Diane Ravitch says No Child Left Behind to blame for Atlanta cheating scandal

Posted on: July 7th, 2011 by Mikhail Zinshteyn 1 Comment

In the fallout over the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, in which 178 teachers and principals from 44 schools were implicated in altering student answers on state standardized tests, education historian and critic of school testing Diane Ravitch explained in an interview with CBS News what she believes motivates educators and administrators to cheat: No Child Left Behind.

Here’s a partial transcript of what she said:

What we’re seeing in Atlanta is the culmination of a rotten federal policy. We have a terrible federal law, called No Child Left Behind, that says all schools must have 100 percent of their students proficient in reading and math by 2014 or their schools will be closed down, or they’ll be privatized, or the principals will be fired and the staff may be fired … this law is such a bad law because it incentivizes cheating, and it puts the pressure on to get the scores up.

The full video clip to Diane Ravitch’s CBS interview:

The American Independent has reported on unethical or questionable school district procedures that scholars and education veterans allege is the result of officials seeking to parry the punitive consequences of low performing schools. With most high-profile school districts in urban areas, where the percentage of students designated as low-income routinely exceeds 70 percent and, at times, reaches over 90 percent, insiders maintain not enough funding is allocated to combating the effects poverty has on a student’s academic experience.

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