King High School teacher under fire for giving answers to exam questions

TAMPA - In a September 14 letter addressed to King High School teacher Karen McGuire, the Hillsborough County School System tells her it plans to recommend her termination.

It claims she admitted to writing three final exam answers on the board for students on June 5, 2012. Some of those students even got a second chance to change answers after turning in their exam, when McGuire returned tests with a Post-It note, "indicating questions they should review again."

"In doing so, you provided them an unfair advantage," writes Linda Kipley, General Manager of Professional Standards.  "Due to your poor decision-making, all of your students exam scores were invalidated."

McGuire, however, claims she did never did anything that wasn't in the best interest of her students.  She says a 2009 reprimand for forging another teacher's signature was never validated.

"I cared about my students and that's the bottom line," she said. "I love my students. I love what's in the best interest of my students."

According to the letter, McGuire's students turned her in.

"I think they realized if they didn't, they could also be in trouble.  They could get a zero in the class," said Hillsborough County Schools Spokesperson Linda Cobbe.  "They went to the administration and let them know they didn't think that was quite right."

McGuire claims King High School has faced serious changes over the last few years. She calls her students "frustrated," and though she won't confirm or deny the allegations until her attorney gives her clearance, she says she simply aimed to alleviate her students' concerns.

"You still cannot provide the questions and the answers for students.  It's just unethical," Cobbe said. "If you want your students to excel, you make sure they've learned the content.  You don't give them the answers to tests.  That doesn't show the students have learned anything."

McGuire simply says there's more to the story than what's written in the letter, and whatever she did, or didn't do, is a result of a broken system.

"What's education really all about? Is it meeting the needs of our students?" she said.

The school board will take up the issue at Tuesday's meeting.  McGuire plans to appeal any decision to terminate her position.

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