But I was struck by one important aspect of the scandal in the NYT's article Ex-Atlanta Schools Chief Charged in Cheating Scandal.
The interests of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to help cover up what was really going on:
Business leaders are pushing privatization of our schools because they want their hands on those profits (aka our tax dollars). Its the kind of rent seeking that has been decried by honest Economists since the days of Adam Smith.What made Dr. Hall just about untouchable was her strong ties to local business leaders. Atlanta prides itself in being a progressive Southern city when it comes to education, entrepreneurship and race — and Dr. Hall’s rising test scores were good news on all those fronts. She is an African-American woman who had turned around a mainly poor African-American school district, which would make Atlanta an even more desirable destination for businesses.And so when Mr. Perdue challenged the test results that underpinned everything — even though he was a conservative Republican businessman — he met strong resistance from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.“There was extensive subtle pressure,” Mr. Perdue said. “They’d say, ‘Do you really think there is anything there? We have to make sure we don’t hurt the city.’ Good friends broke with me over this.”“I was dumbfounded that the business community would not want the truth,” he said. “These would be the next generation of employees, and companies would be looking at them and wondering why they had graduated and could not do simple skills. Business was insisting on accountability, but they didn’t want real accountability.”Once the special prosecutors’ report was made public, it did not matter what the business community wanted; the findings were so sensational, there was no turning back.
The business community is the enemy of quality education--not a group that we should be forming friendly alliances with to "reform education". We don't need education reform. We just need to educate our kids. There is a very big difference.