As many of you know, the Atlanta Public School District was hit hard with the cheating scandal. This scandal to me torn away any hope for future educators like myself to work for this particular school district. To make matters worst, the teacher program I am looking into works directly with APS because their schools are high-need schools. (A high-need school is a school where the students are not performing at the district, county, and state levels on Common Core-Reading, Math, Science, Writing, Social Studies, etc. Also, these schools lack ample resources unlike their fellow counterparts in other school districts and counties).
I shouldn’t allow this cheating scandal to affect my decision to work in this particular school district. However, it does not sit well with me that I’ll probably be working with a school district that cheated. Not only did they cheated with standardized test scores, they also cheated their students, my future students of actually being able to succeed substantially in all academic areas including standardized testing. The thing that upsets me the most is greed was heavily involved with the participants’ decision to partake on this scandal. Georgia itself is one of the most affordable places anyone can live in. Yes, we pay income and state taxes like everyone else. I can’t see why they would get so greedy. It’s not like we pay high sales tax like our Northern friends. To me, a lot of people’s finances here in Georgia are set. You can buy a nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath home for under $150K. I know a lot of folks love to live in luxury and drive luxurious cars. Heck, I’m one of them. However, I’m not going to jeopardize my integrity, my reputation, or my occupation for it.
I watched the verdict live on TV yesterday. I watched the officers put those handcuffs on all of the eleven that were given the “guilty” verdict. (There were twelve, but one ended up passed away after her fight with cancer. May her soul rest in peace). I am honestly happy that they received the “guilty” verdict. A child’s academic future should never be in danger because of greed and folks thinking that they can get away with their wrongdoings. I honestly pray that the Atlanta Public Schools can bounce back after dealing with this public shame.
After sharing my opinions and concerns, I am more convinced to actually go for the Masters’ program that will have me teaching in APS district for three years. I realized that it’s not about the school district (although it would make me feel better about putting my full effort into the school and most importantly, into my students). In reality, this is only a setback for the school district. Once APS gets a more honest leadership team, this school district will be thriving as it once did before the scandal.
As current and future educators, the one thing I believe that we should all remember is that our kids are our number one priority. We should do everything in our power to make sure that they succeed both academically and socially. (Most students are with teachers for a significant amount of time). I personally thank those who have chosen this profession for all that you do and to keep on doing just that, being the best teacher ever!