When the Cheaters Are the Teachers

What astounds me, and frightens me, is the lack of a moral compass necessary in order to intentionally erase student work. There is no way to skirt that reality. I might be able to rationalize giving oral hints or straying from the time limits. I cannot explain away wholesale erasures on entire class sets of exams.

I fear that it's a bigger indicator of where we are as a society today. The moral relativism that we have been fostering—that we have been teaching—that we have been indoctrinating in our children has finally come out in force.

I have to remind myself that while this scandal does damage to the profession, it raises the consciousness of every educator.  It does not diminish the excellent teachers I've known in my lifetime—colleagues, friends, and educators who pour their hearts into their work because they know their work is about having heart.

What scares the hell out of me is that this might just be the beginning of a different battle I never expected, about fundamental values, ethical comprehension, poverty and opportunity; we need to have conversations about these topics that are forthright enough to make us uncomfortable.

The educational system needs reform from the inside out. It's not about data. It's not about curricula. It's not about money.

It's about having the heart, the courage, to stand for our children. It's about the integrity to do our jobs right as teachers, even when it means failing. Especially when it means failing, because it shows us where the real work must be done.

4/7/2013 4:00:00 AM