It seems like anyone is qualified to teach these days, even teachers who help their students cheat in order to boost state test results.
Elementary teacher Ericka Bolt was fired after helping students choose the right answers on statewide proficiency exams in 2011. “It’s wrong, fix it,” she told one student, standing over him until he bubbled in the correct answer.
Another student overheard Ms. Bolt telling one student, “Go back to that one, it’s wrong.”
Bolt’s cheating was discovered the following year, when scores slipped and a few students asked their new teacher for help during exams. Bolt was fired in 2014 after an arbitrator decided that “her actions demonstrated a lack of integrity and irrevocably compromised her ability to serve as a role model for students.”
Bolt immediately sued, seeking back pay and reinstatement. Four of the five judges involved in the case agreed that the punishment of termination for her behavior was too severe, specifically writing that it “shocks our sense of fairness.”
The panel referred to Bolt’s behavior as a “lapse in judgment,” citing her previously unblemished teaching record, and pointed out that while she told students their answers were wrong, she did not tell them which answers were right.
Bolt’s attorney – Richard J. Washington – insists that she did nothing wrong. Bolt is “very excited about getting back to work,” he said.
Sole dissenting Judge John Sweeny is understandably shocked by his colleagues’ decision: “Although the majority feel a lesser penalty is more appropriate, as students and parents have the right to believe the testing process is fairly administered, it cannot be said that the penalty shocked one’s sense of fairness,” he said.
Editor’s note: Is this the example we want to set for our children? A teacher who teaches cheating? I have to agree with the abitrators here, but the teacher’s unions are too strong and the courts have caused serious damage to the New York school system.