Thursday, August 30, 2012

Atlanta Math Teacher, Allegedly Helped Students Cheat On State Exam Because They Were 'Dumb As Hell'

Atlanta math teacher Shayla Smith is accused of giving students answers to state exams because they were "dumb as hell."

A tribunal hired to investigate a widespread cheating scandal among Atlanta Public School teachers and administrators is recommending that the school board fire Smith by not renewing her contract. She was a fifth-grade teacher at Dobbs Elementary School, and is one of about 180 Atlanta educators accused of various improprieties related to the administration of state exams -- including erasing wrong answers on students' multiple choice exams and replacing them with correct ones.

Dobbs fourth grade teacher Schajuan Jones taught in a classroom across from Smith, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. Jones testified during the hearing that she had overheard Smith speaking with a teacher in the hallway about administering a test for her students.

"The words were, 'I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they're dumb as hell,'" Jones said.

A now-eighth-grade student testified that Smith administered her a re-test of the state math exam in 2010 and offered assistance, CBS Atlanta reports.

"She would walk around and tell people the answer," the student said. "She would just come to our desks and read the question and say the answer."

Smith denied allegations of cheating and called Jones "a liar."

With 21 pending tribunal hearings, the school board has yet to vote on the panel's recommendation to terminate Smith. Superintendent Erroll Davis said during the hearing that erasure analyses showed that tests administered by Smith had high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures, WSBTV reports.

"This district has lost complete and utter confidence in her ability to remain in the classroom," Davis said of Smith. "I have absolutely no confidence that [this] teacher could, in fact, administer future exams with integrity."

So far, of the educators implicated in Atlanta's cheating scandal, 17 have been fired, 16 have been reinstated and 110 have either resigned or retired.

The investigations and pending punitive actions come from a two-year investigation released last summer that found widespread cheating among educators in at least 44 Atlanta schools. The findings shook the country and "stunned" U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The district spent about $600,000 monthly on the teachers on leave, and the entire scandal could cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of $9 million.


Anonymous said...

I often wonder if there is cheating going on in our schools. Our tests are sent away by teh principals. They look over the answer sheets here at my school in Lexington and check for erasures. I don't think this is a good practice.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine it will be too long before all assessment is done on line. Not sure that will completely control cheating but at least we won't have to learn of these erasure matters. Also wondering why they apparently don't have two test proctors to a room to discourage cheating.

Anonymous said...

There is cheating by principals!




I work there!

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that educators are not better at cheating. I mean one of our jobs is suppose to be ensuring that students are not cheating on their assignments and tests. We should know what works and what doesn't when it comes to cheating. Very disappointing that teachers are not better at this. Maybe some PD might be in order?