Hard to be sur­prised

The Covington News - - The second opinion - Free­land writer Ric Latarski can be reached at Rlatarski@aol.com.

What a, uh, sur­prise. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Atlanta Pub­lic Schools cheat­ing scan­dal re­vealed there were a lot of peo­ple in­volved, in­clud­ing those in the very top po­si­tions of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ini­tially the stan­dard line from those in charge was that in­ci­dents of cheat­ing and ma­nip­u­lat­ing test scores were iso­lated in­ci­dents per­pe­trated by sin­gu­larly mis­guided in­di­vid­u­als. We now know this was not the case and cheat­ing was not only wide­spread and in­dica­tive of a sys­temic prob­lem but ef­forts were made to cover up the trans­gres­sions and to pun­ish those who at­tempted to bring light to the prob­lems.

The dam­age done to the school sys­tem as a whole and chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar as a re­sult of the years of mis­con­duct is al­most be­yond cal­cu­la­tion.

Cer­tainly the ram­i­fi­ca­tions will be lin­ger­ing for many years to come.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Bev­erly Hall is still at­tempt­ing to de­flect her own cul­pa­bil­ity in the mat­ter while oth­ers are point­ing fin­gers in hopes of less­en­ing their own blame.

You have to won­der if these are the peo­ple the teacher al­ways had to re­mind to keep their eyes on their own pa­per.

Given their con­duct it is not even un­rea­son­able to ques­tion the qual­ity of their ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ments and very easy to think they cheated and con­nived their way through school.

Given the lack of in­tegrity they have shown there is no rea­son to be­lieve they did not act in a sim­i­lar man­ner while pur­su­ing their own ed­u­ca­tional goals.

They didn’t even prove to be very bright when it came to cheat­ing.

In­stead of fill­ing out whole new an­swer sheet they erased and changed an­swers, thereby leav­ing a trail of ev­i­dence.

Hall — and I will not use Doc­tor in front of her name be­cause it would be an in­sult to any­one who worked hard to ac­quire a Ph.D. — and all those in the top ad­min­is­tra­tive lev­els must not only be ousted but ev­ery ef­fort must be made to strip them of any quali- fy­ing cre­den­tials so they will not bur­row into the ground and pop-up in charge of some un­sus­pect­ing school district in Ore­gon.

Be­ing un­en­cum­bered with a legal ed­u­ca­tion I do not know what statutes may be ap­pli­ca­ble but if there is any chance for crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion I it will be pur­sued with full vigor.

The idea of burn­ing the letter “C” for “cheater” into their fore­head may be un­ac­cept­able but that doesn’t make it a bad idea.

These peo­ple nei­ther de­serve nor war­rant our sym­pa­thy and any ex­cuse they give is wholly un­ac­cept­able.

While some teach­ers and even prin­ci­ples may have felt ca­joled or pos­si­bly black­mailed into their ac­tions, and some may have a case, the peo­ple at the top have ab­so­lutely no such ex­cuse.

They are the ar­chi­tects of this corruption, the mas­ters of pro­tect­ing them­selves at all costs through any means they deemed nec­es­sary.

These peo­ple made a de­lib­er­ate and con­scious de­ci­sion to be­have in a man­ner even the dumbest kid in the class knows is wrong.

The fish stinks from the head and the Atlanta Pub­lic School sys­tem is one of the big­gest stinking fish we’ve seen in a while.

Cer­tainly there are still good peo­ple do­ing good work in the Atlanta school sys­tem who will not be sad­dled with sus­pi­cion and will for­ever have to work un­der a cloud.

The clean-up of this mess will be a long and ar­du­ous one.

We have seen some changes al­ready and may ex­pect many more.

While they may not be Al Capone crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion is ap­pro­pri­ate. These peo­ple abused the pub­lic trust in the most de­spi­ca­ble man­ner and made vic­tims of the most vul­ner­a­ble of our as­sets, chil­dren.

A lit­tle time sitting in prison would be a grand op­por­tu­nity for them to re­flect upon their ac­tions as well as serv­ing no­tice to oth­ers in sim­i­lar po­si­tions who might be con­sid­er­ing the same ac­tion.

And if they still see them­selves as ed­u­ca­tors, so much the bet­ter. There are a lot of peo­ple in prison who still need to learn how to read and write.

RIC LATARSKI COLUM­NIST

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