Response to indictments of 35 former Atlanta Public Schools employees
In regards to media coverage of the Atlanta cheating scandal, I think it’s important to remember that, although many people were involved and should not go unpunished, the entire Atlanta Public Schools faculty is not at fault. There may have been some wrong decisionsmade, but lack of trust for the rest of APS is also not the right way to fix the problem. I think what the APS board needs to do is start fresh, with a new outlook for improving schools and helping students. Hopefully, the APS system can recover people’s faith so they can refocus the attention where it needs to be, which is toward our children’s education.
MIA LEE PANARITES, STUDENT, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL
District must move beyond old, recent problems
I have been hearing a lot about the cheating scandal recently. While I do not think it will directly affect me or my future, it is difficult to put up with all the degrading information coming out about my school system. Personally, I believe that the 35 educators are guilty, and I do think that the major ones, like Beverly Hall, belong behind bars. But what is more important is how this will affect the school system’s students and the whole learning community.
After the two recent shootings at APS schools, the system was already facing criticism, and this will only make things worse. APS needs to get past these events and start focusing on the best interests of their students, unlike what these 35 educators are accused of doing.
PATRICK MUNGER, STUDENT, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL
Scandal brought unwanted national attention here
It was the summer of 2012, after my freshman year at Grady High School, and I had arrived in the Big Apple. I was spending a month at Barnard College. I was taking a class in “Criminal Law” and “Studio Art”. During our introductory lesson, we took turns introducing ourselves. I was the lone Atlantan in the group, and I was disappointed to hear the word association with “attend public school in Atlanta.” I was bombarded with questions about the cheating scandal. Had I been bribed by my teachers? Did I realize what was unfolding around me? I was ashamed but also angered.
I had no idea that cheating on standardized testing had been occurring until it hit the front page of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I wasn’t angered to be associated with Atlanta Public Schools, I was disappointed that this is what we may be known for by our nation. I believe that the Atlanta Public Schools should be known for my peers’ achievements. Each year, the students of APS accept the challenges put in front of them, follow their passions, and exceed expectations. I’m looking forward to the negative attention to come to an end, and the accomplishments of our students to coming to light.
BILLIE LAVINE, STUDENT, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL
Cheating led students down path of failure
Not only is it embarrassing that officials of APS would not only allegedly cheat the future of their students for a raise, but the fact that former superintendent Beverly Hall seems to downplay the severity of the matter is not only embarrassing but hurtful. She did not deserve to have her bond lowered for the simple fact that it seems evident that the morals of these teachers are not intact.
Forget the reputations of these educators who, by making stupid mistakes to fatten their pockets, are ruining their careers. Instead, take into mind the reputations that are placed onto students. This scandal, which is in the national limelight, affects us more than we could even begin to imagine. These teachers who were supposed to mold children for the future are leading us down a narrow path of failure. The absolute least thing that they could do is take responsibility for their actions.
EBONEE BROWN, STUDENT, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL