Given the failure of Dougherty County to look hard enough at its schools flagged in the CRCT erasure audit, Gov. Nathan Deal made the right choice to reverse his earlier position and continue the state probe into what went on there.
Earlier this week, Deal’s office said the Dougherty investigation was dropped because the governor was satisfied with the internal investigation — which seemed odd since the internal investigation didn’t seem at all extensive. I was cynical enough to wonder if the state examination was deeper and wider in APS because a major newspaper and multiple TV stations were watching.
I am not sure what led to this reversal, but Dougherty deserves the same thorough examination that APS received.
(Take a look at my AJC colleague Jim Galloway’s blog on the WABE radio interview with Mark Elgart, president and CEO of AdvanceEd, parent firm of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, in which Elgart says the APS scandal “is probably more extensive and broad-based than we’ve experienced any place else in the country.”)
According to Deal’s office:
Gov. Nathan Deal has granted the request of state investigators to complete their investigation into the 2009 administration of the CRCT exams in Dougherty County.
“After reviewing the preliminary results of the investigation in Dougherty County on Wednesday and today, contrary to my initial impression, I do not believe the investigation should be terminated,” said former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers in a message sent to the Governor’s Office Thursday. “Given those preliminary results, it is my recommendation that we complete the investigation in Dougherty. We will do this expeditiously with as little intrusion into the school system as is possible.”
Deal on Tuesday released the investigators’ findings of how the Atlanta Public Schools administered the 2009 exams. The report found systemic cheating. The investigation into the exam administration in Atlanta and Dougherty County began at the behest of then-Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2010.
“After completing the Atlanta Public Schools report, we had hoped that we were at a stopping point,” said Deal. “Unfortunately, I received word Thursday that the investigators’ review of their preliminary results in Dougherty County has raised grave concerns. We owe it to the children of Dougherty County to get answers, and our commitment to equal protection under the law requires us to treat all jurisdictions equally. In other words, the state simply cannot single out Atlanta if strong evidence suggests similar patterns elsewhere.
“I have instructed the investigators to present me with a complete report of their investigation into the Dougherty County School System as quickly as possible.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog