APS high schools: Evidence of cheating and fraud in some schools. Is it happening at your school?

The AJC investigatory team is now turning its attention to high schools, reporting today that, while not as systematic as the CRCT cheating, Atlanta broke rules — cheated on standardized tests, falsified attendance records and changed grades — to meet performance targets in some high schools. (This is a long piece, so please try to read it.)

This story suggests an answer to one of the pressing questions asked in the wake of the CRCT cheating scandal — what happened to elementary and middle school students pushed along who were not performing on grade level?

I want to point out that posters on the Get Schooled blog have cited these same scenarios at other high schools, so I don’t think these practices are limited to a single system. The AJC had a piece not long ago about Hall County shifting kids to alternative high schools to make AYP.

Have you seen any of these practices at your school?

Here is an excerpt of today’s AJC front page story on APS high schools:

After school every day, Chantel and her mother, Deirdre, logged onto test preparation websites. At Carver High School of Technology in Atlanta, where Chantel was a junior, teachers helped her get ready. They believed, Deirdre Cox said, that Chantel could pass.

But the morning of the high school writing test, in September 2009, school administrators pulled Chantel and several other Carver juniors aside. All stood a good chance of failing — and of lowering the school’s odds of meeting its do-or-die performance targets. While the rest of the 11th grade took the test required for all juniors, Chantel and the others worked puzzles in a special-education classroom.

Their absences could be excused, because the school had placed them in a grade all their own: 10 1/2.

The episode reflects the pattern of academic irregularities that emerges in a new investigation of Atlanta’s high schools by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The newspaper reviewed thousands of pages of reports from the school district’s internal investigations, along with other public records, and interviewed educators, parents and students.

The questionable activities in high schools appear to be less systemic than the cheating that has roiled Atlanta’s elementary and middle schools, where attention focused on a single exam: the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. Nevertheless, the improprieties seem no less insidious: cheating on standardized tests, falsifying attendance records and changing grades, all to award undeserved diplomas that helped administrators meet performance targets.

At one Atlanta high school, failure literally was not an option; the minimum grade for all students was 70. At another, the principal allowed no more than 10 percent of seniors to fail, regardless of their grades. Another principal allegedly ordered teachers to change grades and ignore absences so students could receive diplomas. Teachers at several schools apparently obtained advance copies of state tests and gave students the actual questions during practice exams.

Such transgressions call into question the validity of the high school “transformation” that Beverly Hall, the former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, touted for half a decade. The district spent millions of dollars and staked a piece of Hall’s reputation on restructuring high schools to reduce absenteeism and increase student performance.

Superintendent Erroll Davis, who took over last summer after Hall’s retirement, said Friday he has ordered audits of standardized test scores in the district’s 23 high schools and of graduation rates and grading procedures. He also is commissioning a review of the costs and benefits of the high school restructuring.

“One of the first thoughts I had when I came here was if you had discovered testing irregularities in the k-8 system, why should you assume it would automatically stop at the high school system?” Davis said in an interview. “I have no reason to believe there’s any systematic or pervasive cheating going on, although I have taken the appropriate risk-management steps to give me the assurance these things are not going on. I don’t want to leave it to good will or assumptions.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

77 comments Add your comment

Mountain man

October 23rd, 2011
10:35 am

Should be sort of expected when you ask SPED student to pass the test and graduate.

Mike Vigilant

October 23rd, 2011
10:43 am

I would have like to have been a fly on the wall during the discussion where the ten-and-a-half grade was invented–just crazy.

Another Math Teacher

October 23rd, 2011
10:44 am

“Teachers at several schools apparently obtained advance copies of state tests and gave students the actual questions during practice exams.”

That’s a rumour at the school I was at. I can’t confirm it though, since I never looked at the real test. (Some former students showed me practice tests that looked very much like practice standardized tests except they were full length.)

I do know that seniors had grades changed by administrators to make sure they graduated on time. As long as they passed all the graduation tests they had nothing to worry about. (Some grades were even from their freshman year.) One minute they are in the hall crying about how they aren’t going to graduate because they are two credits short – the next minute everything is fine and they’ll be graduating on time. This was a yearly occurrence.

yagottabekiddingme

October 23rd, 2011
10:47 am

I am so sad about this investigative report on so many levels: the fact that this student had a learning disability and was lumped in with special ed students; the brazen practice of changing transcripts so a student would graduate; the force-feeding of the small schools transformation into otherwise high-performing schools; and the explosion of administrative jobs costing the school district millions of dollars that don’t change a thing in the classrooms. Oh, where to begin?

catlady

October 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

Not sure if this is related, but what about how in elementary school we cannot get kids through the RTI process who need to be evaluated for sped, but within months of going to middle school, all of a sudden they are not only tested but placed?

How does the provision of alternative schools/night schools change the “numbers” in terms of AYP for the sending high schools?

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

October 23rd, 2011
11:10 am

Short answer, Yes. One need only compare state DOE data on enrollment, showing that 50% of APS students drop out by senior year, and state HS graduation test results at each school (% passing), and then looking at the published APS “graduation rates” at each school. The numbers do not add up, not even close.

concerned teacher

October 23rd, 2011
11:20 am

This happens at my school. I have always felt that schools need to be randomly audited by the state. Do not give them a heads up you are coming in. Just come in and start investigating.

Prof

October 23rd, 2011
11:42 am

Indirectly I’ve seen these practices in their after-effects on the students at the USG University where I’ve taught for 25+ years. I noticed about 6-7 years ago that increasingly my undergraduate students weren’t doing the assigned reading, were scoring lower on their exams, and writing ungrammatical and badly organized papers. Since I’m a Full Professor, I haven’t been assigned freshman/sophomore classes for many years, but was last year; and was very struck by the change in classroom manners as well.

Doing some calculation, I realize that the first graduates of the 2000-2010 Beverly Hall regime began their college classes around 2005 or so.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

October 23rd, 2011
11:42 am

One other thing: it’s obvious that the ‘interim’ Supt., Errol Davis, is nobody’s fool. He’s learned not to trust any data from APS staff. And that’s a darn good thing. No one should be looked at as a savior or Superman- or trusted past hard, verifiable evidence- but he’s done quite well, so far.

Shar

October 23rd, 2011
11:43 am

I agree with Chris Murphy. When my son was at Grady, the upper two grades were a distinctly different experience than the lower two because the kids who could “choose” to leave school at 16 disappeared. However, when I would drive him to school there would be a cluster of these vanished kids hanging around the doors to the school, dressed up and chatting with their friends who were going to class. I always felt so sorry for those kids, and I wondered if in fact leaving school was a matter of their own choosing or if they were ‘encouraged’ to go. They certainly were never encouraged to stay.

Dr. Hall’s claim that the 50% of entering 9th graders who were somehow ‘lost’ by graduation were the result of poor bookeeping or unregistered transfers has always rung hollow, even more so since her equally limp defense of the validity of her K-8 testing has proven to be lies. I am very much afraid that those kids who gathered outside the doors to Grady every morning were more victims of Hall’s test derangement.

Digger

October 23rd, 2011
11:49 am

How bout we just sever Georgia from the Union and make it a toxic waste dump. What a cesspool.

carlosgvv

October 23rd, 2011
11:55 am

Just another example of the latest attempt to bring black students overall scores up to par with white ones. If and when cheating is forced out of these schools, you may be sure that some other kind of social experiment will be implimented, with the same failed results.

Really amazed

October 23rd, 2011
12:52 pm

Nothing below a 70% is very common in public high schools in GA. They will let you re-do test until you reach at least a 70% Many high schools have the freshman academy so students that have scored below a 70 go during lunch, to have remedial and re-take test. No one seems to make under a C in GA public high schools. The system won’t allow it. Re-do’s, extra credit, grades being inflated to pass alond little Johnny and meet AYP. Very rarely will you even see a C it is more like everyone is making straight A’s possibly a few B’s. The letter grade C is basically the new F. This is not just an APS issue nor just an standardized testing issue.

He's Not Too Much Better

October 23rd, 2011
1:25 pm

Erroll Davis is on here speaking of wasting money, but he is doing the very same thing. The Atlanta Board of Education (formerly Hall’s patsies) blindly approve any and all items he brings before them. Do an investigation about the former Project Grad Administrator who got a $20,000+ a year raise under Davis…boy we all know Project Grad has been a rousing success (sarcasm), but Davis promoted him. Look into the new Chief of HR’s promotion. I’m quite certain that he’s not nearly as bad as Hall, but don’t make him your Media Darling either. In a budget crunch, why are there people on his staff being promoted to make in excess of $200,000 who have proven track records of being incompetent as part of Hall’s crazy set-up??

Atlanta mom

October 23rd, 2011
1:32 pm

Maureen,
I am happy to see your question today. My thoughts when reading the article in the AJC today was: You think this only happens at APS? I also wondered about the slogan “Credible. Compelling. Complete.” By looking only at APS, this article is certainly not complete.

teacher&mom

October 23rd, 2011
1:33 pm

I can only speak for my high school…the cheating and fraud outlined in the article does not happen at my school.

No one is forced to give passing grades. The “nothing below 70%” is not common in my school. We have our fair share of C’s (and F’s) but we also have a high passing rate for EOCT’s and GHSGT. We are a Title I school and have a higher than average percentage of special education students.

We’re not perfect and we have many areas where improvements are needed but we don’t cheat.

Atlanta mom

October 23rd, 2011
1:51 pm

Let’s not talk about graduation rates. In the fall of 2006 Georgia had 145,883 freshman. In spring of 2010 Georgia graduated 89,851. That’s 61%. As has been discussed here many times, graduation rates are computed with smoke and mirrors.

Once Again

October 23rd, 2011
2:29 pm

A governmnet bureaucracy lying and cheating to protect their image?? Say it isn’t so !

When are parents finally going to wake up and realize that a government run education system is the WORST possible alternative for their children’s education and begin demanding the dismantling of this mess??

Only a free market solution that includes homeschooling, private schools, charity schools, cooperatives, and whatever creative educational options the market can dream up will ever be fully responsive to the needs of parents, students, teachers, and business owners alike.

The government system is only beholden to itself. Everything it does is in the service of itself (even when the teachers and everyone else actually believe differently). It can be no other way as the money is not earned but stolen and the acceptance of this immoral relationship is dependent on the acquiecense of society at large.

Curious

October 23rd, 2011
2:39 pm

@Maureen, does the teacher who blew the whistle still have a job?

Newby

October 23rd, 2011
3:03 pm

Guess what, the practice of strongly encouraging teachers to give remediation packets and not fail students (despite the student deserving the “F”)when its time for progress reports and report cards still exist in most APS schools. Not to mention the pervasive manipulation of attendence data to meet AYP and targets. The sad thing is that we are now seeing a lot of these students who were involved in the CRCT scandal being passed along in high school. It’s a shame that we are setting these students up for failure and not giving them a fair chance to be productive citizens in society.

AS you continue to crunch the numbers. I would love to see an analysis of the number of students who pass their EOCT course and failed the respective EOCT exam. Once that data is obtained, you will really see a better picture of some other problems that really exist.

Newby

October 23rd, 2011
3:08 pm

Sorry for the typos
Guess what, the practice of strongly encouraging teachers to give remediation packets and not fail students (despite the student deserving the “F”) when it’s time for progress reports and report cards to be handed out still exist in most APS schools. Not to mention the pervasive manipulation of attendance data to meet AYP and targets. The sad thing is that we are now seeing a lot of these students who were involved in the CRCT scandal being passed along in high school. It’s a shame that we are setting these students up for failure and not giving them a fair chance to be productive citizens in society.
As you continue to crunch the numbers, I would love to see an analysis of the number of students who pass their EOCT course and failed the respective EOCT exam. Once that data is obtained, you will really see a true indication of the issues and wonder how and why.

catlady

October 23rd, 2011
3:10 pm

Newby, I think the AJC did that a couple of years ago. The disconnect was astounding–kids with As who did not pass the EOCT.

Anonmom

October 23rd, 2011
3:45 pm

I’ve posted this on the DSW blog and people like to scream that I’m wrong but I have a decent head for figures and this was my oldest son’s class and I was astounded by these numbers so I remember them pretty well. He entered Lakeside HS — the cream of the crop for DCSS schools — it almost broke the top 100 nationally on the lovely Newsweek poll around the time we got there– as a member of the class of 2010. He rolled out of Henderson Middle with 2 full teams of kids (appx. 4 classes of 30 kids a piece) and 2 half teams (30 kids per class) so about 300 give or take rolled from HMS to LHS. Figure about 50 kids went private and give it 75 kids came from private and Chamblee to LHS — resident kids now up to 400. The entering freshman class of 2010 for the first count reported by the principal: 510. I kept asking where the extra 110 kids came from? Transfers? AYPs? No answers…. By mid-year, I saw charts on the wall of the copy room… said charts revealed a 50% fail rate (give or take, not round numbers) in every freshman class (gym, math, english, music, biology, etc.– every class) — for the freshman. It was slightly better for sophomores and significantly better for juniors and seniors. Finally, I learned the phrase “froshmore” — most of the “extras” were those who hadn’t made it out of 9th grade. By the time we pulled our son private — mid-way through 11th grade- he was student number 304 — the class had already been reduced from 510 to 304. He made it 303. They graduated 275 18 months later…. nearly half of the kids they started with did not make it to graduation. We (my friends and I) can account for about 50 of the “missing” kids — those who pulled private like we did; one who graduated a year early, some who transfered to other DCSS schools or moved away and one who overdoesed on heroine as a sophomore and died… but the rest? No one knows what heppend to them.
My son sat for the graduation tests. He did well on them (we pulled for non-academic reasons). He told stories of kids being positioned around tables so that strong students papers could be “seen” by weaker students. There are all sorts of ways to “game” the tests. Then just a year or so ago, LHS did not make AYP in a category or 2 but then the State “recalculated” the numbers and they were able to tinker with certain students to control the subgrooups (if you don’t have enough kids in certain subgroups, then the subgroup doesn’t count so they could “tinker” with a few scores so that the school could “pass” and, therefore be a “receiveing” school) — parents then send kids within failing subgroups to a “passing” school that doesn’t “meet” for their “subgroup” — it’ is really for the birds (and yes I’ve told this to our “representatives” in Washington — face to face!). But no one is really listening. I say, take it all local.

junkmonkey

October 23rd, 2011
4:39 pm

I would say there more schools in Georgia. They are just being more creativity about it. For example, a community school is created. A principal in a high school in the area of this created high school, decides to call in students and tells them they are not going to pass and they need to drop out and get a GED…but then he tells them of the school up the road they can transfer to which would meet their needs and the hours are flexiable. The students withdraw (this the key for the principal) and go to the created high school. As a result, they are not counted as a drop out for the principal. They are gone. He even sent some the year before to get their GED but they were evidently still in enrolled at the high school. I do not know how he did this one. This was a Cheating Skeem he created. I do not see why he cared the high school has not reached AYP in this is the fourth (4th) year. He was out or left earlier more times than he stayed his full time at school. The teachers keep tract of his absenteeism. But the powers that be would not do anything.

No, I am not suprised at what happended with the student being placed in a room to do puzzles. They harm is being done in more schools in Georgia than meets the eye. I believe that all students should able to take all test regardless of what kind of test they are.
There was one principal who thought that the SAT should not be given to all students who wanted to take it. But, this test cannot be censored by a principal any student can take it. If the Counselors does not give a student information on this test, they can always register on line. Sometimes you have to by pass the the so called head of the school to get results.
By the way I thought the State Department of Education was going to take a school over when scores were not meet. Well…..Where…….are…….you!!!!
Principals who have not worked their way up to the top in the appropriate manner do not deserve to be principals, assistant principals, or superintendents for that matter. We have to many good of boys who are taking care of their friends and wallets to really care about their students or faculty.

All of us were told a few years back if we had an appointed School Superintendent and an elected school board instead of an Elected School Superintendent and an appointed School Board. Well, I am here to say I have worked under both kinds of Administrations and I firmly believe WE NEED AND ELECTED SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS AND AN ELECTED BOARD OF EDUCATION. I believe with both entities being elected alot of this type of dog and pony shows would stop.

I am stilling waiting to see the just reward “CupCake” B.Hall will get for screwing up the Atlanta School System. And, I hope the State would look into other school systems who are doing the same thing or other things which are wrong at the students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers expense.

junkmonkey

October 23rd, 2011
4:43 pm

I am sorry for some grammatical errors in my blog statement. I know better.

dekalb teacher

October 23rd, 2011
4:50 pm

The new super for DeKalb needs to take a hard look at the schools. There are many that are doing the same thing that was done in APS. I have had a principal go in and change my grades so a student would not lose a full athletic scholarship, even though he missed 60+ days of my class. Many students are now finding ways to cheat as well, so it is not just the administration doing it.

sadteacher

October 23rd, 2011
5:18 pm

Once again, I am saddened by the state of our public school system. The principals and parents constantly pressure the teachers, especially in high school, for good grades but seem shocked that content knowledge does not automatically follow. Children all over the state of Georgia are being promoted each year without meeting the minimal standards required to pass the math portion of the CRCT. Also, in order to pass the CRCT, a kid only needs to receive 70% or higher in only two of five categories on the math portion of the CRCT. This means that the kid does not even need to know 50% of the material tested in order to pass. After their parents are given a waiver to sign, these children then enter high school where the mathematics they are expected to master is so far above what their minimal math skills will allow them to master. All of the administrators are aware of this fact, but they then pressure the teachers to get their failure rates down. Some of these students also have reading comprehension problems, not to mention their lack of basic multiplication facts and number sense, but everyone ignores all of this. All the administrators want to know from the teacher is, “What are you going to do to help these kids?”

The high school teacher cannot be a miracle worker. The classes are packed with approximately 35 students who have some of the poorest habits. It is very difficult to convince some of them to even complete homework. Even after speaking with parents, many of the students continue the habit of not completing homework and not studying, but still want to pass the class.

Social promotion in the state of Georgia is rampant and if we do not stop allowing the people on the side lines to make all of the decisions when it comes to education, nothing will change. I know that all parents love their children but this does not mean that they know what is best when it comes to their education. Teachers are on the front line fighting the battle every day, but we are sometimes the last people that are listened to about what is needed to make things better. Parents, if your child does not pass the mathematics portion of the CRCT, but you sign a waiver to send them on to high school, you are setting them up for failure for the rest of their high school careers. Please don’t allow your pride to hinder your better judgement.

brad

October 23rd, 2011
5:20 pm

Let’s be honest. The only real reguirement to graduate an Atlanta High School is make sure to vote Democrat. Everything else can be managed.

Lisa B.

October 23rd, 2011
5:29 pm

The Georgia Department of Education does not allow high school students to take the Georgia High School Writing Test or the Georgia High School Graduation Tests if as 3rd year high school students they do not have enough credits. The high schools don’t make those decisions. The DOE makes them.

oldtimer

October 23rd, 2011
5:56 pm

I would say cheating and other poor practices are taking place in other states than Ga. Low or no expectations, teacher support, and pressure for grades and tests are ruining public schools. Yes, I hear all the time college teachers are being called on the carpet for “failing” kids.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

October 23rd, 2011
6:13 pm

Previous school – yes, systemically. Current school – no, I hope not. There’s some expectation, I think, with my seniors who are the first wave of the HS GPS in math to give ‘em some latitude. They are certainly not where I think my freshmen from this year and last will be when they’re seniors. But, the big difference to me is in the attitude of the schools. The previous one thought that cheating was appropriate because “everyone does it” and it’s all just a game anyway. My current school, I believe, actually wants authentic improvement. It isn’t perfect by any stretch, but much better than a school where a principal (now superintendent) would offer kids cash to transfer to “Blue Ridge Academy” in order to get them off the rolls and make AYP once – maybe the only time they’ve ever made it, but got him the Super position, didn’t it?

Doris M

October 23rd, 2011
6:31 pm

This is a sad state of affairs for our public school systems. Is there a fix?

Go Panthers!

October 23rd, 2011
6:38 pm

Told ya’ll. This is not new. Hall was just the only ego big enough to think she could be the next one to get away with it. The system integrated in the 60’s in a way that allowed appearance, style, the path of least resistance, to trump substance, and that culture was never rectified. Her organizational culture was nothing but old APS g.p. on crack-laced steriods and THAT’S why they hired her.

There have always been and still are EXCELLENT, well-trained, die-hard educators (not just teachers) on the ground level in the system who have taken lemons and made full academic meals, complete with appetizers to desserts. For them, I empathize. I have personally witnessed them do some remarkable things with kids from less than stellar backgrounds and even more with those from intact homes with involved families. On a personal note, me and my child got excellent educations from APS but that was only because I knew how and where to get the substance and make them teach us what we needed to know, regardless as to what our letter grades, our style, indicated.

I challenge the AJC to find a few families that have at least 4 generations that have attended APS schools and chart each generation’s experience, progress, “permanent records” and test scores for and in relation to their respective eras. Hall was an egomaniacal and greedy fall guy (woman) who took it all to extremes at the wrong juncture in history (The No Child Left Behind Era). That’s all. Nobody in town ever knew how to fix it, regardless as to what state and national mandates were in effect. We’ve got multiple, excellent colleges of education in this area that graduate PhD’s in school administration every year (Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence anyone?) that could have gotten on this and trained students coming through their programs on how to deal with the various problems plaguing urban systems like ours, but they didn’t. They just brought her in and let her be the lipsticked and pearled shill. And, for the price of all of those bonus checks, she let them screw her and a whole generation of kids almost as worse as back when separate-but-”equal” was the law of the city.

You mean to tell me that no one homegrown, not even dodged APS alums, want to try and turn their beloved system around? Nobody from Emory or GSU or any of these other legitimate, full-length, committee-reviewed, dissertation-requisite institutions can fix this mess? Nobody else thinks that’s strange that they don’t even put their hat in the ring to try? I don’t. But, that’s only because I know thy history dear old APS and so do all of those REAL PhD’s – the path of least resistance.

No child left behind indeed. Study those families and SEE the 50% graduation rate in action, generation after generation after generation.

Beverly Fraud

October 23rd, 2011
6:39 pm

Why would any of this call Hall’s credentials into question? Just because 4 Executive Directors, her Deputy Superintendent, her HR person and over 3 dozen of her principals cheated, doesn’t in any way, shape, or form call into question the integrity of one of the greatest, if not the single greatest leader in the last 100 years, the illustrious Beverly Hall.

It’s just a crying shame what the AJC has done to sully her reputation. A crying shame.

Beverly Fraud

October 23rd, 2011
6:46 pm

Cheating? Fraud? Hardly. I think some folks at the AJC are completely underestimating the rigorous rigor needed to complete rigorous puzzles rigorously.

And sullying a reputation that Beverly Hall worked so rigorously to earn.

If only the AJC had the internal rigor to honor rigor.

Beverly Fraud

October 23rd, 2011
6:49 pm

Me thinks the blog monster is being rather rigorous today.

cs

October 23rd, 2011
8:08 pm

It happens even in the “best” school systems. I’ve seen attendance records modified so that the kids are backdated to the first consecutive day that they missed (if Johnny missed 18 days, but 12 of them were consecutive, they say that he’s only missed 6 days). We are not allowed to give a grade lower than a 50 on report cards, etc. I could go on and on. Welcome to the education department in GA. Its only hurting our kids in the long run.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 23rd, 2011
8:16 pm

Hopefully, Chancellor Davis has retained competent, disinterested, out-of-state entities to audit APS HS testing procedures. These entities’ reports should be released contemporaneously to him and to the AJC as well as to other high-circulation print and high-listenership/-viewership electronic media.

Anything less would be suspect.

New Leadership at APS

October 23rd, 2011
9:10 pm

Mr. Davis it would be a good idea to speak with the Executive Director of Student Programs and Services
( Mr. Aaron Fernander) who has none nothing for the special Ed department. Again this was one of the targeted position that was under the office of former Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Kathy Augustine.The board who did not look into this matter before giving Fernander the position, because he
had just been sued in May 2008 by a former APS employee and it cost the district $97,500.

APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater!

October 23rd, 2011
9:57 pm

Teachers must not be the Lambs of Sacrifice!

Superintendent Davis must be consistent if he is to maintain credibility. The high school principals listed in the report must not be allowed to “be in front of children.” These principals must also face the loss of certification. Mr. Davis must act immediately!

As I have said before, the cheating in APS is deeply rooted in our culture. Yes, it is both endemic and systemic. So many teachers are being preyed upon with little recourse. Some are so wrapped up in this mess, I honestly feel they are unable to decipher right from wrong. A decade of brutish bullying has warped sensibilities.

I’m different, as often stated, I cheat for moral reasons; to provide meaningful instruction, as opposed to teaching to the test all day-everyday-all year. If the “powers to be” really cared about quality learning environments and the proper use of assessments, testing would occur at the beginning of the school year. End-of- the-year testing has become the “stick,” viewed by almost all as inherently punitive.

I spent a good part of my day viewing (C-Span) Thursday’s senate subcommittee hearing on NCLB. It was indeed heartening to hear so many of our elected officials speak to the damage that the testing craze has done to the spirits of so many hardworking, effective teachers. It was especially comforting to hear Senator Isakson speak with intricate knowledge formed from the vantage points of parents, teachers, administrators and employees. I am in no way partisan, but must admit I was impressed. It is evident that Mr. Isakson is evolving in the right direction. So often our politicians just don’t get it!

Thank you very much,

Fighting in the Trenches

Another Voice

October 23rd, 2011
10:00 pm

Eric Rosser promoted? Yes, that does stink. My observation – he’s all talk. La-di-da, Ph.D., but nothing of substance in any conversation, presentation, or meetings. He was and clearly still is filling a role – to be blunt – a “high-achieving” African-American male, so that APS can point to him as a role model for male youth. Sorry, cant’ see many young men relating to him. Too stiff, too formal, too caught up in being recognized at every instance for Ph.D. (I was actually told to call him Dr. Rosser in an informal gather, when everyone else was on a first name basis).

Once Again

October 23rd, 2011
10:03 pm

If you could walk with your money if this was discovered at your child’s school, the problem would never happen. That is exactly why it happens in government school – you are trapped and they know it.

Carver High School Teacher

October 23rd, 2011
10:04 pm

Thank you. Thank you for this article. I have been trying to get someone or some agency to look into the cheating that goes on in APS high schools for years now. As a teacher at one of the schools of Carver, we were directed (among many unscrupulous things) that we simply were not supposed to fail seniors, period. If you raised a concern about the ethical dilemma of passing students in any grade that did not deserve it, you might have found yourself with a negative evaluation within a week’s time, placed on a surprise Professional Development Plan, or some other “you’d better shout your mouth” kind of punishment or warning. To all of the educators sitting at home waiting to begin your hearing with the school system to be fired: If you were honestly not involved in cheating with the CRCT scandal, I offer this to all of you. Superintendent Davis so passionately (and so often) stated in the media this summer (printed and televised) that no one found to have cheated students in APS would be in front of students when school began in August. Well, there are administrators in the high schools that have been found guilty by the system’s own investigative branch (Office of Internal Resolution) and they still have their jobs. You all should bring this to the attention of your lawyers and teaching association representatives and all of you need to press the Superintendent to stand by his statements and to get rid of those proven administrative cheaters in the high schools just as he is trying to get rid of you. Laws have been broken, and APS is covering it up or turning a blind eye and allowing the law breakers to get off with no accountability, a small warning or ineffective slaps on their unprofessional, unethical, and illegal wrists. In the words of the great bard, “Something is Rotten in the state of Demark.” Atlanta Public Schools, you have become the new Denmark with “an unweeded garden” of “things rank and gross in nature”.

Dr. John Trotter

October 23rd, 2011
10:27 pm

Maureen: I have stated these past few years that the cheating scandal was only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. The Beverly Hall Administration set up an entire culture of cheating and intimidation and reprisals in the Atlanta Public Schools. I have not been the only one stating this. Mr. Top School has been hollering this from the top of the roofs. If you did not go along to get along, then retributions galore (including termination) were hurled against you.

Again, as I have stated on many occasions, I will state it again: Beverly Hall was the absolute worst superintendent to have ever “graced” the Atlanta Public Schools. Bar none.

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

patrick crabtree

October 23rd, 2011
11:51 pm

John, AAE and AFT has stated this also. The unions have been attacked and a concerted effort of ‘union busting’ has been going on for years. We are NOT nor have EVER been the enemy. We are stewards of the workers and beleive it or not the tax payer’s dollars. The public and political leaders want to blame us for supporting ‘corruption.’ That was true when the unions were controlled by the Principals and not the teachers. Today the teacher’s voices are not being heard and we are the ones who want and ARE the whistleblowers who sacrifice our jobs and called ‘bad teachers’ who ‘can’t teach.’ What is goin on in the schools today is a result of the ‘Peter Principle’ and ‘good ole boy system.’ Teachers know we cannot get raises if the schools fail, but we are only doing what we are forced to do , not what we know is the ‘right’ way to teach. We really need to know who supported, put in, and kept Hall in office and then we can get the root cause.

patrick crabtree

October 23rd, 2011
11:57 pm

oops ‘believe’ not beleive.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 24th, 2011
3:35 am

Mr. Crabtree,

How has your organization cooperated with similarly-missioned entitites to overthrow tha corruption which is the APS and other “school” systems in our state?

By the way, late-night lamentations to an AJC blog aren’t counted among effective anti-corruption efforts.

Beverly Fraud

October 24th, 2011
3:49 am

Patrick, I’ll be a bit more blunt than Dr. Spinks: That dog won’t hunt. Even if you give the dog a fancy name like “Revisionist History” that dog still won’t hunt.

While your organization was offering muted and tepid criticism out of one side of your mouth, you were singing her praises and congratulating her on her National Superintendent of the Year award were you not?

On the other hand, Dr. Trotter and MACE stood steadfast in their now TOTALLY legitimized criticism of Hall, even while the educational establishment was heaping praise on what might have been the biggest scam in modern day educational history.

You, like Bookman on the AJC editorial board, at least have shown some buyer’s remorse. But it’s a day late and a dollar short; to complete the southern cliche lesson for today, suffice to say your organization played the role Barney Fife acting tough AFTER Sheriff Taylor came in and made the arrest.

ScienceTeacher671

October 24th, 2011
6:15 am

I’ve said before and I’ll say again – the biggest cheating scandal in Georgia originates in Atlanta, but it’s at the GaDOE.

Each year, the GaDOE tells students, teachers, and parents that students who are as much as 4 years below grade level in reading and math are “proficient” in those subjects.

Then students with elementary-level skills (even if they pass the CRCT in many cases, but definitely if they fail and are socially promoted) are sent to high school, and the high schools supposedly have 4 years to get those students ready for college.

The cheating starts at the top. The VERY TOP.

James

October 24th, 2011
6:37 am

They are government schools…what do you expect?