Atlanta Cheating Scandal – A Messy and Predictable Result

Let’s be clear.  A good person working in a bad system will lead to poor results.  The whole Atlanta School system- and education systems like them – have created environments where the system is dictating performance . . . and survival in that system.  The Atlanta education system created the environment for administrators and educators to cheat.

These systems designed in this fashion need to be eliminated in education systems, government and private industry.

The US has created a culture of cheating by the way we have contrived and managed systems.  Lance Armstrong, the recent KPMG scandal of insider training, an assortment of jailed CEOs and manipulation of every day measures to survive or get ahead are results of these poorly contrived and managed systems.  Our short-term thinking for immediate gain is like a boat anchor hanging around our societal necks.

Pay for performance or any derivation of pay for performance like:, administrator and educator rewards tied to test scores, school funding tied to test scores, school takeovers tied to test scores and graduation rates,  etc. will lead to cheating and/or manipulation – if not for personal gain, for survival.  I wrote about this back in 2009  (see A Step Back: Pay for Performance in Schools).  We are making our own bed and we have to continue to sleep in it.  We are better than this.

The current education system is expensive to boot.  The added attorney costs and inspection costs to avoid cheating and manipulation make this design inefficient and not just ineffective.  Now, we may have more expenses to jail “cheaters.”

To improve education, we need to  change our perspective and contrive better educational systems.  The culture of cheating and manipulation comes from our current culture.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for Reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn at

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