Tag Archive for: cheating

Why Do People Cheat? The Link Between AshleyMadison and Pornography

Pornography and AshleyMadison are linked in more ways than you might suppose.

As many of us now know, AshleyMadison is a website designed to help people cheat on their significant other without getting caught. Recently, a hacking group leaked the personal data of more than 30 million AshleyMadison users, exposing predominantly married men who have been using the website to have affairs. Those who have been exposed range from top Department of Justice officials to affiliates of pro-family organizations; individuals who, on the surface, would not appear to be likely to have an affair.

Due to these recent events, many individuals are asking: what causes someone to cheat?

While there are many influences that can contribute to a person having an affair, pornography use is a typical, consistent, factor in extramarital affairs.

Pornography has been shown to make its users less satisfied with their existing partner. A 2013 studyPornography is causing a public health crisis-2published in the journal of Social, Psychological and Personality Science has found that people in committed relationships who view pornographic materials are more likely to cheat on their partners than those who don’t.Porn offers users the fantasy of no-strings-attached sexual gratification with multiple extremely attractive partners. Those erotic images, the study found, re-wire the users’ brains to assume that there are a multitude of attractive and willing sexual partners available outside their current relationships. According to researcher Patrick Fagan, PhD, a psychologist and former Deputy Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary, pornography use is correlated with an increase in infidelity of more than 300%.

This link between pornography and cheating is not news to AshleyMadison. AshleyMadison has frequently advertised on porn websites, so that stimulated individuals who are looking for the next best thing are encouraged to sign up for the service.

For many viewers of pornography, their need for new sexual excitement does not stop at the screen. Research has shown that porn users develop the need for increased stimuli in order to get the same “high,” similar to drug users. Eventually, many are driven to “act out” what they’ve been watching, and because yesterday’s hardcore, extreme, pornography is mainstream today, this often means that wives or girlfriends are unwilling to perform certain degrading or painful sexual acts which are popular in porn. The porn user then must find someone else to fulfill these desires; whether it be a prostituted person, a human trafficking victim, or an affair on AshleyMadison.

The bottom line is that porn harms relationships, and it has been doing so for years. In a 2004 testimony before the U.S. Senate, Dr. Jill Manning shared her research, which found that 56 percent of divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.

Pornography is causing a public health crisis in America by not only contributing to sex trafficking, child abuse, and lifelong addictions, but also by stripping many individuals of the ability to have lasting meaningful relationships. In a pornified culture, where men are trained to view women as disposable means to pleasure, and women are bred to accept their role as sexual objects, AshleyMadison is an inevitable product.

To take a stand against the porn industry, and organizations facilitating sexual exploitation, visit: http://pornharmsaction.com

Watch our video, here:

FLORIDA: Another Double Standard in Miami-Dade Public Schools

Alberto Iber the principal of North Miami Senior High School was recently fired by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho of the Dade County School District. According to Christina Veiga of the Miami-Herald Iber’s crime was that he, “inadvertently injected himself into the racially charged national debate over police treatment of blacks with a social media comment.”

Iber wrote in support of McKinney, Texas Police Officer David Eric Casebolt in a Facebook comment, “He [McKinney] did nothing wrong. He was afraid for his life. I commend him for his actions.” Iber responded to a call of a disturbance at a pool party and was video taped subduing a black woman in a bathing suit. This led to accusations of racism and death threats against Officer Casebolt and his family. Casebolt subsequently resigned because of concerns for the safety of his family. Casebolt is a Navy veteran.

Superintendent Carvalho in a press release about the firing of Mr. Iber stated:

The Principal of North Miami Senior High School, Alberto Iber, has been removed from the school. Miami-Dade County Public Schools employees are held to a higher standard, and by School Board policy, are required to conduct themselves, both personally and professionally, in a manner that represents the school district’s core values.

“Judgment is the currency of honesty,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “Insensitivity – intentional or perceived – is both unacceptable and inconsistent with our policies, but more importantly with our expectation of common sense behavior that elevates the dignity and humanity of all, beginning with children.” [Emphasis added]

If Superintendent Carvalho is a man of his word then why did he not fire Ms. Christine Jane Kirchner, a language arts teacher and union steward at Coral Reef Senior High SchoolMiami-Dade public schools. Ms. Kirchner in 2008 was appointed by the Miami-Dade School Board to the Lesson Plan Development Task Group. Kirchner was also elected Vice President At-Large and sits on the Executive Board of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD). So what did Ms. Kirchner do?

According to the April 4, 2014 DOE Education Practices Commission of the State of Florida report:

  1. During the 2012-2013 school year, Respondent [Kirchner] discussed inappropriate topics, such as sex, virginity and masturbation, with her language arts class. The conversations made several students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
  2. During the 2012-2013 school year, during a lesson with her language arts class, Respondent [Kirchner] simulated having an orgasm. The simulation made several students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
  3. During the 2012-2013 school year, Respondent [Kirchner] gave massages to students of her language arts class. The massages made several students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Shouldn’t Ms. Kirchner be held to the same high standards of honesty, common sense behavior, dignity and humanity as Mr. Iber? Why didn’t Superintendent Carvalho fire Kirchner immediately and issue a similar press release?

We have also reported on the test cheating scandal in Miami Norland Senior High School. This is another example of a double standard in the implementation of the high standards used to justify the firing of Mr. Iber and not all of those teachers who took part in the cheating scandal known as “Adobegate.

Is there a double standard in the Miami-Dade school district? You be the judge.


Hey, look! A Cop yelling at a black girl in a bikini!

Florida and Georgia: A Tale of Test Cheating Scandals in Two States

Jailed in Atlanta, Walking Around Free in Miami-Dade: Different Strokes for Different Folks

On Tuesday, three Atlanta educators were sentenced to seven years in prison, and six others given terms of 1-7 years, for their part in the massive test cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools, with more prison sentences expected.  Two educators out of ten took the State’s plea deal- so far, the terms have not been reported.

At an emotional hearing, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter called the case “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in this town.”

Unfortunately for them, they did not work at Miami Norland Senior High School and participate in Adobegate, for if they had, they would be walking around free amongst us like Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin and Mrs. Brenda Muchnick.

Florida, like Georgia, has statutes relating to test cheating and racketeering:

  •  Florida Statute 1008.24, “Test Administration and Security,” makes it a misdemeanor to engage in standardized test cheating: “A person who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”
  • Florida Statute 895.03, Section 1 states: “It is unlawful for any person who has with criminal intent received any proceeds derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through the collection of an unlawful debt to use or invest, whether directly or indirectly, any part of such proceeds, or the proceeds derived from the investment or use thereof, in the acquisition of any title to, or any right, interest, or equity in, real property or in the establishment or operation of any enterprise.”
  • Florida Statute 775.0844, “White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act,” states in Section 2: “Due to the frequency with which victims, particularly elderly victims, are deceived and cheated by criminals who commit nonviolent frauds and swindles, frequently through the use of the Internet and other electronic technology and frequently causing the loss of substantial amounts of property, it is the intent of the Legislature to enhance the sanctions imposed for nonviolent frauds and swindles, protect the public’s property, and assist in prosecuting white collar criminals.”

Adobegate was a host of white collar crimes that took place over the Internet as the tests were given online with the answers provided to the students by cheat sheets given by their teachers- Mr. Fleurantin and Mrs. Muchnick.

Though Florida, like Georgia, has the legal framework to pursue charges against those involved in Adobegate, Florida officials lack the motivation and inclination unlike Georgia, Texas, and Pennsylvania officials to prosecute them and seek justice.

Mr. Trevor Colestock, the whistle-blower, is of the opinion that other schools were involved and that Adobegate is being covered up to prevent others from speaking out and from exposing a larger and costlier fraud to Florida and federal taxpayers; is it so as to protect politically connected Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials such as Superintendent Alberto Carvalho?

Could it be that state and federal officials did not pursue Mr. Colestock’s complaints so as to avoid embarrassment and protect M-DCPS officials?

How far does Adobegate go?

What other schools and M-DCPS employees were involved and to what cost?

Only a thorough investigation will answer these questions, and the general public and Mr. Colestock, who was retaliated against for exposing Adobegate, are owed that much.

RELATED ARTICLE: Former D.C. Whistleblower Principal Adell Cothorne on the Atlanta Verdict

Whistleblower Principal, Adell Cothorne, on the Atlanta Cheating Verdict

It may have happened in April Fools Day, but it was certainly no joke.

On April 1, 2015, 11 Atlanta educators were convicted of racketeering related to their roles in what has come to be widely known as “the Atlanta cheating scandal.” I first read of the verdict in the New York Times:

…A jury here (in Atlanta) on Wednesday convicted 11 educators for their roles in a standardized test cheating scandal that tarnished a major school district’s reputation and raised broader questions about the role of high-stakes testing in American schools.

On their eighth day of deliberations, the jurors convicted 11 of the 12 defendants of racketeering, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. Many of the defendants — a mixture of Atlanta public school teachers, testing coordinators and administrators — were also convicted of other charges, such as making false statements, that could add years to their sentences.

The New York Times article linked above also refers to the Atlanta cheating scandal as, “what has been described as the largest cheating scandal in the nation’s history.”

I’m not so sure about that.

I think the under-investigated, test score “erasure” situation during former DC chancellor Michelle Rhee could top the Atlanta cheating scandal– if the situation is ever properly investigated.

In my book, A Chronicle of Echoes, I offer a detailed discussion of the events surrounding Rhee’s questionable test score gains, including the shallow “investigation” into erasures and the test score plummet that occurred once Rhee was no longer DC chancellor.

I also discuss the involvement of former DC principal, Adell Cothorne, who refused to keep silent when she encountered DC teachers altering student test documents and who demanded heightened security for her school’s tests.

On April 2, 2015, I asked Cothorne if she would weigh in on the Atlanta verdict.

She agreed.

The remainder of this post is Cothorne’s initial reaction to the Atlanta verdict. I have invited her to expand upon her initial reaction once she has had some more time to ponder the situation, so stay tuned.

Adell Cothorne

Adell Cothorne

On April 1, 2015, 11 Atlanta educators were indicted in a cheating scandal that has captured public attention for the last three years. One of the defendants called the judge’s decision to have the educators immediately sent to jail “unnecessary and vindictive”. Many argue – via social media – that the judge was too harsh and only handed down such a stern decision because the defendants were African-American.

There will be many people who weigh in during the next few days, weeks, and even years about what this verdict means. Some pundits will have had zero experience in education but feel they can wax poetic about the virtues of merit pay, testing, and the “plight” of educating urban children.

Let me take a moment to deliver a brief synopsis of mycredentials:

  • I have been an educator for over 20 years and spent the bulk of my ACTUAL classroom and administrative experience in elementary (Kindergarten – 5th grade) and Kindergarten – 8th grade (K – 8) settings
  • My Masters in Administration and Supervision was earned at Johns Hopkins University and I am currently in the process of completing my doctorate
  • Recently, I worked for a Harvard project based in Baltimore City supporting various schools and school stakeholders
  • Most importantly, I am the FORMER District of Columbia (DC) principal who uncovered a cheating scandal and made the decision to file a whistleblower’s lawsuit against DC Public schools.

So when I tell you I have the experience and expertise to respond to the Atlanta verdict, it is not by happenstance.

I agree with Judge Jerry Baxter – these people are convicted felons and should be treated as such.

Do I condone what they did in reference to manipulating students’ tests? No I do not – in any way, shape, or form.

Do I understand why they participated in these egregious acts? I do!

Society as a whole has turned a blind eye to the incessant destruction of public education. Pretty much the way we ignored union bustingand the corporate takeover of teaching hospitals– we have ignored the dismantling of public school systems. All too often, the collective “we” trust that those with the “expertise” make the most logical decision based on the “good of the group.” Education reform (and everything that comes along with it) has illustrated that there is only one thing considered when a society-altering decision is made – money!

A large component of education reform is merit pay. Many feel that merit pay is a fair way to reward teachers. Merit-pay isn’t really about rewarding teachers who teach effectively and increase student achievement. Merit pay is holistically about creating a mechanism to prove teachers aren’t teaching effectively. Why, you ask? A teacher who is proven ineffective can be terminated and not receive a pension. Not allowing as many people to receive pensions is a real money saver for those persons in powerful (and financially wealthy) positions. I won’t go on too much about merit pay here. I’ve written about how merit pay is calculated in one school district in another piece.

I believe many were coerced into changing student test answers. I have firsthand knowledge and experience of being bullied, harassed and professionally threatened. It is not an easy situation. Yet, at the end of the day I could not become complicit in acts that robbed hundreds of children of opportunity. The test scores did not match the student ability I observed. I had eighth-grade students in my building who could not compose a paragraph. Some of these eighth-grade students were 15 years old!

In my time as a DC principal, I had staff members who not only could not deliver effective instruction but were actuallyphysically and emotionally abusive to students. Yet these staff members did not fear retribution because they felt protected by certain DCPS executive staff members. My reprimands and written admonishments fell on deaf ears.

My frustration in trying to do right by my students in DC brings me to the issue of the former Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hall denying she had any knowledge of cheating. I can say with complete confidence – that was a lie! Anyone in education knows that the current state of affairs in education, with its “data-driven reform,” calls for all school stakeholders (specifically teachers, administrators and central office staff) to look at student data on a regular basis (at least monthly). This data many times is all-inclusive and ranges from attendance to achievement to how many students receive free and reduced meals.

As a former administrator, I was taught (as many of my counterparts were) to question any huge gains in data. A huge gain is usually equivalent to a score increase of 7 percent or more. So even though Ms. Hall may not have given a directmandate for schools to improve scores by any means, she was complicit in her silence.

Please do not think doing the right thing comes without a price. As I sit here typing this response, I am unemployed. I have interviewed for a few positions (with public school systems and in the private sector). Many times I get called back for a second or third interview only to be sent an email basically saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Both my gut and some brave souls willing to commend my action tell me that– because of my decision to advocate for thousands of students and be a voice– I have to take some hits.

I’m okay with that.

This is part of my journey.

And I won’t stop talking!

–Adell Cothorne

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of former Atlanta Public Schools School Research Team Director Tamara Cotman, center, is led to a holding cell after a jury found her guilty in the test-cheating trial on April 1 in Atlanta. Source: Kent D. Johnson/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP.

Miami, FL: Possible FCAT Science Cheating at Crestview Elementary?

An official complaint has been filed with the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools regarding suspected test cheating on the FCAT Science exam at Crestview Elementary School during the 2013-2014 school year. The complaint is based upon a report from Mr. Keith Guthrie.

Guthrie stated he had suspicions about test scores on the Grade 5 FCAT Science exam involving two students (one ESE, the other ESOL). Mrs. Matilda Ysidro, told Guthrie that she witnessed the former Science Coach, and current Grade 5 Science teacher, Ms. Lori Caraccia assisting these two students last school year by “emphasizing” the answers on the science exam.

Guthrie came to me “for direction,” as his case is similar to the test cheating on the Industrial Arts exams at Miami Norland Senior High School in April 2012. Guthrie knew my experience with exposing test cheating. I have also represented Guthrie in past grievances and labor disputes with Crestview administration.

Guthrie told me that the events occurred while Ms. Caraccia was testing these two students for the Grade 5 FCAT Science exam during the last school year. Mrs. Ysidro told Guthrie she walked in on them and observed Ms. Caraccia “emphasizing” the right answers. During a second interview with Guthrie, Ysidro said as students were taking the test, if the student marked the wrong answer, Ms. Caraccia would tell them, “You better check your answer”, in some cases multiple times, until the student marked the right answer before moving on to the next question.

Mr. Guthrie deemed what Mrs. Ysidro told him as credible because the two students in question attended his classes. One student was ESOL, the other ESE, and both students failed his class. Both students hardly participated in class and displayed Level 1 performance on their last FCAT Reading exams. Yet both students scored Level 5 on the Grade 5 FCAT Science exam- a clear disparity between classroom performance and their FCAT Reading scores.

Guthrie said only five (including these two) Grade 5 students scored a Level 5 on the Grade 5 FCAT Science exam.  He knew the other three students; he tested them; and their scores were reflective of their classroom achievement and other test scores.

I advised Mr. Guthrie to email the Florida Department of Education Inspector General. He indicated he would email his complaint. Mr. Guthrie has not contacted the FL DOE IG at the time this column was published.

The Florida Department of Education investigators simply need to obtain the names of the five students who scored a Level 5 on the Grade 5 FCAT Science exam; identify those coded as ESOL and ESE and confirm with Mr. Guthrie that they failed his class.  After the two students, and potentially others, are identified, retest them using a different proctor. As the school went from a “D” to a “C,” and Grade 5 FCAT Science performance shot up from 27% in 2013 to 38% in 2014.

Recently school administrators have been involved in cheating scandals in other states (Atlanta, El Paso, Houston, and Philadelphia). Ms. Caraccia was the Science Coach appointed by the principal and on her leadership team. It will be up to the District, and the FLDOE IG, to determine whether or not school administration was aware of possible cheating (coaching) of these students and, if so, when they knew it.

The dramatic rise in Crestview’s school grade from a “D” to a “C” (Crestview scored 477 points; 42 points above the minimum of 435)  lead to a total a payout of $40,000- $50,000 in teacher incentives from the Florida School Recognition Program.

Hopefully it was an isolated incident, but given that test cheating at Norland went largely unnoticed and unpunished by the FLDOE and by law enforcement, the message is clear that cheating pays.

I am reporting what was told to me by Guthrie. This case is not unlike what happened at Miami Norland Senior High School two years ago.  Only a complete and thorough investigation will get to the bottom of how widespread the test cheating is, as was the case at Norland.

If substantiated, many troubling questions are raised: why is there cheating on different levels within the Norland feeder pattern?  What will the District do about it? Will the people involved go the way of Emmanuel Fleurantin or Brenda Muchnick? Time will tell.

The following is a comparison of FCAT Science test results for Crestview Elementary.

School Percentage Passing (Satisfactory and Above)
(Achievement Level 3 and Above)
2013 2014
Top of Form CRESTVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (1161) Bottom of Form
5 27 38 


School Percentage Passing (Satisfactory and Above)
(Achievement Level 3 and Above)
(Achievement Level 3 and Above)
(Achievement Level 3 and Above)
Writing Essay
(3.5 and Above)
2013 2014 2013 2014 2013 2014 2013 2014
Top of Form CRESTVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (1161) Bottom of Form
3 41 48  40 42  NA NA  NA NA 
4 55 56  61 58  NA NA  42 30 
5 49 55  42 48  27 38  NA NA 


Cheating Commies and Guardian Syndrome by Max Borders

Why were the East Germans more likely to cheat?

In a recent Economist piece called “Lying Commies,” the authors report:

“Under capitalism”, ran the old Soviet-era joke, “man exploits man. Under communism it is just the opposite.” In fact new research suggests that the Soviet system inspired not just sarcasm but cheating too: in East Germany, at least, communism appears to have inculcated moral laxity.

Lars Hornuf of the University of Munich and Dan Ariely, Ximena García-Rada and Heather Mann of Duke University ran an experiment last year to test Germans’ willingness to lie for personal gain. Some 250 Berliners were randomly selected to take part in a game where they could win up to €6 ($8).

The findings?

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

But the authors make no attempt to explain why this is so. As you can see, they write: “The study reveals nothing about the nature of the link between socialism and dishonesty.”

Might we find at least clues to an answer in the work of Jane Jacobs? Specifically, in Systems of Survival, she offers the following heuristic to show us how different people arrive at different types of moral frameworks depending on how the incentives systems are set up to benefit their survival. (I would add that these moral “syndromes” are also good psychological dispositions for shoring up hierarchies or transitioning to networks, respectively.)

                              Moral Precepts

     Guardian Syndrome      Commerce Syndrome
Shun trading

Exert prowess

Be obedient and disciplined

Adhere to tradition

Respect hierarchy

Be loyal

Take vengeance

Deceive for the sake of the task

Make rich use of leisure

Be ostentatious

Dispense largesse

Be exclusive

Show fortitude

Be fatalistic

Treasure honor

Shun force


Be efficient

Be open to inventiveness and novelty

Use initiative and enterprise

Come to voluntary agreements

Respect contracts

Dissent for the sake of the task

Be industrious

Be thrifty

Invest for productive purposes

Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens

Promote comfort and convenience

Be optimistic

Be honest

Notice anything about guardian syndrome that unpacks both the behavior of East German socialists, as well as those involved in politics and bureaucratic hierarchies in general?


Max Borders is the editor of The Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.