A few minutes ago, Gov. Sonny Perdue told the state Board of Education: “It is a sad day: We still have not gotten to the bottom of what was released in the 2009 CRCT results. Both Dougherty and Atlanta Public Schools responded with internal investigations that were woefully inadequate in both scope and depth. While the state asked these districts to cooperate fully, their efforts frankly fell way short of the target.”
“This is not about statistics, this is not about numbers. This is about individual students who are being robbed and cheated of their one fair shot at a good education,” said Perdue. “We cannot stand and by and let this happen.”
“I am appointing a special investigator to do the hard work that has to be done on behalf of the children in the Atlanta and Dougherty schools systems,” Perdue said. “This special investigator will have full legal authority including subpoena power, that includes requiring sworn testimony on penalty of perjury… This investigation will be thorough and swift.”
Perdue was clearly frustrated and upset over the explanations that APS and Dougherty offered, especially Dougherty, which said it found no evidence of cheating despite statistically impossible wrong to right erasures rates.
The meeting began with a searing critique by Kathleen Mathers of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement of the reports on CRCT cheating submitted to her office by Atlanta Public Schools and Dougherty. She recommended that the state board of education decline the reports, which she said failed to address the incredible rates of wrong to right erasures in their schools.
Mathers blasted APS for interviewing only a handful of employees at the suspect schools. She complained that many employees in the schools refused to cooperate. Even at the 12 schools where APS itself agreed there was widespread cheating, she noted that “half of the people flat out refused to talk, refused to cooperated.”