Education Editorial: Atlanta Cheating Scandal

There are more lessons from Atlanta! Nearly 180 educators in 44 schools were found to have cheated on tests administered to students. Superintendent Beverly hall has been indicted as the "kingpin" in a conspiracy that includes indictments for racketeering, false statements, and influencing a witness.

The 65 indictments against the Superintendent and 34 colleagues paint a picture of school district that "conspired" to look better than it was. While the "short changing" that was imposed on the young people of Atlanta should be criminal enough, the fact is that the cheating brought financial bonuses to some involved seems to add criminal negligence to what is already educational negligence.

Perhaps equally challenging is that some critics of accountability will seize the opportunity to blame student testing for the scandal. The assumption is that if you apply pressure, people will cheat!  Perhaps some of the mess is due to a historical mentally that schools are created to make people feel good.

Those who support this "teach them to feel good, and they will perform better" ideology seem not to understand what drives success. When I learned to ride a bike, I frequently fell until one day; I felt the exhilaration of riding freely.

The same feeling that I experienced at 40 when I learned to fly a plane. If you teach young people to do something well, they feel good about it! The real issue in Atlanta is that "big people" valued feeling good more than they valued the success of "little people".

Positive pressure makes you sharp, not a cheater!

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