Former Fulton and Cobb school chief to state official who uncovered CRCT cheating: “You’ll pay dearly for it.”

Wow. Listen to this damning Channel 2 Action News tape of former Fulton and Cobb school chief James Wilson berating Kathleen Mathers, who, while director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, led the state probe into irregular CRCT results.

In his current role as an education consultant, Wilson was interrogating Mathers on behalf of Dougherty County Schools, which was seeking to defend itself against cheating allegations by discrediting the state audit of CRCT answer sheets.

Mathers’ agency found the highest rates of improbable wrong to right erasures in Dougherty and Atlanta schools.

An odd things about the interview: Wilson is clearly out of his political depth in threatening Mathers, who had the full support of Gov. Sonny Perdue in her efforts.

157 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Mom

January 17th, 2012
2:23 pm

Oh, wow, that James Wilson is one nasty individual. Let’s hope this marks the end of his education “consulting” career.

Educator for Life

January 17th, 2012
2:24 pm

Educator for Life

January 17th, 2012
2:25 pm

He’s the old guy. Translation: He knows how to work the “system”.

tim

January 17th, 2012
2:29 pm

Another low life loser in the Georgia “Educational” system.

There are plenty more.

Harp

January 17th, 2012
2:35 pm

In essence he is saying that they should have been given time to modify the answer sheets to make it look like there were no erasures before the agency investigated and found the irregularities. That is what our tax dollars are paying for?

Fred

January 17th, 2012
2:44 pm

Wow. And this asshat once superintendent of not just one but TWO major School districts here in Georgia? Now THAT is what is scary…….

C Jae of EAV

January 17th, 2012
2:45 pm

Clear articulation of the strangle hold the public education establishment across the have on matters of public policy, budget management & governance/oversight.

Trust that were not the figures involved known personalities on the metro Atlanta edua-poltical stage we would likely never of have heard a thing about this going on way down state.

Ron F.

January 17th, 2012
2:59 pm

Geeeeeez, he sounds like a mafia guy without the Brooklyn accent. Dougherty must have paid him a big chunk of money for that. Yeah, he’s the old guy alright- too old to know that just about anything you say nowadays can be recorded and broadcast for the world to hear.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

January 17th, 2012
3:00 pm

Lets not everyone panic. As long as we all remain calm and do what Mr Wilson STRONGLY recommends things will be fine. Remember, he is the old guy and has nothing to lose.

Ashley

January 17th, 2012
3:00 pm

Mr. Wilson thinks he’s a made man……does he live in a Tony Soprano world with his threats? No he’s just a little fish in a big pond. He is not scaring anyone(lol).

Fred

January 17th, 2012
3:11 pm

LOL Ashley, he actually sounds like the guy I met at 3 Dollar cafe in Tucker yesterday afternoon. Same cheesy schtick.

Good Mom

January 17th, 2012
3:59 pm

“Yeah, he’s the old guy alright- too old to know that just about anything you say nowadays can be recorded and broadcast for the world to hear.”

he he he. Good one. I was thinking the same thing. What kind of idiot doesn’t understand that anyone can record a telephone conversation and anyone can wear a tiny recording device so small that it can fit into the collar of a little boy’s shirt and go undetected by everyone.

He’s an old guy old right. Too old to know all that or just plain too stupid or believes his own bs.

I love Mather. She played it straight and he played right into her hands. She looks no older than about 35 years old. I hope she sticks around the public school system for at least 35 more years.

Good job, Mather. Good job, reporters. Very well done.

Harp from Good Mom

January 17th, 2012
4:04 pm

Harp says “In essence he is saying that they should have been given time to modify the answer sheets to make it look like there were no erasures before the agency investigated and found the irregularities. That is what our tax dollars are paying for?”

Exactly.

His big consulting fees are very likely calculated into the x dollars per student the school system is constantly bragging about. Those dollars don’t do the student a da*n bit of good. Whoever hired this moron should also be under investigation because they obviously hired him to “fix what’s under the hood before he looked at it.” Such a stupid comment. I would love to see that on his tombstone.

Big fish in a little pond? More like big turd in a little pond.

William Casey

January 17th, 2012
4:17 pm

I had the misfortune to have worked under this cretin. I will have to say, he knows something about “Gestapo tactics.” I’m an “older guy!” LOL

Bloodbike

January 17th, 2012
4:21 pm

Damn…,can we look into this guys records to see what else he has done over the years? With the methods he has been using I’m sure he has a boat load of illegal stuff under the covers. This educational system in GA needs some major over haul work and fast!

James Wilson, SACS from Good Mom

January 17th, 2012
4:26 pm

Bloodbike, James Wilson is also a Southern Association of Colleges member, meaning, he determines whether school boards are accredited. The sh*t is really deep. The AJC and the feds need to do a very deep investigation here. SACs, of which, James Wilson is a member, is one of the members who put APS or Dekalb on probation…dear Lord the corruption is ubiquotous.

Please read this:
http://www.elberton.com/articles/2012/01/11/news/news01.txt

Bob

January 17th, 2012
4:30 pm

James Wilson needs to be investigated with a fine tooth comb and then thrown under the bus. WSB, are you up to the challenge?

Ed Advocate

January 17th, 2012
4:30 pm

I’ve encountered Mr. Wilson at the state capitol and found him to be pleasant and professional. Geez! I’m glad I never crossed him. Kathleen handled herself well. Mr. Wilson should’ve considered the possibility he’d be taped. Not a smooth move. I do wonder–why is this recording coming out now? Its release would’ve been more timely months ago.

Me

January 17th, 2012
4:42 pm

One question though – where is Kathleen Mathers today?

Not working at GOSA.

hmmmm

nelson

January 17th, 2012
5:13 pm

How old is James Wilson? He speaks with the wisdom of Methusla. The jugement of the aged is absolutely beyond reproach. Ron Reagan, Ron Paul, Education is beyond cheating, education is the pinacle that one climbs to get the true meaning, As Mormons say, it is true.

echo

January 17th, 2012
5:13 pm

This is not unusual…every school system has a least one of these a$$holes at the county office and several more as building administrators. Why do you think teachers are so opposed to every “new” thing to come along that “helps” education? We don’t trust the slimeballs in charge to do anything but protect their own butts at the expense of anyone who calls them out or gets in the way.

Don't Tread

January 17th, 2012
5:22 pm

James Wilson needs to look in the mirror if he wants to find somebody using “Gestapo tactics”.

Attentive Parent

January 17th, 2012
5:38 pm

So SACS brought Cobb Hinojosa (”well paid even though he has no “dogs in the hunt” on anything relevant) and Avossa and the CMS mafia to Fulton and leads Wilson to believe he can threaten the careers of state officials with impunity.

I think the legislators who have given SACS and its NCSI cousin such power will be shocked and mortified when they finally appreciate the criteria for accreditation.

Enablers of mind theft. On top of all that tax money paid for the certificate on the door that means 180 degrees from what people believe it signifies.

Truth

January 17th, 2012
5:45 pm

Also, for those of you that “wonder” why teachers don’t complain or do anything……. there you go. People like Wilson exist in every school district and freely bully teachers.

Get it now?

catlady

January 17th, 2012
5:56 pm

Dr. T, what say you?

Folks, this is how it works when you buck the system. Do you understand now? And none of us teachers enjoy the support of the governor like Ms. Mathers does.

KIM

January 17th, 2012
6:02 pm

That is about the worst thing I have heard except the cheating itself. As a long time educator, I am stunned and embarrassed. What can be done about this?

slobofftehstreet

January 17th, 2012
6:18 pm

Will someone explain why students are even allowed to erase an answer and select another one?

“OK students, listen carefully. You are only allowed one answer for each question. Pick the answer you feel is the best for each question. Notice you do not have an eraser on your pencil. That is because you are not allowed to erase an answer. Be certain of your answer before filling in the circle you have selected.”

Problem solved. Or does the state want systems to have the choice to change answers and get more body parts caught in the ringer?

redweather

January 17th, 2012
6:20 pm

Re James Wilson. See this newspaper report in the Elberton paper:

http://www.elberton.com/articles/2012/01/11/news/news01.txt

He stays busy.

slobofftehstreet

January 17th, 2012
6:31 pm

Parents get the same treatment from superintendents, board members, administrators and teachers when they point out gross abuse by the school and in turn so do our children, aka public school students. You teachers think you have it tough? At least you get paid to be abused.

Hey, has anyone out there ever heard of “HELICOPTER TEACHER PARENTS”

To Truth from Good Mom

January 17th, 2012
6:38 pm

Truth lectures us and says “People like Wilson exist in every school district and freely bully teachers.

Get it now?”

Now we get it? Bullying and harassment have been around for ages, “Truth.” It doesn’t give teachers a pass to go cheat on the tests because they were bullied. Surely someone who calls themselves “Truth” would understand that simple concept. Lying and cheating are wrong and will land you in jail regardless of the size of your job title. Teachers are just as guilty as the corrupt administrators for changing the test scores. No one gets sympathy and a get out of jail free card just because they were pressured into doing it.

Now, go on whine on some other blog.

To Slob from Good Mom

January 17th, 2012
6:44 pm

Surely you jest. That would encourage corrupt teachers to use voice inflection to indicate the correct answer, a lie that is harder to detect. Let’s make it easier to catch the crooks. Test erasures are easy to find.

milles

January 17th, 2012
7:00 pm

For a short time, James Wilson was superintendent of Fulton County Schools. I was teaching in Fulton County then and remember getting an email from his office stating he was leaving after less than 2 years I believe. Thank God for his departure. Alas, his replacements have had short tenures also. All have come in with their ‘agendas’, and the teachers and the students have suffered because of them.

Justice seeker

January 17th, 2012
7:28 pm

Kathleen Mathers resigned from GOSA about 2 weeks after she was “cleared” from further investigation of an ethics complaint I filed against her. Though Wilson sounds like a hamheaded thug, he was correct that Mathers didn’t belong in her job.

Mathers falsely accused an administrator of an ethics violation. My complaint about her was about 25 pages long with detail, so it is not possible to give all details, but she wrote a letter directing a school district to file an ethics complaint and that letter included a false accusation. Mathers knew it was false and when the district (after significiant push back from the falsely accused) told Mathers she was factually wrong, she insisted they file the complaint. The district filed a “report” detailing Mathers’ accusation and their investigation that showed her false accusation. Also, Mathers insisted the district file a complaint against the administrator for violating ethics standard 11 (testing). The problem here was that this standard was NOT IN EFFECT at the time of this alleged misbehavior. Mathers was abetted by Gary Walker, Director of Educator Ethics for the Commission. I should say, “former Director” because he too was gone shortly after this ethics complaint was swept under the rug. Isn’t that interesting, both Kathleen Mathers and Gary Walker, both leaving their positions in the middle of the APS ethics investigations? Some coincidence….personal reasons of course.

Truth in Moderation

January 17th, 2012
7:35 pm

Is the Georgia law that allows the secret tape recording of another individual as long as the recording party is recorded as well, still in effect? Kathleen Mathers seemed unphased by his comments, as if she was participating in a government sting operation. Is this the case? Obviously the tapes were in the possession of the courts or Channel 2 could not have obtained them. Does this tape actually record James Wilson breaking a specific law? Based on this incident, anyone involved in the public schools should ALWAYS wear a tape recorder. LOL!

Interesting....

January 17th, 2012
7:47 pm

One metro district is utilizing a TREMENDOUS number of consultants these days. Might this one be on the payroll?

Might be worth a look, Maureen. At least an open records request…

Roach

January 17th, 2012
7:48 pm

So the thug got her after all.

Bloodbike

January 17th, 2012
7:57 pm

So both Ms. Mathers and Mr. Wilson are dirty? Wow! Georgias education system needs a huge make over. I think all teachers and administrators should just turn on the IPHONE APP that allows them to record what is being said in a meeting whenever they have a meeting with superiors. It’s not that situations like this don’t happen in the business world, but usually their a great deal more pleasant and ends with both parties getting something in return. Both environments are wrong to participate in such behavior but Mr. MAthers was just tryin gto put the screws to her for the heck of it.

ScienceTeacher671

January 17th, 2012
8:01 pm

@slob, Will someone explain why students are even allowed to erase an answer and select another one?

Doesn’t really matter. Most of them don’t erase. Every now and then one might skip a question and be one-off on the numbers, and then you might see a few wrong-to-right answers, but not very often.

If you’ve graded a bunch of papers, you know there’s a reason that test-taking strategies usually include “go with your first answer” — students seem much more likely to change right answers to wrong answers than vice versa.

Mahopinion

January 17th, 2012
8:03 pm

So, it’s ok to engage in unethical behavior as long as you were “bullied” by someone higher up?

Hillbilly D

January 17th, 2012
8:42 pm

For some reason when I was watching that, I kept having vision of Ol’ Barney Fife nippin’ it in the bud. Too bad we don’t have Sheriff Andy to straighten things out.

Truth

January 17th, 2012
8:52 pm

@Good Mom – Go take a pill. What in the world r u talking about? I never said anything about cheating! You really need to find a doctor with a couch…. and quick!

Truth

January 17th, 2012
8:56 pm

@Good Mom – During my career in teaching, I have been bullied to: change a student’s final grade in my class from a 68 to a 70 (so they would pass), allow a student to “re-take” a test because the student wanted a B in my class instead of a C, allow more students into my class than the State law allows because ‘it was the right thing to do for the children’, and there is more.

Truth

January 17th, 2012
8:57 pm

@Good Mom – Oh yeah. The one I like most: I was bullied to not purchase physical science equipment for a couple of years so that the department chair could purchase her additional biology stuff.

Attentive Parent

January 17th, 2012
9:03 pm

Notice the determination to shift the focus away from SACS and its shakedown, I mean excellence, quality learning, for the children, legislatively provided monopoly, taxpayer funded, revenue operation, that just kept bringing Wilson in as a finalist for these super positions.

What was the final effect on his retirement pension?

That Elberton article indicates he is still regarded as having the SACS’ imprimatur even after moving along from the previous superintendency. With Fulton taxpayers and students weeping in his wake.

Where does an individual with such a demeanor of mediocrity think he gets the type of power he bragged about?

Why did Dougherty think he was the appropriate person to help them?

Why did APS only get threatened with loss of accreditation when the Board tried to intervene?

Why does the obligation for a governing board consensus only come into play when the power interests feel threatened, not the students, teachers, or parents?

Cere

January 17th, 2012
9:08 pm

From that Elberton newspaper linked above,

“James Wilson, a subcontractor for SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and a former school superintendent for the Cobb County School System, was scheduled to make a personal appearance as a consultant Tuesday night at the Elbert County Board of Education work session at the high school cafeteria.

The meeting was moved from the BOE’s regular meeting room on Laurel Drive to the high school’s cafeteria.

That Tuesday work session and a weekend “retreat” meeting by the board will take place before a possible recommendation is made by School Superintendent Rick Higginbotham on how the school system is going to cope with yet another slim budget year expected for the 2012-2013 school year.”

Interestingly, the DeKalb School board has a “Retreat” with SACS tomorrow. I think someone from the AJC had better go.

To Truth from Good Mom

January 17th, 2012
9:22 pm

Your examples of how you were bullied are underwhelming.

Sam

January 17th, 2012
9:23 pm

It’s a shame that being a thug isn’t illegal. I wish it were so this jackazz could be in the pokey. If the board in my country ever hires this guy for anything, they can all kiss their jobs buh bye.

Mahopinion

January 17th, 2012
9:32 pm

@truth-
So you are blaming your lack of ethics on being “bullied”. Do I have that right? Some people, myself included, would call that weak or selling out.

RGB

January 17th, 2012
9:47 pm

Remember this piece prior to your next ESPLOST vote.

Doing it for the children doesn’t have the same ring to it, now does it?

oldsouthern gal

January 17th, 2012
9:47 pm

to justice seeker that a way your one reason the thief’s and cheating teachers and officials are still entrenched. way to go education suffers because some want their egos fed.