Ah, the joys of being in a field where continuing education is required. Just about anyone in America with a license of some sort must take continuing education classes in order to renew the license. For some, like educators, classes can also mean a raise in pay.
In Miami – Dade County School System, teachers are required to take 6 credits of graduate work every five years. This is not a difficult requirement to meet, considering most classes are worth 2 to 3 credits. The requirement in Florida is less than many states. But still it takes some work to pay for the class, buy the books, attend classes every week or so at night and pass. Some Florida educators found a way around the requirement, or so they thought.
Last week six teachers were fired and twenty-six more resigned over a scandal that had teachers paying for the credits and not taking the classes but receiving a transcript showing they had completed the class. These teachers and probably many more placed their money with a former teacher who thought he had found away around the system.
William McCoggle claimed that he was offering continuing education classes, while arranging for credits to be issued through different colleges around the nation. Those colleges were also being duped by McCoggle as well. One college, Otterbein College in Ohio discovered the sham and has since revoked thousands of credit to 657 educators in Florida.
Now even though I could lecture the teachers on the hazards of cheating, they probably know all the arguments because they probably address their classes about the same thing. I could complain that it is the fault of governmental regulations that require extra coursework when the good teachers are spending hours at home and after school preparing to make the classes worthwhile. Or it could be the foolishness of school boards that base pay on credits taken whether the classes are of value or not.
But it won't do any good.
As soon as McCoggle begins his time in jail (he will be serving 2 years in addition to a six figure fine) there will be two more just like him trying to perfect the scam and be calling teachers to "register" through them. These scam artists will follow the philosophy of P.T. Barnum who said "there is a fool born every minute". The question is who will be the biggest fool: the teachers trying to shortcut the system or the school board who doesn't check out the credits before issuing raises or the state department of education for not catching the scam sooner.
Either way, there will be 32 less teachers in the Miami area that will finish the school year and thousands of students affected by the teacher's foolishness. So once again the big loser in this case is the students. It seems as though too often when a grownup screws up, it's the kids that suffer.