a verb (used with object), abetted, abetting.
to encourage, support, or countenance by aid or approval, usually in wrongdoing: to abet a swindler; to abet a crime.
a fellow conspirator; associate or collaborator in a conspiracy
Students, schools and school systems are measured by test results. number of kids passing New York State Regents exams, with grades over 55 and 65, scale scores on NYS English/Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams that translate into levels 1 through 4 (below standard, approaching standard, at standard, above standard). Schools with poor scores face the possibility of closing, and principals face losing their jobs. Under the new principal union contract evaluations are keyed to school scores. At the other end of the spectrum both teachers and principals can earn “bonus” dollars if schools exceed pre-set goals.
In the pre-Klein years Central Headquarters closely monitored testing. On the day of the tests Central sent it’s minions out to all schools, they arrived at the crack of dawn and monitored the testing throughout the day.
The Central testing folk ran computer software and identified schools with “questionable” results. Principals, teachers and kids were interviewed by the Office of Special Investigation.
In the early 2000’s the Board brought charges against scores of school employees – accusing them of improper practices in regard to standardized testing.
Elizabeth Green in a New York Sun investigative article exposes blatant cheating by a principal in two schools, PS 48, his former school, and, MS 201, his current school (http://www.nysun.com/new-york/high-test-scores-and-criticism-follow-a-south/80944/).
The principal, John Hughes, is a favorite of the Chancellor, who has lauded him on a number of occasions.
At Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island the Office of Special Investigation supported accusations of complicity in cheating on Regent exams, and recommended the firing of one of the supervisors (http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/top/vindicated/), the Klein imposed penalty: a slap on the knuckles.
Under the Klein regency no one monitors exams … each school is totally on their own. The Department no longer uses software to examine spikes in scores … the message is clear.
Why aren’t cheaters punished? Why doesn’t Tweed closely monitor the testing process? Is Tweed/Klein abetting cheating on exams? Are they co-conspirators?
Teachers work extremely hard, they desperately want their kids to succeed … how can you get your kids “involved” in their work? how can you get them to want to read? Principals sacrifice the Arts, very little music and art … school plays … chorus … gone in too many schools. Many kids can sense the tension in their teachers as the fateful testing days loom …
Teachers and kids have to know that there is an even playing field. That test scores reflect the work of students and their teachers, not the manipulation of the fearful and the arrogant, and, it is the job of the Chancellor to assure that even playing field.
Cheating, unfortunately may be endemic, and, it is not limited to New York, scandals are becoming increasingly commonplace (http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/speak/teachers_dilema/) across the country.
The “wink and a nod” from Tweed cheapens us all.
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