CRCT cheating story in Atlanta: Not just a whodunit but a why-did-they-do-it

The long-awaited investigation into alleged cheating by Atlanta Public Schools on state exams is now in the hands of the governor, who is expected to release the findings as early as Tuesday.

A handful of posters expect the report to skewer newly retired APS Superintendent Beverly Hall. But I don’t expect the report to uncover a trail of treachery that leads directly to Hall’s doorstep. I expect that the conclusions will be more troubling than a top administrator or two gone bad.

The implications of what occurred will reach beyond the central office and the district. The report will likely spark questions over whether it’s possible to raise student achievement in poor schools under the current structure, design and funding of American education.

The report will likely describe APS teachers and principals under unrelenting and unreasonable pressures to improve student performance. We will read about beleaguered educators who believed that wholesale failure by APS students on the CRCT would be blamed solely on their inadequacies rather than on poverty, indifferent parents or challenging home environments.

I am sure that part of the motivation of those who doctored tests was preserving their jobs and appeasing a school leadership team that held them to higher and higher standards. But I think some of their motivation was less self-serving; they wanted to fulfill Dr. Hall’s vision that low-income children from single parent homes and tough neighborhoods could and would succeed at levels comparable to suburban Atlanta peers and that such performance could be achieved system-wide by adopting best practices and by working harder and smarter.

The APS teachers, principals and administrators wanted to prove that the faith of the Broad and Gates foundations and the Chamber of Commerce in the district was not misplaced and that APS could rewrite the script of urban education in America and provide a happy, or at least a happier, ending for its students.

And that’s what ought to alarm us, that these professionals ultimately felt their students could not even pass basic competency tests, despite targeted school improvement plans, proven reforms and state-of-the-art teacher training.

Here are the questions that the report ought to raise and that I hope we can discuss this week:

Do we know yet how to take children who live under the worst circumstances for learning and help them get fantastic educations anyway?

Can an urban school system elbow its students past poverty, uneducated parents and lack of education-rich home lives by extraordinary will, commitment and effort?

If the report establishes that any APS teachers, principals or administrators cheated, dole out the appropriate punishments.

But with evidence now suggesting that other urban systems also faked their meteoric score increases, we ought to focus on the larger questions about how much we are asking of these systems, schools and teachers and whether we are equipping them with the tools and resources to do so.

And the final and toughest question of all: Are we asking too much?

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

249 comments Add your comment

Tony

July 4th, 2011
5:31 pm

As long as we ignore poverty’s negative effects on student achievement we will not be able to improve the schools in areas hard hit with poverty. Teacher evaluation mechanisms, pay for performance, and any other attempt to overlook the true problem will lead to disaster.

atlmom

July 4th, 2011
5:53 pm

I do find it very troubling what is going on. it serves no one. and we continue the cycle of poverty. we need a mechanism in which to take kids who are disruptive out of a classroom (and put them in another one, where teachers/disciplinarians are trained to handle them). We have created a society where people (schools) are so afraid of getting sued, the kids are in charge. and that is never good.
I understand the issues wherein the kids aren’t ‘prepared’ for school because they have never been taught to listen to a teacher, or haven’t eaten a good breakfast (but I thought we’ve handled that?), or so many other things. Which is why starting education younger might work for some populations.
My grandparents came here and were very poor. my parents didn’t have much (grew up in small apts, etc). But they had a work ethic. They succeeded. It can be done. To blame it all on POVERTY per se is a red herring. the problem isn’t poverty ( my grandmother sometimes had bread and oil for dinner, and let me assure you there were no federal lunches at her school. oh, she also didn’t know the language when she went to school – there was no tv to learn english and there was no ESOL).
The problem is work ethic, the problem is that parents don’t teach kids to listen to authority. these are the problems. the more we ignore it, the more we are going to not be teaching our children.
So, yes, Maureen, it CAN be done. we CAN do it. Do we want to? Does anyone? that’s the question.

@Maureen

July 4th, 2011
5:58 pm

I am assuming that your “editorial” is based on what you’ve heard. However the bigger picture issue is how TPTB in this community rallied around the evident fraud and missteps by the Hall administration. BTW neat distraction by paying all attention to the five board members

I don’t get you frankly because you are part of the spin machine

Former SPARK parent

July 4th, 2011
6:13 pm

@Maureen–that’s exactly right. It doesn’t matter if Hall knew about or participated in the cheating itself. The fact is she was the district’s leader, and her morally bankrupt behavior following the emergence of overwhelming evidence of cheating showed us all she had zero character, zero leadership ability and should never have been our district’s superintendent.
She hid evidence, ignored the Open Records Act, misled her BOE and employees and used her lackey spokesman Keith Bromery to spin a repugnant race-card-based story about how the kids weren’t really cheating, they were just trying with all their might to correct their own errors. (When I confronted Bromery about this, he said it was his “duty” to come up with alternative theories for the erasures. Really? I thought it was his duty to tell the truth to parents).

That this low-character superintendent, helped along by enablers like Cecily Harsch-Kinnane and Maureen Downey (who to this day refuses to tell it like it is re: Hall), was allowed to serve out her contract and pocket millions in salary and benefits is a travesty, and it could only have occurred if we had a BOE so woefully inept, so lacking in skill and character, as to create a diversion large enough to obscure Hall’s complicity.

Wait–that’s EXACTLY the BOE we had–and have.

Beverly Hall is like the priest who comes to the parish and builds a new wing on the church and makes a big show of feeding the poor and gilding the parish statuary and everybody thinks the priest is doing a fantastic job and then it is revealed all along he was molesting every choir boy in sight. Hall is exactly like that priest, because she preyed on children while pretending to be their advocate. She may not be singled out for prosecution in the report, but she sure as hell deserves to be singled out for scorn.

www.honeyfern.org

July 4th, 2011
6:41 pm

“The report will likely spark questions over whether it’s possible to raise student achievement in poor schools under the current structure, design and funding of American education.”

I can answer this question: NO.

www.honeyfern.org

July 4th, 2011
6:45 pm

Here is an excellent article on 90-90-90 schools of legend and the things they implement to get ther. Newsflash: it’s not about pouring money on; it’s about committed leadership, clear curriculum and high expectations. APS lacks those things, as do many other school systems in this country.

http://www.teachersofcolor.com/2009/04/uncovering-the-secrets-of-high-poverty-high-success-schools/

APS Parent #2

July 4th, 2011
6:48 pm

@Former SPARK. Sounds about right.

Your alternative theories comment gives weight to why the focus shifted from the state’s rejection of the APS Blue Ribbon investigation on the CRCT cheating scandal which involved a “system” issue to a board leadership issue.

Too bad the high school parents fearing loss of accreditation took all of the focus over to their issue for grades 9th through 12th. Perhaps Mr. Bromery was feeding script to those parents to keep our eyes off this issue which causes parents of students in the grades K through 8th (likely the greater number of APS students) great anxiety.

One thing that the report will likely validate is that most of the cheating happened not in Buckhead or Midtown where the parents have done everything possible to remove the 5 from the board so that a real investigation could have happened instead of the whitewash report that was assembled under the leadership of Butler-Burks and Harsh-Kinnane.

Too bad the cheating didn’t happen in their schools so that real steps would have been taken to fix this sooner.

Regor

July 4th, 2011
6:56 pm

There is no doubt that environment can have a significant effect on children and there is no doubt that Atlanta (or all of Georgia, for that matter) has more than its share of “parents” who provide the worst environment that can be imagined. How cruel! In contrast to helping a young girl who makes a single mistake, society must stop being so accepting of multiple births by unwed mothers and not be accepting that so many “boys” refuse to honor their role as fathers. These people do not deserve the respect of those who honor and keep their character. The child of these “parents” may occasionally rise above their environment but no amount of money and special programs and cheating can result in many of these children to be anything other than clones of their parents. We’ve tried that and it obviously does not work.

Glad I can afford to send my children to Pvt School

July 4th, 2011
6:57 pm

I have never understood why APS waste so much money on administration, if the new structure that you are recommending is cut administrative cost in half and spend it in the class room, that might work but simply throwing more money at APS will NOT WORK. Ms Hall has proven overpaying yes men/women just doesn’t improve the quality of the poor student’s education.

I think Hall is going to be fried in the report, Reed has spent the last few days backing away from her. Unlike the mess on Wall Street, lets hope a few administrators go to jail over the APS cheating mess.

Former APS Teacher

July 4th, 2011
7:00 pm

@Maureen – I don’t think any teacher or administer wanted to “prove that the faith of the Broad and Gates foundations and the Chamber of Commerce in the district was not misplaced” as you wrote. It is much more simple than that. You have legions of untalented people who in the past decade have been asked to be accountable for providing a good education to children. You have to put yourself in the thought process of these folks and ask yourself what they would ask (though not explicitly), which is “someone wants me to educate these children who can’t learn and whose parents teach them all this bad behavior, what do you expect me to do?” And from there, sadly, it is not a big leap to see how the cheating occurs.

A couple other things:

* there have not been “unreasonable pressures to improve student performance” as you wrote. There are many examples of teachers helping their students achieve extraordinary results without cheating. My hypothesis is that talented people with high expectations is far more of a game changer than any educational reform or teacher training, but Georgia law and school district cultures have kept our focus on curriculum and professional development instead of what really matters – hiring, rewarding, praising retaining and promoting talented teachers.

* The answer to both of your questions at the end is a resounding yes. If you want examples of teachers who have done this, you can probably see my email address so just ask me and I will put you in contact with dozens of teachers who have achieved extraordinary results with children that too many write off. The challenge is that any teacher who gets these kinds of results is usually criticized and ostracized by an APS culture that does not like the kind of people who get good results because they tend to challenge the status quo.

Bwana

July 4th, 2011
7:03 pm

I hope Dr. Hall goes to prison over this. She was a fraud who was basically stealing her salary and benefits. She sent the wron message and set the wrong example.

I Knew This Would Happen

July 4th, 2011
7:11 pm

Why did they cheat? Well, why not? Test scores have become the final word on how a district, school, and teacher are performing, so if you have a lot of external challenges, you must do whatever it takes, or you lose it all, even with your best effort for what you are working with. Come on now. It’s no coincidence that APS and other systems which bragged about dramatic test score improvement for years now find themselves in the middle of scandals. Anytime evaluations all come down to a bottom line, cheating occurs. This is in any profession. I’ve seen it happen where commissions or other sales incentives are concerned. Heck, I even remember working at a grocery store as a teenager, and knowing how to “stop the clock” while scanning as a cashier, so my rings per minute would rate high, and I’d get the fastest cashier award. It’s not that I was a slow cashier, but I found a way to work the system and increase my ratings. When working with our children, who are multi-faceted as humans, and have so much potential in so many ways. It should be about the quality of the services delivered to the kids. Immediate supervisors should be entrusted to give thorough performance reviews just as they would in any profession. If we truly go to “performance pay,” stories like this will continue to surface. More corruption will follow.

Dave

July 4th, 2011
7:14 pm

Fix the neighborhood and you fix the school!

Tyrone

July 4th, 2011
7:14 pm

I agree with an earlier comment…a more important question is why citizens continue to support Dr. Hall when it is obvious that she is corrupt.

Gee, I wonder if it had anything to do with race? What do you think Maureen?

Race To The Top

July 4th, 2011
7:18 pm

and now Obama’s new Race To The Top initiative to replace No Child will have teacher performance pay is going to be linked directly to test scores. Think there was pressure to cheat now? Just wait, this is the new policy coming down from teh mountain top that several school ditricts in the state are beginning to pilot this school year. Teachers could receive up to a $20,000 bonus if their students perform well on the test. Would change a score to get that bonus?

Legend of Len Barker

July 4th, 2011
7:19 pm

Let me look at this in two parts.

First, we have the matter of schools, funding, and whatnot. I am an alumnus of a very rural high school here in Georgia. It has 850 students and is the only high school in the county. The state does not give two rats behinds about us or most of the south Georgia rural high schools. Our per capita is $16,500.

I received a pretty good education in high school, but I’ve increasingly become aware of how inadequate it was. Until my senior year, we had a single AP offering: English. We offered U.S. History in my final year. We read few classics and only AP English was even exposed to “Animal Farm” or “A Separate Peace.” Math at that time only went to pre-calculus and it wasn’t a requirement. We still has asbestos in the science lab, though we of course didn’t tinker with it.

This was 10 years ago. It’s only improved slightly. The English department dares not push it, as a parent a few years ago objected to “A Separate Peace.” “A Separate Peace” !!!

Moving on, there is the legacy of minority education in Georgia. In short, it’s terrible.

Separate but equal was a joke. There are articles in newspapers across the state from the 1960s where African-American schools were begging for books in their libraries. A whole lot weren’t even provided gymnasiums. A handful of counties decided they would rather forgo federal education funds rather than integrate. A nameless east/central Georgia county cut off assistance to all citizens in the late 1960s because they would also have to provide to African-Americans.

Yes, it’s been 40 years since integration. But don’t tell that to places like Meriwether County. In the late 1980s, Woodbury sued because their majority black school district was woefully behind in funding while they contended other places in Meriwether weren’t. The state decided to close Woodbury High in 1990.

Meriwether is an anomaly of sorts, but 40 years of adequate history doesn’t wipe out the previous 100 of the state doing very little for minority education. 1970 didn’t just wipe the slate clean. You can’t wipe out generations of inadequacy by grudgingly saying that minorities can attend white schools.

The state has done nothing for the poor and little for minorities. Their way of fixing impoverished rural schools was to shut them down and pretend that just putting kids in bigger population bases automatically fixed things.

The state has no idea of the disadvantages that exist not just economically but culturally. It’s not just my rural town, but everywhere from Seminole County to Atkinson to Warren to Hancock to Dooly to Emanuel to Baker to Jasper. There is nothing and we all continue to get by with what we can.

Joey M

July 4th, 2011
7:24 pm

Let’s face it. As long as growing up to be a music entertainer is what most children want to do our educational system will always be garbage. Parents on welfare generally have lazy children. Sometimes you get a child that doesn’t want to live like their parents and applies themselves though. There is no emphasis in our culture of being smart. Asian’s are picked on in social media for studying all the time. Unfortunately, 50 cents, Little Wayne, and Beyonce are the ones getting through to our kids.

Old South

July 4th, 2011
7:25 pm

People hate objective truth but: Gates and such are living in some fantasy world, they make themselves feel better by throwing around money. Many a rich dude is secretly plagued with guilt. Second, the conditions most of these kids are in come as a direct by product of the system of markets which both brought them to this country, and has left them in a state of decline. This is not say they are victims, but disadvantaged. We are all victims quite frankly including Gates.

In my thinking, a state would appear to be an entity which cannot right the wrongs of the system. The money isn’t the cure. But for politicians and half wit’s, money solves all their problems.

oh_please

July 4th, 2011
7:32 pm

You can keep crying all you want, but some groups of students have LOWER IQ than others.

If APS was full of poor immigrant Korean kids we wouldn’t be having this conversation, since they’d be making great grades just as fast as they could learn English…

tim

July 4th, 2011
7:35 pm

I wonder if there’s a prison uniform large enough for cupcake??

Charles Thomas

July 4th, 2011
7:36 pm

Your comments are typical of liberal apologists. But I’m sure we can fix it all with money. After all we’ve been chunking that down a bottomless pit for years and things only get worse. The problem is cultural and won’t be solved until black families heal themselves. As long as there no fathers in the picture and many black kids view academic achievement as a “white” thing it’s an uphill battle. And the angry, entlement demanding old guard civil right’s leaders need to fade into the sunset because they are undoing their legacies and hurting their heirs. I’m sure that many teachers felt pressure and certainly they can’t be expected to fix the cultural problems on their own, but blatant cheating is wrong and excuses are for cowards. And school leaders like Beverly Hall and those who allowed themselves to be corrupted by her or her policies are part of the problem. And yes, of course, I will be accused of being a blatant racist for my comments, which adds even more to the apparant hopelessness of this situation.

ATLTeacher

July 4th, 2011
7:41 pm

Bottom Line. You can have the best teachers in the world. But if all the students’ hear at home is how school is terrible, “I can’t believe those teachers be trippin’ so much.” “Can u believe dey called me at home while i wuz sleepin’ cuz Quantravious got into another fight?” It’s total BS. When will the parents be held responsible for anything? Sure there are a few terrible teachers, but most teachers I know are teachers because they love children. It’s not ALL the teachers. How about a parent report card. “Tried to contact parent on numerous occassions, they never called back, responded to my emails or snail mail.”

Veteran teacher, 2

July 4th, 2011
7:49 pm

The hard fact is that the kids have to do more than show up (I could add when they feel like it!). Too many kids are convinced that they will buck the odds and be the next millionaire musician or athlete. They fully understand that almost no one will make it, but they have deceived themselves into thinking that they will be the one. Failing that, kids tell you that they will either win the lottery or marry rich. Does everyone see the pattern here?? Our society is clearly telling everyone that a high reward can be gotten by doing no work!! Kids believe it, and PARENTS also believe it.

I am teaching every moment of every class. I offer extra help, instruction, or whatever a student needs after school every day. I think nothing of continuously offering encouragement or actually getting in the face of those that need firmer redirection. Thankfully, most students respond. However, there are always 10-20 that sit there and do nothing but complain about how “hard” everything is (I teach math!), or they goof off until April and try to “do enough to pass.” Unfortunately, the number of students that fit the profile I am describing grows every year.

Politicians and other nay-sayers would tell me that I am failing because I have students failing. Actually, I am very popular, and many more parents request their kids be in my class than slots are available. I have a reputation of being a teacher that can “reach” students. Yet, there are 3-5 in every class that fail.

If I knew what else to do, I would be doing it. The kids have GOT to do more than show up!!!

HA

July 4th, 2011
7:50 pm

Your last question implies good ole Abe was grand in his ideals, stupid in thinking it would work.

SAWB

July 4th, 2011
7:55 pm

The issue is the breakdown of African American culture. Just look at the data and not just in Atlanta. Look at Dekalb and other majority African American areas it is always the same. Does poverty play into it? Sure, but ever think these folks are poor because of the choices they or their parents have made. In the Sixties the African American community and their Churches turned from the Bible and embraced the Marxist message of W.E.B. Du Bois as promoted by DR. King. This has resulted in the Progressive Political establishments in many urban environments that hold the Workers (Teacher’s Unions) above anything else.

African Americans need to get back to the Bible and stop the hyper-sexual activity, criminal mindsets, Hip Hop Culture, long discredited Marxist ideals and try some individual responsibility.

Just A Grunt

July 4th, 2011
7:57 pm

Is it just me or did anybody else hear stories of guys living in log cabins with no running water or electricity growing up to be president? Talk about abject poverty. I find it kind of cute too that the author of this piece still used the term “alleged cheating”. Umm I think the verdict has been rendered on that matter.

Liberals have one answer and one answer only to all of life’s problem—-throw more money at it. Somebody else’s money of course. What happens when like now you run out of money? Oh that’s right print some more. And spend even more.

She does make one good point however, though I think it is inadvertent, administrators are the problem not so much the teachers. Just like the unionized teachers in WI who overlook the fat cat salaries their union bosses rake in and the money paid to school administrators while bemoaning the lack of funds for the classroom. For folks in the education field the brass ring for them is becoming an administrator although the pay and benefits for their job after about 5 years would make Midas jealous.

Claude

July 4th, 2011
7:58 pm

This is all very frustrating for taxpayers. For decades, we’ve been told that education was the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. So government poured a lot of money into schools, reducing class size, setting up pre-K programs, etc. It was all done with the belief that poor children could learn just fine – they just needed a little extra help and attention.

Now when we want some proof that we’re getting results for our money, we’re told that it’s just impossible for teachers to reach these kids so stop focusing on test scores.

Dr Fever

July 4th, 2011
8:02 pm

My kids were good students because we made them be good students. With the standardized I felt were unnecessary, including the CRCT, I just told them to color in the dots in any pattern they saw fit. One graduated college and the other is on track.

Incredulous

July 4th, 2011
8:04 pm

The who-dunit is the only material and pertinent question. Why is immaterial and only furthers the status quo. As for the obvious racist posters: the investigation was limited to APS. Had the state the finances or inclination, I am certain that systemic corruption would have been uncovered from Live Oak to Blairsville.

Mike

July 4th, 2011
8:04 pm

Hmmm. Wonder if Deal will ever look into the cheating in his own home county of Hall that’s been outlined here in the AJC.

Sorta doubt it.

oh_please

July 4th, 2011
8:12 pm

“Had the state the finances or inclination, I am certain that systemic corruption would have been uncovered from Live Oak to Blairsville.”

Yawn.

woulda. coulda. shoulda.

The state school system is applying grease to the squeaky wheel. School systems that are meeting the requirements are having students show the same performance everywhere they go – you’re not seeing standardized testing passing rates going from 35% to 75% overnight in places outside of APS.

The school systems with cheating allegations (like APS) also happen to have rock-bottom SAT scores compared to all of these other districts you mentioned “from Blairsville to Live Oak.” So, this is outside corroboration about the dismal performance of the students within APS since ETS and other nationally-minded testing services certainly aren’t jeopardizing their business for the benefit of fatbottom Beverly Hall.

As I said before, some groups just have a lower average IQ than others.

Incredulous

July 4th, 2011
8:15 pm

oh_please, check your facts, courtesy of the GaDOE. I am assuming your referencing your own group in terms of IQ.

Huh?

July 4th, 2011
8:16 pm

Being poor doesn’t make you dumb. Being dumb makes you poor.

oh_please

July 4th, 2011
8:18 pm

Incredulous (and clueless) – It’s “you’re referencing” — I see that you’re a product of Atlanta Public Schools.

Incredulous

July 4th, 2011
8:24 pm

oh_please, Fortunately, I am not. However, hopefully the results of the investigation will focus attention on some of the cockroaches hiding behind not to well cloaked social darwinism( lower case intentional). Take a look around. Your ability to blame your unease and lack of progress on others is coming to an end.

Jeremy

July 4th, 2011
8:30 pm

I bet ya’ll wish the South would have won the War now! Suck it up ATL. Re-engineering test scores have gotten you nowhere! ATL is the new Detroit. It’s full of low-income, reprobates who praises Jesus on Sunday and Fs the rest of their “neighbors”. Here’s to the Moral Majority that keeps this city afloat.

Jo Q Citizen

July 4th, 2011
8:31 pm

Total breakdown in the moral fiber in people who raise and teach your children. A masters or doctorate in education is just not enough. As a 55 yo Atlanta native I mourn the demise of my beautiful Atlanta. While in high school we could take a bus downtown, a bus to Lenox, and be back home before dark. and be safe. It started in the 70’s when the race baiting civil rights people Atlanta the place where Lyndon Johnson’s great society would become the model for those who lacked desire or motivation to achieve. As a result in the 70’s while a student at Georgia State I began to see a change in the minority population. It has declined to the point that I do not go downtown at all. hen

Say what you want but there is a direct relationship in the demise in education and the rise in minority dependence on entitlements. It’s not about racism, it is just the plain truth.

One more thing, when schools started focusing on political correctness, racial diversity, no child left behind, the schools began to fail. Not all children are on an equal playing field. Why should the best and the brightest be held back by those who do not share their desire to learn. We were placed in class according to our testing abilities. I don’t recall anyone ever making a big deal of those who were not on the same level as we were. Many of those average kids went on to be very successful.

Racial politics and teacher unionization have brought down public education. It is what it is.

Incredulous

July 4th, 2011
8:33 pm

oh_please, again, check your facts regarding scores. Your pathetic racist overtones are losing traction. APS is the tip of the iceberg. Low test scores and anomlous erasures occurred throughout the state. Tread lightly. I think the results of the investigation will lead to further reviews in less conspicuous systems. You can’t use APS to hide much longer.

Justice seeker

July 4th, 2011
8:35 pm

Maureen, do you know that ethics complaints have been filed against Kathleen Mathers, Gary Walker and Kelly Henson for dishonesty (among other things) during the course of a witch hunt…I mean investigation of an educator? Outright untruths and totally fabricated charges…could it be that the pressure of trying to make it look like Sonny Perdue was not a racist pushed them to villify innocent educators? I wonder how the PSC will investigate themselves?

Incredulous

July 4th, 2011
8:38 pm

Come on filter. You allow blatant racist messages and block retorts. What gives.

The Witness

July 4th, 2011
8:41 pm

The public school system in the urban communities is a JOKE! Many of them lack the technical and HUMAN resources to deliver a quality education to our youth. On one side of the city the students are issued laptops, tablets, etc. to ensure they are given TOP education…..and on the other…..the students CANNOT take their books home….because the district fears the kids will lose the book……thus leading to a COST for the system to replace the book.

The actions taken by APS and I am sure many other school systems in the Urban communities was inappropriate…..and should not be forgiven. However, when you have school systems where the parents are not involved and use the school system as only a daycare…..then what do you expect. It is so sad that the Governor and the Powers that be want to keep all of the funding for the public schools……..which are underserving many of our youth………meanwhile good Charter schools which are making a concentrated effort to provide a quality education…….well “DEAL” and his crew want to close those options. Let’s not forget he also raised the GPA to a 3.7 once again who does this affect the most………those in the urban communities. The Educational System has now become a business and strictly political……..and once again it is the little people who suffer

Reality

July 4th, 2011
8:44 pm

Poverty is real and unfortunate. But–there is a mentality that goes along with it. The “poverty mentality” of generation after generation not finishing school, not getting a decent job, getting a welfare check, getting free lunch, medicaid, social security, etc. continues over into expecting the school to do it all. Until parents support education by supporting and partnering with the teacher by helping with homework, encouraging their child to read every day, conferencing with the teacher, a teacher can teach the test till he/she is blue in the face, but it will come to naught. You can read between the lines on what I’m talking about. Reality is reality.

What's going on?

July 4th, 2011
8:45 pm

Maureen – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? “The report will likely describe APS teachers and principals under unrelenting and unreasonable pressures to improve student performance.”
Who do you do you think PRESSURED teachers and principals?

Maureen – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? “despite targeted school improvement plans, proven reforms and state-of-the-art teacher training.”

The school reforms were a joke. All they did was make money for those selling them and made money for those buying into them.”

State-of0the-art teacher training – GIVE ME A BREAK. I worked at one of the SRTs where the training was done in haste. Model teacher leaders did not have a clue on what they were doing. All the training classes did was take teachers away from the classroom and their students. Most of the classes were hand-outs copied from books. Check the copier cost at each SRT. The training was a JOKE. As any teacher that attend the so called “state-pf-the-art training”. The training was a money maker for the model teachers who conducted the training. THEY GOT PAID AND PAID WELL.

Maureen – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Incredulous

July 4th, 2011
8:50 pm

@reality, if I am reading between the lines correctly, and poverty/welfare is a cause; then it stands to reason that the cheating that is alleged to have occurred (tongue in cheek) had to have also taken place throughout the state. After all, poverty and welfare isn’t limited to Atlanta, is it? Here is a neat fact. A larger portion of welfare recipients and the incidence of poverty are in the rural areas of Georgia. Our most recent census was an eye opener.

Awaiting moderation

July 4th, 2011
8:53 pm

Maureen,
Would you tell the investors at ENRON …let’s look at the bigger picture; there is white collar corruption in other company’s? It’s time for those that created this climate and participated in the cover-up to be held accountable including, Hall, Butler-Burke (4 board), Pitts, Myzeck, Augustine, Riley, Patillio, Atl. Chamber, Mayor and you. Those of us that are left behind to clean up this mess are not going to allow this to be white-washed into a discussion about your “bigger issues”–Not yet, this may be appropriate later, but now it is time to seek justice for so many kids and educators. Maureen, please this time to reflect on what many consider to be your very bias covering of this scandal…thanks to Vogel, Judd and others at the AJC for not giving up and in.

APS parent

July 4th, 2011
9:00 pm

I will be very surprised if the issue of poverty will be discussed. We never hear from those teachers who teqch at the APS schools in the worst district. I have two friends that have taught at Title I schools and quit teaching after two years. Students who were so needy for parent attention, my sil taught fourth grade and the entire class loved her and would cirlcle her every morning- in dirty clothes, unfed, parents not interested in attending conferences or when they did were high, young elementary school children bringing in drug paraphanalia and sex toys from home. I have volunteered at these schools. I am now a SPARK parent and these kids don’t stand a chance. I would challenge any parent who is critical to spend one week volunteering at an APS school that is not in a white affluent neighborhood and then post your criticisms or support.

DeKalbParent

July 4th, 2011
9:19 pm

There were ways to cheat that weren’t as obvious as what happened in APS – teachers pointing at answers or placing students so that some could copy from others. My understanding is that there was a first cut statewide at the erasure method and, then, that those who showed promise of more fertile finds were then audited in detail. The erase and fix methods were used in other places – I remember reading about it taking place in Washington DC.
Expecting all kids to be at grade level at any time makes no sense at all. Slow and steady progress should be rewarded. Particularly where kids cannot take books home, full-day and Saturday school should be considered.

Rural Parent

July 4th, 2011
9:26 pm

This is not only an urban problem. There are many poverty stricten districts in rural Georgia (America) whose children face the same fate. There are systems faced with increasing class size to over 35 middle school students to afford having teachers in the classroom.

We are NOT providing the resources for everyone; only the middle and upper class students. Unless the overall education system in this country changes, we will never keep up with the level of change that is occuring worldwide.

God Bless America because our children need all the help they can get!

Glass House Rocker

July 4th, 2011
9:35 pm

Am I remembering correctly–that the Chamber of Commerce was reported to have put tremendous pressure on the Atlanta School System to raise test scores? Was the Chamber involved in the initial “investigation”?

Joyce

July 4th, 2011
9:36 pm

Coming from a poor family does not make a dumb child. You see we have let people become educators who have this mentality that if you are poor you are dumb, if you are rich you are smart. We have got to get the educators to erase this thought from their heads. Not all educators are like this at all. It is your I am better than you teacher. For some reason, people have gone into education thinking it is an easy job and it is not; therefore, they (some of them) are really not interested in challenging the students who come from a different environment. Maybe APS need to go back and hire some retired teachers to show them how to teach and teach them that all children can be successful in life if given the chance. I wonder, as a retire teacher, where did it all go wrong!!! I believe it all went wrong when the state and federal government began tell us what we had to do.
When the teacher was the center of the classroom with chalk in hand and the students had their textbooks in hand, learning took place at a higher level. Now, teachers are to busy filling out all these computer programs concerning objectives and outcomes, etc. It has become so much paper work it is unreal. I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A CHALLENGE TO THE APS SYSTEM. Give me a school you have vacated, let me choose the teachers I want,let me run the school without all the red tape and I will produce students who are learning. I must have them from Kindergarten up to 8th grade.(All in the same school building) That”s the way it use to be. You see the middle school concept has destoryed the education of our youth. All School should have K-8. This would produce community schools. Then schools would not close. Well, I have skipped around on different issues.
Oh, why is it Charter Schools only get the higher class students in their school. Why not make them take an equal proportion of all students regardless of socio ecomomic, race, etc. Think on that one!