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Test cheating scandal embarrasses state
News editorial
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Legislation recently was introduced that would require educators guilty of CRCT cheating to return any bonuses or incentive pay that they received to their local school system. Not surprising, the proposed bill already has received support from educators. Students, parents, taxpayers and any Georgia resident concerned about the state of public education should back it as well.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain, would affect teachers and other certified professional personnel whose salary increases or bonuses were based completely or partly on an evaluation that included student assessment results or standardized test scores that were falsified. The bill would apply to teachers and professionals who falsified information, as well as those who knew that the student assessment results or standardized test scores were falsified by others.
Having to forfeit promised raises and bonuses certainly is a just punishment considering the severity of the situation. Educators who falsified tests damaged their own careers, their schools’ reputations and, most of all, their students’ learning opportunities. The CRCT is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards. If students’ test scores show that they have mastered the knowledge when, in fact, they have not, the children never will get the attention and coaching they need to absorb the information and perform adequately at their grade level. No one will have reason to believe anything is wrong. 
The Office of Student Achievement concluded that in 2009 there were a total of 74 elementary and middle schools all over Georgia that had problems with possible cheating by teachers and principals. Happily, none of Bryan County’s schools were included on that list. We would have been shocked to learn otherwise.
Notable past educators and many of those teachers still in Bryan County classrooms show dedication and hard work every day in our school system.
That’s worth celebrating. We should support legislation to punish teachers and administrators who willingly robbed children of their right to learn.

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