Reactions to Atlanta school cheating scandal

This week 35 of Atlanta’s public school educators, including the renowned former superintendent Beverly Hall, were indicted for tampering with students’ scores in standardized tests. In the wake of the scandal, commentators weighed in on whether an emphasis on testing in schools is to blame. Washington Post columnists Eugene Robinson and Valerie Strauss both said yes, test-mania is no excuse for cheating, but it does explain the pressure teachers feel to boost their students’ scores at all costs. Dana Goldstein said one of the problems is that tests are used to measure teacher performance when they are only fit to measure student student performance on Martin Bashir’s program on NBC. However, Jonathan Chait said in New York Magazine that teachers are now getting incentivized just like journalists and baseball players always have been and good oversight should stem the cheating problem. In a related op-ed, Bill Gates called for well-rounded teacher evaluations that don’t tie students’ test score directly to teacher salaries, though he never mentions Atlanta.

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