The obvious lesson is painfully simple: don't cheat. Children don't win when adults turn to lies and manipulation. And while calls to look at whether high-stakes testing has taken over education in a way that's unhealthy and misguided shouldn't fall on deaf ears, that's no excuse.
There's another lesson, too, that school board members shouldn't ignore. The Atlanta mess might have come to a conclusion much sooner had the board been more aggressive in questioning and remembering that it employed the superintendent, not the other way around.
Investigators in Georgia also cited an issue we'd all do well to remember: image isn't everything. They found that the superintendent and initially even the business community were so focused on image they forgot one surefire truth: children come first.