Monday, October 1, 2012

Union Fires Back on Governor Tom Corbett Claims that Cheating Lowered Test Scores

As state education officials investigate whether cheating took place on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests in some districts in the past three years, the state's largest public employees union says the real problem lies elsewhere. 

Mike Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, says the allegations involve a small number of schools. He points out that the probe takes attention away from the massive education cuts the administration of Governor Tom Corbett has put in place. 

"We've got 14,000 thousand fewer educators. We've got increasing class sizes, cuts to art, phys-ed, and those are the problems, and the Governor keeps looking for a scapegoat."

The state estimates as many as 3 percent of schools may have been involved in cheating, but Crossey thinks that math is out of whack.

"If I wanted to do percentages, you know, I would look at the most recent Franklin and Marshall poll that said 80 percent of the Pennsylvania population disapproves of Governor Corbett's funding cuts."

What should be factored into this equation, adds Crossey, is that when the state invests in kids, the results are evident.

"When we had a funding program in place that targeted resources to solutions that worked for kids, and then we put the resources there to fix that problem, those problems were fixed."

The latest School Assessment scores declined by 1.4 percent in math and 1.6 percent in reading. State Education Secretary Ron Tomalis attributes it to the cheating being exposed, and expects to file complaints against more than 100 educators suspected of misconduct in administering the tests. 

Crossey counters that lower test scores are inevitable when nearly a billion dollars has been slashed from the education budget. 

The Franklin and Marshall report mentioned is at 

Tom Joseph

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