Breaking news: Dr. Hall farewell message: CRCT probe of APS will show “alarming conclusions”

Beverly Hall has released a farewell video in which she cautions that the CRCT probe will show "some alarming conclusions."  (AJC photo)

Beverly Hall has released a farewell video in which she cautions that the CRCT probe will show "some alarming conclusions." (AJC photo)

In a farewell video, APS school chief Beverly Hall cautions the 6,000 APS employees that the results of governor’s investigation into 2009 CRCT cheating in Atlanta schools are coming in the next few weeks and there will be “troubling, no some alarming conclusions.”

On the video, Hall says, “It’s become increasingly clear over the last year that a segment of our staff chose to violate the trust that was placed in them. And let me be clear, there is simply no excuse for unethical behavior and no room in this system for unethical conduct. I am confident that aggressive, swift action will be taken against anyone who believed so little in our students and in our system of support that they turned to dishonesty as the only option.”

Hall also cites the system’s gains in her tenure, including its improvement on NAEP scores. She reassures the teachers that their efforts have paid off for the 48,000 students in APS.

In preliminary 2011 CRCT results. Hall says APS students showed growth in four of the five core areas  – reading, English/language arts, math and social studies — and held steady in science.

She also cited record scholarship dollars for Atlanta teens, including the generous Gates Millennium Scholarships that pay all costs of undergraduate and graduate school. Since 2009, Atlanta has produced more Gates Millennium scholars than any other district in the nation, says Hall

Hall ends the video farewell by saying she cherished her time in Atlanta and will hold the staff and students in her heart.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

145 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Mom

May 27th, 2011
1:44 pm

What kind of “leader” takes absolutely no responsiblity for such institutional failings?

mothers concerned

May 27th, 2011
1:51 pm

Hey!!! Clayton County you scored better than Atlanta Public Schools!!!!

Frustrated Taxpayer

May 27th, 2011
1:54 pm

Had to repost this.
I am beyond disgusted by this whole process. The state promised a speedy investigation. It has FAILED the students and taxpayers.

To those who say “Beverly Hall and her gang is now leaving,” you are delusional. The damage has been done. Many of the faculty and administrators who FAILED students and taxpayers, out of fear and coercion, remain employed by the district. They may have different roles, but they continue to do damage.

What’s the harm done? Call 10 alums from various APS high schools and ask them how they fared during their freshman year at college. More than one student has told me APS failed to prepare them for the rigor of college courses. Ask how many held on to their HOPE scholarships. Ask how many see that money hanging by a thread as they overload on summer courses or work summer jobs to make up the difference.

As for the board, each and every parent and Atlanta taxpayer should attend at least one of these Monday board meetings to see the return on your investment. After that, I dare you to ignore another name on a school board ballot.

Leaders lead by example.

former SPARK parent

May 27th, 2011
1:54 pm

The most alarming conclusion of all is one we never managed to reach: hold accountable the superintendent who presided over this massive cheating scandal and who actively sought to hide evidence of it from the public and the BOE.

But we got diverted by our Board’s infighting (our BOE members are perhaps the only people on earth who could make Beverly Hall look honest and competent).

Beverly Hall: luckiest woman alive! Hope you have the good grace to send a bouquet of roses to Cecily Harsch-Kinnane for never doubting your integrity, even when every available piece of evidence clearly showed the rest of us you have none. And while you’re flower-shopping, don’t forget Maureen, who stayed stone silent rather than stake out a courageous, journalistic position on your dishonesty and fraud.

Curious One

May 27th, 2011
2:06 pm

What a leader ? She should lead the parade to jail and forfeititure of the past earnings !

Perplexed

May 27th, 2011
2:16 pm

Does this actually come as a surprise or shock to anyone?

Maureen Downey

May 27th, 2011
2:18 pm

@former, Not sure how you can say I remained silent. Here is one of several pieces I have written on APS.

By Maureen Downey
In response to an AJC query into miraculous gains in her school’s scores on state tests, Capitol View Elementary Principal Arlene Snowden had a great answer:

“We accept no excuses from our children.”

The Atlanta community shouldn’t accept any excuses from Superintendent Beverly Hall, either.

But that’s what Atlantans have been getting since an AJC investigation last year on cheating on the state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests led to state sanction of four schools, including one in Atlanta.

Now, a follow-up AJC investigation raises fresh questions about other APS test scores.

AJC reporters Heather Vogell and data analyst John Perry dug deeper into the data and identified 19 schools statewide that experienced dramatic drops and gains in test scores between spring last year and this year.

Twelve of those were in the Atlanta system, accounting for more than one in five of the district’s elementary schools.

These troubling findings should not be brushed off by Hall as a witch hunt.

At stake is not only her reputation, but that of the entire district, a district that she has worked diligently to advance over the last 10 years.

catlady

May 27th, 2011
2:25 pm

I don’t think it was the “district” she worked to advance.

I guess if APS was the Titanic, the captain would NOT be going down with the ship!

JimBo

May 27th, 2011
2:25 pm

Goodbye Cheater!

ABC

May 27th, 2011
2:29 pm

Good riddance. But too late.

Greg

May 27th, 2011
2:31 pm

How sad! Even sadder is that the focus of the Mayor, SACs and the black political elite has been solely and completely on the five board members who screamed the loudest when they saw what was going on. Well, now the board is about to go back to smiling politely and doing the bidding the business establishment, while no one will be held accountable and the children are a fleeting thought.

Power corrupts! Thanks, Ms. Hall, thanks mayor Reed, thanks Dr. Elgart.

MikeDawg

May 27th, 2011
2:37 pm

Let me get this right: she’s in charge of APS, but shares no blame for cheating, leadership voids, etc. Wow, so you can have it both ways!

Former Spark parent

May 27th, 2011
2:51 pm

maureen: That’s your example of hard-hitting reporting? A piece so ancient and flaccid it deserves its own Viagra commercial?

Not to mention that it doesn’t draw a single conclusion. You are ever reluctant to pin specific blame on Beverly Hall, despite her criminal acts (specifically trying to evade the state’s open records law, a law you, more than most, should hold dear). You’re just one among many, many good people who have been duped by this woman, but I guess I fell you would be smart enough to wake up eventually.

So tell us, as she departs, what you think of her now?

Come on, this is your last chance to avoid looking like as big a fool as Cecily Harsch-Kinnane…

catlady

May 27th, 2011
2:51 pm

“Breaking news: Dr. Hall farewell message: CRCT probe of APS will show “alarming conclusions””

I doubt this is REALLY ‘breaking news”. So many have been saying this for YEARS now, it hardly qualifies as breaking. And if the “breaking” part is that B Hall has said it, well, you would have to be pretty stupid to think that she just found out about this!

When will the MONEY be recouped? When will we see the perp walk? THAT would be “breaking news!”

James

May 27th, 2011
2:59 pm

The record scholarship dollars that she is praising are going mostly to students WHO DO NOT LIVE IN THE ATLANTA SCHOOL DISTRICT. These children live in unincorporated South Fulton County, Douglas County, Clayton County and Dekalb County. Most of Atlanta’s top students are from outside of the district. I personally know of quite a few. APS will not stop them because it helps their bottom line. It’s outrageous!!!

Riddle me this? How can you have an overall 4.0 GPA at graduation and not be considered the Valedictorian or Salutatorian of your class? I’ll tell you. When the administration of the APS school chooses to make the decision based upon the core curriculum grades…. Exactly, if you have a 4.0 overall you have to have a 4.0 in your core curriculum. Duhhhh. That’s what happened last night at one of the graduations. The brightest student received all of the scholarships and awards (even the Beverly Hall Award) and not the honor of being the valedictorian. Beverly Hall’s APS. You go figure. Glad she’s leaving I just wish she’d take half the staff with her.

Reality

May 27th, 2011
3:02 pm

She should have just said one thing: “I hold myself fully responsible and I am very sorry.”

catlady

May 27th, 2011
3:14 pm

Former Spark parent: I just sucked my Pepsi down wrong!

Throwing Money At Minority Groups

May 27th, 2011
3:26 pm

When has throwing money at minority groups had a positive or desired result for the taxpayer?

another view

May 27th, 2011
3:34 pm

Hall owns this no matter how hard she tries to escape it. Period. Her watch, her fault, her problem. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission should hang her from the mast and remove her certification.

Lee

May 27th, 2011
3:37 pm

The questions that the AJC should be asking is:

1. Why did this investigation take so long? What’s it been, a year-and-a-half? Two years?

2. Why is this pitiful excuse of a superintendent being allowed to retire? She should have been terminated months ago.

But no. The school board will give her hugs and kisses, issue a proclamation of her “Great Leadership”, and probably buy her a gold watch or two as she waddles off into the sunset.

Unbelievable.

another view

May 27th, 2011
3:42 pm

And Hall didn’t work diligently to advance the reputation of the district. She worked diligently to raise test PASS RATES (NOT SCORES), hoping in total naivete that the two were related. NOT so.

Frustrated Taxpayer

May 27th, 2011
3:53 pm

AJC dig deeper into the 12 years of achievement gains.
- Look at the amount scholarship dollars offered to athletes vs. non-athletes.
- Look at the amount spent on top-notch consultants hired to help mishandle this two-year debacle.
- Look at the amount of money that Gates has funneled into APS, and how those dollars are being misspent to this day. (He is the only person outside of Atlanta who should request a refund.)
- Look at the number of APS alums who graduated from colleges and universities within the past four years. While there have been steady improvements, how are these recent HS graduates are faring? They are the best measuring stick for Dr. Hall’s “nationally recognized best practices.”

LRAdams

May 27th, 2011
3:57 pm

Troubling and Alarming is an understatement. This is a disastrous tragedy. They have led children to believe they have done an expectable or even a good job educating themselves. They were allowed to believe they were prepared to go out into the world with a decent education. Some more than likely applied for the *Hope Scholarship Program. Others thinking they had completed school and could get a decent job and be responsible citizens only to fail.
Guess who they blame* themselves that*s who. Their self-esteem is destroyed and they take the responsibly for what APS had not done* properly educate them. This catastrophe is far more then Troubling and Alarming.
If there laws on the books for destroying children*s lives* these folks would serve prison time. I*m sorry Mom and Dad* I just don*t seem to be able to get a job.

[...] the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Presidents Council voted Thursday more… Breaking news: Dr. Hall farewell message: CRCT probe of APS will show … – Atlanta Journa… – blogs.ajc.com 05/27/2011 Breaking news: Dr. Hall farewell message: CRCT probe of APS will [...]

Dr. Craig Spinks/Augusta

May 27th, 2011
4:02 pm

Did Dr. Hall explain why her system provides Atlanta taxpayers no national comparison of student achievement at each APS elementary and middle school?

Did she explain why the failure rates among APS high schoolers on 8 of 10 EOCTs given during the 2009-10 school year ranged from 42% to 78%?

Doris M

May 27th, 2011
4:21 pm

When will the public see the results of the CRCT investigation? What will be alarming? Who will be named? All I know is that this cheating scandal happened on Beverly Hall’s watch and she should take responsibility. If she did not know what was going on, then she should have known. When will these criminals be prosecuted?

Angela

May 27th, 2011
4:42 pm

@Frustrated Taxpayer

What’s the harm done? Call 10 alums from various APS high schools and ask them how they fared during their freshman year at college. More than one student has told me APS failed to prepare them for the rigor of college courses. Ask how many held on to their HOPE scholarships. Ask how many see that money hanging by a thread as they overload on summer courses or work summer jobs to make up the difference.

******************************************************************************************************************
Please Please explain what you mean that APS failed to prepare students for the rigor of college?

Just for the record students must prepare themselves for school of any kind. Please do not blame teachers for these students failures. If they had prepared themselves for elementary, middle, high schools and college they would not be failing. This is also a parental issues not a teacher issue. Education, its value, the self involvement and eagerness to learn with and without teacher direction is on the parents and students. Teachers provide information and it is the students responsibility to use and indulge in the information.

We as a people are always finding ways to blame others for our lack of. These high school students had goals/visions of going to college what did they think college was all about. Most college students leave home and go to college with so little maturity to handle being on their own. Parents send their children off and preach to the choir but when they are on their own with no real adult guidance many do fail for many reasons. Each and everyone in this world is responsible for his or her own actions. What we must do in this country is to train our parents to be better parents and to make better efforts to educate themselves to better educate their own children.

Dr. John Trotter

May 27th, 2011
4:56 pm

Beverly Hall’s reign in Atlanta has been horrific. I was interviewed for a show being aired this Sunday at 10:30 AM on CBS/Channel 46. As you probably know, I did not hold back on what kind of corporate was established by the Beverly Hall Administration through the years.

Hall should have been gone years ago, and I commend the AJC and other media outlets for finally latching on to this story. Teachers and other APS employees have been suffering wiht muted voices for years and years. At MACE, we have constantly harped on the unsavory and unconscionable working conditions in Atlanta, and some perhaps thought that we sounded like a broken record.

Thanks, Maureen and others at the AJC for opening up this and other fora so that the employees of APS could speak, albeit most of the time anonymously.

A little preview about Sunday morning’s show on the Atlanta Public Schools >>>

http://georgiateachersspeakout.wordpress.com/

Real

May 27th, 2011
5:10 pm

@ Maureen, you are in cohoot with Hall’s administration, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Reed, and SACA. You have shown your TRUE suppport for the cheaters on this BLOG. How much did you get paid from money machine! You should be fired from AJC, you supported this cheating scandal. I don’t have any respect for you!

Real

May 27th, 2011
5:24 pm

@ Maureen, you had nerve to take ChillyWilly post down two days ago!

tim

May 27th, 2011
5:41 pm

B Hall makes my skin crawl……….

Defrocking Department

May 27th, 2011
6:28 pm

Will the real Bishop Eddie Long stand up and come out of the closet?

PleaseInvestigate

May 27th, 2011
6:47 pm

Maureen, would you please investigate why the board will allow Dr. Hall and her corrupt administration to terminate people and fill several principal positions before leaving the system. It is hard to understand how anyone would vote on anything that these people would recommend at this time. Who in their right mind would trust any decisions these people would make. They have bullied and treated people with such disregard. They do not use a fair process in hiring the best candidates. Yes, they will justify that the process is fair and involves teachers, parents, and community members. However, they stack the panel with people at the beginning to vote the candidates they want to advance.

Despite what some of you think, a lot of good hardworking and great educators are employed by APS. These educators invested in their profession to use for the benefit of helping to improve student achievement. People employed by APS should not be terminated by the Dishonest and Corrupt administration under Dr. Hall. What happened to the principal at Sylvan Middle School? After one year, they did not renew his contract. Was he that bad? If so, what about other people experiencing difficulties their first year under a non-supportive administration. If they like you, you can cheat, sexually harass your employees, abuse your employees mentally and emotionally, perform poorly and just show up. These folks do not care about what you know as long as you have an advocate in one of the Executive Directors, you are a shoe in. This is a time for the system to get a fresh start with good leadership.

How is it possible that those responsible for cheating received contracts to return back to APS? Dr. Augustine, Dr. Hall and the Executive Directors recommend non-renewal for people with fewer issues than some of those that received contracts (documented cheaters). Since Georgia is a right to work State, those implicated in the cheating should have a right not to return to APS.

I just don’t understand why someone is not asking the board to not approve any personnel changes until we have a new super…other than accepting the resignations of the Executive Directors.

Maureen, will you please investigate?

APS Board Members step up and just say NO! We will wait.

Cindy of Atl

May 27th, 2011
7:15 pm

Hall like most people of her kind pushed her own agenda for her own people. Are you really shocked at how it turned out?

Zero Tolerance

May 27th, 2011
8:27 pm

Hall and her lieutenants should all be arrested and thrown in jail. Anything less would be a miscarriage of justice.

Dekalb Oldtimer

May 27th, 2011
9:08 pm

YA KNOW!!!!! After spending decades in an attempt to educate our Ga. children, THIS I KNOW FOR SURE:
I have been trudging through colossal amounts of dirt among feral cats, watching the FAT CATS cover their poop! It must be genetic!!!

Wondering

May 27th, 2011
9:41 pm

Funny how the rest of the country recognizes this woman for her career in education. The NAP has shown remarkable progress has been made in Atlanta. Is there a still a long way to go? Yes. Hall says so herself. When she came to Atlanta, the general belief was that the students of Atlanta cound’t learn. She has proven that belief false.

Hall is as responsible for the CRCT cheating as a police chief is responsible for the cop that looks the other way. She has the responsibility to clean up the mess and hold people accountable but she isn’t criminally liable for their behavior. Our system of justice doesn’t work that way. I have had employees arrested for crimes on the job and the first time it was difficult to accept. I believe Dr. Hall has been in denial but that is not criminal.

Frustrated Taxpayer

May 27th, 2011
9:44 pm

@Angela: Based on the grammar and spelling issues in your comment, I can only hope you do not educate children at APS or any other district.

When I say students are not prepared for the rigor of college, I mean high schools teachers and administrators failed to set the bar high for our kids. They failed to provide honest assessments of their progress.

Instead, they pushed them out the door with false hope and scholarship offers but no real tools to compete.

Parents certainly have a job to do. But teachers and administrators are compensated WELL to get the job done. For 12 years, they chased their own rewards: APS bonuses and contract renewals built on lies.

Unacceptable. Yet the ringleader is riding into the sunset. Her video basically says, “So long, suckers.”

Is that explanation clear enough?

Wondering

May 27th, 2011
9:45 pm

Sorry, NAP should have been NAEP.

sick of mauron

May 27th, 2011
10:28 pm

Hey mauron, why haven’t you said the first word about the supreme court being accused of supporting a racist view towards public education? Is it because you support their view which means you have the same racist views?

it's about time

May 28th, 2011
12:06 am

One tyrannical super down in Atl and one more to go in Clayco…

Dr. John Trotter

May 28th, 2011
12:11 am

I left out the word “culture” in my 4:56 PM post. I meant “corporate culture.” Sorry.

Dr. John Trotter

May 28th, 2011
12:14 am

@ “it’s about time”: We have been sounding the same alarm about Edmond Heatley — even before the Clayton Board of Education voted on his contract. Check the record. Heatley too must go…sooner than later. I hope that it doesn’t take years…like it took for Beverly Hall. These “national” superintendents have hubris.

ARE YOU KIDDING

May 28th, 2011
12:23 am

@ James ….. You really don’t have a clue… Mays High probably annual has the highest
scholarship dollars in the state of Georgia. That is all home grown talent! My son received
over 7mil in scholarship…. Southwest Atlant Born and Breed.

it's about time

May 28th, 2011
12:29 am

@ Dr. Trotter. There is a temporary ruling regarding the money that contract employees are being required to give back. Maybe Dictator Heatley will begin to feel the pressure.

I support public education

May 28th, 2011
2:08 am

I find it interesting that all blame is being placed on Dr. Hall at this point. We have not read the final report and we don’t know all of the circumstances. All of my children are graduates of APS, but before Dr. Hall’s tenure. Now my grandson is going through the system. It is my opinion that too much emphasis is placed on THE TEST and it impacts the entire school year and how students are taught. They are taught the test and after the test is over, in March or April, that is essentially the end of the school year. Because so much emphasis is placed on THE TEST, the teachers are under a lot of pressure to make sure that their students do well. I personally feel that if students are taught a well rounded curriculum by proficient teachers who are interested in the students learning and doing well generally, the students will do well on the tests. They will know how to think logically, make deductions, rationalize and draw on information they have learned during the course of the school year. But that is not happening. Everything is centered on THE TEST. I am sure that Dr. Hall did not set up the system like that. She did not set the beginning and ending dates of the school year, I doubt that anyone would consent to having the teaching essentially stop after the tests have been administered. But that is what happens. The students are not challenged and they take the easy way out. So they graduate from high school not being able to write a business letter, essay, book report, research paper, do basic math or read. Somewhere something is missing. This is happening all over the country and not just in Atlanta. Atlanta is just a reflection of what is happening to students all over the country.
Governments balance their budgets on the back of education. They take physical education and the arts out of the curricula and expect to have well rounded students. They cut the amount spent on books and other media for the library. Yet, they don’t understand when the students can’t respond to simple multiple choice questions on subjects that the students should have been exposed to and assume that someone is not doing their job.. Parents are not doing their part at home and expect the teachers to pick up slack.
I think that before we start placing blame, we need to look at the whole public education picture.
Yes, all of this this cheating in the past two years happened on Dr. Hall’s watch and the buck stops with her. But, believe me, it didn’t begin under her watch and these past two years would have slipped by undetected if someone had not been very observant. So, lets look at the big picture and see what we can do to prevent this from happening again. Let’s do what is necessary to make sure that the students don’t get the short end of the deal. Let’s remove the pressure that the teachers have to work under and encourage them to teach a well rounded curriculum. Let someone help them with all of the paperwork they have to complete so they can spend more time with the students and have the administration be supportive of them, Let us make teachers and students want to come to school to learn and be taught..

David Sims

May 28th, 2011
5:27 am

According to what I’ve read in the AJC, the gains in graduation rates and on the NAEP by the Atlanta Public Schools came about mostly because APS dumped the bottom third of its enrollment by assigning the slowest 18000 students to intentionally discouraging “alternative schools” and then falsely recording them as transfers when they became frustrated and dropped out. If that’s so, then Beverly Hall’s attempt to credit herself with gains on the NAEP is deception.

I think she’s being allowed to slink away and go unpunished for her sins because she had become a big black hope to the political left in education, their icon for the success of social reforms in public schools. Sending her to prison would have been too discrediting to them, so they’ll just try to pack her off quietly and hope the memory of her fades from the public mind.

BillM

May 28th, 2011
7:30 am

Next time you get all excited about “cuts” to education, go check how much APS spends per pupil. With all the language about “cuts” it’s not amazing that the average voters does not realize the relative mountains of money that are spent in a system like APS.

Remember too that wihtout the criminal investigation launched by Perdue, Hall and her buddies would still be stonewalling this issue.

ART

May 28th, 2011
7:52 am

Wome now earn 55%of all college degrees / now own 52% of all jobs in America, complain because their wages are lower than men ? 4 million men lost jobs in this depression, our nation is crumbling and APS is perfect example of women running the show. This evil witch that manipulated the APS is an example that men are not the only cheaters in the world of high $ , politics and business..This disgraceful piece of lard managed to escape so far with no repercussions!!

Sad state of education

May 28th, 2011
7:53 am

Dr. Hall is to blame because she was informed by teachers that principals were cheating. She chose to look the other way. The last former principal of Oglethorpe and now the current principal of Benteen was notorious for compromising the fidelity of the test. Emails to Kathy Augustine, Don Doran, and Beverly Hall were ignored. A book about her integrity as a leader could be written. It is true that parents need to step up to the plate because they are the students’ first teacher,however that does not excuse the antics of the APS administrators.