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June 25, 2011

Alonso on cheating schools: There will be more

Baltimore city schools Andres Alonso said last week that while the school district has gone to great lengths to tighten testing security, he anticipates coming before the city again to announce that more schools attempted to game the system.

There are two more investigations pending, from a batch of four schools referred to the state last year.  The 2011 Maryland School Assessments will be released next week.

In a news conference last week, Alonso told reporters that it may take one or two more years before cheating is eradicated from the system. He vowed, however, that at some point, "we will emerge from this conversation--it may take one or two years--but we will emerge with our heads held high."

He also indicated that Maryland's new teacher evaluation system, which is partly based on student progress, will spur a "perverse incentive to do something wrong." Baltimore is one of seven districts that will pilot the new state evaluation system in the fall.

Alonso said the incentive could be stronger in the city, where teachers passed a contract last fall tying their salaries to performance evaluations.

This past year, the school system spent nearly $400,000 to place monitors in all 200 of its schools and to implement stringent protocols — such as taping up all boxed test booklets with tamper-proof tape — ensuring that test materials were secured every day.

The schools chief also sent out a pretty intimidating video message to the school system shortly before 2011 MSA testing began. As one principal told me, "you would have been an idiot to try and cheat this year." You can view the video here.

Still, Alonso warned: "We will come before you again, because the people who didn't get the message last year — and there are a few, and it only takes one or two — were not ready for this. And we're not going to let a single instance pass."

I'm interested to hear from our readers: How prevalent do you think cheating is in the school system? And more importantly, what will it take for schools to stop cheating?  

Posted by Erica Green at 11:56 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Baltimore City
        

Comments

If Dr. Alonso is so steadfast in cracking down on cheating/unethical behavior, he needs to implement a way for teachers to let him know what is going on in their schools. John Eager Howard's former principal was removed for unethical practices. A managing principal was placed at the school. This person now wants to be appointed so they created their own selection panel. Is this the way you get a job in Baltimore City? To make things look good and after rumors began to circulate a vote was taken. The same people are on the selection panel! Again is this demonstrating ethical principles? Should this person receive the job based on who they know and who they are friendly with?

Ummm, very prevalent. What it will take? Knowing that no one else is cheating first of all... aside from pressure from your school or principal, and the fact that your evaluation relies so much on student test scores and there financial and job security pressure, most teachers cheating figure other teachers are cheating too. The fact that many, many of them are means that being ethical has disadvantages.

Try It InSide Ed Readers @ Public Comment Period School Board Meeting Show Up And Speak Up In Person

School Board Meeting Calendar by Date


•July 12, 2011
•August 9, 2011
•August 23, 2011


Board meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month

Public Comment Period Policy
1.Subject Matter
◦All Business of the Board
2.Registration
◦First Come - First Serve
◦Sign up begins one hour before start of School Board meeting
3.Procedures
◦Three-minute maximum for each speaker
◦Up to ten speakers per School Board Meeting
◦Only persons signed in will be allowed to speak
◦Speaker cannot allocate his/her time to another speaker


The School Board reserves the right to modify the policy for good cause as determined.

Public employee compensation must be reduced through a combination of staff
reductions, pension reductions and wage freezes. BTW check "High Speed University" website

Pressure begins at the top and travels
downward. Have the expectations been
realistic or not?

Maybe Alonso can explain to us why it would take one or two more years before cheating is eradicated from the system. Why would it take so long? Placing monitors in schools stops administration from accessing the books after testing. Alonso keeps saying that teachers are cheating. Teachers could not cheat on a large enough scale to cause the entire school to make AYP. When the scores are released for 2011, they will prove to everyone that the cheating was done by principals and administration. So what will it take to stop schools from cheating? Overall, schools are not cheating. Principals and administration are cheating. This will stop when CEO, Dr. Alonso is replaced by an honest leader who cares about the students and the fate of this city. Harsher punishment for principals and administration of schools found cheating will make the cheating stop. Everyone keeps throwing around the word "integrity" but does anyone running Baltimore City Schools know what it means? The new contract does place much emphasis on student performance. However, if principals have integrity when they evaluate teachers, student growth, not test scores, will be used to determine proficient teachers. Some teachers have little to no students performing on grade level when they leave their classrooms, but the growth is significant. It is unrealistic to expect any teacher to move a student who is two or three years behind to on grade level in one school year. Realistic expectations for schools' performance will also make the cheating stop.

Teachers and administrators are fearful! They are fearful of not having a fair or superior rated evaluation for their class or school. They are fearful that their pay would be jeopardized by not having above adequate gains in test scores. They are fearful of being publicly fingered out as an inadequate educator. Excellent educators are fearful of losing their jobs, their careers, their livelihood. Fear can force good educators to perform in very negative manners.

We all want our students to demonstrate success but at what cost. It appears that it's almost a lose - lose situation. We need to find a way to make sure everyone wins. No one wants to be labeled a failure - children and educators included.

Teachers and administrators are fearful! They are fearful of not having a fair or superior rated evaluation for their class or school. They are fearful that their pay would be jeopardized by not having above adequate gains in test scores. They are fearful of being publicly fingered out as an inadequate educator. Excellent educators are fearful of losing their jobs, their careers, their livelihood. They have given their time, money and dedication for the good of the children that they teach. Fear can force good educators to perform in very negative manners.

We all want our students to demonstrate success but at what cost. It appears that it's almost a lose - lose situation. We need to find a way to make sure everyone wins. No one wants to be labeled a failure - children and educators included

BS Paper @ Pressure is on Alonso after Baltimore's MSA disappointment
and primary/secondary School Attendance records dishonesty

Echo Our View/Echo Parents & ED School Community View:

If Alonso wants to erase the blow this year's MSA scores and dishonest attendance records have dealt to the city's education community/parents belief that its primary schools are improving, he doesn't have long to come up with an answer. In the next year he will be under pressure he hasn't seen since he first arrived in Baltimore, and the measure of his success will be simple: Can he maintain or increase the level of testing security in 2012 and still produce better scores? For the sake of the students and the city, the answer had better be yes.

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