Paul Jacob

Our dysfunctional and surly Congress magically came together, last week, skipping across the political minefield of the sequester.

Days earlier, the Obama Administration had announced a cut of air traffic controllers’ workload (one working day in ten) to meet the sequester’s requirement for a 4 percent reduction in the FAA budget. Obama had, in effect, decided to take 4 percent “off the top.” Well, with lightning speed and abundant comity, Congress adjusted the impact on air traffic controllers to lessen flight delays . . . just in time for their own flights home to take their much-deserved vacation from all that hard work serving the people.

Score one for Public Choice theory.

But following the Cui bono lead places you in strange locales in this stranger-by-the-day land of ours.

When I was in school, some kids cheated. Today, it’s the teachers who cheat.

Former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 other school employees, including high-level administrators, principals and teachers, were recently booked in Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail after being indicted on 65-criminal counts, including racketeering, theft, conspiracy, making false statements and witness tampering as part of the nation’s largest ever cheating scandal.

Just four years ago, Hall was the National Superintendent of the Year. Now, she faces 45 years in prison for having allegedly snagged almost $600,000 in bonus income for higher test scores achieved through fraudulently changing students’ test answers.

Atlanta is hardly the only place widespread cheating by education officials has been discovered or suspected. An investigation found 60 Pennsylvania schools had cheated on standardized tests, 29 of those schools located in Philadelphia. Organized cheating is suspected in schools in New York City and Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

If we had cheated on a test, what would the reaction have been?

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.