2 Baltimore City Schools Confirmed To Have Cheated On State Tests

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—There’s intense scrutiny for two Baltimore City elementary schools amid allegations that it changed test answers and altered attendance records.

Andrea Fujii explains what city school leaders are going to do about it.

The head of city schools had some tough words for anyone who tried to rig these standardized tests, and he’s spending a lot of money to try to fair it out with cheaters.

A brazen cheating scandal on standardized tests at two Baltimore City elementary schools– Abbottston Elementary and Fort Worthington Elementary–has drawn outrage among city and state schools leaders

“It was a real really figurative act of violence against our communities, our parents and our students,” said Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso.

Abbottston Elementary recently drew in a high-profile visit from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Investigators there found suspicious eraser patterns on tests, changes from incorrect to correct answers, high number of erased answers, and they even looked at the direction of erasures.

It’s “an insult,” said Nancy Grasmick, State Schools Superintendent, “a terrible injustice and insult to the abilities of the students of this city.”

The city school CEO  would not say what disciplinary action he took against the principal.

But the head of the administrator’s union says they are being unfairly targeted. A similar scandal unfolded last year at George Washington Elementary after a parent complained.

“On the one hand, it awakens the skeptics,” Dr. Alonso said. “On the other hand, it becomes an opportunity to demonstrate that it’s not tolerated. It is not going to be tolerated.”

City schools spent almost $400,000 to put testing monitors in every school.

“Our kids and our students work too hard to make advancements for everyone’s ability to be called into question because of the few people who don’t want to play by the rules,” said Mayer Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Now Dr. Alonso, whose contract is up next week, says these are isolated incidents. He does not believe cheating is pervasive throughout the entire system. And he did hint that he may be staying on.

Starting next year, all standardized state achievement tests will be checked electronically for any evidence of cheating, including erasure marks.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Your Fired says:

    Fire them all, no place for a teacher that cheats and puts his/her paycheck before society. No wonder why Baltimore City is a joke.

    1. Amber says:

      They’ll lose their teaching licenses for cheating. As they should – but I suspect it’s not the teachers who are cheating. This would have to be on an administrative level – as the teachers shouldn’t have had any access to testing materials before or after testing if Alonso’s instructions were followed. Our school took this VERY seriously. This year, at no point in time were city teachers left alone with test materials. At least in my school, we ALWAYS had another adult (either a proctor, or a city-issued monitor) present when testing materials were out. Test supplies/materials were kept under lock and key – additionally, all test booklets were sealed up in boxes with special tamper-proof tape. The boxes could be opened only in front of the city-issued test monitor.

      However, I do think it’s only natural for ANYONE and EVERYONE to put his/her paycheck before society… In the end, it’s every man for himself. Baltimore City isn’t a joke because some schools cheated on their state tests (county schools cheat too, I assure you) – there’s a multitude of other reasons why this city is struggling.

    2. Integrity in ALL areas of City Schools! says:

      I have a question…………………… wouldn’t you like to have a position making over $100.000 a year? What would you do to ensure that you are given this position?
      The former principal of John Eager Howard was removed for unethical practices. The school was assigned a “managing principal.” This “managing principal” now wants to be appointed………………so she created her own selection panel. When questions were raised a “vote” was taken. Well………………..the same people are on the panel. It will be interested to see if unethical practices are again rewarded!

  2. Tired of Cheaters says:

    This is what happens when you give teachers a contract where their pay is based on student performance. I cannot fathom a teacher in a public school system having the opportunity to be paid over $100,000.00 annually for ten months work while the same city is rotating fire house closures and has cut police pay by 2% along with furloughs. Let’s not forget the remainder of the city workers as well who have had pay cuts and lack of funding. This just downright stinks, the CEO of the school system should resign and the contract needs to be voided with this type of cheating occurring, one can only wonder how many more cheating scandals have been swept under the rug.

    1. Alana says:

      No! No! It’s not the teachers! It’s the administration! Teachers don’t have access to testing materials before and after testing. We sign out the booklets at the beginning of the day and sign them back in immediately after a test session. Administrators have access to the materials until they are collected from the schools.

    2. Baltimore County Teacher says:

      What planet are you from where teachers make 100grand? Get real buddy! That’s far from what teachers make! And Alana is right, it is the administrators!

    3. Amber says:

      I’m a city teacher and my pay is not (nor has it ever been) based on student performance… Dr. Alonso has done WONDERFUL work for the city schools – I was hired by BCPS 2 years prior to his arrival and can say that he’s really cleaned up a lot of the BS that was going on. It’s not the CEO, it’s not the teachers – it’s the administration.

  3. Mike says:

    It’s time for Alonso to go as well as the principals and whoever changed the answers. The teachers shouldn’t have to forced to cheat on theese test to get the grades up only so they can get a raise, pay them their salaries with timely pay increase,period. It’s not fair that a teacher will only get a raise if their class does well, because there are apathetic students who just don’t care and theese teachers don’t get help from the parents because they don’t want to push the kids because they want to be their friend.

    1. Amber says:

      Alonso is doing an amazing job cleaning up the mess that was left for him by the former CEO (and lack thereof). This year, Dr. Alonso put in a multitude of anti-cheating measures that our school and all other city schools had to follow. It sucks that some schools resort to cheating – it sucks for everyone involved! Our salaries are NOT (yet) based on our students’ test scores – so the only thing cheating does right now is make a school look better (or help a school from being zero-based). I don’t know where you’re from, but teachers in the city are NOT getting raises based on test scores…

  4. Debbie says:

    That explains why they keep touting how well the schools are doing and then the students who move on to college have to take remedial courses.

  5. K12TeacherTiredOfItAll says:

    It’s not the teachers doing this, it’s the school’s administrators (principles and their assistants). They really should check more schools for this cheating, especially since some administrators have staff “guiding” students to fill in the right answers, which leaves no evidence of corrected wrong answers on the forms.
    Maybe they should start at the one elementary school, just across Northern Parkway from Mercy High.

  6. j says:

    They’re not doing the kids any favors. They won’t get any extra help they need because their test scores look fine. Then when the kids go on to college and work everyone wonders what happened. The administration in Baltimore City Schools is what happened! And of course the kids continue the pattern of using and abusing the system, only on a bigger scale. and think it is perfectly okay

  7. Stayce says:

    I know for certain of a school in PG County doing the EXACT same thing. I was at the awards ceremony and as a part of honoring the honor roll students, they also honor the teachers for their hard work. The principal allows a few students to read a statement about why their teacher is so great.

    One student read: “Mr. Tori nice to us and is always smiling. We love him because whenever we fail our MSA, he let’s us do it over again!”

    Lol the Principal gave him a funny look and all of the parents gasped! Wow. Our children suffer as a result of this insane behavior!

  8. JANE COLLINS says:

    Before anyone makes a comment about teachers–let them walk in the shoes of the teachers who every day sacrifice their family lives and their own to help children who come from homes that do not support their student and/or teachers. Before anyone makes a comment about teachers–let them walk in the shoes of the teachers who take money out of their own pockets and their family pockets to provide supplies and yes sometimes food and clothes so that those students have a chance. Before anyone makes a comment about teachers–try doing their job for one week in the hard core schools of Baltimore City or any suburban district and then you can speak. Until then do not judge these teachers.

    IS WHAT THEY DID RIGHT—NO WAY! But when your pay and your own family’s livelihood is based on the performance of students who come to school poorly trained–behavior and academic wise, they think they have no choice. I am a teacher in a system that now my family may have to pay the consequences because there are parents who do not teach their children respect for authority, they condone poor behavior and they do not try and find ways to support their academics and that is fair.

    In the research field, when you cannot control most of the variables, the findings are called Not valid and yet Arne Duncan and his crew think it is okay to evaluate and pay teachers on the basis of student performance when parents do not support their children or teachers. WHEN WILL WE GET IT!

    CHINA SUCCEEDS BECAUSE ALL PARENTS SUPPORT THE TEACHERS, THEY DO NOT EXCUSE OR TOLERATE MISBEHAVIOR AND THEY WORK SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE TEACHERS NOT AGAINST.

    WE HAVE A POLICY OF NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND BUT YOU KNOW WHAT–IT IS LEAVING TEACHERS BEHIND BECAUSE VERY FEW PEOPLE SUPPORT TEACHERS FOR WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO: JUST AS MUCH AS PEOPLE THINK THERE ARE BAD TEACHERS–THERE ARE MORE GREAT TEACHERS, JUST AS THERE ARE BAD POLITICIANS AND GOOD POLITICIANS, BAD PARENTS AND GOOD PARENTS.

    EDUCATION WILL CHANGE FOR THE BETTER WHEN WE STOP BLAMING ALL EDUCATORS FOR THE FAILURE OF STUDENTS, WHEN WE STOP THINKING THAT EDUCATION IS ABOUT TEST PERFORMANCE AND WHEN WE HOLD ALL PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE–POLITICIANS, EDUCATORS, PARENTS AND STUDENTS.

    I DON’T SEE THAT HAPPENING BEFORE I RETIRE BECAUSE WE JUST LIKE SCAPEGOATING ONE PARTICULAR GROUP IN THIS COUNTRY–JUST LIKE SOME POLITICIANS ARE SCAPEGOATING ONE PARTICULAR GROUP FOR THE ECONOMY–THE WORKING CLASS. WHEN WE ALL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR EDUCATION AND THE ECONOMY THEN THAT IS WHEN REAL CHANGE WILL COME

    1. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

      You have said alot of truth here. Teachers should not be paid based on student performance. Once this happens, who is going to teach in any inner city school? Students do well when there is a good support system and this includes parents. When there are no parents providing the support at home, students will do poorly. Why should teachers be punished because of poor parenting? It is not the teachers job to raise your children. If you have a kid, that you should raise him/her. What you will see is the good teachers leaving and to good people that should be teachers chosing another profession. This whole topic is just a way our government is singling out a certain group of middle class people and pitting the rest of middle class people against them. Its the same with police and fire fighters and government employees. Blame the workers for the politicians mistakes and poor decision making. Divide and conquor, works every time. And besides, the government came up with this idea, and when was the last time the government had an idea that was REALLY good?

  9. Bud says:

    Jane, you’ve got to be kidding. We will judge these teachers. How can you not put the blame on them. What kind of example does this set? Well, I guess we know you are one that got caught. But; why not cheat? They have no incentive to do well, they can get free housing, independence cards, and a check every month for spending money. Without ever working a day in their life. Oh yeah, they get a raise every time they breed.

  10. TomKnows says:

    Cheating runs rampant in all walks of life…education, sports, politics. We all want to shame the ones that get “caught” yet we do nothing to change the systems that foster and facilitate dishonesty America has become supportive of cheaters and people who “work the system”, not those that work hard earnestly and honestly.

    We elect corruption, we befriend corruption, we become corrupted.

  11. Find a solution! says:

    I am getting so frustrated reading comments of ignorant people. It is time to find solutions! Pay should not be tied to a student’s performance. Plain and simple. That is like telling a doctor if any of your patients die you will get fired! It is time we figure this out, Education is about the students.

  12. Jackie Aurburn says:

    This story is nothing new. Remember when o’malley’s editor friends had maryland schools as the best in the nation? Then the same year they found principles/deans fudging the scores. lol.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/07/AR2009010702347.html?sid=ST2009010801608

  13. Amuricuh says:

    Things like this probably wouldn’t happen if teachers got paid like they should instead of getting paid barely enough to get by; while sports stars, actors, politicians, and many others get grossly over paid. I love how the people who teach our children and the people who protect us (police) are some of the most under paid people in our society, yet people who play games and appear on TV make millions. This, coupled with the fact that everyone is suing every one else and the fact that nobody wants to do an honest days work, are leading to the eventual end of our society. Nobody will do anything about it though, it’s someone else’s problem right?

  14. Robert W says:

    Asiwasreading,mostseemedtogetfarfromtherealissue.Mostofyougotawayfromcheating,andwenttoteacherperformanceandpay.Therealissuueistheproperhandlingoftestscoresbytheadministrators,andteachershavenohandson.Isayfirethemall,andsortthemoutlater.4oteachersstopbickering,andpoundtherealissue.Iknowitisnottheteachers…..LoveYouAll

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