Educators accused in TAKS cheating

May 21, 2010 7:26:17 AM PDT
Normandy Crossing Elementary School has suspended its principal, assistant principal and five teachers because of an investigation into possible cheating on the TAKS test. The school is part of the Galena Park Independent School District. Galena Park officials say an administrator at the school has even admitted that some cheating took place, so on Thursday, seven employees were placed on paid leave.

Just days before the end of the school year, Galena Park ISD launched the beginning of the investigation.

"I would be very upset if I found out they are making different grades for (my son)," parent Chaunita Boyd said.

The district says seven employees, including the principal Dianne Edwards and assistant principal Tonia Bush from Normandy Crossing Elementary, are on paid leave.

"It's very concerning because I want to make sure my son's results are accurate," parent Antoinette Anders-Stulce said.

The allegations surfaced from an employee this week claiming some employees were involved in changing answers on fifth grade tests or alerted students when answers were wrong during the April TAKS testing.

Assistant Superintendent Bourke Meagher is leading the investigation.

"It is being taken very seriously," Meagher said. "The fact that individuals have been placed on administrative leave is not indicative of guilt or innocence; it's really done to protect the integrity of the investigation."

If claims are true, some students may have to retest.

The district says the testing irregularities seem to have been designed to improve scores of some who were not expected to perform well, but that's puzzling to some since the school has received an exemplary rating the past two years.

With just days before the last day of school, parents are left anxious.

"Well, that the truth will come out, whatever it may be, so it can be dealt with and corrected for the children's sake," Anders-Stulce said.

Officials hope to wrap up the investigation by the end of next week.

If the claims turn out to be true, several things could happen. The employees could be fired or they could even lose their teacher's certificate.


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