By John Hubbuch
Last month I wrote a column on the cheating scandal at Mann Elementary School. The scandal was over the administration of state-mandated testing, and resulted in the dismissal of the principal and a couple of teachers. I got some interesting feedback and comment that caused me to think a little more about this cheating.
First, there sure wasn't much outrage over the cheating. Many took a kind of so what attitude about the whole thing. Excuses abounded: the cheating was minor; kids would have scored well without the cheating; other districts and schools probably do a little cheating. Horace Mann would have been shocked by this reaction. America's Father of Public Education believed an important part of the mission of public education was to inculcate moral values. Times change.
Second, District 97's investigation of the matter appears to have been confined to only the 2012 spring testing. As I understand it, the dismissed teachers and principal had been at Mann for a number of years prior to the current one. it is not beyond the realm of reason that the same pressure to score well upon the same personnel might have caused cheating to occur in prior years as well as the current one. Did District 97's investigation look into prior years. If not, why not? If it did, what were the results of that investigation of the prior years? It had to have come up during the investigation.
Third, I believe that there were a number of parents and teachers at Mann that knew there was testing funny business going on for a number of years at Mann, but were either afraid, or didn't know what to do with their suspicions. It's not like you could report them to the principal!
There remains the stench of fraud and corruption at Mann . Indifference and secrecy have created a toxicity. I suspect that everyone can't wait for summer to get here. By the time September rolls around all will be forgotten, if not forgiven.