Atlanta schools’ response to cheating scandal is revealing

At first, it was hard to fathom the existence of a culture within Atlanta Public Schools that would overlook cheating on a massive scale, and by adults.

This was not, after all, a case of a few folks going rogue, not when large numbers of altered tests were traced back to almost 70 percent of APS elementary and middle schools. Numbers like that suggest a district-wide environment in which cheating somehow came to be more or less tolerated.

That was hard to imagine.

But as this thing has played out, the inconceivable has become more and more conceivable. The reaction of district officials — the lack of outrage, the grasping at implausible explanations, the rush to protect Superintendent Beverly Hall — offers an insight into the culture at APS that makes it all a little more understandable.

This is not about outsiders refusing to believe test scores that show inner-city students improving academically, as Hall and others have suggested. The erasure numbers are not statistical anomalies that can be explained by smaller classes or the district’s emphasis on having students recheck answers.

Other districts teach students to recheck answers. Other districts work with large numbers of disadvantaged students and small classes. But those other districts do not have 58 schools linked to improbably high numbers of erasures. There’s little sign that APS officials have come to grips with the real implication of those numbers.

Local and state education officials do warn against jumping to conclusions, and that’s true to a point. It’s important to make a distinction between what the recent state report says overall and what it may or may not say about individual teachers, principals and staff.

The state report tells us nothing about which individuals did what. The legal rights and reputations of teachers, principals and others must be protected, and all are entitled to due process. It is impossible at this point to reach conclusions regarding individual guilt or innocence, or even what occurred at a particular school.

But on a broader scale, some conclusions do seem justified.

Under Hall’s leadership, student test results have been used to determine the course of careers and the awarding of handsome bonuses. No doubt as a result, test scores have soared.

In the 1999-2000 academic year, just 47 percent of APS fourth-graders passed the state’s reading test. By last year, that number rose to 86 percent.

A decade ago, just 40 percent of APS sixth-graders passed the state’s English test. Last year, 89 percent did so. And those gains are not mere illusion. I have no doubt that under Hall’s driven leadership, APS students are getting not just better scores, but a better education.

However, it is also true that when you set out on a single-minded, almost holy mission of proving that no population of students is unreachable, you can blind yourself to certain dangers and deafen yourself to those you see as naysayers.

In this case, when test scores are given such emphasis, the temptation to cheat increases and the need to monitor results more closely increases as well. There is no sign that Hall recognized that danger.

To the contrary, even after smaller-scale investigations by the AJC and state officials produced evidence of cheating, Hall, her staff and the school board downplayed those findings.

Their lack of curiosity and seriousness forced state officials to conduct the more in-depth probe that APS should have conducted but did not.

Even now, district leaders refuse to entertain doubt. Last week, for example, school board chairwoman LaChandra Butler Burks still expressed absolute, total confidence in Hall’s performance as superintendent.

It’s the kind of faith that blinds people to trouble.

280 comments Add your comment

I Report :-) You Whine :-( mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!

February 16th, 2010
12:33 pm

Tip toeing all around, Bookman, just sayin….

Bosch

February 16th, 2010
12:35 pm

NCLB many years ago set the public school system up to fail with test scores. This is the end to a means of a horrible law that has done nothing but diminish our education system.

I Report :-) You Whine :-( mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!

February 16th, 2010
12:36 pm

Think of all the turds you threw, the buildings you set on fire, the cars you spray painted and now here is your Heap Big Moonbat Hope, dilly dallying with the “enemy-”

Obama will announce on Tuesday an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to help Southern Co build two reactors, a move that the administration hopes will invigorate the nuclear power industry after nearly three decades in which no new plants have been built.

What’s an environmental terrorist to do?

jewcowboy

February 16th, 2010
12:37 pm

Somehow I am sure it is Obama’s fault…or Bush’s. I’m not sure exactly how…but I’m sure someone on here will explain it.

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
12:39 pm

LOL…the teacher receives a new car while the student received 5 to 10 behind bars.

thomas

February 16th, 2010
12:40 pm

After the investigation ALL who had a knowing part in this should be stripped of their teachers license.

If they are unable to comprehend that it is wrong to cheat they have no business teaching anyones children.

Hopefully there will be criminal charges, because it is teachers like these that every year we get a player who can’t read. But somehow passed the graduation test, and never failed a single class in high school.

i hope they investigate this to the fullest and all who were involved are ruined. Becasue in a way they have ruined the education of elementry school kids.

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
12:41 pm

“Obama will announce on Tuesday an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to help Southern Co build two reactors…”

Ok Pres…you have our attention…what else ya got?

Del

February 16th, 2010
12:41 pm

oops wrong thread

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
12:43 pm

These cheating teachers are the same persons who would advocate getting wasted on Sat night and showing up drunk at church Sunday morning to sing in the choir. We would just a soon ya stay home.

“Be ye hot or cold. For if thou art lewk warm I will spew thee out of my mouth”.

neo-Carlinist

February 16th, 2010
12:47 pm

this is what happens when you allow “a village to raise a child”. education is ultimately the responsibility of parents/family. frankly I don’t understand how tests like the CRCT got traction. either a child learns or a child does not. attempting to establish some sort of numerical evidence of learning (a CRCT score) all but assures that administrators will eventually alter results. OH, and this isn’t “cheating” – it is “fraud”. it’s no different than when Enron cooked the books or Bush pushed for war citing non-existent WMDs. at the end of the day, if teachers in the APS system are in fact “teaching to the test” (CRCT), and the students are performing well on the CRCT, well, I guess the students are “learning” something (even if it is only how to ace the CRCT). BUT, if the students are not “learning” but their answers are altered or modified to protect teachers/APS policies, that is fraud, not cheating.

Peadawg

February 16th, 2010
12:48 pm

I’ll go ahead and say it for Jenifer, USinUK, Doggone, etc. It’s all the Republican’s fault. It because there isn’t enough government regulation. Did I get the jist of it? :)

Just kidding by the way. Is this what it’s come to for teachers? They’re scared they may lose their jobs b/c of low tests scores, so they cheat? Standardized tests don’t prepare the student for anything outside of school anyways.

Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader

February 16th, 2010
12:49 pm

Can you blame ‘em. After all, a mandate came down from on high that no child shall be left behind. So say we all. Perhaps we need something more substantive than a testing mandate from above, something more than pay for performance where “performance” is defined as an improved test grade. On a side note, why did it take an AJC investigation to shed light on this issue to begin with. Sounds like yet another crack in the facade in need of spackle. Is there no system of checks and balances or some form of oversight at higher levels or is this all strictly handled at the local level until something gets negative publicity and it threatens to soil someone’s spotless record.

Peadawg

February 16th, 2010
12:49 pm

And the ‘no child left behind’ is the biggest crock of *brown stuff* that I’ve ever heard of.

LU

February 16th, 2010
12:50 pm

The same thing happened to the administrators of Boystown. That’s the only way Father Flanagan figured he could pass Mickey Rooney, was to cheat. “there’s no such thing as a bad boy.”

Nothing changes, the more things stay the same. You know?

jewcowboy

February 16th, 2010
12:52 pm

“there’s no such thing as a bad boy.”

Too easy…way to easy.

jefferson

February 16th, 2010
12:53 pm

This was actally Zig zag zell’s fault for giving unearned pay increases over and over to the teachers. Now you got fat azzes just drawing a check and doing the work for the kids. Kids raising kids. Teaching is a profession, not an industry.

RB from Gwinnett

February 16th, 2010
12:54 pm

You know what’s amazing…

How many of the most wanted from the card deck of 52 were captured or killed during the Bush term? Not one single socialist liberal on this board had ANYTHING good to say about any of those events, yet 1 guy gets nabbed under Obama and they all want sainthood for their messiah. What a pathetic group of mindless partisan hacks you liberals are.

When exactly is it the radical muslims are going to stop hating us anyway? Didn’t Obama promise us we’d change our image around the world? When? And how exactly is capturing the no. 2 guy IN THE GROUP THAT HATES US going to make them like us?

And what’s up with Biden telling the world on national TV there is no way KSM won’t be found guilty and will never be allowed to leave custody? If you’re going to give the man a trial fit for a US Citizen, doesn’t he deserve the benefit of a fair trial and isn’t he innocent until proven guilty? Sounds like Biden already proclaimed him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison to me. And you people call Palin stupid???

Do you people ever think?

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
12:54 pm

No Child Left Behind – what a load of crap!

Mick

February 16th, 2010
12:57 pm

Teachers that cheat is an infomnia.

Sick&Tired

February 16th, 2010
12:58 pm

This whole cheating scandal is starting to look like a conspiracy to me. I find it unlikely that a majority of APS teachers and principals conspired to cheat on the CRCT. Reason, because in the past; if you include 3 to 5 people in an attempt to elude detection, it usually leaks out. So either we are talking about a relative few APS employees or we are talking about something else all together.
There is something a lot more fishy going on with this scandal.

This whole thing just doesn’t pass my smell test. Most people can’t hold water, less a secret.

Granny Godzilla

February 16th, 2010
1:01 pm

Cheating is unacceptable.

Those responsible should lose their jobs.

If we ever find out….

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:02 pm

The most humourus part is these genius teachers cant even cheat without getting caught and these stupid individuals are teaching your children.

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:03 pm

I have a lot to say about all this, but since I use my own name here and discretion being the greater part of valor, I would find myself censoring myself and not being frank. I am not worried personally as I am a “by-the-book” proctor. I will say this much, though, we have a culture that accepts fraud and bureaucracies predicated on CYA with a top-down management style.

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:03 pm

“This whole thing just doesn’t pass my smell test”

As if your smell test means anything…lol!

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:04 pm

Is our children learning?

Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader

February 16th, 2010
1:04 pm

Communicate, I try,
Too bad teacher did lie.

Say teacher I smart,
Boss say I dumb as methane.

Boss think I not know passing gas,
I get mad give him swift kick in @ss.

We not learned from stupid test,
but we smarter when we try best.

So please stop make me waste more line,
darkening little boxes with precious time.

Just help teach me be smart like you,
So new boss don’t claim I stink like pooh.

Joey

February 16th, 2010
1:05 pm

As I understand the original concept of “no child left behind”; the testing was intended to identify the students who needed additional attention, and to assure that those students get the needed help.

That school districts, school administrators, teacher’s unions and teachers twisted that concept into a bonus-pay system that focused on assuring that students pass a test is an indictment of those school districts, school administrators, teacher’s unions and teachers.

The original intent of identifying students who need help and then getting them that help is still valid.

mike

February 16th, 2010
1:06 pm

I don’t see anywhere that states teachers are cheating. The erasure work is being done in the Administrators offices. Why is everyone assuming it is the teachers doing this? Why don’t you brain dead idiots read the story.

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:06 pm

I guess since Biden cheated his way thru college these teachers found a roll model to follow.

ty webb

February 16th, 2010
1:07 pm

“At first, it was hard to fathom the existence of a culture within Atlanta Public Schools that would overlook cheating on a massive scale, and by adults.” Who Knew? Atlanta public schools being run by adults.

jt

February 16th, 2010
1:07 pm

A perfect example of our Federal Government screwing things up.

Let us hurry up and have them administer MEDICAL tests and standards.

Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader

February 16th, 2010
1:08 pm

The subject today is war history. How many terrorists were in that deck of 52 cards.

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:08 pm

If we find that there are cheaters, they need to face the consequences. If they don’t, it’s not fair to the people who play by the rules.

LU

February 16th, 2010
1:10 pm

Teacher Teacher I declare.

I see cheat-sheets on someone’s underwear.

I turned them in and all I got

Was my ears boxed for ruining the cheating plot.

Jay

February 16th, 2010
1:10 pm

Joey, Georgia doesn’t have teachers’ unions.

Joey

February 16th, 2010
1:12 pm

I would argue that Georgia teachers just do not call their organization a union.

@@

February 16th, 2010
1:13 pm

Under Hall’s leadership, student test results have been used to determine the course of careers and the awarding of handsome bonuses.

So it WAS for personal gain, and to hell with the childrens’ future.

Makes ‘ya wonder about accountability were NCLB not in place. It’s the democrats’ “Soft bigotry of low expectations.” They don’t care….not really! They merely seek to champion a cause — their personal greed.

jefferson

February 16th, 2010
1:14 pm

Atlanta schools…for now

Joey

February 16th, 2010
1:14 pm

Jay:
Does you no union comment mean that you agree with the rest of my post?

Doggone/GA

February 16th, 2010
1:15 pm

“I’ll go ahead and say it for Jenifer, USinUK, Doggone, etc. It’s all the Republican’s fault. It because there isn’t enough government regulation. Did I get the jist of it?”

No

LU

February 16th, 2010
1:16 pm

Glory, glory alleluiah!

Teacher doesn’t have no scruples.

She changed my failing score

that’s why I’m such a bore

and she ain’t my teacher no more.

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:17 pm

I do not speak for anyone here other than myself, let me make that perfectly clear.

The problem here lies squarely on those village idiots who came up with testing instruments that can be scored by a scanner of the bubble in. It is a game of trivial pursuit, with choice of a, b, c, d on a menu. That invites such as what we are talking about. If we required a written answer evaluated by a human individual this would not be at issue beyond the individual(s) doing the scoring. But, wait, that’s old-fashioned…we have “to move with the times…” applying the technology and the worship of deus ex macchina.

NCLB? That was a catastrophe just waiting to happen from the git-go.

LU

February 16th, 2010
1:18 pm

No, joey, Bookman’s no union comment means that the M-word has been banned by the moniters.

scrappy

February 16th, 2010
1:18 pm

Joey – I think you have twisted some of the concept – Federal Money for education is also based on the NCLB test scores. If your district wants Fed Money, they have to show improvements every year, these ‘improvements’ on the tests are supposed to show that no child is left behind.
What is that saying.. The road to He@@ is paved with good intentions.

Normal

February 16th, 2010
1:19 pm

No matter what side of the fence you are on, a teacher who would cheat for his or her own entitlement is no better than a terrorist. They kill the educational system as it is supposed to be and by doing so, they kill the students chance to learn. Whoever is responsible for this
“educational car bomb” should be buried under the jail house.

N-GA

February 16th, 2010
1:19 pm

Maybe we need to shut down “No Child Left Behind”, then create a new program called “Incompetent Teachers Left Behind”.

Student testing measures two things, the student’s success at learning the subject AND the teacher’s success at teaching the subject. If the tests were administered electronically, this problem wouldn’t exist. The student taking the test would be able to change an answer, but once the test was “submitted”, there could be no alterations.

Teachers repeatedly passing students who fail matriculation tests should be fired with malice so that other school systems would have access to their performance data.

Normal

February 16th, 2010
1:20 pm

Doggone/GA

February 16th, 2010
1:20 pm

“How many of the most wanted from the card deck of 52 were captured or killed during the Bush term?”

Since we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq in the first place, why should we rejoice that we caught them? My attitude is, and always has been, if it was so bad in Iraq why didn’t the citizens revolt? They sure didn’t ask US to do it for them.

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:20 pm

“Teachers roasting on an open fire
George Bush says I told you so

Little kids sentenced to life
with the PO PO.
Gain nothing more than grief and strife.

They hope that Clark is on her way
To educate them and correct them so she say

But every democrat is gonna cry
When Ms Clark begins to simmer and fry

And so Kasim has yet to chime on in
He’s fast asleep at the wheel

Althought they ‘ve been caught many times
many ways it never pays to cheat and steel.

LU

February 16th, 2010
1:20 pm

“Village idiot” destroyed your credibility.

try again.

New rule: no names whatsoever. none. period.

Try it. You’ll like it.

@@

February 16th, 2010
1:21 pm

Joey, Georgia doesn’t have teachers’ unions.

While that may be true, jay, Clayton County schools lost accreditation because of school board fights…a battle between GAE, PACE or MACE members. The kids and their education? That was the last thing on their minds.

Who was gonna represent the teachers was foremost in their minds.

Sick&Tired

February 16th, 2010
1:22 pm

Teachers or Administrators – it doesn’t matter. I find it highly unlikely that this is true being that it was 70% of the schools. It would take a team of patient individuals to review the results and then sit patiently to correct bubbles on a sheet.

Exactly how many students bubble sheets would have necessarily been changed? 500, 1000, 2000, etc….

This type of thing could happen in 1 or 2 schools, with a few students and the secret might be safe. But, now I’m hearing 70% of the schools, which I find unlikely.

Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader

February 16th, 2010
1:22 pm

I guess since Biden cheated his way thru college these teachers found a roll model to follow.

Have you not learned that it is not good form to roll models.

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

February 16th, 2010
1:25 pm

Just another case of the lunatics being in charge of the asylum.

N-GA

February 16th, 2010
1:25 pm

Joey….Jay pointed this union thing out to you the other day, I believe.

Do Georgia teachers have a collective bargaining agreement? A contract that is renegotiated every few years? Are there representatives who act on behalf of teachers to address disciplinary actions, dismissals, etc.? Does the association offer benefits (strike benefits, insurance, etc.)?

Just askin’

jefferson

February 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

Who needs schools? Just read JB’s blog and you will be educated by the smartest that ever clicked a mouse…

Damn, I wish I could be as smart, but don’t pity me I’m slow and ugly and will make it up with adoration and amazement.

LU

February 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

Mary had a little lamb which followed her to school.

And every failing grade she got, the teacher broke the rule.

She got a F for being a bimbo, but teacher decided that her career’s in limbo

So she changed Mary’s grade to an A she did, and now nobody knows mary’s a dumbo.

jewcowboy

February 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

“Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill”

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

“which I find unlikely.”

And your qualifications would be?

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

LU

As I said, these are my opinions and in my opinion they are village idiots. I am not our to establish my “credibility” in what is an emotionally charged issue. Have you looked at those tests? And, no, I’m not talking about just Georgia and the CRCT, but everything from SAT down. The state writing exam? That one is another matter and the results on it are not nearly so spectacular.

Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader

February 16th, 2010
1:28 pm

LU LU,

LA LA,

more boring,

than lady GAGA.

Doggone/GA

February 16th, 2010
1:28 pm

Josef…I have very little, to no, faith in “bubble” tests, having been caught (many years ago, admittedly) by a question where 2 of the answers were equally correct…but the “machine” would only accept one of them.

@@

February 16th, 2010
1:31 pm

I will also take this opportunity to speculate that what you’re witnessing from many leftists here, in regards to Obama, is “The soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:31 pm

Didnt Ted Kennedy get expelled for cheating?

md

February 16th, 2010
1:32 pm

“It’s the kind of faith that blinds people to trouble.”

Are you referring to this article or politics?

Outhouse Go-Kart

February 16th, 2010
1:32 pm

““The soft bigotry of low expectations.”

As opposed to

“The low spark of high heeled boys”?

N-GA

February 16th, 2010
1:33 pm

@@…..The word “bigotry” sounds almost funny coming from you.

RB from Gwinnett

February 16th, 2010
1:33 pm

“if it was so bad in Iraq why didn’t the citizens revolt?”

I think the citizens of Iran tried that recently didn’t they? And what happend to them? THEY’RE DEAD!! And so is anybody and everybody who ever raised up against Hussain. Ask the Kurds how that works.

But you keep trying to get your gun control laws passed so “we the people” can no longer defend ourselves and see if the same thing doesn’t happen to us.

Geez. It amazes me the shallow thinking of you fools.

How’s that search for a successful socialist state coming for you libs? Anybody come up with one yet? Can’t wait to join that list…

Normal

February 16th, 2010
1:35 pm

Outhouse,
You keep bringing up Ted Kennedy. Don’t you know you are whipping a dead jackass? (Pun intended)

Doggone/GA

February 16th, 2010
1:36 pm

“And so is anybody and everybody who ever raised up against Hussain. Ask the Kurds how that works”

Well, they don’t seem to have had much trouble rousing up opposition to US being there. Seems to me we lost in the neighborhood of 5000 soldiers trying to install democracy at the muzzle of a gun.

@@

February 16th, 2010
1:36 pm

N-GA:

@@…..The word “bigotry” sounds almost funny coming from you.

And why is that?

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:36 pm

Normal–
Howdy back at cha!

Doggone–
Thanks! For those who would want to argue that these tests measure anything beyond multiple guess, there are plenty of web sites offering practice tests and examples of questions. Google them and draw your own conclusions…

Tony Clifton

February 16th, 2010
1:37 pm

Andy Kaufman? I discovered Andy Kaufman. Andy Kaufman would be nothing without me. Kaufman, smaufman, daufman I made Andy Kaufman!!

“I believe in music
I believe in love

I am music and I write the songs”

Jay

February 16th, 2010
1:37 pm

Well Joey, that “bonus pay” you criticize is also known as merit pay, and has been pushed by conservatives and Republicans since Reagan’s time while being opposed for the most part by the teachers’ unions.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 16th, 2010
1:38 pm

Well, I just know a big shot named LaChandra would know more than the rest of us about this Beverly Hall. Which I always thought was a furniture store till I learned diffrent.

Anyhow, I’m just real sorry Bookman went and changed the topic. I was all settled back waiting for the cat fight to break out between @@ and Granny. Now he went and ruint it.

Seems to me it’s pretty easy to find out who changed all the test answers if people would just use some horse sense. Just make a raid on all the principals offices till you find the ones with a bunch of pencils where the erasers are all wore down to a stub. But no, they can’t use horse sense. They got to conduct a big investigation and bring in a bunch of experts and study all the answer sheets and all that junk.

Anyhow, the people that done the erasing and changing need to be fired. Us rednecks spent alot of money trying to sock it to the teachers with NCLB. And now a bunch of people got together and done a wink-wink and made alot of students and schools look good and handed out bonuses and all that stuff. And here we are, stuck without anybody to stick it to. It’s a awful fix they put us in.

Have a good p.m. everybody.

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:38 pm

On the Kurds–they seem to be doing a pretty good job of it.

Doggone/GA

February 16th, 2010
1:39 pm

Josef…and another variable that is left out is “test stress.” I never had it, I’ve always done better on tests than some of my “regular” grades would indicate. I test well, but some people don’t – and those ARE the ones who get “left behind”

A good teacher will know, and can identify, those students…but the system won’t let them be tested under circumstances that would reduce their test anxieties. I can remember when I was in Junior High that a couple of students got advanced to the next year, even though they failed the year end tests…but their course grades were uniformly excellent. Can that even happen anymore?

md

February 16th, 2010
1:40 pm

“For those who would want to argue that these tests measure anything beyond multiple guess, there are plenty of web sites offering practice tests and examples of questions. Google them and draw your own conclusions…”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t these tests make it easier by default? The answer is there, all one has to do is find it.

All systems should be showing improvement, and lots of it. Any that aren’t truly have a problem.

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:41 pm

Just for the record…those teacher bonuses you’re talking about? I took mine and went out to dinner! Anybody have any idea how much that check was? HA!

Outhouse GoKart

February 16th, 2010
1:42 pm

Well then I guess ole Ronnie was wrong in giving teachers the chance to make a few extra bucks/benefit of the doubt. Apparently some teachers cant be trusted and under true democratic fashion if its not good for one then it must not be good for all.

“NO BONUS FOR YOU!!! COME BACK, ONE YEAR!”

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:44 pm

Conservatives Suggest Cutting Utah’s Budget Deficit By Eliminating Mandatory 12th Grade.

This right cheer is whut we’uns need to do.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/16/conservatives-eliminating-12th-grade/

Soothsayer

February 16th, 2010
1:46 pm

Nobody has to change agribusiness dependence on growing corn and producing high-fructose corn syrup to inject in essentially every packaged and fast food; as the Savior State founders, its subsidies of agribusiness will decline, rendering growing corn for sugar unprofitable. Those pursuing that model of “farming” will either go bankrupt or they will pursue some other model of growing food that is not mandated by subsidies for Protected Fiefdoms.

When people become ill from self-destructive diets and lifestyles, and the Savior State no longer pays for sickcare treatments of these lifestyle ills, then they will choose other lifestyles. Choice isn’t capitalist or “free market;” it is human. We all have choices, and when the trade-offs and subsidies and incentives change, so will the choices.

When opting out of the work-harder-to-pay-more-taxes rat race becomes recognized not as “failure” but as freedom and blessed relief, then more people will opt out to do something else with their lives.

“Failure” is what we have now. “Success” is what lies ahead as the status quo loses its revenue stream and the Protected Fiefdoms of the Savior State engage in internecine conflict over the remaining spoils. The parallel shadow structures of privilege will continue buying influence within the Savior State, but as the State itself devolves, so too will the power of the Financial Power Elites.

We are not crippled or beholden to the financial Plutocracy. There are other options at every step of the way.

jewcowboy

February 16th, 2010
1:46 pm

At least if the kids are learning how to cheat in school they are learning something useful for advancing a career in corporate America once they graduate. Far more useful than geometry.

The next generation of CEO’s, CFO’s and COO’s are being turned out in mass from APS.

Paul

February 16th, 2010
1:47 pm

This was forseeable. There are plenty of districts around the country Atlanta could have benchmarked – for best practices as well as for pitfalls.

What’s a shame is the message it sends to so many kids. “Yes, you can succeed!!” conditioned upon “if we cheat for you.”

That’ll take a long time to repair.

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:47 pm

Doggone–
Every year we have students who “freeze up,” some who have “melt downs” and others who just “give up.” More often than not they are the “best,” and because they are, they are under a stress unimaginable. We know the stress we are under when we go in for the annual review in our own jobs. Put that on a child!

Normal

February 16th, 2010
1:48 pm

If it were a perfect world, teachers would be getting the pay of professional athletes and professional athletes would be getting the pay of teachers. Education is much more important than sport.

jewcowboy

February 16th, 2010
1:48 pm

Jenifer,

“Conservatives Suggest Cutting Utah’s Budget Deficit By Eliminating Mandatory 12th Grade.”

Perhaps they can just substitute it with an intelligent design class.

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:50 pm

“Perhaps they can just substitute it with an intelligent design class.”

That’ll work.

N-GA

February 16th, 2010
1:51 pm

Paul,

the most recent teaching scandal around the Atlanta area involved teachers getting bogus graduate degrees without really earning them. They then became eligible for higher salaries. If memory serves me correctly, the cases were unrelated and all offenders were fired. Another good example set for our students….

Doggone/GA

February 16th, 2010
1:52 pm

“Education is much more important than sport”

Maybe it would be…if teachers plied their trade in stadiums full of thousands of paying observers.

@@

February 16th, 2010
1:53 pm

Jenifer:

Utah’s position has changed. The 12th grade will become optional for students who complete their required credits early. He estimated the move could save up to $60 million, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Early graduation has always been an option. My daughter’s boyfriend spent his senior year attending college. If students can accomplish their goal, why hold them back? They get a jump on the competition.

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:53 pm

““Education is much more important than sport”

Maybe it would be…if teachers plied their trade in stadiums full of thousands of paying observers.”

Bingo!

Kamchak

February 16th, 2010
1:54 pm

Perhaps they can just substitute it with an intelligent design class.

Nah–just put stickers into existing text-books, then spend six figures defending that decision in court.

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:56 pm

Ahh, those Utah folks…

How appropriate that conservatives have suggested this.

josef nix

February 16th, 2010
1:56 pm

@@

I benefitted from one of those early entry programs.

Jenifer

February 16th, 2010
1:57 pm

Hello Kamchak.

jewcowboy

February 16th, 2010
1:57 pm

Paul,

“What’s a shame is the message it sends to so many kids. “Yes, you can succeed!!” conditioned upon “if we cheat for you.”

Quite a shame. If the teachers don’t teach them to cheat, they will learn it on the streets…and then where will they be?

jt

February 16th, 2010
1:58 pm

Soothsayor is sage.

Kamchak

February 16th, 2010
1:58 pm

Greetings and salutations Jenifer.

md

February 16th, 2010
1:58 pm

“Conservatives Suggest Cutting Utah’s Budget Deficit By Eliminating Mandatory 12th Grade.

This right cheer is whut we’uns need to do.”

Actually, the idea has merit, but you pooh pooh it because your partisanship doesn’t know any better – bless your heart.

I was through with my 12th grade year after the first quarter. My children left early under Georgia’s dual enrollment program. European schools tend to teach way ahead of our own.

Maybe you should look at the cost savings of the same material being taught in 11 vs 12 years.

After all, one doesn’t necessarily need to know everything, but needs to know how to find the information needed. How many thereoms can one recite by memory? The key is knowing where to find them and using them once found – not necessarily “knowing” them.