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    Do as I say, not as I do – Teachers Caught Cheating!

    Date: 12.31.12 | by Judge Tom.

    This story may be one that leaves you scratching your head. Men and women with the desire to enter the classroom to teach our youth have been caught cheating in the process of obtaining their credentials to do so. All states have a certification process where qualified applicants, after meeting the required level on written and oral exams, are approved to apply for teaching positions in the state’s schools. Consequently, certification is a commodity with a lifetime of value. No certification means no teaching position. The standardized tests are administered by the Educational Testing Service.

    Clarence Mumford, Sr. was a long-time educator who saw a way to make thousands of dollars in addition to his teacher’s salary. Between 1995 and 2010, the 58-year-old allegedly paid test-takers to assume an applicant’s identification and complete the test. He provided the hired test-taker a fake driver’s license used to be admitted to the testing center in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. He collected fees between $1,500 and $3,00o from each applicant and paid his test-takers several hundred dollars. Once the test was successfully passed, the applicants were free to apply for teaching jobs throughout their respective states.


    Photo by Albertogp123 (Flickr)

    A federal investigation has led to sixty fraud and conspiracy charges against Mumford. Fourteen others have been charged with mail and Social Security fraud since they gave Mumford their social security numbers so he could make the fake IDs for his test-takers. As of this writing, four have pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. Mumford and the teachers face between two and twenty years in prison on each count.

    Update:  Mumford pleaded guilty and in May, 2013, was sentenced to seven years in prison.

    There have been cheating scandals and individual incidents throughout history. The Internet and digital devices make it easier for someone to obtain answers and tests before they’re actually given. Texting during exams happens as well as viewing information online on a cell phone or iPad. It comes down to a matter of ethics and a sense of moral responsibility. In some instances, the students of these cheating teachers have probably not suffered in their education. However, there were undoubtedly a few teachers who shouldn’t be in the classroom instructing our youth. The offenders here should be handled swiftly and judiciously. If someone sincerely wants to be a teacher, isn’t the extra effort invested in studying for the entrance exams and certification worth it rather than cheating to obtain permission to enter the classroom?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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