Advice to APS and Dr. Hall: Be open, decisive and angry

Here is a good piece by former AJC editor Hank Klibanoff offering some sound advice to APS Superintendent Beverly Hall in the ongoing investigation of possible CRCT tampering. (The results of that probe were scheduled to be released today, but are being delayed a few weeks.)

By Hank Klibanoff

There’s not much mystery about what we’ll soon hear from the panel investigating possible cheating by teachers and administrators at Atlanta public schools on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. It’s going to be ugly.

The only question, given her track record in these moments of public embarrassment, is how Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall will respond. Based on recent behavior, Hall could miss an opportunity to restore confidence in APS with strong words and concrete action. I have a little history with Hall, and some advice.

About three years ago when I was managing editor for news at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hall and I met at a breakfast arranged by an Atlanta school board member. I had been (and remain) impressed overall with Hall’s leadership, and was (and remain) proud to have a child in the Atlanta public schools.

But I had been astonished at how, in 2004, her administration had been so defensive, difficult and self-defeating in its handling of the E-Rate scandal she inherited.

Over several months, reporters at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had unfurled embarrassing stories showing corruption in Atlanta’s $73 million share of the federal program, which was designed to upgrade technology in schools across the nation.

APS, starting before Hall arrived, had billed the E-Rate program to wire classrooms that didn’t exist, to upgrade schools scheduled to be demolished and to buy electronics worth millions of dollars that reporters found in storage three years later. They found that competitive bidding had been abandoned, that cozy relationships between the APS technology director and bidders were glaring, and that nobody in the front office seemed fazed by it.

Hall did not see the stories as newsworthy, and she did not express dismay at the findings. At times, requests for records were treated like SCUD missiles, and requests for interviews like anthrax-filled envelopes. While APS eventually released many records, very little came without a struggle.

By the time Hall and I met, the reporters’ findings had been validated by Congress, federal funds had been cut off, and the APS technology director, Arthur Scott, was headed to the federal pen after admitting that he and his wife had taken $323,000 in bribes. (A Peachtree City businessman was later convicted as well.)

Over breakfast, Hall expressed regret for her defensive posture. She’d been so focused on looking forward, she said, that looking back on an inherited problem seemed like a waste of time. She’d made the mistake of trusting Scott, she said, when he told her the reporters were misguided.

But the Hall administration did not learn its lesson. Despite advice that many people, including me, tried to give her after state examiners validated AJC stories about suspicious improvements in student test scores, she has instead retreated to her default defense: She goes to pains to avoid acknowledging that teachers or administrators might have cheated and instead has offered a blanket wait-and-see cover for everyone. And she publicly blames the press for … for … well, it’s not clear what for.

Her response to the latest E-Rate story is also baffling. The AJC recently showed how APS continues to play fast and loose in writing bid specifications (using verbatim language from one bidder’s catalog) and awarding lucrative contracts. Hall and her procurement director refused to be interviewed. APS offered two other executives for interviews, then cancelled them.

In the end, APS responded only in writing and only to written questions, two weeks after they were submitted, a strategy that eliminated the opportunity for follow-up questions to evasive answers; the answers were at odds with APS’ own records. (In another bad sign, the new chairwoman of the Atlanta school board, LaChandra Butler Burkes, let three AJC requests for interviews, which her public information officer acknowledged, go unanswered.)

Now, some advice for Hall: Be open and decisive. If the report says APS employees cheated, show rage and indignation, show hurt, then fire the employees and file suit to get back any bonuses they received for improvement in student scores. State categorically that the cheating only hurt the students, didn’t help them.

Apologize to the students, their parents and the overwhelming number of honest APS employees, then explain how you’ll prevent this from happening again and how you’ll get the scores up honestly.

If all or some of your own $78,000 bonus resulted from test score improvements, return that money to the APS treasury before the end of the day.

Then do one even tougher thing: Thank the reporters who first exposed this fraud. What they did was commendable public service.

You might even invite them into Atlanta high schools to show students how such exemplary work is done.

Hank Klibanoff, the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University, is co-author of “The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation,” which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in history.

51 comments Add your comment

Lee

June 22nd, 2010
2:48 pm

Sorry. Any rational person would look at the gains in some of these schools and begin to question them. Beverly Hall took the scores, the accolades, and the bonus money – all of which was based on a fraud.

Sorta like you make a deposit at the bank and discover later that they credited too much money into your account. To accept the money and say nothing merely perpetuates a fraud.

What the SCHOOL BOARD needs to do is to be firm and decisive. Hall has lost all credibility.

catlady

June 22nd, 2010
3:05 pm

Professor Klibanoff: Don’t hold your breath. The time to do all this was months and months ago. The Empress has no clothes, and keeps hoping no one notices that not only is she naked but she got paid to be clothed.

AlreadySheared

June 22nd, 2010
3:26 pm

I’ve had if with “We need to see X get ANGRY”. I don’t care a hoot about how our leaders FEEL, I want to see them get stuff done. The last thing we need to add to our political discourse is a sham kabuki theater of emotions for public display.

drew (former teacher)

June 22nd, 2010
3:43 pm

The test cheating I can almost understand…after all, it’s ALL ABOUT THE SCORES, right? Better test scores = better schools, right? Yeah…it’s unethical and unprofessional, but in the end it’s simply teachers/administrators giving the Super what she wants…better scores.

What I can’t understand is how we could have a repeat of the E-Rate scandal:

“The AJC recently showed how APS continues to play fast and loose in writing bid specifications (using verbatim language from one bidder’s catalog) and awarding lucrative contracts. Hall and her procurement director refused to be interviewed. APS offered two other executives for interviews, then cancelled them.”

What does it say when a new administration, and new procurement officers, go right back to the well of corruption to pad their pockets? What does it say that those who went to prison were replaced with equally corrupt employees? How in the heII can this happen?!? Wouldn’t you think after the first scandal some kind of safeguards would have been put in place to prevent it from happening again? Apparently not. And the fact that Ms. Hall has absolutely nothing to say about it says it all.

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blame game

June 22nd, 2010
3:57 pm

this article is pure BS. blame and fire, blame and fire

how about the person at the top? statistics were shown that the increase in scores had a one in a BILLION chance of occuring; what did BEV do? PLAY THE RACE CARD

did she step back and say we need to check into this? NO, she said MY POILICIES are what brought scores up. Dam straight her CHEATING POILICY did bring scores way up. LOL

all this article did is try to lay blame somewhere else. APS needs a admin cleaning (starting with Bev) but the only thing will happen is the RACE card will be played again to save their overpaid jobs and the students lose out again

KennesawMa

June 22nd, 2010
4:10 pm

I think it is very interesting that the AJC had 2 contrary headlines last Monday. One headline was about the APS cheating scandal and the other was about some Atlanta (middle) schools being listed among the nations’s best in Newsweek. Irony at its best.

GoodforKids (Ph.D.)

June 22nd, 2010
4:25 pm

Since she has a doctorate from a university where she had to attend classes, she must have slept or doodled her way through some of them and passed anyway. Or, she has utterly disregarded the statistics coursework she understood and completed. You can’t claim ignorance if you have had the training…or was APS that one snowball that somehow formed in hell?

Ed Johnson

June 22nd, 2010
5:06 pm

I posted this on today’s earlier blog, where my post met with “Your comment is awaiting moderation” (whatever that means), so here it is again…

The fundamental question Beverly Hall cannot possibly answer, or perhaps even grasp.

What is the fundamental question?

Why haven’t Beverly Hall and the APS school board the foresight to predict undesirable consequences from their actions that devalue people? For example, why don’t they have the foresight to predict that their “targets” and “bonuses” for school-level personnel will inevitably result in faking and cheating to met the targets and get the bonuses?

So, no, by the fact that Hall sets the targets, Hall cannot possibly answer the fundamental question. Neither can the school board members. Their lack of foresight to predict amounts to a failure of ethics, and so they all should step down.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

Sir: if you are proud of APS, and your kids go there, you certainly must be zoned for one of the northside high schools. APS is a joke, and Hall is doing the only thing she can- as a matter of competence, and as a matter style: dissemble. If her record- and your dealings with her- have not taught you anything, then surely you were a legacy admit to Emory.

Mikey D

June 22nd, 2010
7:09 pm

Further proof that superintendents of these large systems are more politicians than educators. And, as we all know, politicians are crooked at their core. This lady has lost credibility by digging in her heels and hoping it all blows over. She has disgraced the honest teachers and administrators by covering for the dishonest few. She is unworthy of her office, and should resign to make way for someone with ethics and honesty.

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:29 pm

somebody needs to remind him WE broke this story – us underpaid, overworked, and ignored educators.

the AJC only got this story because we forced it on them.

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:30 pm

just proof having a Ph.D. doesn’t necessarily mean someone can
do the job.

but we’ve had this debate here recently, too.

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:31 pm

what I want to see is a federal investigation of APS and DeKalb.
the BOR, too.

the editorial board's subtle coverup

June 22nd, 2010
8:14 pm

Crazy Elvis in North Korea himself would be proud of the propaganda inspired headline. Be angry? Why the automatic assumption that she didn’t know about the cheating, AJC? Why the editorial designed specifically to deflect any questions of her prior knowledge?

Do you really think the readers are that stupid? Maureen you better thank your lucky stars your content is free, because no one is going to pay for this end run around the truth by one of the AJC’s former hacks.

Readers, please don’t let the AJC foist this on you without calling them on it. It’s the only way they and APS will learn to act with integrity.

E Pluribus Unum

June 22nd, 2010
8:22 pm

Before the emphasis on standardized testing, how did students manage to
learn and achieve. There is no doubt that if cheating took place, that the
integrity and educational environment in some schools was compromised.
Dishonesty is definetly troubling, but so is the fixation to evaluate the
total educational competence of a student solely on the CRCT. The
developments of most are modern technology came from students
that excelled in core subjects, without having numerous standardized
assessments. Testing is important,but some people have lost the
proper perpective of what is important-Altering test materials would
be an example of not only dishonesty, but shows that a few educators
lost track of what was important.
of

E Pluribus Unum

June 22nd, 2010
8:23 pm

typo-Before the emphasis on standardized testing, how did students manage to
learn and achieve ?

E Pluribus Unum

June 22nd, 2010
8:30 pm

Editing nightmare- our- not are (I should have stopped by Starbucks.)

Nikole

June 22nd, 2010
8:56 pm

If Hall should be firing anyone, she should start with herself. She should have known that some scores were statistically impossible to explain. Don’t lay all of the blame at the feet of lower-level employees. She created a culture ripe for cheating.

Statistics 101

June 22nd, 2010
9:30 pm

What’s more statistically unlikely. That 250,000 answers got changed from wrong to right, or that the AJC editorial board is comprised of the only people in the state of Georgia who don’t know that Beverly Hall knew about the cheating?

NW GA teacher

June 23rd, 2010
2:33 am

Open, decisive and angry? I would prefer open, decisive and professional.

We aren't stupid Hank

June 23rd, 2010
4:48 am

Maybe Hank can count on the average reader of the AJC to be ill informed, but Maureen should have schooled him on the fact that that doesn’t fly here.

Look at this quote from Hank, and think about just how much Hank is trying to insult your intelligence.

“But I had been astonished at how, in 2004, her administration had been so defensive, difficult and self-defeating in its handling of the E-Rate scandal she inherited.”

Inherited Hank? Yes it did start before she came on board, but she came on board in 1999. Five years Hank, five years. Questions had been raised by the feds going back at least as far as 2002 Hank, so for you to try to absolve Hall of any and all blame is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.

Let me guess Hank; you’re doing a journalism gig at Emory, not an ethics gig, right?

Hank's letter to Tiger Woods

June 23rd, 2010
5:14 am

Anyone happen to read the letter Hank Klibanoff penned to Tiger Wood’s that ran in the AJC’s sports section? It’s very similar to the advice he gave Dr. Hall.

Dear Tiger,

You really need to get decisive about all those women who are claiming to have slept with you. Their cheating is really sullying your reputation, and you need to show your anger to them and take a decisive stand. Though I am really proud of you as a husband and father, you cannot deny what these women have done any longer.

Sincerely,

Hank

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 23rd, 2010
7:24 am

I’m very disappointed in the followers of this blog: there should have been a couple hundred entries by now. I’m also disappointed in the (few) teachers and the couple administrators from APS who sometimes post; their silence signals their agreement with Beverly Hall that what is most important in public education is that they, the teachers and administrators, should make a good living, and that the lives of the kids in the city do not matter. At all.

bootney farnsworth

June 23rd, 2010
7:37 am

@ Chris

consider it fatigue. we’ve been beating this drum loudly for some time, and the AJC doesn’t wish to hear it.

also, anyone who’s directly attached to Hall can’t run the risk of
openly participating – it would be career suicide if caught.

MB

June 23rd, 2010
7:48 am

Since Bev’s friend, Kathy, will be leaving the DOE in a few days, perhaps the call should be for Sonny to create a special panel to investigate the issues in APS. (Maybe invoke SB 84, since the APS school board doesn’t seem effective.) Brad Bryant won’t have the allegiance to Bev; APS’s arrogant refusal to respond to information requests should inflame his anger!

GoodforKids

June 23rd, 2010
8:22 am

@Chris Murphy and @ Bootney,
Agree with question, where is everyone? and agree with overbeaten drum.

The editorial by Klibanoff shows Hall is good at what many politicians are good at. Spinning and/or lying until caught by further facts, then spinning and/or lying some more unless educated, informed citizenry holds them accountable. I have a hard time understanding how Klibanoff, who co-authored a pulitzer prize winning book could be even somewhat supportive in the face of these facts as they currently stand. She must be charming in her manipulation of the facts. She never comes clean. She doesn’t appear to possess the ability to exhibit humility. The BEHAVIORS of the system decision makers (defensive posturing, avoiding interviews, stalling requests for records, etc.) say a lot.

I am thinking the report should be released over July Fourth weekend so that even fewer citizens will be paying attention to the news cycle.

I have no dog in this hunt, except that corruption in APS is not good for kids.

Maureen Downey

June 23rd, 2010
8:26 am

@Good for kids, I can assure that no matter when this report is released, it will be a news story for several days. Even if it is over the holiday, the news coverage will continue well into the week.
Maureen

KSK

June 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

I taught in Atlanta Public Schools from 2001-2004 in two different schools (not on the Northside) and saw nothing but mismanagement, waste, and unprofessionalism at the system level..which obviously affects the school, administrators, teachers, and students in many ways. I left to teach at another Title 1, challenging school in Gwinnett County and was shocked (as in brought to tears) at the professional nature of simply the staff I dealt with at the county office. I am now a phd student in education at GSU, and as I study urban schools and policy and the negative impact it has on students and teachers, Dr. Hall always comes to mind. I am not surprised at all at the cheating scandal given my experience with testing pressure while in APS. I wish that more APS teachers would speak up, but they are probably busy this summer trying to rest (or work to make up for furloughs) before another insanely challenging year begins again.

APS students need Maureen

June 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

@ Chris
Majority of the teachers are appalled at Beverly Hall’s arrogance!!…we want answers as well…Trust us, We are MAD as H that they keep delaying the results…we have no allegiance to her because she treat us like we are low class citizens…we are not worthy to ride the elevate or be in her presence without her body guards (Kathy Augustine, Joyce McCloud, or Barbara Duncan)…It’s time for her to go!…your entire blog (June 19th , 8:30am) was on point, especially the part “But folks should understand, this mainly black people taking advantage of mainly other black people, in the most cynical and underhanded of ways.” She doesn’t care about our black students…It’s truly embarrassing for me as a black person to watch her play the race card and knowing that she is NOT concerned about her own race of students’ educational success…It’s ALL about money…She is CORRUPT to the core…
Mr. Sherman, don’t stop until she and cronies including the board members resigns…

Dr. John Trotter

June 23rd, 2010
9:24 am

Hank, I undetstand your pressure to find some good in the Atlanta Public Schools since you admitted that your child was an APS student. I see that you and Maureen were having breakfast with Hall (in 2007) while castigating Clayton County in the editorials each day. Hank, you and Maureen don’t like to each breakfast in Clayton County? I am curious as to where you guys ate breakfast. Hank, Beverly Hall is an educational fraud. Her administration has systematically established a culture of cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools. You don’t need a Pulitzer to understand this. Just a willingness to look at the facts with unbiased lenses.

EducationCEO

June 23rd, 2010
9:25 am

@bootney is right: Those teachers could forget ever teaching again. I filed a complaint with OCR against former employer (who did violate law). They have black-listed me; cannot get a reference and have been unemployed for 3.5 years. That’s the kind of thing that happens in a non-union state, especially when people believe they are above the law. I am sure more people would speak-up and provide evidence if they knew their jobs were protected.

Mr. Sherman if you are out there!

June 23rd, 2010
10:27 am

Heed the call Mr. Sherman! The taxpayers need you. The children need you!

No excuses-post!

June 23rd, 2010
10:31 am

There is no excuse for anybody disgusted with the goings on not to post. While she may need to “get schooled” herself on the issues that are really affecting education, she has made it abundantly clear that your IP information will not be shared, ever with a school system.

She’s been on the record twice as far as saying that.

The only way you stop spin like the editorial yesterday is to call attention to it by using forums like Get Schooled.

Notice

June 23rd, 2010
10:43 am

Notice while Maureen says the reporters will follow the story, she makes no such promise of the editorial staff.

@Chris Murphy

June 23rd, 2010
11:03 am

“I’m very disappointed in the followers of this blog: there should have been a couple hundred entries by now.”

As well you should be. And there are zero excuses for that being the case, as Maureen has made it abundantly clear that your anonymity will be protected, at least on the Get Schooled blog.

An advocate for public education change & choice

June 23rd, 2010
11:05 am

@Drew (former teacher): Consider the APS board voted without objection to approve the recommendation for selection of the ERATE vendor without ANY diliberation calls that body into question on this issue as well.

@Kennasaw Ma: The schools listed in Newsweek review are from the sector of the APS district left alone by the central office. The NW and NE sectors of APS are basically run by a very involved group of pareents and concerned community leaders.

Calling Creative Loafing and The Sunday Paper

June 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

If any staffers from Creative Loafing or The Sunday Paper are reading, please highlight why the AJC editorial board is going to such great lengths to insulate Beverly Hall in the cheating scandal.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 23rd, 2010
11:32 am

@An advocate: when a board doesn’t discuss an issue publicly, that doesn’t mean that they have not been informed of the pertinent ( or superfluous) facts, or that they have not discussed the issue, in private or not in session. That saves time, and from that aspect I can understand the lack of discussion before a vote. But in the APS Board’s case, as with any incompetent bunch, they will use that lack of discussion as an excuse to claim that they were purposely left in the dark by the school administration. That is the third-hand explanation I got from supporters of District One’s representative. The dissembling, on a mass scale, has begun.

Ed Johnson

June 23rd, 2010
11:47 am

John Sherman, President
Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation
E-mail: fultoncountytaxpayersfoundation@yahoo.com
Web Site: http://www.fctf.org/

GoodforKids

June 23rd, 2010
12:01 pm

I appreciate the comments of several on the blog this morning.
@KSK, I have consulted in/worked with schools in both systems and I hear you about the level of professionalism and know-how when it comes to meeting the needs of students at Title 1 schools. Gwinnett has its issues too; but I have, for years, noticed the climate in APS. Of course, that is sad for APS teachers and administrators who were and are doing good for kids.

A thought about the report delay:
I was thinking about how hard it has been historically (and still is) to break into APS to collaborate, provide services, etc…much less get records, an interview, or a statement for the press. Given this situation, perhaps the committee charged with getting to the bottom of the cheating scandal is taking longer b/c it has been difficult to get the faucet turned on. Everyone is subject to the propensity to “protect their own,” and I understand why APS might be inclined to do that (both to protect themselves and to protect a system they would like to still believe has its students’ best interests at heart). Maybe the committee is finally getting that faucet trickling, and they are hoping for a more steady flow of information from those who have had enough. It is REALLY difficult to get the truth from someone who doesn’t trust you, the outsider. So, a hopeful hypothesis is that they are asking to delay report b/c they need more time to continue establishing relationships so that they may get more information. The less hopeful concern is that the system is so tight, that they will only sing about the absolute knowns (like the 12 severe schools), and that no one will hold the higher ups accountable for the overall corruption. Kids and families have been cheated.

GoodforKids

June 23rd, 2010
12:13 pm

my last comment appears stuck.

Patterns

June 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

Hank Klibanoff has a child in APS, Hall and her inner circle are insulated from the harshest criticisms.

Jay Bookman had a child in APS. Hall and her inner circle are insulated from the harshest criticisms.

Anybody see a pattern here?

Laurie

June 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

So let’s assume for the moment that the 2010 CRCT scores are the “real” ones, untainted by cheating that produced huge apparent gains in previous years. Is there still any improvement in scores at all during Hall’s tenure? If so, how much remains? How does that compare with changes in CRCT results throughout the state?

Maureen, any rough idea?

Playing games

June 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

Well if you’re going to play that game honestly Laurie, we need to also ask how the demographics of the district have changed over the same time frame. Otherwise you aren’t comparing “gains” over time, you’re comparing apples to oranges.

Nice attempt to shill though.

Maureen Downey

June 23rd, 2010
1:52 pm

@Laurie, I think there have been gains under Hall in the CRCT, although the system lags the state averages.
APS is one of the urban districts participating in the NAEP project. (Typically, NAEP scores are released at a statewide level, but these districts volunteered to have their schools’ results released and reviewed.)
Atlanta has seen enough of a rise in its NAEP performance over time to be singled out in all the NAEP presentations that I have seen. And despite all the doubts here about selection of APS kids for NAEP testing, it is a randomized system with strong science behind it and I don’t buy the idea that APS has somehow doctored those results.
That said, while APS has shown significant gains, it also still trails the national NAEP averages as do almost all of the urban districts in the pilot.
I think Dr. Hall’s critics lose credibility when they refuse to concede any accomplishments to her. The panels on NAEP that I have heard include experts without any personal stake in APS and its success. When they praise Hall — and they do — it is because they believe that the NAEP increases are meaningful and important and that she has done some good things for the system.
Does that mean that APS should be given a pass on possible CRCT tampering? Not at all. And it may be that the ultimate responsibility for creating an environment where cheating was the norm in some schools falls on the superintendent.
But I believe that we ought to tell the whole story of APS and Beverly Hall. The good and bad.
Maureen

Maureen you just told on yourself

June 23rd, 2010
2:04 pm

Maureen you should think these things through a little bit more thoroughly so you bias doesn’t show.

These two quotes expose you

“I think Dr. Hall’s critics lose credibility when they refuse to concede any accomplishments to her.”

“Does that mean that APS should be given a pass on possible CRCT tampering?”

Notice when you talk about the good, you lay it squarely at the feet of Beverly Hall, but when you talk about the bad, you lay it on APS?

Oh sure, you try to clean it up a bit an the end but really; are you going to insist to the financial writers at the paper that they “tell the whole story” and write of Bernie Madoff’s charitable contributions?

Laurie

June 23rd, 2010
3:57 pm

” we need to also ask how the demographics of the district have changed over the same time frame.”

Yes. OBVIOUSLY. By all means, provide the data; do the analysis. Much more useful than ranting and making ad hominem attacks on those of us who have kids in the schools and pay the taxes that fund unearned bonuses, and who don’t view this as a game.

Chester Toeball

June 23rd, 2010
4:59 pm

I believe that Beverly Hall is a complete fraud and is clueless about many of her departments, namely Finance. You seldom see her without a personal body guard who also serves as her personal chaffeur. The Finance Division is top heavy and seems to be a dumping ground for Cobb County School System’s rejects. Why does APS Finance need a CFO, a Deputy CFO, a Comptroller, a Grants Manager, 2 Accounting Managers, and 4 Accounting Supervisors? The word on the street is that several of the managers in Finance have been cheating on the time and attendance records. In other words, they don’t report to work, but they code the time sheets as if they were at work. Is cheating the norm at APS? With regard to the lates Erate issues, my focus would be on investigating the new CIO & CFO Chuck Burbridge. According to several sources, there was a payroll record breach 2 weeks ago. Several employees got accessed to detailed payroll records of EVERY employee at APS. Included on the document were Gross, detailed deductions (including taxes, benefits, United Way Contributions) benefit information, bank account numbers, savings account numbers, net pay, and the amount deposited into various accounts. They have kept this hush hush, but employees with the same titles are comparing salaries there are some unhappy folks up there right now. Finance Managers are aware of this breach, but has not informed APS employees to pay close attention to their payroll info.

So we have Erate issues, Time & Attendance Cheating, Test Cheating, Payroll Breach, and Equipment Disappearing and no heads have rolled yet? Dr. Hall, do the right thing and submit your resignation immediately and take the CFO, the Comptroller, one of those Accounting Managers, 2 of those Accounting Supervisors, Kathy Augustine, Half the Board, the Grants Manager, and the Chief of Staff with you. You and your leadership team have lost all credibility.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 23rd, 2010
5:29 pm

Hall’s “accomplishments,” with regards to the NAEP, are not worthy of all the praise that the ‘education professionals’ heap on her. She’s been in office 11 years; the average NAEP score for APS- and please correct me if I’m wrong- went up 12 points, meaning 1/2% per year gained (I believe it went from 195-207). Now, I know any and all improvement in an ‘urban’ (there’s a code word, for you) school system tends to draw raves, because it has been so hard to do, anywhere in the nation, so maybe she is due some praise. But that improvement could just as well be laid at the feet of the Atlanta Housing Authority, which has been tearing down projects for just a little longer than that 11 years, and replacing those units with ‘mixed income’ units. In other words, a lot of the poor, ‘urban’ students have been moved to other systems in the area, and that could have as much to do with the very slight rise in scores, if not immeasurably more, than any programs Hall and her minions have been responsible for.