The Right Opinion

Dishonest Educators

By Walter E. Williams · Jan. 9, 2013

Nearly two years ago, U.S. News & World Report came out with a story titled “Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal.” It reported that “for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history.” More than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated had cheated on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, sometimes called the national report card. Cheating orders came from school administrators and included brazen acts such as teachers reading answers aloud during the test and erasing incorrect answers. One teacher told a colleague, “I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they're dumb as hell.” Atlanta's not alone. There have been investigations, reports and charges of teacher-assisted cheating in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington.

Recently, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's blog carried a story titled “A new cheating scandal: Aspiring teachers hiring ringers.” According to the story, for at least 15 years, teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee paid Clarence Mumford, who's now under indictment, between $1,500 and $3,000 to send someone else to take their Praxis exam, which is used for K-12 teacher certification in 40 states. Sandra Stotsky, an education professor at the University of Arkansas, said, “(Praxis I) is an easy test for anyone who has completed high school but has nothing to do with college-level ability or scores.” She added, “The test is far too undemanding for a prospective teacher. … The fact that these people hired somebody to take an easy test of their skills suggests that these prospective teachers were probably so academically weak it is questionable whether they would have been suitable teachers.”

Here's a practice Praxis I math question: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million – 40,000, 250,000, 2,500,000, ¼,000,000 or 4/1,000,000? The test taker is asked to click on the correct answer. A practice writing skills question is to identify the error in the following sentence: “The club members agreed that each would contribute ten days of voluntary work annually each year at the local hospital.” The test taker is supposed to point out that “annually each year” is redundant.

CNN broke this cheating story last July, but the story hasn't gotten much national press since then. In an article for NewsBusters, titled “Months-Old, Three-State Teacher Certification Test Cheating Scandal Gets Major AP Story – on a Slow News Weekend” (11/25/12), Tom Blumer quotes speculation by the blog “educationrealist”: “I will be extremely surprised if it does not turn out that most if not all of the teachers who bought themselves a test grade are black. (I am also betting that the actual testers are white, but am not as certain. It just seems that if black people were taking the test and guaranteeing passage, the fees would be higher.)”

There's some basis in fact for the speculation that it's mostly black teachers buying grades, and that includes former Steelers wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who's been indicted for fraud. According to a study titled “Differences in Passing Rates on Praxis I Tests by Race/Ethnicity Group” (March 2011), the percentages of blacks who passed the Praxis I reading, writing and mathematics tests on their first try were 41, 44 and 37, respectively. For white test takers, the respective percentages were 82, 80 and 78.

This test-taking fraud is merely the tip of a much larger iceberg. It highlights the educational fraud being perpetrated on blacks during their K-12 education. Four or five years of college – even majoring in education, an undemanding subject – cannot make up for those 13 years of rotten education. Then they're given a college degree that is fraudulent, seeing as some have difficulty passing a test that shouldn't be challenging to even a 12th-grader. Here's my question: If they manage to get through the mockery of teacher certification, at what schools do you think they will teach?



Mindblown in Flyover USA said:

Apparently these idiots are not really in the field "for the kids." It's a great part-time job with good pay and better benefits. After hearing some of the Chicago teachers talking on TV during their strike I'm surprised Chicago didn't make the list of cheating districts. I'd be embarassed to say I was a teacher in those districts, but, then, I guess they have no shame. Also, no pride in doing their jobs well. Is the reason the parents aren't out there screaming for quality education in the public schools perhaps because they were also maleducated by the same dolts?

This is exactly why there is an increase in home-schooling and demand for private and charter schools.

The light that goes "on" in the eyes of a student who finally "gets it" is enormously satisfying.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

Public Education is the ultimate in Child Abuse.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

I worked as a teachers aide in an elementary school for two years. Most of the black teachers could not use correct grammar when speaking. I'm sure they also weren't teaching it properly. The little kids who couldn't pass were socially promoted to the next grade because making them repeat the same grade would be demeaning and hurt their self-esteem. I'm sure their self-esteem was really hurt when they couldn't fill out an application when applying for a job. Probably why most of them wound up on welfare or in prison,.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Jake in Carlsbad, CA said:

Yes. Great hope for the future. And people wonder why so many parents who can afford it are sending their children to private schools or home schooling. Children in the inner cities have no chance. We need vouchers for parents to use as they see fit. A teacher, who was a WWII veteran, once told me that a voucher system would not work. I asked him if he went to school on the GI Bill. He said he went to college on the GI Bill. You should have seen the look on his face when I asked him, what he thought the GI Bill was. He did not realize it was a voucher.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 8:35 PM

India in GA said:


Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

I have seen some of these folks who go on to get a college degree, frequently from a highly segregated "historically black institution" which is allowed to remain so out of political correctness. They graduate and then get jobs - hired because of quotas - because clearly they are not qualified. I talked with young man once who listed a degree in "electrical engineering", and clearly could not figure out a polarized electric plug. To his credit, he was working as a laborer and working his way up in the company. But clearly he was the victim of political correctness that abused him with a false sense of achievement throughout his "education".

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

This is so damn sad. These "teachers" are doing the children, black, white, whatever their race, no favors. The lives of these young people are being ruined, and for what? I have never had children but I am aware that they are the future and am happy to pay my taxes to educate them. The future looks bleak to me. So many ruined lives. It has to stop.

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 1:55 AM

Shel in Alaska said:

I've seen it first-hand, and it's a travesty. It makes it easy to keep them on the welfare plantation if they don't develop critical thinking skills and believe whatever their betters tell them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 3:33 PM