Wednesday, July 13, 2011

LAUSD’s Acceptable Cheating Policy

Another sun rise, another school cheating scandal;  Atlanta, Texas “miracle”, Washington DC, LAUSD.  Lets look at another place where cheating is occurring and being dealt with to get an idea of how education will deal with it, baseball.  BarryBonds and Roger Clemens show how little we care about cheating.  What Bonds and Clemens do show is how we want to make an example of a few and ignore the many.  Everyone knows these are not the only two players to use steroids.  To keep our conscience clear we want an example to validate “we don't accept cheaters”.  
    We do accept cheaters, its just normal, souses, speed limits, resumes. So many of us cheat and we know it, yet we want to punish “cheaters” in a way that doesn't hit home.  Think how much energy is poured into talking about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens character defects.  If we didn't have character defects established for Bonds and Clemens, we might mistake these individuals as sharing a commonality with us.  With “defective” people being punished we can go to sleep safe that our cheating is different because non-defective people, like us, “misinterpret the rules.(video)Maybe outside of education circles people already feel a dissonance toward teachers.  There is certainly a lot of noise lately to create a dissonance around teachers who work in and are committed to your local community.

NotyetLAUSD has a solution:  LAUSD Acceptable Cheating Policy (ACP).   

We hope this model will remove some of the stigma surrounding cheating so we can integrate cheating into our expectations that come with high stakes testing.  We will use the same normalized curve (bell curve) sweeping much of the education sector, like in VAM scores.  By looking at rates of cheating on standardized tests across the nation we can create a reliable curve of cheating we can tolerate.  Zero tolerance policies are unrealistic, the data doesn't support a zero cheating environment.  ACP demands that 10% of teachers will be extreme cheaters and 10% will be minimal cheaters and the rest will fall in a tidy bell curve.  Its not fair to compare the cheating of a tenured teacher at a high API school to the cheating of a new teacher at a low API school. We can control for factors like how much stress the teachers and administrators are under to raise scores so we don't miss categorize a teacher's cheating extremeness.  

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