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District Accused of Hiding Poor Scores

By Rory Devine
|  Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010  |  Updated 5:45 AM PDT
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Strong allegations of unethical practices have been lobbied against the <a title=Sweetwater Union School District by some of the district's own teachers." />

Strong allegations of unethical practices have been lobbied against the Sweetwater Union School District by some of the district's own teachers.

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Two teachers are accusing Sweetwater Union High School District of creating an artificial bump in scores by hiding poor scores.

"It's unethical, I feel it's totally unethical and I don't like where it's going," said Fran Brinkman.

She and teacher John Brickley say they have crunched the numbers and don't like what they claim they've found.

"It's a game. People have called it a shell game moving and manipulating our lowest scores to remove our lowest scores out of the district reports to the state," Brickley said.

After 30 years, Brickley will soon retire from his position as an independent studies teacher. Brickley and Brinkman, a newly retired independent studies teacher, say they have the support of about half the independent studies teachers in the district.

They say the district moved students who are at risk from their home schools to an independent studies school so their scores would not count in standardized test scores.

The move was not physical, the move was done on paper only.

"They moved to cyber school they still attend the same classroom, same teacher same curriculum same books," said Brickley.

"They have the same bubblegum under chairs they sit in, but nothing in that regard has changed," he said. "But in the computer they're enrolled in a different school."

"So while nothing has changed this has given the district the ability to negate their score," he said.

District spokesperson, Maria Castilleja, said the growth in API is not a surprise.

"It is discouraging to us that a group of individuals will discredit the work that 1700 teachers and 200 administrators have done in the last three years." Castilleja said. "We have worked so hard to try to close achievement gap."

The district says it has improved curriculum and consistency for independent study students. They also refute the high numbers of students the teachers say have been moved into this new cyber school.

According to Castilleja, more than 60 percent of students in independent studies do not even take standardized tests.

 


 

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