The ultimate measure of our educational system’s success is not who our students are or what they do in our schools but who they are and what they do in the world.
I’m at a charter school orientation offered by the state, and I just listened to a presentation by two agents from the United States Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General.
They talked about the importance of running charter schools ethically, and they shared several examples of school district and charter school fraud.
Honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach to think about school secretaries and charter school principals funneling money away from the public schools, so they can have a personal shopping spree at Victoria’s Secret. And then there are the superintendents and district employees convening on yachts to dole out multi-million dollar contracts.
One of the agents said about half the people he prosecutes go into their endeavors with ill intentions. The other half goes in with good intentions and then gets derailed by their own greed and the opportunity to satiate it.
When I hear about adults sullying the world with their actions, it reminds me again that our education system has to do more than teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We live in a complex, capitalistic society. We live in a world that elevates profit and often justifies the ends despite the means. We need to help our children develop an ethical sense of self. We need to help them develop an internal code of ethics that pushes them to distinguish right from wrong, even when they aren’t being directly supervised.
If we accept responsibility for educating our children to be ethical people, we will set them up to be ethical leaders in their 21st century workforces and communities.