Friday 25 March 2005

Best laid plans.

Education Watch points us in the direction of this story. I'm sure there are all sorts of serious socio-political lessons to be learned here, but let's just concentrate on the comedy.

A Bronx teacher who repeatedly flunked his state certification exam paid a formerly homeless man with a developmental disorder $2 to take the test for him, authorities said yesterday.

The ironically-named Mr Brightly was apparently sick of failing the teacher's certification exam. It didn't seem to occur to him that he might have been able to pass it by studying, which I seem to remember was the teacher-approved method of improving exam performance when I was at school. Maybe things are different in New York. No, he opted for the getting-someone-else-to-do-it-for-you method. And, being a teacher and therefore terribly clever, he knew exactly the right person for the job: Rubin Leitner, a man who, being twice his size, twenty years older, and a completely different colour, would be able to assume his identity effortlessly; and who, having Asperger's syndrome, would be able to pass the test.

The illegal stand-in - who looks nothing like teacher Wayne Brightly - not only passed the high-stakes test, he scored so much better than the teacher had previously that the state knew something was wrong, officials said.

The stupidity is outwitted at every turn by yet greater stupidity. Not only is Brightly so stupid that he picks a man with a learning disability to take the test for him, but he is so stupid that this man then outperforms him by a huge margin. Brightly's employers are so sure of his uselessness that they actually started an investigation when he did well in a competence test. Yet, despite knowing that he's totally incapable, it never occurred to them not to hire him as a teacher.

And for this scam Brightly paid Leitner two dollars?

"I gave him my all," said Leitner ... "He gave me what he thought I was worth."


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