Charter schools throughout California had been caught cheating on the multiple choice section of tests due to “adult irregularities.” Teachers have admitted to have altered students test answers to get more funding from the state.
Animo Leadership, being one of the schools caught cheating, is in intense observation because it can affect the reputation of all charter schools in the Los Angeles area.
“People tend to lump all charter schools together when one of us does something wrong. It affects all charter schools. I would expect that people would be more skeptical about our test scores,” Principal Joshua Hartford said. Teachers were accused of changing answers and coaching students to correct answers to make their school seem impressive and gain a high API score.
In Animo Pat Brown, every year Principal Joshua Hartford and the teachers sign the STAR Test Security Affidavit for Test Examiners and the STAR Test Security Agreement for District and Test Site Coordinators. This is an agreement between the principal and the teachers to ensure that they won’t cheat during testing days trusting one another to do their job properly.
APB is very careful and makes sure that teacher do their job correctly. Hartford said, “We observe teachers during CSTs and we also have outside observers that audit.” To make sure teachers don’t cheat, “training is required so that they understand the rules and know how to follow them.”
Animo Leadership has always been APBs rivals academically; both always get compared in scores and the school as a whole.
“They may have had cheated on test, but aside from that they have a higher number of students passing their classes than APB,” Hartford said.
Animo Leadership has been blamed for one person’s mistake. Does this mean that their reputation will change?
“As for our reputation I have not seen any negative impacts to the school,” said Animo Leadership Principal Julio Murcia “We are just getting started with recruitment and it will be interesting to see. I believe because we have been so honest, have not denied what happen and have keep everyone inform as much as possible that student and parents are happy with the school.”
The person responsible for this incident has been dismissed from working with Green Dot Public Schools. Even though their actions affected the school, “our staff trusts each other and the students because they know it was an isolated case and not a school wide problem,” Murcia said.
Because of this, students from Animo Leadership have been harassed by other students from different schools. “At first when it came to the front it was uncomfortable and other students from other school were giving our student a hard time via Facebook. Teachers and students are working really hard to show everyone that we are not the actions of the teacher,” Murcia said.