Friday, July 15, 2011

Possible Cheating on PSSA's in 2009 Never Investigated by Zahorchak

The recent cheating scandal in Atlanta, Georgia proves that high stakes testing has corrupted our schools. The unrealistic expectations/punitive measures and pressures of NCLB (the federal No Child Left Behind Act), has resulted in rampant cheating in Atlanta, and probably everywhere. A state investigation has confirmed that 178 educators in 44 elementary and middle schools in Georgia participated in the cheating. Now there is news of cheating in Pennsylvania (as many as 35 districts), and other states.

According to a local newspaper report,,0,534711.story there may be evidence of cheating in Pennsylvania schools, even as close as Bethlehem and Easton. This possible cheating occurred 2 years ago, but was never investigated.

I wonder why the former PA Secretary of Education, and current ASD superintendent Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, never conducted an investigation?

Sounds fishy. According to the always vague newspaper, Dr. Z claims that the report of possible cheating in 2009 never even made it to his desk. He has declined to comment on the matter. I find it a bit odd that Dr. Z doesn't seem to care about potential cheating in 35 PA school districts, when so MUCH is dependent on test scores, including funding, the future of our children, and teacher's jobs. I believe this important issue requires much more investigation, especially in light of Dr. Z's recent unethical coercing of the Allentown Teacher's Union leader. Did Dr. Z cover up the cheating? Allentown ethics board, where are you? Mayor Pawlowski? City Council? School board members, wake UP! Why aren't there any comments of outrage at the online forum where this article appears? APATHETIC Allentown. Parents, what could be more important than our children? This is an important issue, WAKE UP ALLENTOWN.

Children are not data points, the testing needs to stop. But that's not what's happening. Under current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (no teaching experience) the stakes will now get even higher with Race to the Top ( NCLB on steroids) linking test scores with teacher evaluations. (Value-added nonsense that Dr. Z is dictating to teachers in Allentown) Get ready for even more testing and unproven market reform policies written by politicians, CEO's and billionaires pushing their corporate agenda. Testing and standardization is big money. Ultimate goal is to privatize public ed and dismantle teacher's union in order to create obedient minions who don't question authority and bow to the rich. They want to keep the poor and middle-class down. Parents, it's past time to speak out. A school is NOT a business, it's a learning environment where children grow and develop, and where all children are given equal opportunities.


Mrs. Dottie said...

"Sadly, the evidence is very strong that “value-added” testing will be no solution to minimum competency (CRCT etc.) testing. It has been shown time and again that the growth estimates derived from “value-added” testing are grossly inaccurate. Frequently, this testing is so inaccurate that those teachers in the top third one year are in the bottom third the next." Jerry Eads, former coordinator for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

Allentown school board members: WAKE UP! Tell Dr. Z his "value-added" model is highly flawed! Dr. Z must go before he causes too much damage.

Value added means additional testing, like the 4sights, that are given three times a year to measure student growth, and will be used to evaluate teachers. They are supposed to provide valuable info to teachers. But teachers have always done formative assessments of students to measure growth. Just ask the teacher! What a waste of time, money, and additional harm to students. My son's "value-added" scores made no sense, showed no growth, yet his report card grades showed growth and his PSSA scores showed extra growth. Total unreliability. Ditch the testing NOW!

Anonymous said...