Beverly Hall: System has shown progress. Welcomes Perdue’s probe. (I think she plans to ride this out.)

A few of you have sent me e-mails asking where if the blog from the AJC sit-down Thursday with Dr. Hall since I had already posted the session with Gov. Perdue. I had brought my computer to the Perdue meeting and took my notes directly into the blog, but had used a notebook for the 90-minute meeting with Dr. Hall so it was slower going. The AJC has helped me tremendously by transcribing the session from a recording that was taken.

So read it over and tell us what you think. I am aware that several of you are getting irritated with all the APS and cheating discussion here and am going to take a break from it except for significant news. I will post the name of the investigator appointed by the governor as we are expecting that any minute. And I will report those findings when they come, which will probably be in a few months.

But barring that, I hope we can talk about some other topics, as I have dozens of e-mails from readers with great suggestions.

As to the meeting  between the AJC and the superintendent, I think Dr. Hall believes that the cheating is the work of unscrupulous individuals. I saw no sign that she was going to give up her job. Nor do I see any sign that the majority of the community is pushing for that. I think she is here until she decides to retire, which I have been told is likely next year. (This is not all of the meeting, but the questions focused on the CRCT cheating probe.)

Q: Going back over the last year and a half, starting with reports in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about unusual gains at schools like Deerwood Academy, your spokesmen said you stood by the numbers. Do you have any regrets?

A: I did not say I didn’t think there was a problem. What I said was, we wanted to go in and do a detailed review. When [the state] presented the evidence, we felt let’s go back to Deerwood and see exactly what happened before we call it cheating. Our deep investigation showed there were lots of processes and protocols that weren’t followed. In the summer administration of the test, people were very lax. We would take disciplinary action but we did not believe the principal at the time was implicated.

Q: You’ve had a number of warnings over the years that there were anomalies, going back to 2001, when the CRCT scores in 30 schools jumped at least 30 points on average, 10 schools jumped 40 points on average. The district said at the time there was no need for further analysis. Why has there been this resistance to look deeper?

A: I’m not sure it was resistance. We felt if it was an anomaly, that eventually scores would begin to fluctuate up and down. In organizations like schools, and I have run several, people change, teachers come and go, principals come and go — 90 percent of the principals who were there that first year are no longer even in APS today. At some point, if this was something that was a conspiracy to cheat, someone would be telling. You can’t keep a secret with 3,600 teachers, I don’t think.

The truth of the matter is, the scores held. I asked to participate in the NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] — this is an independently monitored test. They look at the class rosters, they select the students to be tested, they walk in with the test booklets — two students do not have the same booklets. They collect the booklets and they walk out. So if indeed what was happening on the state tests was the result of people cheating, it would very much show up on the NAEP. We would not see progress. We would begin to see the opposite. Lo and behold, the NAEP has been on a steady trajectory, moving in the same direction as the state tests. So that was really what gave me added confidence that the gains we were seeing were real.

Q: But on the NAEP, the roster comes from the school, so students could be removed beforehand.

A: We have to send the roster [to them]. They then match the roster we send to the state. If they see anything that appears to be a discrepancy, they contact us. We then have to resubmit it. They verify that children on the register are sent to them.

Q: The other issue is that the gains have leveled off since 2007 — Atlanta is still lagging behind Georgia, other urban districts, other large cities. The way you are depicting it doesn’t show there is still a gap; there’s a huge gap, 50-60 points, between black students and white students in Atlanta.

A: I think what the NAEP shows is, if we continue to improve at the rate at which we’re improving compared to other urban systems, we will eventually close the gap with both the state and the nation. When I came to Atlanta, these scores were very, very low. We were taking a risk, we knew we could be way below basic. But we felt we had to have another way of assessing how the system is doing compared to systems nationwide.

The CRCT shows a parallel. In 2010 in eighth grade, with [state] monitors in the room, they went up 2 percentage points in reading — 88 percent meeting or exceeding standards to 90. The challenge for us is to have [students] improve at a rate that eventually allows that gap to be totally closed.

Q: [The state flagged 58 schools as needing further investigation; Atlanta’s investigation identified 12 of those as rating serious concern.] You agree 12 schools are a problem. How do you feel about the other schools — are they cleared with question marks?

A: Legally, we need to look at those schools very carefully as well. There are two top priorities: One to hold accountable anyone who cheated, because they’ve done a terrible disservice to the children and Atlanta Public Schools, and that is a disgrace. The second is to make sure any child who could’ve been involved in this will receive whatever they need to get them on track.

Q: Earlier you talked about your sense there were no conspiracies, but is there another scenario where it is not a conspiracy, and it’s not necessarily just individual actors, but a system that does not adequately police itself?

A: One of the things Caveon [Test Security, the consultant hired to investigate Atlanta schools,] said very clearly in its report, when they compared our security processes and protocols and activities around securing the tests, that we were better than just about every other district they had looked at. They found that there were discrepancies in the following of the processes.

I think you have individuals at certain schools who did not go to training or they went to training but we don’t have their signatures, so it’s suspect. As a system, we have a sufficient amount of training, notices, warnings, etc. [This year] we actually had more monitors than [the state] required.

Q: Your sense of whatever issues are there had to do with some bad actors, that it wasn’t systemic?

A: That’s what I’m saying until proven otherwise. I’m open to the investigation going in. The state investigator has subpoena power.

Q: But how could such similar actions be taken by so many people at so many schools and there not be any coordination?

A: Can you tell me what coordination?

Q: Well, 256,000 erasures that were detected in the erasure analysis done by the state?

A: I heard Kathleen Mathers [executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement] say yesterday that erasure analysis does not mean cheating. We had the best expert we could find. I don’t pretend to know. I don’t have a clue when it comes to erasure analysis. We have asked for access to everything to allow us to determine what those erasures mean. I submit to you no other district involved with this hired one of the firms the governor listed as the top forensic audit firms, KPMG, to go in and do a forensic audit. We said do anything you want. We will give you anything you need. And we did.

Q: Do you think interviewing 12 students and parents [for the investigation of 58 schools] was sufficient?

A: They [KPMG] were the experts. Far be it from me to tell them how to do their work. I was not involved with that investigation. We turned it over to people that I believed were, until they came back with what they did, the best in the business. Now, let the state investigator come in. I’m sure he or she is going to do a very thorough job, and wherever that leads us, we’re going to go there.

Q: Consider a different scenario, you came in and said: get on the bus or get off the bus. A number of principals are not here today who were here 10 years ago. Is it possible that that created an environment were a principal was so concerned about keeping their job that they felt they had to go in and massage the numbers to make their school look better?

A: It’s always possible that somebody would need to cheat. But the vast majority, I personally believe, have high moral standards.

38 comments Add your comment

chillywilly

August 20th, 2010
12:08 pm

Beverly Hall wouldn’t ride it out if I was on that school board. She’s a major distraction right now and needs to be terminated or placed on leave. I’d like to see some “Dr. Hall Resign Now” picket signs in front of the building.

come on now

August 20th, 2010
12:20 pm

Wow! those are some rose colored glasses she views life thru. She is either the most naive person ever or just ignorant. Either way, she is not capable to of doing her job .

V for Vendetta

August 20th, 2010
12:26 pm

She’s not naive. She has known about this from the get-go. I hope this investigation ends with her and many others behind bars where they belong.

Proud Black Man

August 20th, 2010
1:00 pm

Ride it out sistah! Don’t let Sonny “go fish” Perdue throw you under the bus!

come on now

August 20th, 2010
1:01 pm

I don’t think she is naive either, but the parents/grandparents of APS students that support her sure are.

This saga just shows that “school choice” is a mute point for those that could use it the most. I think those that really value education the most are already gone.

Enforces the saying …”I can teach it to you, but I can’t learn it for you.”

come on now

August 20th, 2010
1:06 pm

Proud Black Man, where is the pride for the students thrown under the bus? Not being able to read at an 8th grade level means somebody will have to read the words on their APS sheepskin to them.

come on now

August 20th, 2010
1:13 pm

I guess their parole officer might be able to help (if they graduated from DeKalb orClayton County school).

Earl of Ft. Liquordale

August 20th, 2010
1:26 pm

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Don’t say anything to the Mrs. about me being on this blog. She’d kill me. She doesn’t know that I’m off the wagon, back blogging again. She had been attending B. A. Meetings for over a year. I can’t help it. I just had to get back on here this morning. (I am actually at Eli’s and Irene’s condo and using their desk top. I hate those lap tops.)

BABY, it’s good to see you back too. Hadn’t talked to you since the days of the falling Barbara Pulliam reign in Clayton County. That administration fell quickly once it started to tumbling. Yep, I think that Beverly Hall will be out of APS by September 17th, but they say that she is remarkably stubborn. I have had people from Atlanta calling me down here in Ft. Liquordale wanting to get in on our betting pool…”Hall’s Resignation Gamblelation.” If you want to get in on it, Abe has already set up a “866″ number. He couldn’t get a “800″ number. Just dial 1-866-WE-CHEAT and place your bet with Abe or Eli. I usually collect the bet in person down here at the Condo. Lots more Deputy Sheriffs are coming by each day placing their bets. We’re really gonna make a handsome some on the juice alone.

We hadn’t had this much excitement since Eldrin and Victor were going at each other on a near daily basis. We made a lot of money of their controversy too. We are not Sports Entertainment; we are Political Entertainment. Abe and Eli ran numbers for years in Bed Sty. They have much more experience with the numbers part than I do. We just pitched pennies to the wall at Little Grocery in Cabbagetown. Every now and then we would wonder off of Boulevard and ended up on Edgewood. Got into a few fights with the brothers on Friday nights, but then we were playing football (tackle, not tag) with each other on the empty lot on Sunday afternoons. Those David T. Howard boys were hard! Smart too! I was just a Roosevelt High boy. We didn’t have much money (actually had to eat cereal with a fork to save the milk), but we all managed to have a Queen Steel in our pockets.

Those were the days. No drive-by shootings. Just scuffles. No one got really hurt. Just bloody noses. Stuff to brag about. Like we bragged about how we suffered so many paddlings each year. That’s what kept us in line. We look back on it and laugh. Those paddlings didn’t scar any of us. They probably kept us out of jail and made up wholesome citizens. The mamsy-pamsy way that kids are treated now (and allowed to talk to adults in any way) is really ruinous for the children themselves. Children really want discipline. My APS friends are telling me that the worst thing that Beverly Hall has done is set up a culture in the school system wherein the children cannot be disciplined at all. All discipline problems are actually blamed on the teachers. Can you imagine that? I wish that I could have just told Mr. Screws that my problems in Mrs. Lumpkin’s class was Mrs. Lumpkin’s fault. Now that would have been interesting! I’d probably ended up in the State Pen.

Gotta run. The Mrs. is calling my cell phone. Wantin’ me to go with her to another one those darn flea markets. Wantin’ to buy more junk from the dead rich folks! I don’t know how many pairs of dead mens shoes that she’s bought me. I ain’t worn a single pair to snook fishing.

Proud Black Man

August 20th, 2010
2:11 pm

@ come on now

Like you really care about the kids. Your, and the rest of you peoples, agenda is to get rid of an African American in charge.

chillywilly

August 20th, 2010
2:54 pm

@Proud Black Man,

Man, you’re missing the whole point. This is not about black vs white. This is about a culture of corruption that is destroying our BLACK KIDS. I have no problem whatsoever with a black superintendent. However, I do have a problem with a black superintendent that is corrupt and turns a blind eye to all of the corruption that is going on in her school system.

By the way, I’m black, an APS employee, and have first hand knowledge of the past & ongoing corruption going on here. Man, it’s terrible, believe me.

Parker

August 20th, 2010
3:47 pm

What good does it do Black kids to have a Black Superintendent as a role model when that Black Superintendent is not making sure the Black kids are learning?

–Black woman, APS alum, sick and tired of being sold BS by our supposed leaders.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 20th, 2010
4:15 pm

Maureen if I recall, you didn’t promise us Beverly Hall’s spin on NAEP. You promised to address the very excellent points brought up by Attentive Parent and others.

And reading this blog, there doesn’t seem to be a groundswell of emotion for people to drop the story; quite the opposite. As you have proven, you can post more than a single topic in a day.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 20th, 2010
4:27 pm

A: I did not say I didn’t think there was a problem

Maureen, if you were in the room when this answer was given, why was there no follow up with Kathy Augustine’s quote in your paper that said she saw no need to take a look at the results, “we expect outliers every year.” You think for a second Augustine says that without Hall’s knowledge and approval?

Is the AJC staff that intimidated by Hall that they can’t ask a legitimate follow up question?

“The truth of the matter is, the scores held.”

And she picked on 8th grade subject to obfusgate the truth. Again Maureen, if you wer ein the room, where was the followup? Where was the AJC to follow up to directly challenge her on the fact that APS had the single biggest drop in the state in CRCT test scores this year?

Let me guess; Andre Jackson was the the room wasn’t he?

Maureen? Maureen?

August 20th, 2010
4:48 pm

From the AJC: The district said at the time there was no need for further analysis. Why has there been this resistance to look deeper?

Maureen, when the AJC posed this question, why didn’t the do like Meet the Press and others do when holding a leader accountable. Why didn’t you guys preface your question with a specific quote, rather than give Hall wiggle room by just saying, “The district said at the time there was no need for further analysis?”

Who asked this question anyway? And why are you refusing to tell the readers who was in that room? You afraid an email from Sam Williams about the interview is going to come out? LOL

bootney farnsworth

August 20th, 2010
4:52 pm

Hall is counting on the race politics of Atlanta to
bail her out.

that at the end of the day, no one will have the stones
to put a black person out due to incompetence or corruption.
kinda like Bill Campbell did.

Proud Black Man

August 20th, 2010
5:08 pm

@ bootney fartsworth

Then plese explain W’s 8 years in office.

bootney farnsworth

August 20th, 2010
5:10 pm

exactly which 8 years did W spend as super of APS?
specify.

bootney farnsworth

August 20th, 2010
5:21 pm

well?
just did a quick check of APS supers.
no sign of W anywhere.

sad

August 20th, 2010
5:27 pm

@ proud black man – are you for real? since you understand and deal in color, from one black man to another, it has nothing to do with black or white. our children in urban schools are being denied a quality education. Oh, yes, and most of the teachers @ APS are BLACK, so we’re screwing our own. But, evidently you think it’s okay. I’m sure MLK, Jr. would be so proud of your dumb ideas. Get an education or are you one of the cheats?

sad

August 20th, 2010
5:30 pm

Isn’t it amazing how students that flunked the CRCT the first go around went to summer school for 20 days and miraculously understood all the skills and concepts and passed the CRCT second time around?

come on now

August 20th, 2010
6:42 pm

@ Proud Black Man, sorry it took so long to respond, but I had to finish an honest day’s work. FYI, I am a second generation Morehouse Man ( a REAL proud Black Man). I wish an African American was in charge. The sad fact is no one is in charge.

I would work a 3rd job before would subject my 2 kids to an APS education.

You still didn’t answer my question about the kids. Anything for a Black person to to game the system and take something from the Man. Congratulations Beverley et al.

cobb mother

August 20th, 2010
7:49 pm

Why can’t any of these School Systems find a decent person to run them, black or white. Cobb is as screwed up right now as Dekalb, and Atlanta.

catlady

August 20th, 2010
7:51 pm

She isn’t stupid. She is counting on racial considerations to keep her job, which pays very very well. She either knew about this and encouraged it, insulating herself, so she should be fired, or she didn’t know (LOL) but should have (she has a PhD which should have covered research and statistics) and should be fired. Either way, she should get no severance, and should be prosecuted for her role in this.

You cannot be paid to either break the law, or be “blissfully unaware.”

I am horrified that my taxes have gone in part to pay this woman.

David Frost

August 20th, 2010
8:34 pm

And no one had any problems with the way the AJC presented the questions today?

money

August 20th, 2010
10:20 pm

she is not going to give up a 300,000 a year job with perks, someone is going to have to escort her out of the building. She cant go anywhere else cause her policies do NOT work. If she is keeping her job because of her color then Raplh Long called it like it is, RACE matters in ATL.

Statistically Interested

August 21st, 2010
2:34 am

Are you serious? You think APS is the only system spitting out 8th graders who read on a 2nd grade level? You honestly believe APS is the only system with graduates who can’t read their sheepskins? I graduated with people that couldn’t. Nobody wants to retain students because that looks bad. I mean how dare you say this child is not ready to go on? Each year a teacher is responsible for producing a year’s worth of growth. Now when you have one teacher that doesn’t produce that year it puts every teacher thereafter behind. Let’s not even talk about if that child have two horrible teachers (and it happens EVERYWHERE) my worse teacher in life was in NC, she didn’t even understand that Math she was teaching us.

Why shouldn’t she ride this out? Most of the people reading this or posting probably took shortcuts on their taxes or didnt’ have the “time” to sit with their children and check their homework. “Why should I, it’s THEIR homework. It’s not mine!” I don’t know Hall nor am I interested. It just baffles me how the morally corrupt could call for the heads of one of their own. It’s like saying, “Yeah I’m racist, but I hate blacks so I’m different!” HUH? Racist is racist is racist. (I’m black by the way and I am NOT SAYING THIS IS ABOUT RACE, that was just an example of a rediculous statement to make) Being corrupt is being corrupt. Nobody is perfect and Yes we all should learn from the mistakes of others, so why is she different. Oh I forgot, because it involves the children. Well I am sure the children in APS are greatly benefitting from this circus act while the children in the other systems where cheating took place are doing so much better since no one is any longer interested in monitoring or checking up on them. What happened at those OTHER schools by the way? Any noticed that no heads rolled and no actions were EVER reports? I guess it’s like the BRC only focusing on the 12 of 58 schools where the cheating was widespread huh. Let’s only focus on 1 of ALL the Georgia school systems that were implicated because the cheating was more widespread. Hipocracy anyone?

come on now

August 21st, 2010
10:13 am

@ Statistically Interested, what’s your point? APS spends nearly twice the national average per student to get these results. If something’s broken it needs to be fixed! You have to start somewhere. Triage indicates that APS is the place to start.

Proud Black Man

August 21st, 2010
12:01 pm

@ Statistically Interested

RIGHT ON!

Statistically Interested

August 21st, 2010
12:48 pm

So everyone else gets a pass because APS spends more on its students?

justbrowsing

August 21st, 2010
1:06 pm

I do feel that APS warrants an investigation, however, it is a political maneuver resulting from a tiff between Beverly and Sonny that spilled into the papers a good while ago. It equates to upstaging and grandstanding. Little of this is motivated by the children. Such is the politics of Georgia. Issues like this will continue until we return to the fundamental motivation of educating our students. Too many money hungry folks at the top.

Statistically Interested made a typo

August 21st, 2010
6:47 pm

“It just baffles me how the morally corrupt could call for the heads of one of their own.”

It’s almost as baffling as making the case someone morally corrupt should stay in their position because others are also corrupt. Maybe that can be used as the basis of an amicus brief for Bernie Madoff’s appeal.

Statistically Interested made a typo

August 21st, 2010
7:50 pm

“What happened at those OTHER schools by the way? Any noticed that no heads rolled and no actions were EVER reports?”

Actually, unlike APS, two administrators in other systems faced criminal charges.

Dr. Robert Zaslavsky

August 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

There are two rules that one should adopt when one evaluates the comments of superintendents of school systems or principals of schools: (1) Whatever they say that is positive is a lie. (2) Whatever they say that is negative, multiply by two to understand the full extent of what is wrong.

Ytiptop

August 22nd, 2010
10:42 pm

chillywilly if you think this is not about black and white you are dumber than you look (oops i mean sound). What is it with all of this blogging? Get off of your lilly white and charcoal black as%$s and get a life. You know good and D@$n well white folks don’t give a sh^& about the kids in APS. You also know black folks don’t care nothing about what your lilly white a@# is talking about or should I say trying to talk about because you aren’t really saying anything worth listening to. If you had any soccerballs, you would be somewhere trying to satisfy your lady or man (more than likely in your case) instead of sitting on your butt blogging all day. I don’t care for the coloreds either but your obvious racism is beyond the pale. As gay as you are, maybe you should be blogging about how to match your bathroom towels to your bedroom curtains instead of how Bev is flushing APS down the potty. Get over yourself and get a life man (oops I mean woman).

Ytiptop

August 22nd, 2010
10:49 pm

@chillywilly

You say you are black… I don’t think so. I know exactly who you are white boy so stop perpertrating! I’ll see you tonight at the club. Don’t forget the goodies.

An advocate for public education change & choice

August 23rd, 2010
9:58 am

A few things are evident to me at this stage:

1. APS has made some academic gains during Dr. Hall’s tenure
2. Carefully crafted statistical reporting has misrepresented the gains achieved.

The evidence thus-far presented fully supports the aforementioned. Now the question is do you think the district can reverse the above trend by extending Dr. Hall’s tenture or making the commitment now to replace her when her contract runs out at the end of this school year?

chillywilly

August 23rd, 2010
11:39 am

@ytiptop,

Normally I don’t respond to maggots, but I don’t believe this blog was intended to be an audition for the Comedy Freak Show. If it was, you failed. The energy that you are using to dislike “coloreds” (your words, not mine), should be used to get some lights & running water for your “trayler”. And while you’re at it, stop by one of the local gyms and see if you can scrape up a bar of used soap that they threw out back in the garbage.

Lawyer

August 30th, 2010
4:12 pm

Maybe Dr. Hall does not know nor understand what “prosecutors” do. If not, I will tell her that prosecutor investigate and find evidence of criminal wrongdoing. She must understand that she is the key target of this investigation. As an attorney, I see several possible criminal issue for a grand jury. One has to do with the salary increases Dr. Hall gave herself with out Board approval. I would like to know how she reported these increases on her income taxes. RICO may be at issue. Yes, she should just wait for the prosecutor and the GBI to secure probable cause to search her office and home. It will happen soon. Yes, ride it out Dr. Hall.