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Increased Security at the SATs

Aired March 29, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: When you go to take the SAT, get ready to have your ID looked at more closely. We`re going to explain the reason for the increased security in just a minute. First up, though, let`s check out some of today`s headlines.

We`re going to start at the U.S. Supreme Court building. Yesterday marked the end of three days of legal arguments about the 2010 health care reform law that was introduced by President Obama.


AZUZ (voice-over): One of the big questions was about a controversial part of the law called the individual mandate. The justices have to decide if that violates the Constitution. And if they rule that it does, they also have to consider if the entire law should be scrapped. It`s expected that the court will announce the ruling on the case in June.

Next, something you already know, if you`ve had to fill up your car`s gas tank recently. Gas prices: on the rise. They`ve gone up for 19 straight days. Yesterday the average cost for a gallon of regular hit $3.91. That`s nationwide. In 10 states and the District of Columbia, the price is already higher than $4 a gallon.


TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: This investigation had been botched from the beginning, and that people other than me knew that it was supposed to be an arrest made.

JOE OLIVER, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I believe that when all of the evidence comes out, this will clearly show this was a case of life or death for either Trayvon or George. And sadly for the Martin family, it was Trayvon that we lost.


AZUZ: More than a month after he was shot and killed, Trayvon Martin`s name is all over the news and social media. There have been protests in cities around the U.S. and a forum on Capitol Hill. We know some facts about the case, but there are still of lot of questions.

Let`s start with what we know. Trayvon Martin, 17-year old on the right side of your screen here, was walking home from a store. Police say he was unarmed. And George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, called 9-1-1 to report a suspicious person, and said he was following martin, though he was told by a dispatcher he didn`t need to do that.

Zimmerman says Martin attacked him, and he claims that he shot the teen in self-defense. Police haven`t charged Zimmerman with any crimes, because they say they don`t have enough evidence to disprove his story.

What we don`t know is what exactly happened between the time when George Zimmerman started following Trayvon Martin and when the shot was fired. Officials say that as more information comes out, the picture of what happened becomes more complicated.

You heard us say that there are still a lot of questions surrounding this story. What questions do you have about it? You can go to our blog at and tell us what you want to know about what happened. And remember, on the blog, first names only.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Hendricks` civics class at Manokotak School in Manokotak, Alaska.

What is a perfect score on the SAT? You know this. Is it 36, 100, 1,600 or 2,400? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Since the writing section was added to math and verbal, a perfect SAT score is 2,400. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Well, some students have been willing to cheat to get closer to that perfect score. Scandal was uncovered last fall involving 20 people who paid someone else to take the test for them. Officials want to make sure that can`t happen again. They`re putting new rules in place, starting in September that will affect everyone who takes the SAT.


MARY SNOW, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It was these arrests tied to a cheating scandal in a wealthy New York City suburb that prompted new security rules for college entrance exams. Now everyone will be affected. Front and center was 19-year-old Sam Eshaghoff.

He told CBS` 60 minutes that students paid him around $2,500 to take their SAT tests for them. Nassau County`s district attorney says she found 55 kids who either got paid to take the SAT or ACT tests or paid others to take it.

SNOW: How easy is it to cheat on the SAT?

KATHLEEN RICE, NASSAU COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, before today, it was incredibly easy to cheat. There were a number of loopholes that made it possible for kids to pay someone else to take the test for them.

SNOW (voice-over): Prosecutor Kathleen Rice says a fake ID was all that was required. To change that, she says, students will have to upload a photo of themselves when they register for the test, and it will be put into a database. On the day of the exam, a photo ID will be required to match the registration.

Scott Farber, who runs a prep course for students taking college entrance exams, questions why it took so long.

SCOTT FARBER, PRESIDENT, A LIST EDUCATION: It seemed very, very strange that a test that was this important, that was tied to billions of dollars of financial aid and ultimately students` futures, to not have those things in place before, seemed very strange.

SNOW (voice-over): When the cheating in Nassau County first came to light, test administrators said the problem was not widespread.

KATHRYN JURIC, THE COLLEGE BOARD: ETS data previously had suggested that impersonation was not a systemic issue. From the onset we`ve said one case is one too many, and that`s why we committed from the very beginning to work with the district attorney to further enhance the security processes.

SNOW (voice-over): But Rice is convinced the cheating isn`t contained to Nassau County.

RICE: I don`t think there`s any question that this is going on across the country. It`s not just kids here in New York who come up with this idea.

SNOW: Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice says another big change is better disclosure about scams. She says the system is currently set up, it makes it difficult for administrators to inform colleges -- even parents -- about cheating -- Mary Snow, CNN, New York


AZUZ: The CNN Heroes program honors ordinary people who find ways to make the world better. One of this year`s heroes is Nancy Zuch. Her daughter was diagnosed with cancer when she was two years old. The challenges that the Zuch family went through provided inspiration for how to help other families in similar situations. Here`s their story.



"Five green and speckled frogs Sitting on a speckled log -- "

Sometimes it takes the children a while to adjust. But we`re dealing with children that are on chemotherapy and steroids, and the suppressed immune system.

Isn`t she pretty?

I think that the children understand that they`re different in some way. But what`s great about the Morgan Center is they`re not different here. They`re all the same. Eventually they`re all dancing or smiling and having a good time.

We were driven to do this, because we were so frustrated. During Morgan`s treatment, to see her go through the suffering and the pain of treatment, that was very traumatic enough. But then to throw in on top of that her losing her innocence of her childhood.

MORGAN ZUCH, CANCER SURVIVOR: I feel happy for them, because I couldn`t have these preschool experiences.

You take the light blue piece with all the stickies on it, and you put it on top of the green.

When I`m here, I teach the lesson or read a book. Each year, my school, I raise money to rent a movie theater so the children can go see a private movie in a safe environment. And before the movie, we clean all the seats. We clean all the games.

Five green speckled frogs are having fun.

I feel like I`m giving back, and it`s a good feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This year, thankfully, we`re almost done with treatment, so she`s feeling better and, you know, she definitely is blossoming here.

N. ZUCH: What`s your puppy`s name?


N. ZUCH: This is Sweetie Pie.

Parents, they stay. They also form friendships and they have also formed support groups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was really nice to be able to sit with grownups and have a conversation, because they can`t be around the people, so I`m not around people.

N. ZUCH: What are you doing, Niki (ph)?

For us this was so important, to be able to have an opportunity to give back, to provide this experience to other children so that they don`t lose this part in life in addition to going through treatment for cancer.



AZUZ (voice-over): Ordinary folks making a positive difference. If you know someone whom you think qualifies, you can nominate him or her as a CNN Hero. Go to the "Spotlight" section on our home page, click on the CNN Heroes link. Nominations are open through the end of August.


AZUZ: Finally, today, a small dog that`s overcome some big odds.


This is Beyonce. She`s three weeks old now, just two weeks old in this video, and hers is a tale of puppy perseverance. She needed some first aid right after she was born. And when we say she`s the runt of the litter, we ain`t kidding. Look at her compared to that iPhone: same size.

She might just be the world`s smallest dog. You might have noticed she looks a little wobbly. But for a dog that`s been through --


AZUZ: -- so much in such a short time, just finding her balance is no small feat.

Don`t dog on us for the puns. We got more coming your way tomorrow, even if for some of you they make you want to how. CNN Student News. See you Friday.