While I was on blog vacation, a story of mine ran on the front page Sunday:
On May 12, 2005, Texas education commissioner Shirley Neeley stood in the Wilmer-Hutchins school board chambers and announced the results of her agency’s investigation into cheating on the TAKS test.
“Twenty-two WHISD teachers were found guilty of cheating,” she said. “The investigation found inexcusable, illegal, unprofessional and unacceptable behavior on the part of these 22 individuals.”
Shortly after, the Wilmer-Hutchins schools were all shut down. But the careers of the teachers lived on.
At least 10 of the 22 Wilmer-Hutchins educators are now working in other North Texas public schools, a Dallas Morning News investigation found. None has faced official sanction, more than 2 ½ years after the cheating took place.
Most were able to find new jobs weeks after Dr. Neeley’s statements.
They were able to do so in part because the body responsible for disciplinary actions against teachers, the State Board for Educator Certification, has been slow to act on the cases. The agency has a notorious backlog and a reputation for letting cases lie dormant, sometimes for more than two years.
In addition, state officials chose not to use their normal method to inform school districts of the findings of their investigation. Several of the school districts that now employ the teachers said they were unaware of the findings until informed by The News.