Friday, October 06, 2006

No Young Stock Options Left Behind

Just as extrinsic incentives drove widespread cheating in the business world, so does it in the arena of public education. Millions of dollars of “No Child Left Behind” school bonuses in Texas are being held up due to testing irregularities (i.e. suspected cheating).

Thousands of U.S. companies engaged in the practice of backdating stock options, turning the performance incentive into a sure bet. Nearly 700 schools in Texas are under investigation for similar behavior. What is the state doing to address the problem?

The Texas Education Agency has hired additional investigators to help with onsite inquiries. Also, state-appointed test monitors will be placed in classrooms where cheating was suspected.

Why stick with a program that encourages widespread cheating, that requires ever growing resources to identify and address the very problems that would disappear in its absence? What is the impact on students placed in an environment where cheating is encouraged?

Because the analysis was based on 2005 data, students who might have cheated have likely been promoted and won’t be subject to sanctions.

Students learning cheating from adults with no consequences, with no feedback that their mentors behaved badly? It sounds typically Bush program disgusting?

Some 80% of employees in a recent survey said they would switch jobs to work for a more ethical employer. How are businesses dealing with the back dating stock option scandal? Apple Inc. just issues a public apology for their behavior. Others are going private to remove the watchful eye of the SEC.

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