It’s comforting to see something good come out of something bad.  There’s not much more scorn that can be heaped upon the Atlanta Public Schools after the cheating debacle that surfaced this week in the news, shedding light on a scandal involving educators, administrators, standardized test scores, shocking lapses in morals, and examples set for our nations’ students that will take years of effort to undo.  But yesterday’s revelations are a huge step in the right direction. 

According to Interim Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr., Atlanta Public Schools will work toward achieving “a culture of integrity” as well as a “more open and transparent culture” among its schools, administrators, and teachers.  Too little, too late?  Certainly not. It’s a monumental step in the right direction, and CEP would like to offer information and resources to help the Atlanta Public Schools however possible.  Character educators know that even after a scandal of epic proportions such as this, it’s never too late to embrace our proper role as models and show our students that we, too, make mistakes sometimes (big ones, even).  And that we, as adults, can step up to the plate, do the right thing, hold our head up high, and keep on going.  Let’s show our students the right way to do things, and the right reason for doing them. Let’s bring integrity and ethics back into ALL our schools, let’s acknowledge where these qualities are lacking, and let’s take steps to show our nation’s impressionable youth how to act with integrity, character, and pride in our work. 

These students who watched our nation’s educators make colossal mistakes are our leaders of tomorrow.  They’ve witnessed the actions, they’ve seen the carnage that resulted, and now they’re watching what we’re all doing in the aftermath.  Let’s stop pointing fingers, casting blame, and castigating Atlanta Public Schools.  Let’s applaud them for taking the right steps in their commitment to creating a culture of integrity in their schools, and let’s help them succeed.