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The Not-So-Great Pretender?

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Students aren't the only ones who hate tests. Teachers sometimes get pre-exam jitters, too.

One substitute teacher in Arizona got them so bad that he dreamed up what state officials say was a desperate--and none too clever--plot.

The Rev. John Canales Ruiz, a 54-year old Anglican priest and part-time teacher, had failed the mathematics section of the Arizona Teachers Proficiency Exam 11 times.

Apparently daunted by the prospect of approaching more questions on plane geometry and sine curves, state education officials say, Mr. Ruiz devised his plan.

He allegedly arrived in a Tucson classroom last May to take the exam wearing a very unpriestly outfit that included a baseball cap and sunglasses. After he left the room for a bathroom break, a man wearing the same cap and glasses entered the class and finished taking the test.

The only problem, officials say, is that the man wasn't Mr. Ruiz.

A test administrator became suspicious when he noticed that the man taking the second half of the test appeared to be 20 years younger than the man who'd left for the bathroom. And then there was the matter of his very different handwriting.

When the official asked the man for identification, he left the room, and the first man returned, seemingly oblivious of any wrongdoing.

The state school board decided to send the test to the state department of public safety for a handwriting analysis, which they say confirms that there were, indeed, two testtakers. Mr. Ruiz has refused to admit any wrongdoing and was not present at the board's hearing of his case.

As a result, this month Mr. Ruiz lost his temporary teaching license.

And, just for the record, the not-so-great pretender helped Mr. Ruiz fail the exam for the 12th time.--skg

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