The Second Body

Another school-cheating scandal -- this time in Atlanta -- could be a signal of a nationwide issue.
by | July 6, 2011 AT 6:35 PM

Back in April, I wrote about an investigation that showed widespread cheating in Washington, D.C., public schools. We're not talking about kids cribbing off each other's test sheets, here.  The problem involves teachers or principals (allegedly) erasing kids' wrong answers and replacing them with correct answers, all in a bid to game an accountability system that rewards and punishes educators and schools based on how well their students do on standardized tests.

Back then, I called the D.C. scandal "the first body" to die from the "miracle drug called accountability."

Well, folks? Looks like we have another body, this time in Atlanta. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes.

Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.

Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.

Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.

For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

This is starting to sound like a bad murder mystery...