Competition: the way a monopoly is dismantled
This week we offer a series of blogs looking at how the traditional public school system in Kentucky – which enjoys a virtual monopoly over deciding where your child can go to school – has been seduced by its own power in arrogant ways that adversely impact students and taxpayers alike. We will show how giving Kentucky parents the competition provided by badly needed school-choice options is the way to curb that monopoly power.
Monopoly education attitudes infect more than finances; staff cheat on tests, too
We move to Southeastern Kentucky for today’s sampling of public school monopoly madness: cheating by school staff on the ACT college entrance test in Perry County, Kentucky.
The ACT is an important test in Kentucky. It has been an official part of the state’s testing program since 2008. All 11th-grade public school students in the Bluegrass State are required to take it. The scores are publicly reported, making each school’s ACT performance highly visible to the public.
And, that visibility was apparently too embarrassing for someone in the Perry County School District. Following the posting of suspicious score trends, a forensic investigation by the ACT, Inc. revealed that someone had altered ACT answer booklets at that school.
A joint investigation by the ACT, Inc. and the Kentucky Department of Education was unable to break the education monopoly’s code of silence in Perry County; so, the actual culprits who altered the test booklets were never identified.
However, it was clear that inappropriate access to those booklets had occurred.
Thus, two Perry County school staffers who were responsible for test booklet security had their professional certificates suspended for a time and also had further restrictions placed on their activities as educators after their certificates were reinstated.
This was possibly the first time that forensic testing investigation was used to substantiate punishment for educator misbehavior regarding testing in Kentucky. But it wouldn’t prove to be the last time, as we’ll point out in tomorrow’s blog.
One of the truly sad things about the Perry County incident is that – even after staff cheating was confirmed – parents who want a better education program for their children really have no choice.
Except for the very wealthy, Perry County parents must continue sending their children to the very same school system that tried to mislead them about their children’s real college readiness. The unknown cheaters continue today to be protected by an ingrown, monopoly school system, and those cheaters continue to have direct contact with students, as well. That’s the penalty for parents whose children only have a monopoly public school system available to them.