Ensuring quality

Let's call it failing upward: This year, a South Carolina middle school teacher charged with helping students cheat on the state's standardized test was inadvertently rewarded for her actions with a new job (and $5,000 stipend) teaching other educators how to be effective math instructors. To be considered for the position, teachers must have two years of teaching experience plus a master's degree, or five years' experience plus a bachelor's degree. Evidently, they need supply no evidence of effectiveness in the classroom - or, it would seem, integrity. In its defense, state education department spokesperson Marsha Johnson said "We assume the districts are going to make the best recommendations possible for us. We have no way of knowing that type of information (criminal charges) unless a district tells us."

"Teacher hired despite charges," by Gina Smith, The South Carolina State, July 12, 2004