Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

Boston tragedy: A picture that says 1,000 words and inspires thousands more tears

This 8-year-old boy is one of the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. His name is Martin William Richard. His mother and sister were also seriously injured. Many people, including the folks at the Georgia Department of Education are posting this touching photo of Martin on Facebook in which he holds a sign that reads: “No more hurting people. Peace.”

His dad Bill Richard released this statement: “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.’’

hero

Continue reading Boston tragedy: A picture that says 1,000 words and inspires thousands more tears »

New calls to probe cheating allegations in Washington under Rhee

PBS’s John Merrow recently revealed a 2009 confidential memo pointing out troubling test answer erasures in Washington, D.C., schools, which were led at the time by Michelle Rhee, now the head of  the national advocacy group StudentsFirst.

Merrow reported that the erasure concerns raised in the memo by an outside data consultant failed to prompt any investigation by top officials in the district.

The Washington Post is reporting that a probe is unlikely at this point, either. (A 2007 law placed Washington’s public schools under mayoral control. Under the D.C. model, the city council appoints some of the school board members.)

The Post reports:

The chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee said Sunday that he has no plans to launch a full-scale investigation into allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests in 2008, during the tenure of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Council member David Catania (I-At Large) said that he intends to find out why the …

Continue reading New calls to probe cheating allegations in Washington under Rhee »

Atlanta’s grades on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ at odds with CRCT cheating scandal

Marshall S. Smith is a former under-secretary in the U. S. Department of Education. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, he served from 1993 to 2000.

Prior to his appointment as Under Secretary, Smith was a professor of education and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Previously, he was an associate professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he also served as the Director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Smith earned both a master’s (1963) and a doctoral (1970) degree in measurement and statistics from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

In this guest column, he discusses an oddity of the APS cheating scandal: The system was showing notable progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is known as the Nation’s Report Card. It wasn’t that Atlanta was leading the nation, but its progress was significant.

When we have discussed this in the …

Continue reading Atlanta’s grades on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ at odds with CRCT cheating scandal »

Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted.

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

PBS education reporter John Merrow writes about the erasure analyses, clear evidence of cheating and concealment of that evidence.

No, he is not writing about Atlanta Public Schools and former Superintendent Beverly Hall. He is writing about Washington, D.C., and former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Merrow questions why the strong evidence of cheating in the District of Columbia Public Schools — revealed now in a confidential memo — was not followed up as it was in Atlanta, and puts the blame on Rhee.

He says an inexperienced and ambitious Rhee arrived in Washington and imposed a  “Produce or Else” reform model. He notes that Rhee met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a signed guarantee of exactly how many points their test scores would increase.

Rhee has become a national leader in education and holds great sway with state Legislatures, including here in Georgia. She is winning converts to the …

Continue reading Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted. »

Emory faculty vote on Jim Wagner starting today. Can he still lead Emory or has he been compromised?

Emory President Jim Wagner (Emory)

Emory President Jim Wagner (Emory)

Faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University begin voting today on whether they still trust in the ability of embattled President James Wagner to lead the university. The online voting will continue through Friday.

I have been getting a lot of emails both for and against Wagner, who sparked a firestorm with a recent essay in which he cited the infamous  1787  “three-fifths compromise” as an example on how leaders reach agreements.

Established in the give-and-take of shaping the U.S. Constitution, the compromise counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of distributing funds back to states and determining representation in Congress.

Writing  in Emory Magazine, Wagner used the compromise as an example of how people with conflicting views can find common ground.

He wrote:

One instance of constitutional compromise was the agreement to count three-fifths of the slave population for purposes of state …

Continue reading Emory faculty vote on Jim Wagner starting today. Can he still lead Emory or has he been compromised? »

Turning Premier DeKalb into a reality: What the school board needs to consider

Jennifer Hatfield is a longtime DeKalb resident, a graduate of DeKalb schools, a former DeKalb teacher and the parent of two DeKalb students. She is a vocal community advocate in the area of education.

These are comments she made at a public meeting to the new school board edited a bit for publication. While she focused on DeKalb, her advice could apply to any school district:

By Jennifer Hatfield

An open letter to the new DeKalb County Board of Education:

I was very vocal in my support of the suspension of the former board members. I am very impressed by your resumes and what I believe is your genuine desire to help the children of DeKalb County.

Welcome aboard. I and other parents want to help you. Please allow us to. Engage us. Draw upon our knowledge and experience and use it to your advantage.

The district adopted the Premier DeKalb moniker seven years ago. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines premier as first in position, rank, or importance. I think we can all agree …

Continue reading Turning Premier DeKalb into a reality: What the school board needs to consider »

A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common?

A reader of the segregated prom blog sent me a note about something that DeKalb school chief Michael Thurmond referenced in a recent speech, racially segregated class reunions.

Thurmond said that his high school graduating class — he attended high school in Athens and was among the first black students to attend high school with white students — holds two reunions divided by race.  “We have come a long way. But we have a long way to go,” he said.

Like racially segregated proms, these reunion events are not officially sponsored or organized by the high schools, so the guest list can be selective if the organizers so desire.

And apparently, sometimes organizers do limit who’s included in the planning and notifications. A friend went to her high school reunion in South Carolina. She, too, graduated in one of the first integrated classes and expected to see both black and white classmates at the reunion.

But only white students were there.  When she asked one of the organizers …

Continue reading A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common? »

Alfie Kohn on APS cheating scandal: ‘What if we gave a test and nobody came?’

testing (Medium)I interviewed education advocate and writer Alfie Kohn a while back. You can read the 2011 interview here.

The APS cheating scandal was in the news at the time, and Kohn told me:

The real cheating scandal that has been going on for years is that kids are being cheated out of meaningful learning by focusing on test scores. Standardized tests like the CRCT measure what matters least. The more you know about education, the less likely you would ever be to measure teachers, schools or kids based on test scores.

I wondered what Kohn, author of “The Case Against Standardized Testing” and other books, thought about the indictments Friday of former APS school chief Beverly Hall and 34 others.

I asked him a few questions for an editorial I am writing for the print AJC.

Here are his answers in full:

Standardized tests are lousy measures of thinking. They assess some combination of (a) family wealth and (b) how much time has been diverted from real learning in order to make kids better …

Continue reading Alfie Kohn on APS cheating scandal: ‘What if we gave a test and nobody came?’ »

Here is the list of people indicted today in APS cheating scandal

The indictments handed down in the last hour by a Fulton County Grand Jury cite RICO conspiracy and individual acts including false swearings, theft by taking and influencing witnesses.

In the indictments, there was only one count of racketeering, which carries up to 20 years in prison. But the alleged acts of false statements and writings, influencing a witness, theft by taking were the underlying crimes that supported the racketeering charge. Out of 65 counts, one was racketeering, two were influencing a witness, five were theft by taking and the remaining counts concerned the crime of making false statements or writing.

Here is the list of indicted parties:

BEVERLY HALL, former APS school superintendent

MILLICENT FEW, human resources

SHARON DAVIS WILLIAMS

TAMARA COTMAN (JOHNSON), area superintendent

MICHAEL PITTS, area superintendent

CHRISTOPHER WALLER, former principal at Parks Middle School

GREGORY REID

SANDRA WARD, Success For All coordinator at Parks Middle …

Continue reading Here is the list of people indicted today in APS cheating scandal »

DeKalb’s Eugene Walker intends to pass hat to pay for continued legal fight over school board suspension

With the unanimous vote of the newly reconstituted DeKalb school board this week, any suspended board members who want to fight their ouster were set adrift. They now have to front their own legal costs in court.

Former school board chair Eugene Walker intends to do just that.

But he is seeking donations to defray his legal battle. In a post on this blog about the importance of challenging the state law, Walker explained, “If this unconstitutional act is to stand, then what is next? It will only be a matter of time before another constitutional right will be taken away by another wayward and self-perpetuating politico under the guise of the greater good. Minorities should not feel secure if contrived allegations from anonymous sources with hidden agendas can go to private agencies and to have their civil rights stolen away. This cannot and shall not be allowed to stand.”

Ronald Carlson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia law school, told the AJC’s Ty …

Continue reading DeKalb’s Eugene Walker intends to pass hat to pay for continued legal fight over school board suspension »