School Cheating: Lessons from Atlanta

I have been contemplating to suggest some ways and means to motivate the school teachers of rural government schools for performing better and to devote time and energy in teaching their students. Even after providing for the infrastructural shortcomings of the schools such as separate clean toilets for boys and girls, facilities for clean drinking water, library, creativity centres, and playing grounds, the students will hardly be benefitted unless they take up their assignment seriously. Even the incentive for improving their performance can’t be made that lucrative. And unfortunately, because of the very strong unions of teachers, they can hardly be punished to the extent that corrects them.

Interestingly, even the developed country such as USA is facing a serious situation with its teaching staffs. USA tried to use the famous trick of carrot and stick for improving the performance of their school teachers.

As the Times explained: “Teachers and principals whose students had high test scores received tenure and thousands of dollars in performance bonuses. Otherwise, as one teacher explained, it was ‘low score out the door.'”

Anand informed me about the American taking actions against a large number of teachers involved in cheating for improving the performance of the students of their schools so that they can earn higher performance bonus. It was a great news item in US disturbing the parents who do everything to find a good school for their children. It shocked me too, as in every visit to US, I have been visiting the schools of my grandchildren and putting a lot of queries to my sons about their education. I was happy that my grandchildren will get real good education that I couldn’t have dreamt even in India.

A grand jury charged Dr. Hall, the school superintendent and the other educators with essentially running a conspiracy in which standardized test scores were secretly raised as a way to get bonuses and ensure job security.They had been told to report to jail.

If the carrot and stick couldn’t work in US, will it serve any purpose in a corrupt country like ours?

I had heard of cheating through passing on the chits with answers to the examinees inside the examination halls in board examinations in Bihar. But what had happened in Atlanta is a step ahead. Cheating by the whole lot of teachers, principals and administrators was to have better performance of the school and thereby earning bigger bonuses.

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