Educational Editorial: Cheating in Atlanta schools

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A colloquial, if not cruel, expression in the face of a devastating defeat has been, "that looked like Sherman going through Atlanta." Atlanta now faces another enemy, and it is from within.

The Georgia Governor's office recently released a year's investigation into cheating in the Atlanta City schools. 178 educators, including 38 principals, have been charged and are now facing review by state and local authorities.

The former superintendent has been targeted as having known about the cheating and having created a culture of "live with it or leave." Of the 56 schools that were investigated, cheating was found in 46.

The obvious question is, "why?" The typical response is "so much pressure is placed on teachers."

While policy boards and administrators continue to look for ways to relate student success to teacher performance, the stakes get higher…but shouldn't they be higher anyway? Are we teaching if no one is learning?

Teaching, the delivery of human services is not like selling cars, but it should have accountability. The real issue here is that 178 educators in Atlanta were cheating to save themselves…not young people.

While it is rare, even in an environment of state and local content testing, that a teacher has been dismissed because of student failure, the cry of pressure persists.

I have never read an article or reviewed a report that stated that teachers cheated because students said that they were afraid that their school would not be accredited…or they would not pass a state test.

The Atlanta report reveals more than cheating, it highlights a cover up -- protecting incompetence, not of children, but of adults.

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