To the Editor:
America is obsessed with winning. We are obsessed with glamour. We consistently reward our imagined superstars with glory, unreasonable financial perks, and far too many headlines and cover stories.
Regular folks, on the other hand, get pink slips, high property taxes, and paltry savings for their golden years. Inevitably, then, with such high stakes in the game of winning, there’s been rampant doping in the Olympics, steroids in baseball, and grand theft and fraud in our banking and financial institutions. The problem? Everyone wants to be a winner.
How do our government officials address this issue? They give us Race to the Top, and suddenly our great and historic system of public education is turned into a second-rate reality show. Educators are promised glory and money for winning. Losers get run off the island.
How on earth could anyone in America be taken aback by the cheating scandal in Atlanta (“Atlanta Cheating Scandal’s Tentacles Said To Reach Far,” April 17, 2013)? As Capt. Louis Renault famously exclaimed as he entered the casino in “Casablanca": “I’m shocked—shocked—to find that gambling is going on in here!”
Ann de Bernard
Waltersville Elementary School
A version of this article appeared in the April 24, 2013 edition of Education Week as Winning Obsession Yields Cheating in School, Life