APS parents and watchers: AJC wants to talk to you about CRCT cheating indictments coming this week

As developments unfold in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating investigation, the AJC would like to get reactions from readers who have/had children in APS or have closely followed the story and have some thoughts.

Please contact my colleague Nancy Badertscher if you are willing to be quoted when appropriate to any developments. She wants to compile a list of possible interviews prior to the handing down of the indictments, which the AJC is now reporting may be Friday.

Thanks, Maureen

34 comments Add your comment

Centrist

March 28th, 2013
11:26 am

The list of those actually indicted, and those who barely avoided (not listed) will be interesting.

Dr. John Trotter

March 28th, 2013
11:38 am

Maureen, Atlanta is still a mess. The APS Grievance/Complaints Policy on its very face egregiously and flagrantly violates the Georgia Code Section (OCGA 20-2-989.5 et seq.). Unconscionable violations. It says, among many other laughable things, that teachers can’t file grievances against administrators for sexual harassment. It is a complete joke. I addressed the Board and Mr. Erroll Davis about this in the past. They continue to ignore the laws that are passed just up the street. APS acts like it is located in North Korea, Iran, or Sudan, not in Georgia.

Destiny Washington, the APS attorney who was Erroll Davis’s designee at the hearing, kept trying to jump in and talk over me as I was cross examining the principal, Tyronne Smith, of Mays High School. Naturally, I wouldn’t let her successfully do this. I was simply engaging in a thorough and sifting cross examination, asking very probative questions which were yielding what I think were some interesting responses. Finally, Ms. Washington just closed down the hearing. I quoted Jack Nicholson and told them, “Y’all can’t handle the truth.” They can’t. It’s the same old APS. Nothing has really changed. But, the teacher seemed to enjoy the action.

Inquiring Mind

March 28th, 2013
11:48 am

Maureen, What do you know about the recent report that a number of administrators from the cheating scandal have been quietly re-hired with back pay? It was on the news over a week ago, then no more mention.

Bernie

March 28th, 2013
11:51 am

The Vultures are circling for the FEAST of the Carcasses, for time of the MOB Hunt for its many victims.
Always a revered past time of a circus like atmosphere, pretty much like the Georgia citizens of not to long ago. When will We, as a people and State ever change?

Paulo977

March 28th, 2013
11:54 am

Dr.JohnTrotter ” Unconscionable violations”
________________________________________________

Welll ….that is the order of the day from the governor down !!!!!!!

Dr. John Trotter

March 28th, 2013
11:58 am

By the way, the grievance hearing that I referenced had nothing to do with sexual harassment. That was just one of the many, many “limitations and exclusions” that Atlanta’s Complaints Policy had in it. The many “limitations and exclusions” are directly in contravention of the State Code which explicitly states that the local board policy have to have “minimum requirements” that is spelled out in the code section and says that supplement things can be added to the local policy “that grant substantive and procedural rights for the complainant.” None of the additional stuff added by the Atlanta School Board grants substantive and procedural rights to the complainants. In fact, the additional elements only take away rights. But, this is APS for you. I don’t see much change at all under the Erroll Davis Administration.

By the way, I had a woman (who has since quit working in APS) who apparently worked with grades at one of the high schools to call me last week and say that the cheating was so rampant in Atlanta that she had to get out of there. She said the principal brought her nearly 400 grade changes to be made with no explanation so that certain seniors could graduate. She, she stated, was in one day alone. She said that so much money was tied to the cheating. I presume that she was talking about state and federal grants. MACE picketed right in front of the APS Central Office on Trinity Street with Beverly Hall still ensconced in power with signs which read: “Teachers Teach. Administrators Cheat.” I presume that some thought that (and still do think!) that we were just loud mouths. No, we were right on target about the Beverly Hall Administration when others were either afraid to speak out or were not willing to speak out. We were right about the Crawford Lewis Administration too…as well as the Edmond Heatley Administration. Shall I go on?

Dr. John Trotter

March 28th, 2013
12:01 pm

Typo: policy [has] to have, not have to have. Sorry.

oldtimer

March 28th, 2013
12:41 pm

I am so glad my time in Atlanta was the late 70s. I am now retired, but I feel so bad for those who still must teach in some of these failing schools. They have so much pressure to improve perfromance with no supposrt from administrators and parents. I feel blessed to have worked in Atlanta, Dekalb, and Clayton with wonderful supportive parents, good administrators, and wonderful kids. I volunteer at a local school and have been hearing teachers even telling kids to eat certain foods before the tests….red grapes, salmon and so forth. There is just so much pressure on the kids and teachers even in high performing school.

Freedom Works

March 28th, 2013
12:47 pm

Will it take another cheating scandal, another teacher who molests kids, another school shooting, another massive redistricting that impacts your child, another school bus beating video, another massive school drug bust, another “zero tolerance” abuse of power by school officials and police, another report of just how horrible government-run education is, or what before you finally decide that your child’s education, their moral character, their future, their safety, etc. are worth doing what you need to do to get them out of the government prison system that masquerades as a school system?

Just wondering.

Dr. John Trotter

March 28th, 2013
1:21 pm

“She, she stated, was in one day alone.” Ha! Boy, when I am multi-tasking, I can come up with some delicious sentences! Correction: It was, she stated, in one day alone.

By the way, I just got off the phone with Mr. Haynes and he was telling me about just encountering a situation in APS where the principal just unilaterally suspended a teacher, telling the teacher to call the sub-finder each day. No due process. No letter from the superintendent detailing his rights to a hearing. Nothing. Totally violation of the Georgia Code. Only the superintendent can suspend someone during his contract year, but the cause has to be so bad (like beating up a kid or having sex with a kid) that the superintendent has to remove the teacher out of the classroom immediately. The suspension from the superintendent has to be in writing. A charge letter has to be sent to the teacher, telling the teacher of an impending hearing within ten (10) days (with a minimum of three day notice of the hearing). The teacher has to be apprised of his or her compulsory rights (witnesses, documents, etc.). Otherwise, the teacher has to be return to the classroom within the ten day time frame.

Atlanta has been notorious for years for putting teachers in a “penalty box” (a Teacher Gulag) for months or years at a time. The teacher just sits at a table, doing nothing but suffering shame…with no due process provided to him or her to defend his or her honor.

Atlanta is a wasteland when it comes to going by the law. Like I said (and I have spoken to several different Atlanta School Boards and the Superintendent), APS must think that it is located in North Korea, Iran, or Sudan. APS r@pes the Georgia law and always has. The APS Cheating Scandal is just the tip of an iceberg, if you folks can actually believe it. It actually it.

The Truth

March 28th, 2013
1:24 pm

Just one more reason educators have no place in running the business of education.

BT

March 28th, 2013
1:36 pm

I don’t condon what to place, tragic, and totally unexceptable, and yes, they did break the law. But indictments are over the top! PSC has handled it and I am assuming their teaching certificates have been revolked. They will never teach again and their unethical behavior will haunt them the rest of their lives, so leave it at that!!

redweather

March 28th, 2013
1:42 pm

The DEEP Pockets of Taxpayers

March 28th, 2013
2:01 pm

The THUG leadership of Hall and Augustine will go unpunished!!! Hall’s extremely costly legal defense is being payed for with tax dollars. The APS board should vote immediately to stop paying to defend criminal charges. Until then, expect no justice!!

Dr. John Trotter

March 28th, 2013
2:01 pm

A complete culture of cheating was in place in APS. I don’t think any of the teachers wanted this culture. I think that it was intricately set up by the administrators. I have known many educators in Atlanta who suffered for not going along to get along. The Beverly Hall Administrator would apparently crush those teachers who refused to go along. Not at every school but at many.

Dr. John Trotter

March 28th, 2013
2:04 pm

The thugs are the ones, in my opinion, who need to be punished. But, as is so often the case, they might go unscathed. I often tell people that when you have more money (and can secure more connected-lawyers), you get more “justice.”

Chamblee Dad

March 28th, 2013
2:36 pm

@APS Folks It’s been awhile but now you seem fully on the radar & back in the news cycle. I know people have grown weary of the DeKalb mess constantly hogging the headlines. Part of it (the coverage & media attention) is the level of disaster, but it’s also the intensity of parental & stakeholder input, watching, action, speaking out about the impact on their own children & schools, demanding action of those who can take it. Even though the lawyers are in charge now, you can still have your voice heard, make sure you have a role in shaping the future. Seize the day. I’d like a day off.

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2013
2:39 pm

@ Dr. John

sorry I’ve not hollered to you yet. major league lost voice. me on the phone right now sounds like a bad obscene caller

bootney farnsworth

March 28th, 2013
2:39 pm

now that we are dealing with these clowns, where’s the RICO for DCSS?

Chamblee Dad

March 28th, 2013
2:44 pm

@ Dr. John Trotter (the very informed) and any other folks with a dog in the fight “The thugs are the ones, in my opinion, who need to be punished” What’s the chance they will see the inside of a courtroom & take the escorted walk on the courthouse steps with their lawyers? B. Hall & her upper minions?

It was satisfying to see Linda Schrenko even do time after her day in the cameras. When her minions rolled she was cooked. Hall deserves similar.

The DEEP Pockets of Taxpayers

March 28th, 2013
2:54 pm

Unfortunately, it will probably take the govenor’s power to replace the APS board before it stops funding Hall’s criminal defense. I have absolutely no faith in the APS board….squandering our money on this foolishness!!

Truth

March 28th, 2013
4:36 pm

The APS school board that failed to supervise Beverly Hall should be indicted as well as they were aware of the illegal activities that they failed to address period for over 10 years. Especially Emet Johnson and Lachandra Butler.

Truth in Moderation

March 28th, 2013
6:41 pm

Just in case you are confused, I NEVER post as “Truth”.

2020

March 28th, 2013
6:56 pm

I agree with Truth. Ler the indictments began!!!!!

Pride and Joy

March 28th, 2013
9:27 pm

It seems like many teachers on this blog really want Hall to go free just so that they can continue to play the victim. Teachers THREATENED STUDENTS!
That’s right. Students are now testifying and they are telling the grand jury that teachers threatened them if they told anyone that teachers cheated.
Teachers love to paint themselves as mere victims in this horrendous criminal cheating lying and stealing but they aren’t and soon we will all know the whole truth about what really went on and I bet Hall WILL serve time in jail as she should along with many of the principals who deserve it and some of the teachers who deserve jail too.

Private Citizen

March 28th, 2013
9:52 pm

hearing teachers even telling kids to eat certain foods before the tests….red grapes, salmon and so forth.

Yes, there is a lot of that. “Eat a good breakfast!” “Get a good night’s sleep!” It is manufactured importance for the mandated testing fetish. As if any of these are going to provide magic pixie dust to make a skill foundation from years of disorganised curriculum and disorganised resources, and rituals (like this) in place of instruction. What is it going to take for people to stop going along with this stuff, and being dishonest with children about what matters and how their time is applied during their valuable developmental time.

Private Citizen

March 28th, 2013
9:57 pm

Maybe all of this is due to the state of Georgia abandoning regulation. They seem to be waking up – a little.

Private Citizen

March 28th, 2013
10:04 pm

hearing teachers even telling kids to eat certain foods before the tests….red grapes, salmon and so forth.

Point is, this “high stakes” nonsense happens several times a year. It is no longer one annual comprehensive test. If you think about the amount of instructional time now required for testing, and the amount of administrator time required for this TKES/LKES stuff, on an efficiency level, it is pretty crazy, like keeping a gas hog in the bay running and revving it up over and over. It is just massively inefficient application of resources, and use of structure in place of structure, if you can figure that out. Imagine the peace of mind of a private school environment freed of repeat testing and emphasis through the school year, and free of this TKES/LKES officialdom. A place where kids can be kids and taught where they are at, developmentally appropriate material per student until mastery of skills in the kind of focused meditative environment that is kin to real education and development of both person and intellect.

Georgia coach

March 28th, 2013
10:12 pm

John, we are inspired by your account of defending another incompetent teacher!

JJ

March 30th, 2013
7:41 am

The teachers in this indictment should not be charged. They have already been fired and Beverly Hall and her key assistants are the ones that should face criminal charges. I would bet all will plea just to put this behind them. Maybe Beverly Hall will fight and after all this no child left behind is the real problem. Taking these standardized test to advance the cause is just stupid. Our federal government is the root of this. Maybe they should be charged also.

Drudge

April 1st, 2013
9:03 am

I guess I wonder how long we can avoid the elephant in the room in this country. Urban Democrats use local government as their family business/personal ATM to the detriment of the most vulnerable citizens. Yet somehow, their electorate supports and defends just atrocious behavior – virtual automatic reelection. Maybe we right wing nut jobs, when we’re not shooting machine guns in church, actually know how to run local governments? Nah, just take solace in your kid’s ability to get you a 10% discount at Jiffy Lube because Beverly was looking for a bonus. Stay Classy, Democrats.

david duncan

April 1st, 2013
9:10 am

I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A POST ON WHETHER OR NOT ANY OF THESE INDICTED WERE –ARE UNION OFFICIALS?? AS THE UNION HIDES BEHIND THE GUISE OF HELPING THE KIDS MEDIOCRITY AND CHEATING BY THE KIDS TOO IS THE COMMON PLACE. SOCIAL PROMOTION IS ONE OF THE MOST DESTRUTIVE ISSUES IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY–MANY THINK THEY ARE WELL EDUCATED AND AS SUCH DON’T UNDERSTAND WHILE THE WRLD DOESN’T GIVE THEM THE RESPECT THEY BELIEVE IS DUE THEM—IN OTHER WORDS IF THEY DON’T DO WELL THEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY ‘RE NOT SUCCESSFUL. IN AL THE UNIONS WAGED A 25 YEAR LITIGATION WAR OVER THE COMPENTCY TESTING OF TEACHERS. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT , THATS A BASIC ISSUE–IF A TEACHER DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TO TEACH –HOW CAN THE KIDS LEARN WHAT THE TEACHER DOESN’T KNOW. THERE HAS BEEN FAR TOO MUCH PAYING OF TEACHERS THAT DIDNT DO THE JOB THEY WERE PAID TO DO.

Smarter than David Duncan

April 14th, 2013
8:39 pm

Hey, David Duncan:

1. Typing in all caps is immature. Please think like an adult instead of a child.

2. There are no teacher unions in the state of Georgia.

Ignorant!

Someone Smarter than that last guy

April 14th, 2013
8:41 pm

There are no teacher unions in Georgia, Mr. Duncan. And, by the way you write, I’m not so sure you spent much time with teachers at all. Am I correct in assuming you never went to college? Did you finish high school? Can you spell high school? :)