MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It was a brazen and surprisingly long-lived scheme, authorities said, to help aspiring public school teachers cheat on the tests they must pass to prove they are qualified to lead their classrooms.
For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. -- himself a longtime educator -- to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said. Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam. In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis.
And for 15 years those teachers taught students and got away with being incompetent to do so.
Think about that for a while.
In my professional life I've been personally involved in firing a number of people, and have tried to fire more. In some places firing people who should have never gotten their job is quite difficult; HR departments tend to be concerned about all sorts of things that go beyond job performance (like the color of someone's skin, for instance, and whether that person will claim "discrimination" and sue) all the time.
But in the teaching profession it's even worse. There we actually build into the system incentives for crap performance. We pass students that do not perform to grade and it is always their fault, never the responsibility of the teacher (and/or the curriculum that is completely and utterly full of crap -- aka "new math.")
Then we go even further and hand out awards claiming that every kid is "exceptional", turning their pretty little heads to mush with that crap. Sorry folks, but out of a population of 200 not all of them can be "exceptional"; if they are then they're ordinary.
Exceptional outcomes can and should be recognized. But this is not about making people "feel good", it is about recognizing when they are better than the benchmark -- notably so. That is, exceptional must mean exactly that.
The only thing "exceptional" about what happened here is that the crooks involved not only did it for 15 years, they got away with it, not only at the time of the test but forward as so-called "professionals", and were not fired for incompetence.
If that doesn't make you damned uncomfortable about the quality of the so-called "educators" in your school system that forcibly extracts their pay from you via taxes, well, you're not all that bright either.
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