Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Teacher [James Hope] awaits word on license
- Subject: Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Teacher [James Hope] awaits word on license
- From: Gloria Pipkin <gpipkin@I-1.NET>
- Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 08:01:52 -0600
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Teacher awaits word on license
Probe continues on Internet post
Andrea Jones - Staff
Saturday, March 16, 2002
Centerville Elementary School teacher James Hope is still waiting to hear
whether he will lose his teaching license and be prosecuted for posting
Gateway test questions on the Internet nearly two years ago.
"It's frustrating that it's been up in the air for a year and a half," Hope
said. "I think about it every single day, worrying about whether or not I'm
going to lose my license or have to go to jail."
In April 2000, upset at test questions he said were too confusing and
ambiguous, Hope posted six questions that had just appeared on the
The school system launched a criminal investigation that is still pending,
District Attorney Danny Porter said Friday.
"They [school officials] have not turned over a report for review," Porter
Hope's 2000 Internet posting struck a nerve with the system and came as the
district was investigating another breach of Gateway security.
A day before the first part of the test was to be administered, district
officials learned that copies of the fourth-grade Gateway had been
anonymously mailed to area news organizations.
That summer, school police interrogated Hope, other employees and parents
who were outspoken in their opposition to the high-stakes exam.
While Hope said he had nothing to do with mailing copies of the test to the
media, he said he and his family were harassed by school police.
"They came to my house and threatened me," he said. "They told people I was
going to jail."
School officials would not comment Friday on the specifics of the
Hope, who was his school's Teacher of the Year for 2000-2001, appeared
before an administrative law judge in December to argue that he shouldn't
lose his teaching license over the Internet posting.
About 60 of his supporters appeared at the hearing.
Officials with the Professional Standards Commission, the group that
oversees teacher certification, argued that Hope violated the ethics code
and should have his teaching license revoked.
Lawyers for the PSC said Hope, like all Gwinnett's teachers who administer
the Gateway, signed a confidentiality agreement to keep the test questions
That form, Hope said, goes too far.
"I'm not aware of any other school system that threatens teachers with
prison time for divulging test questions," he said. "And parents have to
sign the same form."
A ruling by the PSC is expected soon.
"This ordeal has all been over the fact that I posted six invalid test
questions," Hope said. "It's just ridiculous."
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