Former APS chief Beverly Hall. Still in Atlanta but keeping a low profile

Former APS school chief Beverly Hall remains in Atlanta. (AJC Photo)

Former APS school chief Beverly Hall remains in Atlanta. (AJC Photo)

The Sunday AJC has an update today on the status of former APS superintendent Beverly Hall.

While APS is moving ahead in its efforts to dismiss educators accused of cheating, there are no charges pending against Hall and the Fulton DA will only say that his probe is ongoing.

Although the state’s own investigation into CRCT cheating in Atlanta concluded that Hall “knew or should have known about cheating,” Hall denies any role. She says that while she expected educators to raise student achievement, she never pressured them to cheat or sanctioned cheating.

The decision to bring charges will likely hinge on the resolution of this issue: Whether Hall created a success-at-any-cost culture that led to widespread cheating or whether she actively condoned cheating by ignoring glaring disparities in performance and by shrugging off whistle-blower reports of test tampering.

According to the AJC:

The former Atlanta school chief has made only a handful of public statements since a state investigative report running more than 400 pages was released in July alleging widespread cheating in APS. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has an ongoing grand jury investigation into the alleged misconduct, and DA Paul Howard has declined to comment.

Some who have watched this case unfold say it won’t truly be resolved until a decision is made about whether Hall is held accountable for what’s being called the largest school cheating scandal in American history. “Everyone is wondering what happened to Dr. Hall,” said Ramon Reeves, president of the Atlanta Association of Educators and a science teacher at North Atlanta High School. “People are feeling that the situation is unresolved, that she was the leader and she was the crux of what was going on.”

Questions about Hall and her top lieutenants are resurfacing as some teachers accused of cheating are attending hearings to fight for their jobs. Many say they felt pressured to cheat by a punitive culture that started at the top. The special investigation accused about 180 educators at 44 schools of some degree of cheating. As of last week, about 85 have retired or resigned, two have been fired, and about 25 are scheduled to have a tribunal hear their cases.

The Professional Standards Commission, which licenses Georgia educators, voted to sanction about 80 teachers and education leaders by suspending or revoking their certificate.The once-celebrated Hall retired as superintendent in June. Some of the top officials who served under her are still under contract and being paid by APS, while others have had trouble securing new employment:

● Former Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine, Hall’s top adviser, resigned as superintendent of the DeSoto Independent School District after one day on the job. She and the Texas district reached a severance agreement paying her $188,000.In the Atlanta investigation, she was accused of making false statements when questioned about cheating. Investigators said Augustine knew or should have known that cheating was going on.

● Three former area superintendents — Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts and Tamara Cotman — are still on the APS payroll. They earn six-figure salaries. Each was issued an intent-to-fire letter months ago, but no hearing has been scheduled. District officials say they haven’t decided what actions will be taken regarding the former area superintendents. All three were accused in the state investigation of failing to properly monitor the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. Investigators also claimed the three knew or should have known about cheating. They deny any wrongdoing.

● Millicent Few, former chief of human resources, secured a consulting job in a Connecticut school district, but was let go after the superintendent there learned of the allegations against her in the Atlanta cheating case. Few is accused of illegally ordering the destruction or alteration of documents and making false statements to investigators.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

97 comments Add your comment

carlosgvv

April 22nd, 2012
12:44 pm

Because of political and racial reasons, it will be a cold day in hell when Beverly Hall is forced to be held accountable for her actions.

JAR

April 22nd, 2012
1:24 pm

If At-large school board member Courtney English believes that the APS district now has great leadership in new Superintendent Erroll Davis, Courtney English should be run out of town right behind Errol Davis.

bootney farnsworth

April 22nd, 2012
1:43 pm

I’m not at all suprised she’s hanging around.
arsonists are well known for staying to watch things burn.

and she burnt down APS more effectivly than Sherman could have.

Woody

April 22nd, 2012
1:54 pm

1) My definition of ‘justice’ includes a clause about the powerful being punished alongside lesser transgressors.
2) How did the school board get away with hiring such a bewildered grandma?

Paulo977

April 22nd, 2012
2:31 pm

bootney farnsworth

April 22nd, 2012
1:43 pm

Instead of blasting individuals in the system, do take an in depth look at the whole business of STANDARDIZED TESTING ….By the way have a look at ALEC too !!!

Dekalbite

April 22nd, 2012
2:40 pm

“Three former area superintendents — Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts and Tamara Cotman — are still on the APS payroll. ”

These along with Hall are the employees MOST responsible for test integrity. Unless the decision makers at the top of the food chain are made responsible, tax payers will not have their comfort level raised and teacher morale will decrease even further.

If you fail to take action against the upper level management that led to this mess, the stage is set for another upper level management group to repeat the same mistakes knowing they will suffer no adverse consequences – on the contrary they will stand to gain monetarily. Rewarding misbehavior is a positive reinforcer for subsequent misconduct.

APS Parent #2

April 22nd, 2012
2:51 pm

With crossed fingers, we sit waiting for the Fulton County DA to weave a web of facts, information and testimony that shows Dr. Beverly Hall sitting in the middle as the Black Window Spider (no racial slur intended just an analogy to a poisonous spider that preys on victims in its web) preying on the children, teachers and staff of the Atlanta Public Schools.

Others may have woven the web she sits in, but she was the head of APS and is responsible for allowing that web to have been woven within APS.

If time is needed to ensure Dr. Hall is ensnared in her own web, then may the Fulton County DA take whatever time he needs. A conspiracy to defraud and cheat children on the level of APS over such a period of time needs to be revealed and all who participated punished for their role however big or small.

Dr. Hall will see many familiar facesr in the Fulton County jail. She’ll see former APS students who turned to a life of crime because their APS education wasn’t one that supported their gainfully employment after a K-12 APS education.

Spring Cleaning - Pitts Must Go!

April 22nd, 2012
2:55 pm

Good legal counsel always help delay justice.

Mr. Davis, justice is blind, but why are you? Read the state’s report and connect the dot. The smarter the crook, the harder it is to pin the crime on him. If you are going to rid the classroom of those who allegedly cheated in the classroom and in the schools, then you also need to rid downtown of decision-makers who helped cover up what was happening.

It is spring and time to finally clean the house at 130 Trinity. Sharon Pitts is still there – why?

William Casey

April 22nd, 2012
2:59 pm

I realize that there is a need to thoroughly document legal cases against the “higher-ups” in the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal but, time is of the essence since a LOT of taxpayer money is being wasted on those still on the payroll as well as Hall’s huge bonus which needs to be recovered. It’s getting to be time to TAKE ACTION. The four Allied Powers organized the Nuemberg Trials of Nazi war criminals more quickly than this!

Jane W.

April 22nd, 2012
3:53 pm

She should be under indictment, if she isn’t already. On her watch the teaching profession suffered an image catastrophe it won’t recover from for a generation.

Then there are the parents, children and taxpayers who were defrauded.

Beverly Fraud

April 22nd, 2012
4:55 pm

In light of the discord brought about by redistricting, why not unify the citizenry with a cause they can all get behind: honoring Dr. Hall for her many achievements at APS, by naming a school after her.

I call on Andy Young, and Shirley Franklin two of Atlanta’s most esteemed citizens, to lead this effort, in conjunction with the well respected Chamber of Commerce.

It’s time for Hall’s staunch supporters to acknowledge one of Atlanta’s true giants.

Digger

April 22nd, 2012
5:09 pm

In Georgia we can handcuff a kindergartner, but not a full-blown felon.

Beverly Fraud

April 22nd, 2012
6:11 pm

Speaking of “knew or should have known”

Look at former AJC reporter Paul Donsky’s groundbreaking work back in 2001. Yes 2001. Read Jean Dodd’s comments from 2001 that there is “no way these scores can be legitimate”. Again, 2001.

Now ask yourself is it EVERY bit as fair and legitimate to ask if the AJC editorial board at the time “knew or should have known”?

If so, is it not just as fair to ask how much suffering could have been spared of Atlanta’s children if the editorial board had only used their bully pulpit to act on what they “knew or should have known” if they had only read their very own paper?

If these are not fair and legitimate questions to ask, please feel free to state why.

Hillbilly D

April 22nd, 2012
6:48 pm

This thing will probably end up like they always do. They’ll wind up getting most of the money in their contract, no punishment, and then when the fire dies down, they’ll go somewhere else and get another high paying job.

APS Teacher

April 22nd, 2012
7:13 pm

DA Paul Howard wife still work for APS so that is why he is taking his time with this case. I can’t wait unitl election time because FULTON COUNTY is ready for a new DA.

mountain man

April 22nd, 2012
8:04 pm

It boils my blood to see them going after the TEACHERS who were told “raise your students achievement level with no support and no authority and getting students that are years behind or else you will be fired”, but leave the administrators who told them that alone! That is messed up! Yes, they protected themselves by saying ” I didn’t tell them to cheat”. But they forced the cheating by creating an atmosphere of fear. It would be just like letting Hitler go free while prosecuting all the German private soldiers for the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Until you prosecute Beverly Hall, you should put all teacher firings on hold!

Ron F.

April 22nd, 2012
8:34 pm

“The four Allied Powers organized the Nuemberg Trials of Nazi war criminals more quickly than this!”

Now that was good, but the LOL Award for this thread so far goes to:

“In Georgia we can handcuff a kindergartner, but not a full-blown felon.”

Sadly, the felon has more lawyers, money, and a LOT of underlings to pass the blame to before she’ll ever see the light of a courtroom. By that time, the taxpayers will have gotten tired of the money and time wasted and she’ll end up retired on Miami Beach with a nice pension and a great beachfront condo. I guess maybe we can hope for a hurricane…

Old timer

April 22nd, 2012
8:44 pm

Amen..Mountain man…teachers gave into pressure….not right but what is..those in charge..were responsible for the cheating culture…

Meanwhile

April 22nd, 2012
9:33 pm

Paulo977 @ 2:31 pm RE: “…By the way have a look at ALEC too !!!”

Perhaps you missed Kyle Wingfield’s commentary “A left-wing ‘temper tantrum’ to short-circuit elections and their consequences” ?????

j bullyq

April 23rd, 2012
12:45 am

presided over the largest school cheating scandal in America……..another famous black Atlanta politician makes off with da loot, when at at least half of the entire APS should be convicted. I found it almost funny that Erroll Davis feels the City’s image has been blemished ….. that is hysterically understated. Atlanta is a Racially Intolerant Cesspool of Crime and Corruption and no program implemented in the last 40 years has survived without stolen money and “prominent” politicians in jail (at least for their photo ops)…..oh, that’s right, Racially Intolerant means the blacks in power hate you white cracker honkies, all of you.

Jack

April 23rd, 2012
5:58 am

Hall needs to be indicted and have her day in court.

To Mountain Man

April 23rd, 2012
6:44 am

MM, you’re missing the point. YOu say “Until you prosecute Beverly Hall, you should put all teacher firings on hold!”
NO…
YOu get the underlings to report all the mob boss’ crimes, THEN you prosecute the mob boss.
You need the made men (or the women as it were) to turn in the goods on teh mob boss so you can have all the evidence to get the mob boss.
See?

Cosby

April 23rd, 2012
6:50 am

All Political. Hall will never be held accountable and will be held in the higest esteem in a few years to her wonderful years working in the education field. When, Just when will this country start holding public officials accountable…but wait in this case, would that be racism. A sad sad day

$$$$

April 23rd, 2012
7:11 am

At the very least Hall should return her bonus money…and Sharon Pitts still at home office…Really!!!

Doris M.

April 23rd, 2012
7:47 am

If Hall should have known about the cheating and she is being investigated, why is her head administrative chief still working for the APS? Sharron Pitts knew everything that Hall knew as she was the lawyer with the advice. She was the go-to gal to keep things flowing and Hall out of the immediate fray. Why does Errol Davis thinks she had nothing to do with anything? The intimidation the principals and teachers felt was simply horrendous. My question is why did the investigators say to the teachers that if you tell, you will not be prosecuted and now who is on the firing line — teachers and not administrators. The prosecution should have begun with the top administrators (Hall and her cabinet) and trickled down.

bob

April 23rd, 2012
7:56 am

Beverly Fraud makes a great point. The AJC and editorial board loved all things on the left and coddled Beverly Hall with stories about her great work.

C Jae of EAV

April 23rd, 2012
8:51 am

@Mountain Man – Central office adminstrators AND school level faculty members (regretfully as they may be about buckling to the pressure of questionable mgmt directives), should be held accountable as appropriate for the role they played in the whole situation PERIOD !! I don’t think any participant at any level of the chain of authority from the classroom up to Dr. Hall’s office on Trinity should be given a pass !!

@ Doris M – Trust that NOTHING happened of any signficance during Dr. Hall’s tenture that wasn’t known by and to some extent scantioned by BOTH Sharron Pitts & Kathy Augustine, PERIOD !!! They’re job was to provide Dr. Hall plausible deniability! I believe Dr. Davis has missed his opportunity to effectively and decisively deal with this fiasco.

HS Public Teacher

April 23rd, 2012
9:13 am

Has Beverly Hall’s education certificate been revoked by Georgia? I have not heard anything about this at all…..

GM of IST @ CCDOE in GMU

April 23rd, 2012
9:18 am

Let’s just cut to chase and announce Ms. Halls defense right now.

It’s George Bush’s fault.

Inman Park Boy

April 23rd, 2012
9:52 am

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on Paul Howard to do anything. The Fulton DA’s office is a mess.

Simon

April 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

It has become normal for the higher ranking people, whether in private business, government, or education, to escape justice for their wrongdoings. The let the lower ranking pay for them and just laugh their ass off because they know they won’t face any justified punishment.

Simon

April 23rd, 2012
10:01 am

They, not the.

charles

April 23rd, 2012
10:40 am

don’t forget Dr. Hall received several hundred thousands in bonus payments for test score improvements and higher graduation rates that were both fabricated. They transferred students to the drop out capital of APS and classified dropouts as transfers out of the system. That sounds like a hands on fraud and Hall still has the money! How about going after that!

Jerry Eads

April 23rd, 2012
11:21 am

Mountain man: yep, pretty much that. Not unlike the folks responsible for the Wall Street fiascos that took the whole country down – not to mention those in political power who encouraged it to happen. The ones who truly paid — and will continue to pay for the rest of their lives — were the little folk (at APS, both the teachers and the students).

Paulo977

April 23rd, 2012
11:25 am

mountain man…But they forced the cheating by creating an atmosphere of fear. It would be just like letting Hitler go free while prosecuting all the German private soldiers for the atrocities of the Holocaust.
____________________________________________________

Very well put
” Creating an atmosphere of fear” This is the climate in which our kids are now being DRILLED !!!

EDUCATION has long since being suspended ! At this very moment , little 3rd graders in a rigid
situation are being required to respond to right and wrong answers on CRCT tests . !!!

America , we gave the world John Dewey , why have we allowed reactionary forces, which started with Reagan , to take over our classrooms??

chillywilly

April 23rd, 2012
11:34 am

I think the SWAT Team needs to storm Beverly Hall’s hideout, handcuff her and drag her to the city jail immediately. And while they’re at it, storm APS Finance Division and arrest some of those folks as well. I agree with Rep. Ralph Long; we need to see Beverly Hall sitting in those hearings crying instead of the teachers. With regard to Erroll Davis, I think he’s worst than Beverly Hall and needs to be run out of town.

V for Vendetta

April 23rd, 2012
11:59 am

Hey, Maureen,

I know this is off topic, but I just heard from a friend of mine that her high school axed college day during senior week because “not everyone goes to college” and some kids might have their feelings hurt. (Her school also used to do a “where are you going?” college wall that was also axed for the same reason.)

This makes me want to puke, and I would be willing to bet a lot of people on this blog would feel the same way.

Another comment

April 23rd, 2012
12:55 pm

I am surprised that she has not headed back to Jamacia yet. Of course she thinks she is above the law. Because Howards wife had a job working in the APS system. Not a teacher job, but a management job. It is also pretty sick that Howard’s wife works for APS, yet Howard’s son goes to Woodward. Howard has plenty of time to sit in the stands and cheer on his son’s basketball games at Woodward. He doesn’t care about APS, other than his wife getting a big check, so they can pay the big $22K tuition at Woodward. Or do they have a schoolarship for being black at Woodward. We all know that the Athletic Schoolarships are suppose to be non-existant and only needs based. But he is the cousin of The top NBA player Dwight Howard. Just Wondering……

farce

April 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

Let’s get rid of Edmond Heatley and the board members. It is time for him to go. He has been a disaster for the Clayton County Public Schools. Doug needs to go with him.

Beverly Fraud

April 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

“If Hall should have known about the cheating and she is being investigated, why is her head administrative chief still working for the APS?”

Good question Doris M. Is the AJC too terrified to ask such a fair and legitimate question?

Does Davis now enjoy the “untouchable” status with the AJC that Hall once did?

ATL_NATIVE

April 23rd, 2012
1:51 pm

Every since the “biggest cheating scandal in American History” was first used – I did the math – did any of you care to. Let’s see out of
3,000 APS teachers – not employee’s – or administrators – APS had 3,000 TEACHERS
180 were ACCUSSED of being involved with this widespread cheating scandal of which
85 have resigned
25 have yet to go to tribunal and let’s see
2 have been FIRED???

And you expect the DA to go after the superintendent and win? Forgive me – that’s like saying Zimmerman will be convicted by a jury of his peers. And if you believe those two – I’v e got a few flying pigs to sale ya.

Double Zero Eight

April 23rd, 2012
2:29 pm

The sacrificial lambs have been led to the slaughter.
Nothing will happen to the shepherd, also known as “Cupcake”..
There will soon be a shortage of brooms resulting from the state
and APS, “sweeping” what happened in 2004, 2005, 2006. 2007
2008 and even 2010 “under the rug”.

Beverly Fraud

April 23rd, 2012
3:54 pm

Try 2001 Double Zero Eight. Paul Donsky had the story; MASSIVE evidence of cheating. A story that BEGGED for a follow up, but the rumor is AJC higher ups SQUASHED it.

Seems like an equally MASSIVE drop in circulation caused the AJC to suddenly “get religion” again and do the story they SHOULD have done back in 2001.

Don’t buy the weak, tepid AJC party line of “we didn’t have the access to test erasure analysis.” What the AJC didn’t have was the POLITICAL WILL to follow the story.

Struthers

April 23rd, 2012
4:19 pm

The woman belongs in jail, and if the blacks in Fulton weren’t so racist and forgiving of their brothers and sisters, like McKinney, Johnson, Hall and all these scummy types, she would be there.

NONPC

April 23rd, 2012
4:22 pm

Atlanta named the airport after Maynard Jackson. I am sure Beverly Hall will get a school, a bridge, a highway or something. Atlanta, like Washington D.C., rewards their own.

BADA BING

April 23rd, 2012
4:22 pm

ABS Bumper Sticker

“My Child Is An Honor Student”
(subject to a pending investigation)

NONPC

April 23rd, 2012
4:23 pm

p.s. And folks wonder why the suburbs don’t want to get involved in any of the city of Atlanta /south Fulton politics.

Ron Burgundy

April 23rd, 2012
4:49 pm

I agree ATL_NaATIVE….no way that Zimmerman gets convicted by jury due to all that eveidence leading the way of innocence of murder and all.

BADA BING

April 23rd, 2012
4:52 pm

Hall may be keeping a low profile, but it’s wide.

Beverly Fraud

April 23rd, 2012
4:53 pm

“Still in Atlanta but keeping a low profile…”

Kind of like Cynthia Tucker did, once she realized how foolish she looked being one of Hall’s main cheerleaders.

Don’t hear much from Andy Young or Shirley Franklin these days either, do we?