According to an article written by Motoko Rich for the New York Times, it seems that students are not the only ones in the school system that cheat to gain success. A former Memphis school district assistant principal and guidance counselor, Clarence Mumford, has been caught running a test cheating ring. What I found so astonishing about this particular occurrence was that the cheating ring spanned three states: Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. I’ve heard of teachers helping students cheat in order to boost test score reports, but this is the first time I had ever heard of teachers cheating in order to become teachers.
Mumford was creating false identification for test takers so that they could hire another person to take their test for them. In this case, the individuals involved with Mumford were cheating on the Praxis Exams. Rich explains that the Praxis Exams are, “are taken by people who want to obtain a teaching license or to acquire additional credentials in a specific subject.” These exams are comparable to the MTEL’s that Massachusetts requires of licensed teachers.
So what does all this mean when it concerns students? I found it shocking that individuals who wanted to become an educator, people who shape young minds, were taking such a deceitful route that, hopefully, they would never encourage their students to take. Sarah Almy, the director of teacher quality at Education Trust, sees this as a concern as well: “‘The fact that there were folks who felt like they needed to bring somebody else in in order to meet a very basic level of content knowledge is disturbing, in particular for the kids those teachers are going to wind up teaching.'”
I also find this very troublesome. Not only were these people involved in the cheating ring acting less than honorably, they required someone else to take the test for them because they didn’t know the information required to pass. If these basic requirements are now a major concern for future teachers, so much so they are willing to go outside the law, what does this mean about the quality of teachers nowadays? Hopefully more of these cheating rings can be brought to justice. Mumford ran his reportedly from 1995 until at least 2010. There is really nothing more detrimental to a students education than an unqualified teacher.