He gave the reading and language-arts sections to two teachers he trusted and took the math section home.
Flipping through its pages, he felt proud of how much material he had covered that year.
One afternoon in the spring of 2006, Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School, in Atlanta, unlocked the room where standardized tests were kept.
Lewis, a slim twenty-nine-year-old with dreadlocks, contemplated opening the test with scissors, but he thought his cut marks would be too obvious.Unless fifty-eight per cent of students passed the math portion of the test and sixty-seven per cent passed in language arts, the state could shut down the school.Lewis put on gloves, to prevent oil from his hands from leaving a residue on the plastic, and then used his lighter to melt the edges of the cellophane together, so that it appeared as if the package had never been opened.Then he used a lighter to warm the razor, which he wedged under the adhesive sealing the booklet, and peeled back the tab.He photocopied the math, reading, and language-arts sections—the subjects that would determine, under the No Child Left Behind guidelines, whether Parks would be classified as a “school in need of improvement” for the sixth year in a row.
But he worried that his students would struggle with questions that were delivered in paragraph form.