Bible Class Anyone? Philly School Cheating Scandal…Again

Barb Wire

It looks like history is repeating itself. And it has only been five years since the last shameful incident occurred — in the same city too. Unfortunately, as America continues down the path of moral decline, we’re going to see a lot more of this kind of thing.

The Philadelphia School District was hit with one of the largest cheating scandals in the United States in 2009. Nearly 140 teachers and administrators of the Philadelphia school district were implicated when discrepancies and signs of tampering with standardized test booklets surfaced. In the wake of that scandal which rocked the district, we now have more accusations of impropriety with standardized testing.

The Associated Press reported on Monday:

Pennsylvania prosecutors have filed charges against a principal and four teachers, accusing them of cheating on standardized tests in the Philadelphia school system.

Officials say the five changed student answers, provided answers to students and improperly reviewed questions prior to administering the tests. They say a grand jury found that after the cheating stopped in 2012, the percentage of students who scored well on the tests dropped dramatically.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Thursday that the defendants are accused of ‘perpetuating a culture of cheating’ on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests over a five-year period.

In January, the School Reform Commission, a board tasked with overseeing the Philadelphia district, already fired three high school principals and announced plans to discipline dozens of teachers and administrators following their investigation into cheating. And here we go again!

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In the latest scandal Principal Evelyn Cortez, and teachers Jennifer Hughes, Lorraine Vicente, Rita Wyszynski, and Ary Sloane are all facing charges associated with the alleged misconduct. The charges include perjury, tampering with public records or information, forgery, and criminal conspiracy. All five have been suspended by the school district, pending disciplinary hearings.

While extreme pressure to meet district goals may be blamed for the cheating and academic fraud, the teachers and administrators may have actually been driven by promises of bonuses and federal funding.

Here’s a novel idea: Why don’t we bring the Bible back into the classroom? Perhaps some good old-fashion, traditional morals would help. Then again, all those rules and moral instruction on lying, stealing and deceiving might offend someone. We wouldn’t want that to happen — but don’t be surprise when the next round of cheating occurs. There are consequences to abandoning God so stop acting so shocked by what’s happening in Philadelphia. It’s happening everywhere.

Between 2009 and January 2014, cheating has been confirmed in 37 states and Washington. Now we can add another one to that list.

Bible Class anyone? Anyone?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jeff Allen is both a senior editor and columnist for BarbWire. He also serves as senior pastor in a mainline Christian church in Indiana. He is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Jeff is involved in several community ministries.

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