Monday, May 23, 2016

Stealing from Our Children-Ethics for Sale in the Detroit School System

Over 14 individuals are charged in a scheme to provide kickbacks through vendors and enrich the individuals tasked with helping our children learn. As the school system goes bankrupt the FBI has found over $2.7 million dollars of mismanagement. This is likely only the tip of an iceberg for other coordinated thefts throughout the system. Are ethics for sale?

Ethics is an important part of doing business and create trust with our most important national institutions. Our school systems are a promise to the kids of Detroit that they have a chance to make their way out and into a world of prosperity. Those who profess to be helping these kids have taken their money to buy themselves luxury lifestyles and robbing their hopes.

I have found that ethical violations are violations of the perpetrators personality. People who default on their morality when it comes to money have also defaulted on their higher principles. They failed to develop beyond their own needs and issues and lose control over their capacity for higher order reasoning. They believe their image is more  important than their true selves.

As a person who supports ethics and accountability for those who do wrong, whether they are working within the pension funds, law enforcement, city government, construction, non-profits, or anywhere else, it frightens me that moral reasoning is thrown out the window when its convenient. There is a current debate on whether there should be an audit of the system...I say "lets make it happen".

I would recommend an audit of not only the school systems but also anywhere where significant amounts of money have been funneled with lax accounting, record keeping, high turn over, increased expenses and close associates of businesses. The problem is feasibility. It can be expensive to complete detailed audits of large and complex systems.

Not all audits need to be in depth. Some can scan for problems and mismanagement while others move into depth in places where red flags are prevalent. Cursory audits that focus on areas that received previous complaints, whistle blower cases, increasing expenses, and concerns can help bring to our attention the need to do more in-depth audits. Audits are a feedback loop that hold our administrators and public officials accountable to a higher order than themselves.

Someday we might be able to release all of the documents on a public facing site and let the public do its digging as it feels innovation can have its benefits for public accountability.

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