A few months ago I learned that the mega bank, HBSC, had been found guilty of laundering drug money multiple times. No bank personnel is serving any prison time. It is reported that the bank paid multiple fines for their violations of the law.
Mean while, the New Jim Crow—the practice of incarcerating poor people of color for minor drug offenses—persists. And, the image of eleven Atlanta educators, in handcuffs, being paraded to jail, guarded by armed police officers, for cheating on the Georgia accountability exam is horrifying.
Obviously crime pays for some but not others. Knowing when and how and for whom the rules of law apply is a civics lesson for which there is no syllabus. The picture of educators being carted off to jail is intent on instilling fear in the hearts and minds of practitioners such that there is no more cheating on accountability exams. Pointedly, that is not the protocol for accumulating massive wealth from laundering drug money. The message is that the best and the brightest should work for HBSC, earn a lot of money, and be shielded from the perils of jail time for breaking the law.
Yes, cheating on tests is bad behavior that should not be tolerated—it offends every sensibility. Nothing is, however, more odious then the mindlessness of high stakes testing, the wealth it generates, and the trauma it inflicts on children whose education is marginal, historically under funded, exploited by privatization pimps, and serves as a passport to the permanent under ground economy.
In just one rural state, 17,000 children in the third grade are expected to fail the 2015 state accountability exam and they will be punished for failing to meet the arbitrary standard. The policy makers should do jail time for such a crime. But, like the employees of HBSC, there is a free pass and a bonus for ending social promotion.
Excellence in education escapes but profiteering soars and its pimps are laughing on the way to the bank.