News Release

* Atlanta Testing Scandal “Tip of Iceberg” * AFT Teams with Coke

The Guardian in “Why the Atlanta cheating scandal failed to bring about national reform” states: “‘Atlanta is the tip of the iceberg,’ says Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, a nonprofit opposed to current testing standards. ‘Cheating is a predictable outcome of what happens when public policy puts too much pressure on test scores.'”

BOB SCHAEFFER, bobschaeffer at earthlink.net, @fairtestoffice
See FairTest’s fact sheet: “Tests, Cheating and Educational Corruption” [PDF]: “Erasing errors and filling in correct test answers is just one of many ways to ‘cheat’ on standardized tests. The scandals in Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey and many other jurisdictions are the tip of an iceberg. Across the nation, strategies that boost scores without improving learning, including narrow teaching to the test and pushing out low-scoring students, are spreading rapidly. Widespread corruption that undermines educational quality is an inevitable consequence of the overuse and misuse of high-stakes testing, just as [social scientist] Donald Campbell predicted.

FairTest notes that in 1976, Campbell’s Law was formulated: “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor. . . when test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways.”

See also FairTest’s list of 40 states with confirmed test cheating; “50+ Ways Schools ‘Cheat’ on Testing: Manipulating High-Stakes Exam Scores for Political Gain” [PDF]; and “How Testing Feeds the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”

Russell Mokhiber of Corporate Crime Reporter writes in “Why Did the AFT End Its Coca-Cola Boycott?” “In October, 2014, the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution to boycott all Coca-Cola products.

“The resolution — ‘Stop Coca-Cola’s Abuse of Children and Violation of Human Rights’ — called for a boycott of Coca-Cola products based upon a litany of violations of workers’ rights and child labor laws on the part of the company.

“Now, just four months after that resolution was passed, the AFT executive committee, has reversed course and passed a resolution ending the boycott.”

Instead, on March 23rd, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Ed Potter, Coke’s director of global workplace rights, signed a partnership agreement. Mokhiber notes: “Also on hand was former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, who is a member of the Coca-Cola board of directors.”

GARY RUSKIN, gary.ruskin at gmail.com, @garyruskin
Ruskin is executive director of U.S. Right to Know, a new nonprofit organization that investigates and reports “on what food companies don’t want us to know about our food.”

Ruskin said: “The Coca-Cola Company preys on American children. It is responsible in part for the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes that afflicts our nation’s children.

“It is not the proper role of the American Federation of Teachers to partner with child predators, such as Coca-Cola. By partnering with a child predator, the AFT’s agreement will undermine the moral authority of teachers nationwide. That is a regrettable outcome for teachers, schools, and especially our children, who deserve so much better from their teachers.”