Kotter Must Be Crying

Atlantans are reeling–and this time it is not from the heat and humidity:

Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes.

Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.

Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.

And, perhaps most damning of all:

Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.

When leaders are corrupt, those they lead cannot be far behind.

For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

In the report, the governor’s special investigators describe an enterprise where unethical — and potentially illegal — behavior pierced every level of the bureaucracy, allowing district staff to reap praise and sometimes bonuses by misleading the children, parents and community they served.

Current enrollment of the entire Atlanta Public School system is about 55,000 students. If this cheating  been going on since NCLB (10 years ago) then it would be fair to say that thousands of children have been defrauded, along with thousands of taxpayers.

Can you imagine the outcry which would be occurring if this cheating had happened within a private school system, or perhaps within some company that provides technical accreditation?

No word on whether the following individual was taught in the school system in question, but she has a some learning ahead:

Phyllis Brown, a southwest Atlanta parent with two children in the district, said the latest revelations are “horrible.” It is the children, she said, who face embarrassment if they are promoted to a higher grade only to find they aren’t ready for the more challenging work.

Still, she doesn’t believe teachers should be punished.

“It’s the people over them, that threatened them, that should be punished,” she said. “The ones from the building downtown, they should lose their jobs, they should lose their pensions. They are the ones who started this.”

It matters not who “started this.” The teachers who were actively complicit, or passively permissive are still liable for their own actions. Yes, they may have done this to keep their jobs, pensions, etc. No, it does not get them off the hook. Instead, it points to how little importance they gave to the well being of others (students who were failing) and how important they considered themselves.

10 years is an awfully long time to run a scam with hundreds of people involved.

Go, read and weep.