiana ranks 47th in the nation for high school graduation rates. In 2007, 61.3% of high school students graduated on time in Louisiana. The whole "on time" meaning that the students took the average 4 years to graduate. As Mr. Sentell says, "Only three states had lower rates that year: Nevada at 52 percent; South Carolina, 58.9 percent; and New Mexico, 59.1 percent." In the nation, the average is 73.9% with Vermont ranking the highest with 88.6% of on time graduates.

Something else that should and needs to be noted is the difference between the Caucasian and African American students. In the report, 71.3% of Caucasian students graduate on time, whereas 49.9% of African Americans graduate on time.

Another disturbing fact is that Louisiana ranks the highest in the country for 9th grade drop out rates at 8.3%.

Along with the low "on time" graduation rates, Will Sentell wrote another article about math rates on Louisiana. The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress "show fourth-graders are 48th in the U.S. in math and eighth-graders are 45th, said Scott Norton, assistant superintendent for the state Department of Education." Here are some statistics from the report:
Fourth-graders earned an average score of 229 out of 500, down from 230 last year.
The national average is 239, the same as last year.
Eighth-graders earned an average score of 272, the same as last year.
The national average is 282, up two points from last year.
In a nut shell what does this say? Louisiana is still ranking low and there haven't been improvements. As a native to Louisiana this is so frustrating. "Scott Norton, assistant superintendent for the state Department of Education said, 'It is disappointing to see that we didn’t grow.'" It is a lot more than disappointing. It is appalling. The other thing that frustrates me is the common belief that it is just okay. My parents are visiting me and when I told my dad about the statistics between blacks and whites in graduating on time, he said, "Are you really surprised?" No, I'm not, but that should not stop you from finding it terrible that it is still there. We have to still be angry when we see things like this and not apathetic. Apathy does not lead to change, it leads to acceptance of the same problems".

Anonymous said...


"For four consecutive years, a state-sponsored study of traditional schools of education and alternative teacher-preparation pathways in LOUISIANA has found that TNTP Academy-trained teachers outperform even experienced teachers in raising student achievement in several core subjects."

Anonymous said...

Ah, Michelle Rhee. She sure fixed the DC public school system, didn't she?

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) was founded in 1997 by Michelle Rhee. It began with the aim of giving poor and minority students equal access to effective teachers, and during its first 10 years, TNTP initially focused on helping urban districts improve the way they recruited, trained, and hired new teachers. In 2000, TNTP began the Teaching Fellows and Academy programs, which served as alternate routes to teacher certification for high-need schools. Today, The New Teacher project also works with states and public school districts in the areas of measurement and management of teacher performance.[4]
As it became increasingly familiar with the needs of urban districts, TNTP began helping districts identify and address additional challenges, including hiring teachers earlier, staffing challenged schools and providing rigorous teacher certification training.[citation needed] It also began identifying policies counterproductive to overcoming these challenges and publishing reports to offer solutions and encourage reform.[citation needed][5]

Anonymous said...

Let's be SURE our next superintendent doesn't come from one of these school systems suspected of cheating.

I don't care what they say in Austin about the reports being 20% off.

If the odds are 1:1000 against the improvements being real, then being 20% off isn't that big of a deal.

Odds of 1:800 aren't that great, either...

Anonymous said...

No, Charlotte isn't on the list as "questionable"...just "Most Suspect."
Look at the map with just the yellow or green dots, hope our new Superintendent comes from there and not blue, purple, or even the red dots.

Anonymous said...

These kids only learn from our current BOE fools. Most of them are so in the big business back pockets they are too blind to see forward. How much money can KOJO and crew pay to get a African American Superintendant?

Anonymous said...

Our hyphen BOE ladies will straighten all this out.