Recently, one school administer and several teachers have been accused of perpetuating fraud in their elementary school. Now, these professionals are all facing criminal charges in light of these allegations. According to Pennsylvania officials, the fraudulent practices were carried out over a several-year period.
The school administrator is believed to have been the lead instigator for encouraging the teachers to falsify students’ scores on Pennsylvania’s PSSA tests. According to the findings of a Grand Jury, the principal openly urged her teachers to change test grades, to study the forms before the tests were administered and to review answers to the questions with students before they took the exams. Moreover, the woman allegedly rebuked those educators and pupils who did not wish to cooperate with the purported cheating scheme.
The Grand Jury members also stated that after the scandal came to light a few years ago, students’ exam scores on the standardized test have shown a marked decline. All of the accused teachers, as well as the principal, have been placed on suspension and are awaiting hearings with the disciplinary board. The District Attorney has stated that the investigation into possible cheating schemes may extend to other schools in the district as well.
Earlier this year, several other school administrators were terminated in the wake of similar allegations of cheating in some Pennsylvania high schools. This particular elementary educator has expressed disbelief over the criminal charges that she and the teachers are facing and she is denying any involvement with fraud. She and the other teachers are entitled to the presumption of innocence in regard to these allegations. In addition, they may review and call into question any the evidence that may be used against them. It bears remembering that the burden of proof of cheating and tampering with test scores will fall on the prosecutor’s office in order to gain a conviction in answer to the charges that have been filed.
Source: philadelphis.cbslocal.com, “Phila. Principal, 4 Teachers Charged With Doctoring Student Tests“, Mike DeNardo, May 8, 2014