APS no Honest Abe

The Southerner

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By Ashley Brown and Ben Gittelson

Our parents always told us honesty was the best policy. When we had a pee-pee accident or broke our Tinker Toys, we were supposed to ‘fess up right away. While your average Grady student may not have been a kindergarten paragon of virtue, we at least all learned that we couldn’t (or weren’t supposed to) beat up our younger sisters when they told on us for snatching an extra few cookies out of the cookie jar.

Our playmates at APS, though, don’t seem to have learned the same lessons from their mothers or their preschool classrooms. From regional superintendent Tamara Cottman’s “Go to hell” memos to deputy superintendent Kathy Augustine’s criticism of the GBI’s investigation into possible cheating on the Criterion Reference Competency Test, APS administrators have been caught red-faced and red-handed time after time trying to save face and obscure the truth. They’ve consistently attempted to shield the system from ever-heightening scrutiny through what state investigators call a pattern of “intimidating, threatening and retaliating” against whistleblowers. The GBI hit the nail on the head when it wrote in a letter to APS alleging that the system has acted “to protect those in its ranks who engage in intimidation of potential witnesses to cheating.”

APS officials need to take a page out of their preschool teachers’ playbooks and serve their timeouts. They need to stop trying to cover up the cheating and stop trying to cover up the cover-up. They need to grow up.

This article won an All-Georgia award in the House Editorial Category at the 2011 Georgia Scholastic Press Association on April 28, 2011.

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