Will a new delay in the release of APS CRCT report add to suspicions about the probe?

Not sure what to make of the announcement that the much-awaited report on possible CRCT test tampering in Atlanta schools is being delayed, possibly for several weeks.

I agree that accuracy is important but wonder whether the delay will intensify suspicions- especially here on the Get Schooled blog where Dr. Hall has many vocal critics –  that the findings are being massaged to shift blame from APS leadership.

According to Kristina Torres in the AJC:

Gary Price, chairman of the independent panel formed to look into irregularities on state standardized tests at city schools, said last week the committee would release major findings and recommendations Tuesday, although he said then that the full report would not be complete by today. But on Monday, a statement from Price indicated that even the summary isn’t ready.

He did not offer a specific timeline for release of the investigation’s results but said the group’s investigators need more time to complete their work.

“We do not wish to sacrifice accuracy for speed by adhering to an arbitrary, self-imposed release date,” said Price.

“We know that various stakeholders and the media are anxious to see our final conclusions. And we are eager to share them,” Price said. “However, because people’s careers and reputations are at stake in an investigation such as this one, we want to exercise all due diligence as we finalize every detail of our report.”

Price’s committee will still meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to discuss its three-month inquiry, which started after a state audit found unusual patterns of erasures last year on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. The tests, taken by students in first through eighth grade, help determine whether schools meet federal benchmarks.

Georgia officials ordered investigations at 191 schools statewide — including 58 in Atlanta. The city had the most schools flagged in any system, more than two-thirds of its public elementary and middle schools. It is the last of 34 school systems to complete its investigation, which is being overseen by a 15-member panel of city business and community leaders.

The committee initially expected to release its report June 16 but delayed for the same reason Price gave on Monday: to give investigators more time. Price told the AJC last week that 100 city school employees at 12 schools will be referred but did not detail the violations, which could range from inadvertently breaking test security rules to outright cheating.

50 comments Add your comment

Exit, stage left

June 22nd, 2010
10:58 am

The rumor

1) The business community is fed up with Dr. Hall’s arrogance; if the cheating wasn’t bad enough, the E-Rate just adds fuel to the fire
2) The business community won’t publicly express their lack of confidence in Hall at this point, trying to keep up the facade that the problems the system faces lie with a few individuals and are not systemic
3) Hall has been, or is about to be told her only face saving exit is to take the Obama position and she will be strongly advised to take it.

Is this true, and does this delay give all parties involved the chance to implement the exit strategy?

john konop

June 22nd, 2010
10:58 am

The real blame goes to the one size fit all, one track or out, high stakes testing system created by No Child Left Behind and promoted by Kathy Cox. Stop pointing fingers and fix the system.

1) We must bring back multi-tracking of kids based on aptitude not one size fit all or out.
2) We must let local colleges and voc-tech schools set the standards not state and or federal government.
3) We must integrate the agencies better between higher education and k through 12.
4) We must focus the money in the classroom not administration.
5) We must stop forced mainstreaming of kids with behavior problems into classrooms creating disruption for teachers.
6) We must make extra curricular activities pay for themselves.
7) We must cross utilize space more efficiently.
8) We must hold local school boards more accountable.
9) We must promote community involvement in the schools not stiff arm it.
10) We must eliminate the failed math 123.

This is just a start.

vee

June 22nd, 2010
11:20 am

in answer to your question – NOTHING could make me more suspicious of aps. the arrogance of dr. hall did it for me when this whole mess came to light. it would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic for the students.

Attentive Parent

June 22nd, 2010
11:26 am

APS has been a testing ground for various educational philosophies that are about to go national with the support of the Gates Foundation as the Common Core national standards are actually implemented.

It is thus important to keep a lid on the actual results for as long as possible.

As for the federal job, I don’t think it was intended to be exclusive.

I hope the Atlanta business community is starting to wake up. It breaks my heart to try to explain to someone out of state why Georgia and Atlanta have allowed so much nonsense in education to be adopted and pushed.

So much is infamous out of state and unknown within the state.

And out of state admissions directors for elite higher ed are not receptive at all to Math 123. Flabbergasted is an apt description of the reactions so far as various Georgians consult with their alma maters.

Attentive Parent

June 22nd, 2010
11:39 am

Maureen,

Is the delay just a few days or an effort to avoid ackward questions if Georgia is an RTT finalist in the 2nd round?

I was reading this morning that the only bidder for the new high school assessments being developed under RTT is National Center for Education and the Economy.

So the America’s Choice people will be deciding whether US high school students know what they ought and are college and career ready.

What a low threshold that will be.

With Linda Darling-Hammond amd America Choice in charge of these expensive new national tests, Dr Hall must feel like the cavalry is coming.

Hang on. Those highly subjective, essentially meaningless tests dreamed of for 20 years are almost here.

Just a few more delays and the whole issue can be moot unless of course it’s you or your child or your employee who objectively can barely read or do math well or think coherently in print.

ScienceTeacher671

June 22nd, 2010
11:40 am

“Will a new delay in the release of APS CRCT report add to suspicions about the probe?”

Ya think?

Pompano

June 22nd, 2010
11:41 am

I would imagine that it is the release of the massive drop in test scores on the last round of CRCT that has them re-writing the report. The original version likely claimed no cheating was taking place and would have been a total white-wash – remember the internal investigation and the report which claimed nothing was wrong (How’s Hall now going to justify that report ??).

However, the major drop in scores was the final nail – even those at the top in APS can’t rationalize that. They’re now having to produce a version that at least appears to reveal some truth in the matter.

td

June 22nd, 2010
11:44 am

Attentive Parent, Thank you for reminding me of the Gates foundation. I have now figured out why Sonny is pushing so hard, going against his party and the peoples will for some of this crap. He wants a position on the Gates foundation or some similar effort after he leaves office. He wants to be known as a education Governor and lead their efforts for a nationalized standards. I have always been told to follow the money and you will find the motivation behind the political moves.

Dee

June 22nd, 2010
12:03 pm

“We must stop forced mainstreaming of kids with behavior problems into classrooms creating disruption for teachers.”

AMEN! And I might add that parents of children who need “special attention” should pay extra for it.

David S

June 22nd, 2010
12:11 pm

Dee – Parents should pay for ALL of it. Nobody else.

GoodforKids

June 22nd, 2010
12:13 pm

@td,
Yes, I had wondered on a post in the past what job Perdue was priming himself for. The Ed Trust nonprofit up in DC is a biggie (Cox is headed to one of Ed Trust’s divisions, I believe). Its mission looks “liberal” in its cause at first glance (close the achievement gap) but attracts conservatives with a standardized testing, core standards agenda, it seems. Perhaps Hall is networking to see who will have her. One can only hope…for the sake of APS. The delay certainly has intent at this point.
Please let “Exit, Stage Left” be right…let the business community be fed up with being duped by the system’s tampered-with test data.
Parents don’t seem to be able to pull together in big systems to develop a coherent outcry. I watch the difference between my mammoth school system and my friend’s in Decatur City. They seem to be able to pull together and be heard. I am sure they have their obstacles too, but they are often able to get the change they need.

Tonya T.

June 22nd, 2010
12:15 pm

Dee:

Really? My husband is a special ed teacher. He makes no more than anyone else. Our son is a special ed student. So I think we put in what we get out and then some.

Special education is federally funded. And gifted education is included in the ’special label’.

People Fear Reality

June 22nd, 2010
12:18 pm

If you have the time, read this excellent commentary piece by John Taylo Gatto, one time NY State Teacher of the year. Written back in 1991 but just as valid today.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/gatto2.1.1.html

David S

June 22nd, 2010
12:20 pm

In Watergate, first there was the break-in, then there was the cover-up, then there was the coverup of the coverup. I think we are just entering the coverup phase. More to come from these folks as they once again try to make parents and taxpayers believe that anything good can come from government education.

APS IS CORRUPT

June 22nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Enter your comments here

APS Teacher

June 22nd, 2010
12:36 pm

I am at a total loss as to what I, as a tax payer and APS employee, can do. APS is totally and completely corrupt, run by incompetent individuals who are only out to line their own pockets. And they are getting away with it. It is disgusting, and disheartening that the public at large seems not to care at all.

Dee

June 22nd, 2010
12:51 pm

Tonya – I didn’t say “special ed”, I said “special attention” – you know, brats whose parents have failed to parent. Why should a student be allowed to be so disruptive. That being said, the issue of “special education” needs to be examined. I am all for providing an education to children with special needs, but when it gets to the point where one student needs a full-time care-giver in the school (have personnaly witnessed this) I have to wonder why that expense is borne fully by the school/taxpayers and whether one of the parents should not be expected to provide this service or pay someone else to do it. While I realize that it is not at the same level, I pay for my son to have a math tutor rather than expect the school system to provide one under the guise that he has some sort of learning disability….sometimes, parents forget that their child and all his needs are really their responsibility.

David – As far as parents paying for it all, while I do agree that parents should pay some form of tuition I also feel that an educated society benefits everyone and therefore I do believe in a good system of public education. There should be some base/low level of taxes paid by everyone in the community for a no-frills basic education and then tuition charged for each student to build on that. Obviously, schools in wealthier districts could afford better schools and if you cannot afford the tuition then you have to do with less. Bleeding hearts will scream, but I will never understand what is wrong with the concept of “you get what you pay for.”

Tonya T.

June 22nd, 2010
12:54 pm

APS Teacher:

I worked there. What I saw as an employee made me NEVER want a government job EVER again. If you have evidence, consider taking it to the Fulton County Taxpayers Association.

The question

June 22nd, 2010
12:57 pm

Just like Watergate, there is one question that must be answered for the investigation to have any legitimacy at all.

What did Beverly Hall know, and when did she know it?

Woodward and Bernstein asked it. Do we not have a Woodward and Bernstein at the AJC, or are the higher ups at the AJC squelching them?

Dr. John Trotter

June 22nd, 2010
1:01 pm

We need an Alexander Butterfield and a Katherine Graham.

The question

June 22nd, 2010
1:06 pm

My thoughts exactly, I just couldn’t remember the names. So Andre Jackson, will you step up and ask what did Beverly Hall know and when did she know it, or are you going to kowtow to whoever it is you are kowtowing to and write another editorial about how Hall “deserves credit”?

winnie

June 22nd, 2010
1:23 pm

APS Teacher I say leave and go else where.You do not have a problem cashing those big checks from APS. So if the sysytem is corrupt what about you?

An advocate for public education change & choice

June 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

In responce to the question, ” Will a delay in the report intensify suspicions- especially here on the Get Schooled blog”, in a word absolutely !!

I cram to understand how all of sudden the delay announcement comes. It was just last Thursday (if I recall correctly) they promised to release the report today. What happened in the short time in-between to sway the thinking toward a multi-week delay?

SpaceyG

June 22nd, 2010
1:28 pm

More time to lawyer-up?

APS Teacher

June 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

@ winnie- In the event it has escaped your attention, finding a teaching job in GA right now is not really feasible. Trust me, I’ve tried.

An advocate for public education change & choice

June 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

@ Winnie: The use of term “big checks” to describe the pay of any K-12 public school teacher in GA is indeed a oxymorn.

@ Exit, Stage Left: The rumors you’re speaking to sound plausible. Don’t know how much truth is in them but stranger things have happened.

@ John Konop: I think you have list of some reasonable ideas that somebody in the state on some level of policy making or manifesting authority needs to take action on post haste !!!!

The question

June 22nd, 2010
1:40 pm

What did Beverly Hall know, and when did she know it?

Why does the AJC continually refuse to ask this question?

Maureen Downey

June 22nd, 2010
1:53 pm

@The Question, When this story broke, the AJC met with Dr. Hall for more than an hour and we did ask that question, in many ways and many times.
I don’t think that is the right question. I don’t think Dr. Hall sanctioned cheating or actively abetted it.
I think the question is should she have been aware of it? Should she have looked at these scores with greater skepticism? Did anyone attempt to see whether students at the high scoring middle school that topped the severe list did well in high school on any tests?
These are the questions that we are asking.
I received a very moving note a few weeks ago from a woman who mentored an APS high school student. The student graduated this year with honors even though her mentor believes she was functioning academically on a 5th grade level. That is what I think we ought to look at –What do high grades from APS schools mean? I would love to see a study of how APS students are faring in colleges. (I will say that some of the original Project Grad students just finished college and did very well, so the system is not without many success stories of low-income kids with no family histories of educational attainment going on to college and thriving.)
Those are the questions we are asking.
Maureen

Tonto

June 22nd, 2010
1:59 pm

APS Teacher & Tonya T:

‘Taught’ @ APS too…

Incredible rot in that school system…

The question

June 22nd, 2010
2:07 pm

Maureen I would ask then, if you are aware of the cheating, and you don’t take definitive steps to stop it, steps similar to what the state took this year, aren’t you in fact actively aiding and abetting it?

Where’s the accountability at the top Maureen?

As for the questions the AJC is asking, they don’t seem to have been asked very often in a public forum in a way to hold APS accountable. I’ve yet to hear Andre Jackson ask them, save for a single editorial that deflected criticism from Hall by giving her “credit”.

If it were your child’s school system, would you be pleased with this editorial board’s relative silence on the subject? Why did it take someone who used to work for the paper to ask the questions that were asked in today’s editorial?

catlady

June 22nd, 2010
2:26 pm

The smell gets worse and worse.

Didn’t the state give each of the systems a time deadline? Didn’t APS promise their results, but ask for extra time? Hasn’t that extra time elapsed? Time to get moving, Governor! Literally.

“Hit don’t take nary rocket scientist to figure this one out!”

The state DOE CAN do an individual analysis of each suspected “incorrect” score. The state DOE CAN look at data from year to year on an individual basis. WHY HASN’T THE STATE DOE DONE THIS?

Here is an idea: Dissolve the APS school system. Divide their 50000 kids and school properties among the surrounding systems (yes, Decatur City, that means you will have to take some). Get rid of all the supervisors from the CO completely. The only way to tame the monster is to cut it into bits. The time is now. APS has all but asked for this. Either they are incompetent or they are evil. Either way, the taxpayers don’t need to continue to fund it.

Legacy

June 22nd, 2010
2:49 pm

Sonny don’t make your legacy what you did to teachers. Make your legacy the rooting out the corruption in APS, and bringing those who shortchanged the children to account.

Starting at the top.

Springdale Park Elementary Parent

June 22nd, 2010
2:50 pm

Beverly Hall is a charismatic scene-stealer with average intelligence who’s a mediocre manager. She was able to drum up community support while simultaneously scaring a bunch of bad employees–no small feats, those–but a more gifted manager would still be useful, whereas Bev Hall long ago stopped being useful to us as taxpayer-stewards of the APS.

It’s time to bring in a proven manager who can not only browbeat and intimidate when necessary (for there are many in the APS central office for whom fear is the only motivator that works) but who can also actually build a system worth having.

Bev Hall is a nice lady, but this is too important a job for us to be the least bit sentimental about her. She’s done–finished–through. Too many scandals, too little intellectual honesty.

And Ms. Butler Burkes–shame on you for ducking the media on the NEW e-Rate scandal. Stand up and be accountable to your constituents. Show some guts. You’re proving yourself an unworthy leader.

Ed Johnson

June 22nd, 2010
2:51 pm

@Maureen,

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 inevitable 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.

Ed Johnson

June 22nd, 2010
2:54 pm

…inevitably…

GoodforKids

June 22nd, 2010
3:05 pm

@catlady, Wow, I love the idea of dissolving the APS. No chance it will happen, of course, but the culture of corruption is so entrenched. Way down deep. Why should taxpayers fund such neglect and abuse?

Tonya T.

June 22nd, 2010
3:31 pm

Catlady is right. APS exists for no other reason than it can. Logistically, the district makes ZERO sense. In a time of needed fiscal restraint, absorbing the system into the surrounding districts would solve a lot of the issues that are so much a way-of-life for the system.

APS

June 22nd, 2010
4:31 pm

A suggestion for APS would be to radically consolidate the schools. There are elementary schools with 150 students and some with almost 800. Middle schools with 300 and some with over 1,000. You can’t have effectiveness or equity with that variance–not to mention quality teaching and leadership in every classroom. Some classrooms have 12 students and some have 28 or more. It is too hard to provide support and oversight to that many schools and there is no need to do that. I think this is a perfect time for APS to restructure and consolidate.

ASHLEY

June 22nd, 2010
5:25 pm

I would like to know how a high-school senior can graduate with honors, but flunk the CRTC exam this bungles the mind and sounds oddly suspicious. What exactly does being an honor graduate in tell. This test should be pretty straightforward. I say there was a lot of cheating going on even before the exit exam was given so I guess no one was really paying attention while all these A’s and B’s were being dole out I’m just a little confused and preplexed.

ASHLEY

June 22nd, 2010
5:33 pm

Enter your comments here

Attentive Parent

June 22nd, 2010
6:38 pm

Given APS’ typical student body outside of a few Buckhead elementary schools and the types of instructional practices they mandate in math, reading, writing, and science, it’s not surprising in the least that they would have trouble on standardized tests, even a dombed down one like the CRCT.

There is extensive, peer reviewed research into what instructional practices work best anytime there is any type of learning deficit. The research is cited extensively in states with a sophiticated, active special ed bar like NJ, Calif, or Maryland.

Most APS students would benefit academically from these practices but that’s not how APS wants their students taught.

There are consequences to using discovery oriented, activity and whole language techniques with all students but especially with average to needy, low SES kids where the college educated parents are not in a position to tutor at home in the evenings to bridge gaps and fix confusion.

At its core, this cheating scandal is about hiding these consequences so these techniques can be nationalized through Common Core.

Why do you think Hall was nominated to be part of the Board pushing national education research?

Does that seem to be her specialty?

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:17 pm

reminds me of the old Reggie Eaves cheating scandal.
the investigating body found rampant corruption,
so Maynard said they were wrong.

what I truly don’t understand is why the feds aren’t looking
into this? this is the sort of crap RICO was created for

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:19 pm

the only way APS is gonna change is if the feds take it over.

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:20 pm

@ question:
it appears the AJC is uninterested or unwilling in getting your question answereed

bootney farnsworth

June 22nd, 2010
7:26 pm

@ question

the editorial got one thing badly wrong.
the AJC didn’t expose the APS corruption – we did.

seems these days we have to be educators and reporters, too.

ScienceTeacher671

June 23rd, 2010
1:02 am

@ASHLEY, high school seniors don’t take the CRCT. 8th graders are the last students to take the CRCT.

MB

June 23rd, 2010
8:14 am

My guess is Ashley was referring to the girl featured in the AJC who was an “honor graduate” but didn’t pass the Language Arts graduation test. Ask students about the level of competency required to pass that test – VERY LOW. Consider that the young lady probably took it five times AND had a graduation coach working with her AND tutoring and you get the correlation to the mentor’s story. Sad, so sad, that these children’s self-esteem is valued over self-efficacy.

MB

June 23rd, 2010
8:20 am

Tonya T. Gifted ed is a special category under Georgia code, but it is NOT federally funded. The only federal funds allocated to gifted ed are Javitz grants for research related to gifted education.

And the federal funds for special ed don’t come close to covering the costs of the federal requirements. In FCSS, over 60% of special ed costs are paid with local funds – http://www.fultonschools.org/media-bin/html/documents/FCSSSpecialEdCostperFTE-InitialFY10.pdf

Ros Dalton

June 23rd, 2010
3:55 pm

“Accuracy”

Right, that’s their big concern. Actually just like with manipulating the cut score all they’re doing is massaging the data and the language in a desperate effort to preserve their jobs. Politics as usual.

Tonette Hunter

August 3rd, 2010
9:16 am

Beverly Hall was well aware of school cheating on the CRCT test. I brought this to her office’s attention of the cheating that was going on in Scott Elementary School back in 2007. I was fired for missing one day to go on a doctor appt. and one day to attend my daughter 8th promotion at Usher Middle School. This is not even heard of to be terminated for day absents. I was tardy 2 times at Scott and the principal, Ms. Smith lied on me because I kept expression all of the wrong doing at this schoo. APS has got away so long, I am glad that they now are caught. Ms. Smith my formal principal had many people fired for no good reason, and Beverly Hall went right along with it. Scott Elementary should be closed for what they have been doing to students. Some teachers never taught they stay in the office chat with Ms. Smith. No one paid me any attention because I was just a paraprofessional. APS took this and said let just get rid of her. I spoke to many people from downtown in the main office of APS, they all just gave me a deaf ear. Thank God that this school has finally been exposed. Cheating on CRCT is just one of the wrong things that Scott did and got away with.