Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Take on the Atlanta Public School Cheating Scandal

I would imagine that most of you are aware that, in the past week, a total of 35 Atlanta area public school teachers and school officials have been arrested in connection with the law enforcement probe of alleged cheating by teachers on standardized tests, which led to inflated student test scores in various Atlanta public schools.

Look, I am quite sure that we can all agree that such cheating is wrong! There's no room for debate about that! But here is my take on this prosecution -- and you may or may not agree with me!

First of all, I acknowledge that, presently, I am a criminal defense lawyer  in Augusta, Georgia. I proudly defend folks accused of crimes. But even as a former career prosecutor, both state and federal, I would never have made this into a criminal case. In my opinion, such cheating by teachers should be a firing offense, but not a criminal offense!

My teacher friends tell me that our entire school system is a mess. No Child Left Behind has put tremendous pressure on teachers to focus their efforts on test-taking and test performance, rather than on teaching the little urchins how to read and write! It is no wonder that some teachers will feel pressured to fudge on scores.

Again, I am not saying we should reward cheaters! That is not my point! All I am saying is that we shouldn't be trying to put them in prison, either! In short, again, this cheating, in my opinion, should be a firing offense and not a criminal offense!

What do you think?

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