Fixing the Public Schools

What's wrong with the public schools in the United States and what to do about it is an endless controversy.  The United States has so many well developed an conflicting ideas of what education should accomplish that I expect there will always be big disagreements.  It's fun do debate, and it's valuable to experiment, and I believe in finding both diverse and divergent solutions for making education better, today.

But this post is not about what education should accomplish.  It is about those forces who seek to sabotage the lives of children.  For over a year now I've been hearing about corrupt accounting practices happening at the San Francisco School District.  You'd think that just the hint that someone could be stealing from children would cause a stampede of angry parents and students on the school board, but this stuff happens so often that there is a whole bureaucracy which has built up over the years to stop nefarious practices from being discovered or revealed.

This particular scam was discovered by whistle blowers and reported to officials at the highest levels of the district 5 years ago.  The scam went on.  More people and organizations that came into contact with the scam noticed something fishy and reported it, and still the scam went on and on.  For all we know the scam could have been going on for years before it was discovered.  That's the way these things usually work.  It appears that in June an "official" investigation was launched and they found a small sample of the stolen money.  The numbers are not clear but at least 5 people were stealing.  Since they found a few $100,000 we can be pretty sure the theft was in the millions.  The criminals will have Union protection I suspect, as they have for the last five years.  Since they were stealing, their salaries, overtime, and pensions should automatically be forfeited.  But I bet that isn't what will happen.  Here is my guess.  One of them will have covered her tracks well enough that she won't even lose her job.  Another two will lose their jobs but get to keep their pensions.  And two more will plead guilty to a misdemeanor, pay a fine and get probation, one will lose her pensions and 3 of the five will have to pay some token amount of money back to the School District.  Most of the money is already hidden.  I hope I'm wrong, but....

Crime pays.

If any of this bothers you, you are still human.  Here is an organization which is going to change things for the better.  The link is a great article about the struggle to fix DC Schools.  Again, this post is not about what education should accomplish, it is about those forces who seek to sabotage the lives of children and what you can do about it.  Join Michelle Rhee's organization Studentsfirst.