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Posted: July 10, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Durusau: Media lost focus on cheating scandal

The media has focused on the Atlanta Public School cheating scandal.

How the media loves a scandal. It will pass on to the next scandal, criminal trial or "wake up call" soon enough.

Before it does, though, there are some valuable lessons in the Atlanta scandal.

First, the number of educators charged cheating is 178, of which some 82 have confessed to cheating.

That sounds and is bad.

But that's a small percentage of the 3,000 teachers in the system. Even if 300 had cheated, that would have been only 10 percent of the teachers in the system.

The martial infidelity rate is between 30 to 60 percent over the course of a marriage. I would say that Atlanta schools are doing better than married couples.

Far better.

But we should not excuse the cheating.

I don't know of a solution to marital infidelity but I do know the proposed solutions for Atlanta school cheating have the wrong focus.

All the ones I have heard to date focus on the teachers.

Teachers can always use more resources, training, and the like, but working with poorly-supported children is always going to be a losing proposition, no matter how good or well supported the teachers may be.

How do you identify a poorly-supported child?

They're the ones whose parents don't take an interest in education, don't help with homework and don't keep their child from idling about the streets.

Also, a poorly-supported child has the TV or an empty home as a baby sitter.

And, a poorly-supported child has no routine or expectation of one.

Every aspect of a poorly-supported child's life, eating, sleeping, studying (?) are catch-as-catch-can.

The truth is, a minority of Atlanta teachers cheated because children in their classes could not succeed without cheating.

Are we sending similar children to school in Newton County?

Patrick Durusau is a Covington resident.

 

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