In the wake of the indictments handed down today against former Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 others, APS school chief Erroll B. Davis sent this letter to APS employees:
Today, the Fulton County District Attorney’s (DA) Office announced indictments against 35 former employees of Atlanta Public Schools (APS). The former employees are accused of wrongdoing in connection with the administration of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in 2009 and, in some cases, previous years.
As an APS family, we are ready to put this troubling episode behind us. Our official role is to allow the legal process to run its course. We have an obligation to treat any indictment as a legal matter between the individuals implicated and the DA’s office.
At the same time, we will maintain the expectation that all employees conform to the highest ethical standards established in APS. Over the past two years, we have taken action to renew our organization’s collective commitment to students, parents, employees, partners and community members. From requiring all employees to complete annual ethics training as a condition of employment to strengthening safeguards on test materials, we have done considerable work both to prevent and to punish cheating.
Our focus now is where it should be: cultivating an ethical organization, supporting the more than 95 percent of individuals who were not implicated in the scandal, and most importantly, providing a quality education for our children. We are keenly focused on serving our 50,000 students and approximately 3,000 teachers and principals; they accept their profession as a calling and understand that educating a child is the most honorable job in the world. I have nothing but admiration for our teachers and principals. I know that our children will succeed when the adults around them work hard, work together, and do so with integrity.
Thank you for your positive contribution to Atlanta Public Schools.
Erroll B. Davis Jr.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog