Ethics in Education: Atlanta teachers sentenced to jail for roles in cheating scandal

On April 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia, eight educators “were convicted of racketeering and other lesser crimes related to inflating test scores of children from struggling schools” (CNN, 2015).

From 2001 to 2010 several Atlanta Public School teachers increased (altered and fabricated) test scores in order to earn financial bonuses, advance their careers, and keep their jobs.

This is one of the most massive cheating scandals in US history.

In over 40 schools, teachers held “cheating parties” where they erased and corrected wrong answers on exams. The article states that teachers who did not go along with the cheating scandal were terminated or black-balled from promotions.

The scandal was uncovered by journalists who investigated after test scores increased dramatically over a period of several years.

The teacher cheating was to the detriment of thousands of the districts students who graduated without the necessary skills (reading, writing, mathematics) they should have been taught and tested for in school.

Also, funding for special needs kids decreased due to the fact that it appeared students were doing so well, when in reality they weren’t meeting expectations.

This was an extremely selfish crime that hurt many of the regions most vulnerable students and tarnished the districts reputation. It should never have happened and the leaders of the scandal were punished with jail time.

As an employee at BCIT, instructors are bound by a professional code of conduct. BCIT’s Code of Conduct states:

“BCIT is committed to the overall educational, personal and professional development of its students, and to the safety of its students, employees and visitors. It is equally committed to providing an environment which fosters learning and sports respect, diversity, human rights, and the integrity of academic pursuits.”

Students abide by BCIT’s Student Code of Conduct that outlines: the behaviours and attitudes expected; types of misconduct and breaches of laws and safety codes; how to register a compliant; how complaints will be handled by BCIT; and, the duties and responsibilities of instructors and officials in following the policy (BCIT Code of Conduct, 2009).

Furthermore, In Canada, public relations practitioners are to abide by the Canadian Public Relations society’s Code of Conduct which outlines the do’s and don’t of the PR practice in Canada. Members of the society, must adhere to the Code of Conduct.

References:
Prison time for some Atlanta school educators in cheating scandal – CNN.com. (2015, April 15). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/14/us/georgia-atlanta-public-schools-cheating-scandal-verdicts/index.html

BCIT CODE OF CONDUCT. (2014, October 28). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.bcit.ca/files/pdf/policies/1500.pdf

BCIT STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT. (2009, January 27). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.bcit.ca/files/pdf/policies/5102.pdf

Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.cprs.ca/aboutus/code_ethic.aspx

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About robincookbondy

My name is Robin Cook Bondy and I live in Ladner, BC with my husband and three sons. I am a communications and public relations professional pursuing further education in the area of adult learning.
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