While it is quite easy to exclaim NCLB testing caused teachers and administrators in Atlanta, GA to change answers in test booklets and Michelle Rhee sends one kid to private school yet claims to be a ‘public school mother’ and so forth, the real issue is becomes the following: Where the hell is your strength of conviction?
I don’t particularly care where Michelle Rhee educates her kids – she has already proven on numerous levels she does not come from either a place of heartfelt sincerity nor background in education. What I care about is she should have enough strength of conviction to her cause and in everything she does to be honest, have integrity and own her statements. If Michelle Rhee has to hire some one to be her ‘publicist’, there is something wrong. She needs some one to ‘couch’ what she is saying in favorable terms so others will buy into her garbage.
Ditto for the teachers and administrators in Atlanta, GA. I don’t actually care whether or not these people lied – I am outraged they did it on the backs of children who deserve better. Each and every student affected by the cheating scandal was harmed in a much more dangerous manner than test scores – they were denied an education to actually raise up their scores. Not that I actually believe Georgia has anywhere near the best or most worthy spring testing of 50 states. Had any of the 35 involved decided to put the same time and effort into say, after school literacy, the outcome may have been the same – higher test scores, for much different reasoning.
Each and every teacher involved should be remorseful for putting wrong interests forward and not being professional enough and own enough poise to have walked out when asked to lie/cheat for students. Maturity and integrity is knowing when to WALK OUT and not accept being asked to do something wrong – for any reason.
Ask me, I know. I have walked out of jobs for lesser reasons. It provides for great stories and laughter at dinner parties, most especially with colleagues who know who was involved. At the end of the day, I have my name and reputation. If I go along with the crowd, when I believe differently for reasons of moral turpitude, I am the one who has demonstrated a lack of values – not the people who put me up to the challenge. I know better. I have no problem telling an employer exactly what I think regarding outrageous behavior in the area of ethics. Honesty is actually amazingly easy when you apply for another job and have to explain what you found ‘unsavory’ and why you CHOSE to leave.
Teachers should have confidence to WALK out before doing something so ridiculous. I see the behavior over and over as teachers are under the mistaken belief they will never get another job (most especially if they have tenure) and so they must play the game – whether it is testing, poor lesson planning, involvement, etc. Knowing when you are exhausted and not able to best do what students need is also a sign of maturity and dignity.
In the case of Michelle Rhee, she should be embarrassed to have to pay some one with money from the ‘StudentsFirst’ bank account to craft her answers since she can not be honest. The money spent on a publicist should be spent on students. In fact, all charter schools should not need a marketing department or publicity department to ‘demonstrate’ their greatness. The money for said departments should be spent on students – and learning.
Again, there has to be something wrong with a system which tells you it is about the students and yet feels not one iota of contempt for deceit – whether it involves money or not.
Who do the 35 people in Atlanta think they are to take money away from students – merely since it was so easy to lie/cheat, etc. on annual test scores – when everyone else could see right through it if you compared other assessments and grades? I don’t even think the 35 should have been involved in education. I feel the same about Michelle Rhee who believes test scores are the answer for measuring success.
Many days I wish my so-called ‘education colleagues’ would grow spines and have courage to speak out, walk out, do whatever it takes to set the system on notice, anything but embarrassing the profession. It is actually okay to be the one who says, “NO, I won’t play the game.” It is actually okay to know when to leave the practice of education………
What I observe is a bunch of people who do not even have the intelligence to discern making different choices so they run with the pack of imbeciles. At the end of the day, you are very much the company you CHOOSE to keep.