Beverly Hall worried about asking too little of inner city students. But is there also a danger of asking too much?

downeyart (Medium)Despite all the cheering on the blog that APS administrators are now facing justice for their roles in the CRCT cheating scandal, an unresolved issue remains: Why was there so much cheating in APS?  (And elsewhere in the country, as uncovered by a later AJC investigation?)

The Georgia CRCTs are not difficult tests. Why was it so difficult to get APS students to score in acceptable ranges?

The indictments in the APS cheating scandal bring us back to the national quandary of how to raise the achievement level of students who historically were never expected to do well, were accorded fewer resources with which to do well, had the most inexperienced teachers and came from homes that lacked the social capital to assist them in school.

The cheating at APS occurred in the schools with the least advantaged populations.

When she came to Atlanta, Beverly Hall said she wanted teachers who believed poor children could do well. (Interesting side point here is that Hall wanted to fire many more teachers than she ultimately could after Gov. Sonny Perdue was elected and immediately restored the teacher job protections — often described as “tenure”  — that his predecessor Roy Barnes had removed. A few weeks ago, House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, D-Atlanta  told me and other AJC reporters, “Removing tenure entirely was wrong, but putting it back entirely was wrong, too.”)

APS invested heavily in teacher training. It created special teams of highly rated or master teachers to counsel struggling classroom colleagues. It offered after-school programs. It won millions in grants to enhance math education.

Did any of those reforms work? There are lots of APS grads — even from high poverty schools — attending and graduating top colleges, so clearly some kids received good educations.

Why didn’t more of them?

APS school chief Beverly Hall often cited the “tyranny of low expectations” for holding back inner city kids.

But is there an opposite and equally damaging tyranny — holding students and their teachers to unrealistically high standards?

When APS schools made their targets, the bar was raised higher for the next year. Was that a mistake? Should schools be allowed to go into holding patterns rather than be expected to outpace their previous year’s accomplishments?

Many people maintain that high-stakes tests are not a fair way to measure schools.  Are more subjective models better yardsticks? Are classroom grades enough to assess a student and a school?

In some places, including Georgia, student performance as measured by test scores or portfolios now counts for up to half a teacher’s evaluation rating.  Student performance  — however measured — will now determine whether a teacher and school is deemed effective.

Will this lead to more cheating?

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

120 comments Add your comment

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
11:20 am

In Atlanta, if you had a cross-dressing superintendent, would that be a ” tranny of low expectations?”
_____________

I do not think expectations has anything to do with this mess from the fed / state / district schools. The one thing they expect is control and this is achieved through scripted rituals and the coming back around and harassing teachers and students about the scripted rituals. The bellweather is that if you cut a pie into three pieces, the piece that is missing is support materials. Therefore, to be honest, there is no legitimacy to any of it and learning takes place is spite of the harassment that is education management.

Rick L in ATLANTA

April 1st, 2013
11:39 am

This is a sham argument. What really holds poor kids back in urban school systems is the presence of disruptive, disinterested, and undiagnosed special ed students in their classrooms. (And I say this as the parent of a special ed student).

Those students should be removed from the classroom so the other kids can advance, even spec-Ed students unless they are non-disruptive and are attended by a parapro. (My son was “mainstreamed” for awhile in his 2nd-grade classroom, but in retrospect it was a horrible idea, and we eventually insisted he be pulled out because his disruptions were a disservice to the other children in that classroom).

We should delegate the who-stays, who-goes decision to teachers and back their play. And yes, I know: this creates another expensive problem to solve; what to do about all the ejected students? But the answer cannot be: let them remain a disruptive force and continue to hold back all the students who are capable of learning.

Blaming and punishing teachers for the poor performance of their unteachable students (as APS has long done, and continues to do) is a mistake that has had catastrophic consequences and will be cited, years from now, as the main reason for the downfall of the traditional public school model.

Dr. Clayton Alford

April 1st, 2013
11:48 am

As someone who has first-hand experience working under the reign of Beverly Hall, I can attest to the fact, that she is incompetent, full of greed and has absolutely no interest in the education of disadvantaged learners. Beverly Hall is consumed with her ego and with making herself look good in the national spot-light. She used her position in New York City and Newark, New Jersey to self-promote her goal of national recognition. In Brooklyn, she was an abusive leader who resorted to harassment, discrimination and tyranny to advance her career. She even refused to allow her son to attend NYC Public Schools saying the school system could not provide an adequate education for her son. Where the School Board of Atlanta went wrong was they failed to thoroughly investigate her background and if they had, they would had realized she was not worthy or qualified to lead the Atlanta School District. Beverly Hall was mentored by J. Jerome Harris and the Atlanta School Board dismissed Dr. Harris for cause.

The judicial system has an indictment against her and her tyrannical rule and abuse of power has made news all the way up to New York City and on the national news media. I will await her surrender to the Fulton Country Prison system and I am certain the media will provide coverage for those of us back in New York who have long known about her despotic reputation and leadership style.

If Beverly Hall is convicted, she will meet criminal elements she so desperately despises and the very same people she stepped over to get ahead, will be waiting to see her come back down to earth. This is fascinating stuff, and “life is indeed stranger than fiction.” As they say, you can’t make this stuff up.

Respectfully,

Dr. Clayton Alford,

New York, NY

southern hope

April 1st, 2013
11:55 am

This issue is so thick with layers….no easy way to comment.

But i will say that using the results of these nationalized tests as a way to determine whether a kid is smart or not (or being taught well) is really pretty silly.

And, btw, private-school parents, here’s why your schools are never called out on these issues 1) they don’t take any of these tests 2) they self-select students and 3) when bad things do happen, they’re kept quiet. (as a parent with 1 kid in APS and 2 kids in Private, I know this to be true :(

Frustrated Taxpayer

April 1st, 2013
11:56 am

Maureen, there is no simple answer to your question. As you point out, APS invested heavily in teacher training. It created special teams of highly rated or master teachers to counsel struggling classroom colleagues. It offered after-school programs. It won millions in grants to enhance math education.

As a former employee, I can tell you that those millions dwindle quickly in the hands of bureaucratic central office personnel. Appointed individuals must decide how to spend the money. They also require funds to decorate their offices, hire consultants, attend conferences, print marketing materials celebrating the grant, and eventually provide teachers with meager cash stipends that come with a number of strings regarding how to use the money.

Another major problem, AJC stories note Dr. Hall’s aversion to spending time in actual classrooms when there was no news crew present. The challenges teachers faced (low parental involvement, kids who showed up for school hungry, etc.) were largely ignored by the central office, principals and executive directors focused on getting large bonuses. Instead, they were told to get results “by any means necessary.” Dr. Hall wasn’t the only leader with a copy of “The Art of War.” That was the de facto handbook for APS.

Whether you worked in a classroom or not, it was a pretty awful place to be. For many, the salary and benefits were enough to keep quiet. I didn’t have the stomach for it, and I continue to pray for the students.

Parents, teachers and taxpayers: Attend PTA and school board meetings. Ask questions, and vote for board members with care. These people hold more power over your child’s future than you realize.

Lee

April 1st, 2013
12:00 pm

Is it realistic to expect a Shetland Pony to win the Kentucky Derby?

But that is akin to what the politically correct, equal outcomes crowd wishes to do. And you can continue to beat the horse or beat the trainer, but neither will yield the results you wish.

It is simple logic to assume that a student with an IQ of 80 will not learn at the same pace or level that a student with an IQ of 120 can. But that is the current methodology employed by most public schools with their age/grade groupings.

Until that is changed, the beatings will continue…..

Looking for the truth

April 1st, 2013
12:03 pm

It’s easy to expect too little of kids. It’s also easy to expect too much of them. See the story last week on middle school algebra.

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
12:03 pm

I agree so much with southern hope. I really find all this indictment talk to be really a waste of time. The focus should be the kids. They have already fired just about everyone who was involved in the cheating scandal lets move and focus on the kids find ways to help the kids learn more so they can acheive passing the crct. I feel if that many students/schools in the district is not passing the test then it may be time to pull the test. A child can go to school all year long and pass all of their general studies and make good grades but if they do not pass crct they can not go to the next grade level that is a bunch of bullsh*t. I am really ready for the Georgia to do away with this test anyway. I have 3 kids in APS schools and I know that my kids do well in school as far as classwork and homework I have been up to their schools and sat in their classrooms and watched them in the process of learning and the teachers teaching I feel that they make the test to the point where it is hard for the kids to understand and comprehend and what they are being tested on is not what they have learned in the classroom. I am just sick of hearing about the “crct scandal”.

thrasher

April 1st, 2013
12:04 pm

As long as there are families that don’t emphasize or place any value on education, and don’t force their kids to do the work their teachers ask them to, nothing will change. It’s not easy to force your kid to do tough math homework, but there is no excuse for not encouraging reading at an early age. Perhaps if these parents (or parent, singular, as is more likely the case) simply use public school as free day care and nothing more, the teachers will be fighting a losing battle trying to educate them.

thrasher

April 1st, 2013
12:05 pm

Meant “stop simply using public school as free day care”. Sorry.

reality check

April 1st, 2013
12:06 pm

Of course unrealistic expectations are damaging.

Rochele HC Hirsch

April 1st, 2013
12:07 pm

The cheating is a HUGE disservice to children / parents / taxpayers and other teachers who were not cheating. Now — the next HUGE travesty and disservice is about to happen with all the taxpayer dollars that will go toward LEGAL FEES in prosecuting this case and jailing the guilty. Lets put those dollars toward education — and simply FIRE all those involved, put the information in their records, and defrock them of their teaching certifications. Seems like that would be a much better use of our resources.

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2013
12:09 pm

if you don’t try to fly, you never will

DRLunsford

April 1st, 2013
12:11 pm

This issue is that the grossly unethical practices that have guided American business for decades, are being ported to education. Schools look like prisons, and are run by criminals in the same way as Enron or Bear-Stearns. What’s the ethical difference between creative accounting and creative test scoring? None. What is not expected of the modern American man, woman, OR child, is that he behave ethically in his personal and public affairs. It’s all about the Benjamins, to be acquired by any means necessary.

The American public school attendee is no different in principle than the discarded manufacturing worker. Not viable in an ocean of economic sharks.

Ex- Teacher

April 1st, 2013
12:15 pm

Anyone think CRCT scores fall this year? RICO does

HENRY A. TURNER, ATTORNEY AT LAW

April 1st, 2013
12:16 pm

It is indisputable that the majority of students in the Atlanta School system (and others) are African-American. According to U.S. Government statistics, approximately 70% of African-Americans are born out of wedlock. These children are starting school (and life generally) at a huge disadvantage. A major problem in the Atlanta school system is not the lack of money (per capita per student is close to New York City) but how the money is spent. The school systems cannot focus resources on paying the necessary compensation for competent Math, Science, and English teachers for these “Core Courses” but must spread the money around to a host of “Non-Core Courses”. Of course, none of this justifies what happened in this Cheating Scandal.

Hillbilly D

April 1st, 2013
12:16 pm

if you don’t try to fly, you never will

Amen to that. You should expect the same of kids, no matter where they live. Granted it’s harder to succeed with some than with others but that’s the job of the school system. People in general, and kids in particular, generally live up to what they know is expected of them. If you don’t expect much, you won’t get much and it’s the kids that you are short-changing by expecting less of them.

Eubieful O'sheet

April 1st, 2013
12:16 pm

Actually, I think Beverly was more worried about getting paid her bonus and keeping her perks (like that chauffeurred SUV (and the $100,000/year chauffeur) provided by the taxpayers) than she was about asking too little of inner city students.

“Kids don’t fail. Teachers fail, school systems fail. The people who teach children that they are failures, they are the problem.” — Marva Collins

(Wonder if Beverly ever heard of Marva?) (use google/bing/etc. if you haven’t either)

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
12:19 pm

From what I can tell, there is a substantial history / habit in Georgia, from the state on down of an official making a proclamation that something will be done, and then after that it is award time. This example really comes from the state level, this sort of weird mix of unfunded mandates and then coming back around later to recognise the “star performers.” It is unethical posing and a way for fakes to occupy their time and make propaganda. It is really frightening when you consider the cascading authority-thing that goes with it, all the way to telling teachers what to do in the classroom. Folks, this stuff is as thick as molasses and there is a lot of it. I have also seen where a district touted itself (with press releases) for a district “Technology Award” and you did not have to look very far to see that the “Award” was a from a company they were paying for services. This stuff is like a looney bin and there has been a habit in Georgia in just putting these corrupted ways right out in front and then enforcing it with authority. If you’re a teacher and you say anything, you are not going to be a teacher for long.

Reminds of what is said to be the best scene from the movie “Iron Sky.” (37 seconds) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cezxIoUsfTk

Terry Krugman

April 1st, 2013
12:19 pm

Failure to educate disdvantaged students seems to be a problem everywhere, not just in the APS.
But I am not sure what constitutes ‘disadvantaged.” It is likely more than economic hardship, as many Asian immigrants at my school are fabulous students even though their domestic circumstances are economically challenging.. What role does culture play? How do schools change culture? Is that at all possible?

Chamblee Dad

April 1st, 2013
12:22 pm

“Should schools be allowed to go into holding patterns rather than be expected to outpace their previous year’s accomplishments?”

I think that’s a reasonable approach. Bar is pretty low, but if they really reached a “low but livable” level, at last for 2-4 years, see if it’s “real” determine how achieved, see how it can be improved, is a better approach. Raising the bar d/n equal higher performance.

It’s been my observation that when a school is meeting the old version of AYP, but not blowing it away, & thus decide to focus on lifting up the the lowest level: “focus more on math” you often get reduced scores in reading. Slight increases, even 1-2% seem reasonable, raise the bar too high creates an atmosphere of unrealistic expectations, and instances of isolated cheating by various methods.

Of course – heavy pressure from community business types to get more results quickly, and systematic administrative directive to achieve it “by any means necessary” I think creates, what else – cheating, more than anything else. If the method of cheating is very similar/exactly the same throughout the offending schools & classrooms – I’m betting on the latter.

mathmom

April 1st, 2013
12:23 pm

There will be cheating on a larger and larger scale. Of course, not everyone will be cheating, but the cheaters will make the rest of us look like failures, or…will we hope that our students don’t do too well – it might look like we cheated!

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
12:24 pm

if you don’t try to fly, you never will

The last pilot I knew of working in the schools got totally screwed around by management. People with real skills do not fit in with the fake management and numerous “make believe” mandates, and when they do real work they get called out and undermined. Truth and fact. In an education culture where 50% of the staff (My God!) do not work in the classroom. And then the classroom teachers who have to deal with this while doing the work, they’re used as objects of public scrutiny.

Digger

April 1st, 2013
12:24 pm

Genetics, pure and simple. I will never play ball in the NBA. Pure and simple.

Chamblee Dad

April 1st, 2013
12:26 pm

@Frustrated I used the same praise “by any means necesary” without seeing your post because I type so slow, I started typing after private citizen’s 1st 3 posts!

So I think it speaks to the fact that it was clearly the directive.

Chamblee Dad

April 1st, 2013
12:29 pm

@ex teacher “Anyone think CRCT scores fall this year? RICO does.”

THAT’S EXACTLY what happen in Major League Baseball after they cracked down on performance enhancing drugs.

Hillbilly D

April 1st, 2013
12:37 pm

What is not expected of the modern American man, woman, OR child, is that he behave ethically in his personal and public affairs.

That’s the root of 90% of our problems today.

THAT’S EXACTLY what happen in Major League Baseball after they cracked down on performance enhancing drugs.

True but PEDs have crept back into baseball. They find other methods and that’s what people will have to be on guard for after this current scandal is over.

Google "NEA" and "donations"

April 1st, 2013
12:38 pm

By continually using the “high stakes” testing canard to denigrate achievement testing—Maureen and her teachers’ union pals signal their ongoing contempt for parents and taxpayers. And anyone else fed up with the half-century of excuses for poor education results.

Asking teachers to produce even a tiny bit more progress each year is too much to ask? Really?

CJae of EAV

April 1st, 2013
12:40 pm

I tend to concurr with @Southern Hope that retorical questions raised in this blog are so multi layered it’s difficult to effectively answer. I believe the sobering reality is that there is a percentage of the student population for which there is limited hope for a significant academic turnaround given their experiences to-date as @Lee pointed out in his colorful analogy.

One thing is clear to me, APS during Dr. Hall’s tenture was successful in manipulating testing metrics across the board to project the appearance of greater success in academic gains than what was likely the reality. In retrospect it would appear there were various carrots and sticks used to incentivize mid-level administrators to produce the desired testing metrics at the expense of the true development of the students involved. Clearly the economic pressure of job loss led some adminstrators, teachers and support staff to make questional moral judgements in the execution of their job responsbilities. I would like to think they would have had a greater courage of conviction than what was manifested.

While engaging the so-called “Race To The Top” many children were left behind in the process because the focus was less on slow, steady, long term improvement throughout the academic lifecycle and instead more focused on manifesting the appearance of quick gains, which translated into multi-million dollar grants and other professional accolades raining down on the district during Dr. Hall’s tenture.

So 10 years + later in the wake of Dr Hall’s tenture we ended up with some nice new buildings (in some respects a glut of under utilized capital assets) , some state of the art IT systems (assuming the equiptment can still be accounted for and is being effectively used), an untold number of students who still may not be adequately prepared for the academic rigor expected of them as they have matriculated through the system and at the end of the pipeline a high-school graduation rate that’s demonstrated no significant improvement over the last 20 -25 years.

Top School Atlanta

April 1st, 2013
12:43 pm

Send the finest teachers and principal in Atlanta to these low performing schools. Or better yet …bus the children from the low performing schools to the high performing schools and you will get a clear picture of the problem. Children from low performing schools don’t have the same educational opportunities as those from the higher performing schools. That’s why segregation under the disguise of “neighborhood” schools works. Busing Hispanics from the popular Northside APS schools to Garden Hills Elementary hides the segregation by labeling the busing “to meet the child’s individual needs”. This is today’s segregation of low vs. high…black vs.white…with the Hispanics basically happy to be anywhere.

Amazing …If you really think the teachers and principal are key…and make the difference. Move those superior teachers and leadership from WARREN T. JACKSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL to the lower achieving schools on the south side of Atlanta and study the results.

Colonel Jack

April 1st, 2013
12:44 pm

The entire “No Child Left Behind” act was built around an expectation of too high a standard. It was unrealistic and impossible to make 100% of children perform at grade level on math and reading by 2014. There was simply no way short of God intervening and changing the brain structure of some children that this could be done. When you begin with a totally impossible and unrealistic expectation, there can be no possible outcome other than failure. That said, Dr. Hall’s “efforts” to make it appear as though some sort of Michelle-Rhee-like miracle had taken place in Atlanta Public Schools borders on the ludicrous. Of course there was cheating, and probably much more than has been brought to light – her management style made that happen. When you fear for your livelihood in a time of economic downturn, you do what you have to do. (N.B. – I am not under any circumstances excusing the behavior of those who cheated. I do, however, understand their motivations.)

In my (never-to-be) humble opinion, the blame for the APS cheating scandal begins at the feet of the idiots in Congress who approved the “No Child Left Behind” act. That set the bar that could not be reached.

Ripley wouldn’t even believe it.

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
12:47 pm

Chamblee Dad, That’s because I do all of my composition using Google voice to text, and then I correct / edit with the keyboard. Once I really get going, waving my arms around searching for Ishtar while talking to myself, why, I had to delete three pages of text before you pressed “Submit Comment.”

mountain man

April 1st, 2013
12:52 pm

“Is it realistic to expect a Shetland Pony to win the Kentucky Derby?”

I have to respond to that, Lee. We are NOT asking APS students to “win the Kentucky Derby” – we are not expecting them to score 2400 on the SAT. We are asking them to come up to minimum standards. Like asking that Shetland pony to be able to walk once around the rink.

This is not a question of ability. I feel like the students of APS are just as smart and competent as those attending Walton High in East Cobb. They just have not had the same opportunities and their culture is not emphasizing education. Take my son, for example – had pre-k 3, pre-k-4, then kindergarten, we had a computer at home that he played Math Rabbit and Reader Rabbit on, by the time he entered first grade, he was probably reading at a 3rd grade level. We (two parents) always insisted that he do his homework every night, and we helped him with it. Absenteeism from school was verbotten.

Compare that to some of the low-SES students in APS, who have NONE OF THAT: no dad, single mom, don’t care about education.

Now I don’t think that is any excuse. The job of the school is not to solve the socio-economic condition of the students’ families. The job of the school is to teach and ensure at least minimal qualifications of learning. To do that, they have to address the primary issues that these children do not learn: absenteeism, discipline, sometimes, yes, it is poor teachers (who wants to work at an urban, ghetto, APS school/).

mountain man

April 1st, 2013
12:56 pm

“Send the finest teachers and principal in Atlanta to these low performing schools.”

Sure, let’s send the principal and teachers from Walton High School to the worst high school in APS – and tell them they have to function under the same rules as APS – and see what happens. You will see that suddenly they go from being “top principal and teachers” to being “bottom 10% according to student test scores”. Unless you give them the ability and backing to address those basic issues such as attendance, discipline, etc.

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
12:56 pm

I think if you look at the quality and consistency of supply materials (i.e. sequenced books and consumables) for grades 1-5, this will answer much of your concern.

Chamblee Dad

April 1st, 2013
12:58 pm

@PC That explains alot.

Chamblee Dad

April 1st, 2013
1:01 pm

@Hillbilly “True but PEDs have crept back into baseball. They find other methods and that’s what people will have to be on guard for after this current scandal is over.”

Exactly, someone hits 70 home runs the year after he hits 30, I think we’ll attribute it to more than working out.

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
1:04 pm

I had the weirdest dream this morning upon waking. I had my old classroom back, at the high school. I was very happy about this. The first thing I did was paint the walls a pleasing color. The room was full of students, all quiet, serious, and expecting to “get going” with the work. And then I lay down for a moment on a chaise lounge thing for a minute with one arm over my eyes, still sort of peering out of closed eyes and I could see the principal coming by and looking in the classroom door window, at which point I jumped up from the chaise-lounge thing – and the students were still all sitting in their desks politely waiting for involvement and assignment. The principal (my favorite principal I ever worked for – he was subverted and run-off and is now a principal in another state) summoned me for a walk and went down the building stairs and outside to where there were some storage trailers in tall uncut grass and one of the trailer doors was open and inside there were several good and old concert pianos, probably donations to the school, and the principal tasked me with what to do with them. Awake- end of dream.

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
1:07 pm

CD, I’m punning off of the photograph of Thurmond.

Private Citizen

April 1st, 2013
1:11 pm

Context of the dream, this high school would be considered a “rough urban environment.”

Old South

April 1st, 2013
1:14 pm

You are exactly correct Mountain Man; context matters,

Not just in education, but in most areas of life. Therefore the one question remains and that is do we have to clean up bad social contexts and if so by God how? The rich are busy looking after themselves and the poor are not able to understand most of their choices. Atlanta is richer than its ever been in this era and notice the focus in all of this is damage to its reputation. Notice it is not the correcting of bad social contexts.

Atlanta Mom

April 1st, 2013
1:16 pm

What I’m wondering about, is all these new charter schools. You know, the ones that will be serving the poor children of Atlanta. What happens when their test scores don’t go up? What will happen when their management consultants explain if the scores don’t go up, the school closes? I’m worried.

Clutch Cargo

April 1st, 2013
1:19 pm

I think that a lot of commenters here are copping out by blaming just the bigwigs in this scandal. As repugnant as the Hall regime seemed to be, she seemed to have a few busloads of accomplices on the payroll at APS. Apparently, the likes of BH found fertile soil in which to plant and nourish her intrigues. (And I don’t believe they got everybody. Some very guilty people will escape unscathed).So while we eagerly await Ms. Hall’s perpwalk and quite unflattering mugshot to appear, we must remember that this whole tawdry episode says a lot more about the character of a rotten system than just the moral shortcomings of one pathetic woman at the top.

Private Citizen is a serial bore

April 1st, 2013
1:26 pm

@Puerile Citizen (1:04 pm):

It normally costs a hundred dollars or more an hour to talk like that. Please find another hobby—or better yet a job. But do go away!

mountain man

April 1st, 2013
1:31 pm

“It was unrealistic and impossible to make 100% of children perform at grade level on math and reading by 2014.”

Actually, now that I think about it is is NOT impossible for 100% to be performing on grade level- you just have to get over this idea that certain ages belong in certain grades… If you RETAIN them until they are on grade level…Voila! If NCLB ever said anything about 100% graduation rates, then they are full of sh*t.

Old Physics Teacher

April 1st, 2013
1:35 pm

Mountain Man,
“We are asking them to come up to minimum standards.”

Uh, no. You’re not. To graduate high school every, that’s EVERY, current student will have had 4 years of math, science, history-econ, and English and be brilliant (they’re not). The generation that got us to the moon in ten years, (and this generation can’t get us back in 20) only had to have 4 years English, 2 math and 2 history. Then we had 50-60% drop outs (They went to work in the fields and factories and made a living wage). Now we’re only allowed 5% (if that!)

My generation was lucky to take a class in trig in high school. At college, as a freshman, I had to tutor two graduating preachers in simple high school algebra so they could graduate. They failed the course multiple times, and this course was keeping them from becoming degreed preachers – these were 21 year old adults, for goodness sake. As well as I remember they went off and became successful. Now 10th graders HAVE to learn trig and statistics? Really??? Education is being asked to educate people way past their abilities because the blue-collar jobs have been shipped overseas.

Ask your grandparents what they had to learn in school. Ask your college-graduate grandparent how they multiplied large value numbers. We now put calculators in the hands of virtual infants so early that, so called bright, high school students can’t do simple manipulations in their heads.

Ya’ll need to admit that ya’ll have no idea what it takes to educate children. Just because you went to school doesn’t make you an expert on education.

I have to admit that under the current style of education, the educrats don’t either. Ron White seems to have a good idea. Mandate the parents have to get involved or the kids get sent elsewhere.

Elizabeth

April 1st, 2013
1:37 pm

The DANGER does not lie in asking too much. The danger lies in treating kids as though they all learn at the same speed and in the same way regardless of any outside factors that that may prevent progress. Standards should be high– much higher than they are now. But kids should not all be expected to “pass” one test each year as the measure of their achievement and learning. The DANGER lies in demanding this and then blaming the blameless– teachers– when these “goals for learning” do not meet the arbitrary score demanded for every child regardless of differences. And I don’t see that changing in my lifetime. The DANGER lies in expecting such tests to adequately measure learning, in bribing educators with promises of bonuses, and in threatening educators with threats of sactions and job losses when scores do not meet the expectations of those who think that passing a test is the ceiling all students should be able to achieve. In reality they are perpetuating the floor, not the ceiling, of real learning standards ( and real teaching). Our children are being failed, not by teachers, but by those who have never set foot in a classroom and think it can be run like a business or a factory assembly line.

2020

April 1st, 2013
1:41 pm

Nothing was as it seemed with Beverly Hall. Everything was an illusion and lie from day one. She was so dishonest and unethical! What she has done to Atlanta is just sad. I for one will be glad to see her check in at the Fulton County Jail along with Tamara Cotman and Millicent Few. But there are many more that need to be indicted. I will be watching wsb tv for the jail check in minute by minute.

Don't Tread

April 1st, 2013
1:45 pm

Beverly Hall was worried about one thing: money. She did everything she could to protect her bonuses, and now (rightfully) has to face prosecution for it.

The speeches about “expectations” are just a smoke screen. This woman is greedy and corrupt to the bone and should never be in charge of anything.

JC

April 1st, 2013
1:46 pm

To Eubieful O’Sheet…why the obsession with naming anyone a failure? Have you ever taught a classroom? Have you ever been held responsible for the numerical success of 30 children that have multiple levels of learning and a myriad of invasive issues holding them back? Do you know this Marva Collins personally? Why are you so sure that her quote should in some way be profound?