Why cheat? Kids were ‘dumb as hell’

Atlanta math teacher Shayla Smith gave students test answers because they were “dumb as hell,” according to a former colleague who testified at her hearing. The former fifth-grade teacher denied cheating, but the tribunal recommended her firing, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The teacher, Schajuan Jones, taught 4th grade across the hall from Smith, and said she overheared Smith talking in the hallway with a teacher whose students she had overseen during testing.

“The words were, ‘I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell,'” Jones said.

The tribunal was considering testimony of cheating in 2010. The year before a state analysis found what was described as a practically impossible frequency of changes from wrong to right in tests proctored by Smith.

A student also testified Smith had pointed to the right answers.

Of nearly 180 Atlanta Public School educators accused of cheating in a state investigation, the district has reported outcomes for 164: 110 have resigned or retired, reports the newspaper. Seventeen were fired after going before the tribunal, 16 were reinstated and 21 tribunals are pending.

About Joanne


  1. Katie Jones says:

    This is unfortunate and people saying things like that about kids could really impact kids’ self esteem in a negative way.

  2. Yeah,

    And when the kids turn 18 and find out their entire academic career has been a fraud, then what?

    While I agree that the teacher cheating is completely wrong, what is going on with our schools that students cannot read/write and handle math.

    There was an interesting article this morning on the issue of kids skipping school, and in reading it, it just seems as if the parents and the district do little to curb this.

    Of course, when I attended high school, when a kid turned 16, they were legally allowed to drop out of school, and the district made absolutely no effort to track them down and get them back in the classroom. Today, with state and federal dollars tied to attendance, it’s a whole different matter entirely.


  3. What can they do? If a kid is totally hell bent on not wanting to go to school, or not wanting to particpate when they’re forced to be there, there’s little that anyone can do. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink… At least, now without becoming the gestapo. It sucks, but people who are hell bent on ruining their own lives – even when they’re too young to realize it – will usually find a way to do it.