Teachers investigated for alleged student cheating

May 26, 2012 4:46:04 AM PDT
Some Houston school teachers are under investigation because of allegations that they may have helped their students cheat on the TAKS test.

One teacher at Hobby Elementary School in southwest Houston has not been renewed and five more have been transferred from the school to other locations until the investigation is complete. Some parents are defending the teachers and want them back in the classroom with their kids.

The parents say they are proud of the work their children have done at the recognized and exemplary school.

"They are awesome teachers. They are the best. They have worked hard," said parent Elsy Fuentes.

So the allegations, reassignment of some teachers and the firing of another has taken them by surprise.

"We disagree with this action that HISD is taking," said parent Segundo Castro.

HISD says last week, five Hobby Elementary School teachers were reassigned to other job duties away from the campus pending the outcome of an investigation. A sixth teacher was dismissed.

The district says the Texas Education Agency received an allegation of testing impropriety against the school during TAKS testing in the 2010-2011 school year.

"I don't believe it, not at all, because they have really, really studied and worked hard for this," Fuentes said.

These parents wrote a letter to the district concerned about who they say are bilingual teachers being taken out of the classroom. They also claim that many Hispanic children who attend Hobby spent hours after school and on weekends preparing for the test.

"They had a lot of homework, going to sleep at 10 or 11 at night," said Fuentes.

The district says in February it "hired an outside law firm to conduct a preliminary investigation into this allegation. Some students were interviewed after their parents granted permission."

Castro said, "They are good teachers, honest teachers, and they work hard every day in school."

"We want this solved and we want it solved fast. Our kids are wanting their teachers back, they need their teachers," said Fuentes.

HISD says the investigation is not finished and no final conclusions have been reached on the five teachers reassigned.

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