Federal prosecutors say Estero couple’s company gave away answers to teacher prep exams
One of the first things we learned in school was don’t cheat, but that’s something federal investigators say they caught a Southwest Florida couple doing for new teachers.
Investigators say Jeremy and Kathleen Jasper of Estero ran a company that gave away questions and answers on the teacher certification test.
The School District of Lee County says it started working with company NavaED back in 2017 to help teachers prepare for the certification exams.
The District says those workshops were in person before the pandemic and then transitioned online, but that was all before the District found out the test prep information NavaED used might have been illegal.
The company’s website looks like a typical tutoring site, set with online videos, courses and books that helped many Florida educators prepare for certification exams.
However, federal prosecutors say the test prep is made up of stolen material, the coursework of a large cheating scheme.
“The stolen trade secrets and information directly impact the integrity of the education system in the state of Florida,” said Lawrence Keefe, the U.S. Attorney of the northern district of Florida.
Federal prosecutors say the Jaspers took the tests repeatedly, memorizing the questions and answers and selling the information to clients preparing for the exam.
“We need to have the full faith and confidence that the test is secure and the questions are secure, so that’s why this kind of academic impropriety is so, so egregious when it comes to education,” said Kevin Daly, the president of the Lee County teachers association.
Daly says he believes those who used the exam did so in good faith. The question remains about what this means for all of the educators who used the NavaED test prep.
“The Florida Department of Education has a challenge going forward in terms of addressing and dealing with a significant number of people who may now be certified as teachers and principals and administrators to determine what the appropriate things that need to be done as the state’s curators and custodians of the Florida education system,” Keefe said.
NavaED released a statement saying the company is innocent.
The department of education says it has worked hard over the past year to replace the stolen exam questions with new content to ensure the integrity of the teacher certification exams.