Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Reading, Writing & Racketeering

schools, corruption, D.C., Washington, education, cheating, incentives, teachers, union

When I attended a public school — many decades ago, in a galaxy far, far away — teachers told students that cheating was unacceptable and would be punished.


Today, the idea has students laughing — all the way to graduation.

Last year, after DC Public Schools officials breathlessly announced massive improvements in graduation rates, several honest teachers broke ranks, and an investigation uncovered massive fraud: a whopping one of every three graduates across the city resulted from falsified records.

Many students played hooky for a third or even half the school year. Administrators also pressured teachers to improve grades to hike the graduation rate.

“The problem,” Washington Post columnist Colbert King concluded, “is systemic indeed.”*

You see, employment evaluations and cash bonuses for teachers and administrators were — and still are — tied in part to student graduation stats. It turns out that an incentive to good work can also serve as an incentive to cheat. Could it be that government employees grading their own work does not encourage honesty?

Just months after confirmation of the worst fears of public school corruption, new allegations against teachers and administrators at Roosevelt High School more than suggest fudging attendance records is ongoing.

“This growing environment of fear and mistrust,” asserts Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, “has never been addressed and continues to be a disservice to students and teachers.”

City officials have had plenty of time to address the issue. And of the common sense idea that the best way to avoid fear and mistrust is to follow the rules?


This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* Nor is the fraudulent behavior limited to dishonestly boosting graduation rates. Former DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson resigned back in February after it became public knowledge that his daughter jumped 600 other students on a waiting list for her school. A recent Post story about enrollment fraud, whereby non-residents grab spots at prestigious schools such as the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, without paying the non-resident fee, was entitled, “Stop enrollment fraud? D.C. school officials are often the ones committing it.” Two-thirds of pending cases involve a current or past DCPS employee.


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By: CS Admin


  1. John F Brennan says:

    I wise man once said the it would be better to be thrown off a cliff with a millstone around one’s neck than to give bad example to the youth.  
    Imagine the compounded damages this example and “teaching” shall visit on tomorrow’s society in DC. 
    I only hope those who created and supported this travesty are drummed from their profession and live long enough to have the product of thier crime to be visited up them.  
    This was intentional malfeasance for personal gain, a fraud and a theft. May the perpetrators be prosecuted, punished and imprisoned, their sentence to teach for GEDs in the prisons their crimes will tend to populate. 

  2. Golfnut6 says:

    Blacks own the public schools in big cities.  So who cares?

    Regarding the much maligned standardized testing, you’ve heard the expression:  “teaching to the test”.  This means something different that you might think.  It does not mean teaching the daily course materials and concepts that are often measured by the test — what else would they be teaching?  It means passing out copies of previous years test for rote memorization drills.  

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