Do you remember cheating on tests in grade school? As I think back, I honestly can’t, though I probably did. (The sins I remember were mouthing off in class & bringing a baby snake to show & tell — but that’s another post!). Now, let’s go one more step: did you ever, in your wildest dreams, think that your teacher was cheating on a test? Or that her cheating would hurt you?? Or that she was doing it for the money, because she was a criminal running a giant scam on the school district???
According to a report commissioned by the governor & published recently in Georgia, the former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, Beverly Hall, spent a decade scamming the CRCT tests so she & her cronies could get more federal dollars, bigger bonuses and win many accolades and awards. The Atlanta Constitution-Journal comments on this mess here, and Mark Steyn, in the way only he can do, skewers and roasts this despicable criminal enterprise here (4th paragraph down). I was so angry after reading this that I mused out loud to my wife about the appropriate punishment for the educational traitors who did the deed, and she promptly rebuked me for even thinking about describing it in this blog! (It would be in public and involve chains & whips… the rest is censored.) More to the point for you, dear reader, is the other comparison it brought to mind– the difference in consequences between home or private schooling & public education.
School ends. At some point, every student must face life, using the tools acquired, lessons learned and character developed, whether in public, private or home school. The results of that effort affect many, most notably the immediate family of the former student who either succeeds or fails in the adventure of adult life. Of course, in the wider sphere, all of us are affected by the quality of education (or lack thereof) demonstrated by fellow citizens. In the case of the APS, and in the case of all public education, the ones who are rarely, if ever affected are the well-paid, insulated administrators and tenured teachers (and union officials). To put a point on this comparison, the parents of cheated students must deal with the heartaches, lack of job opportunity and misguided efforts of their betrayed sons & daughters– not a single school official will ever get a call once the education “contract” is done. Of course, Scripture makes clear that it is parents (not the church or the state) who must answer to God for their stewardship, but in this case those parents are also powerless taxpaying citizens who were betrayed by the system itself. As Mr. Steyn points out in his article, this wretched arrangement will continue, in Atlanta & elsewhere, because the “powers that be” would have it so.
Contrast this sorry state, if you will, to the home school. There, parents are entirely responsible, and entirely empowered to pursue the best education they can muster for the children they bear. In later years, though they may not own what their children did with their education, none of the wise ones will deny ownership of the quality of the school they created & ran. In a similar way, private education is freely acquired and paid for– if the school is staffed with traitors and cheats, it will soon fail, and wise parents will quickly find a better one. Would that this were possible for the masses! If it had been so in Atlanta, I doubt seriously that this travesty of student betrayal would have taken place. In fact, there is a simple solution to this wretched blight: tax credits and educational competition. Give every parent a tax credit for the child they are responsible to educate, and every school (public, private or home) the opportunity to compete for that credit. Of course, administration bureaucracy would wither and unions would fail, but true education would flourish.
In the end, what should be the goal of education? Should it be career advancement and cushy retirement for minority women hypocrites like Beverly Hall, or should it be an educationally prepared and morally trained citizenry for the next generation? No doubt Ms. Hall and her cronies at the NEA would say otherwise, but the choice for this taxpayer is quite clear.
What about your choice?
UPDATE: Heads are rolling. According to this AJC article:
The staff moves were the first by Davis in response to a test-cheating scandal that has implicated 178 employees in 44 schools and could result in criminal charges. And there may be more people involved, according to the two men who led the state investigation.
Can we say “pervasive, sick … criminal?” The choice keeps getting clearer.