Beverly Hall’s success led to willful blindness about cheating

In the beginning, there was The Mission.

When Beverly Hall came to Atlanta in 1999 to serve as superintendent, she brought a powerful commitment to improving city schools. She did not believe that a child’s socioeconomic status determined his or her destiny, she said, and she was adamant that even in — especially in — low-income urban neighborhoods, public education could transform lives.

So she set about to prove it, and she has done so. In Hall’s 11 years as superintendent, she has produced results that current controversy should not diminish. Atlanta schools today are better run, teachers and administrators are more student-focused, graduation rates are higher and thousands of children are being given more control over their own destinies.

Yet when Hall announced last week that she would not return as superintendent in the 2011-12 school year, the news was greeted not with disappointment but relief. That’s because somewhere along the line, The Mission had given way to The Story.

The Story began to take shape early in Hall’s tenure, as the turnaround of the Atlanta system became national news. Major foundations were drawn to the city, eager for evidence that measurable progress could be made in a largely urban district. Hall became a sought-after speaker, and last year was named National Superintendent of the Year.

Human nature being what it is, Hall and others became invested in that success. The Atlanta School Board, the business community and for a long time the media all bought into it as well. The Story became a point of pride, telling us something that we all wanted to believe, and as Hall’s stature grew, so did the deference that she enjoyed from those around her.

That was part of the problem. The other part involved Hall’s approach to education reform, which relies heavily on testing. Under her leadership, test scores not only determined how students were performing, but how teachers, principals and even Hall herself were performing. The emphasis on test results for job security, promotions and bonuses created a temptation to cheat that some found too much to resist.

So when an AJC investigation in 2008 and 2009 turned up evidence of widespread cheating on standardized tests, Hall faced a choice: She could defend The Mission, or she could defend The Story. And I honestly think she lost the capacity to distinguish between the two.

Defending The Mission would have required Hall to react aggressively when confronted with well-documented allegations of pervasive cheating by school district personnel. After all, if true, the allegations meant that children were being cheated of the education that test scores said they were being given. Had Hall taken that approach, the damage to both the Mission and the Story would have been minimized. She did not.

Instead, she used the respect and trust she had built to downplay and minimize evidence of cheating, leading those who believed in her to follow that lead. She claimed vindication from evidence that in reality offered none, and as we learned last week, she and others withheld a damaging independent analysis which confirmed that cheating was a major problem.

Again, the gains made under Hall’s leadership are real, even if overstated in the standardized test results now under state investigation. But the damage is real as well.

Among other things, fallout from the scandal has fractured the Atlanta School Board at a time when its leadership is badly needed. Like Hall, board members seem more interested in The Story than The Mission. In their case, The Story is about where to place blame for what has happened.

The Mission, however, remains the same.

168 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

November 23rd, 2010
6:43 am

Do away w/ all standardized test. They are pointless.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
6:49 am

I don’t know that I’d do away with ALL standardized tests … but I sure as hell would have a lot fewer of them … and I definitely would NOT link $$$ to performance (recipe for disaster)

Tom

November 23rd, 2010
6:53 am

Good article! It is sad. I believe that the APS system has improved over the last ten years. Hopefully will get past this sooner than later.

T-Town

November 23rd, 2010
6:58 am

When money is involved, fraud is sure to follow. It is what it is.

Jimmy62

November 23rd, 2010
7:06 am

Are the gains real? Or are they graduating more people simply because they are making it easier to finish high school? Now that we know how rampant the cheating was, I would say all results are suspect.

If only liberals would stop trapping poor kids in bad schools with no way out.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:08 am

“If only liberals would stop trapping poor kids in bad schools with no way out”

:lol:

yeah, because private schools all over Atlanta are just DYING to take them under their wings … particularly students with learning difficulties and other problems …

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 23rd, 2010
7:12 am

I would have changed the title of the otherwise well-drawn essay to “Beverly Hill’s government position led to willful blindness about cheating.” It is the lack of accountability among our overlords that allows them the luxury of ignoring that which is moral and good.

Normal

November 23rd, 2010
7:13 am

Normal

November 23rd, 2010
7:14 am

It is the lack of accountability among our overlords that allows them the luxury of ignoring that which is moral and good.

Isn’t that what smaller government is all about?

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:15 am

oh, Ragnar, you crack me up … the fact that she was in government led to the cheating scandal?

really?

are you honestly saying that there is never any cheating / shading / thumbs on the scale in the marketplace? are you honestly saying that corporations never ignore that which is moral and good???

crumbs.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:18 am

stands for decibels

November 23rd, 2010
7:18 am

She could defend The Mission, or she could defend The Story. And I honestly think she lost the capacity to distinguish between the two.

Think you nailed it, Jay.

Peadawg

November 23rd, 2010
7:20 am

“Isn’t that what smaller government is all about?”

Leave it up to a liberal to use this as an excuse for more gov’t regulation. :roll:

josef nix

November 23rd, 2010
7:20 am

Of course, on the way out the door to my job on the front lines, I have a lot to say most of which would carry no weight nor value since what we think is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it dver be even heard, much less listened to or considered by those “on a mission.” I was brought before Principal Jay last p.m. for my opinions of those missionaries out to reform us savages here in the outer darkness and bring us to the true faith.

When I get back in this p.m., ready for a few days off, there will no doubt be quite the screed blaming the teachers, determining all APS students and staff failures. each and every detractor sure that s/he has a handle on “the problem.” Well, before you do, the problem is YOU. These are your schools, funded by your money and ask yourself when was the last time you were in a classroom or attended a board meeting?

Dr. Hall was medicine show/revival from the get-go, a PR gambit and, from that perspective, not a particularly bad one. She brought in the bucks. When it came time to put up or shut up, though, it turned out hers was just the same whine in new bottles, something her underlings knew all along.

It’s not really her fault, though. She’s a product of the environment which nurtured her and put her where she was. She set out to make a name for herself and did.

Meanwhile, thousands of APS employees who give their all for our children and our future will have to go slinking in bearing the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, so to speak. She’ll sail on out of here, leaving the mess behind just like missionaries always seem to do.

BlahBlahBlah

November 23rd, 2010
7:24 am

Very well said Mr. Bookman.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:28 am

jo nix – all I can say is: the more I hear about boards of ed, the less respect I have for them. they’re more concerned with covering their own backsides than they are with backing up the teachers on the front lines.

Mick

November 23rd, 2010
7:29 am

josef

Thunderous applause @ 7:20

carlosgvv

November 23rd, 2010
7:29 am

Beverly Hall is at the center of this so it’s no supprise she is leaving. When this scandal fully hits the fan you will hear outraged cries of racism since most of the people involved will be black. Count on it.

Normal

November 23rd, 2010
7:30 am

Well said, Josef! You got the fire this morning!

J. Kase

November 23rd, 2010
7:34 am

Before: B.H. sez “Ignore the man behind the curtain.” Now: B.H. sez “I’m melting……..”

HDB

November 23rd, 2010
7:34 am

josef nix November 23rd, 2010
7:20 am

STANDING OVATION from the son of one who was also on the front lines of public educaton for 44 years!!

APS Administrator

November 23rd, 2010
7:36 am

You said it all, Jay. For those of us who have been around before “the mission” this whole thing is very demoralizing.

Normal

November 23rd, 2010
7:36 am

USinUK,
I put this one as my computer background…to remind my co-workers…

http://icanhascheezburger.com/2010/11/22/funny-pictures-if-yu-kant-beet-em/

Fred

November 23rd, 2010
7:37 am

Jimmy62

November 23rd, 2010
7:06 am

Are the gains real? Or are they graduating more people simply because they are making it easier to finish high school? Now that we know how rampant the cheating was, I would say all results are suspect.
+++++++++++++++++

No Jimmy all the results are NOT suspect and the gains are still there. Here is one of the ‘results” that is beyond suspicion. Take 4 minutes and 58 seconds to watch one of the most impressive young men I can seen. The valedictorian of Booker T Washington this last year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Wcr82UOsw

Fred

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 am

I HAVE seen lol not “can seen”

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 am

Normal – oh, yeah – I liked that one, too :-)

oh, and while I’m thinking about it … I need a favor from you … on Thursday, could you EAT AN EXTRA SERVING OF DRESSING FOR ME??? and maybe an extra slice of apple pie.

I’m seriously missing Thanksgiving this year.

Fred

November 23rd, 2010
7:42 am

Just close your eyes and think of turkey and dressing while you are eating your kidney pie and yorkshire pudding……….

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:45 am

Fred – I believe you mean “lie back and think of England” ;-)

Fred

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 am

I don’t know what I mean lol. i figured from your screen name you were a US citizen in the United Kingdom………….

TaxPayer

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 am

It is the lack of accountability among our overlords that allows them the luxury of ignoring that which is moral and good.

Have you shared your concerns with Perdue and Deal. I hear they’re real experts on such issues as morality and ethics and all that is good in the world.

@@

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 am

Atlanta schools today are better run, teachers and administrators are more student-focused, graduation rates are higher and thousands of children are being given more control over their own destinies.

Are you sure about that, jay?

Atlanta grad rate doesn’t add up

The district has sustained its higher graduation rate — 69 percent in 2009 — despite a two-thirds increase in dropouts since 2003.

A majority of the dropouts occurred at one school: an “alternative” campus for students with academic and behavioral problems. Many of the students most at risk for quitting were concentrated there, allowing other schools to keep their graduation rates up.

So the kids who need it the most are pushed aside…never to be seen or heard from again?

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:51 am

“So the kids who need it the most are pushed aside…never to be seen or heard from again?”

or you could say that the kids who want it the most – and who are working the hardest for it – are able to achieve because the kids who DON’T want it and who AREN’T willing to work were removed from the classroom.

Del

November 23rd, 2010
7:53 am

I don’t see how you can educate children or even adults without testing to determine results.Cheating in order to falsely show a better result is reprehensible. If Ms. Hall was attempting to cover up the cheating she should resign or be fired.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:55 am

pssst … Del … “Yet when Hall announced last week that she would not return as superintendent in the 2011-12 school year”

@@

November 23rd, 2010
7:58 am

USinUK:

So you’re in favor of segregation?

Interesting…

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:59 am

@@ – segregation of students who are violent and disruptive? you bet your sweet bippy I am.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:00 am

oh! and mark your calendars … the date has been set …

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11818049

TaxPayer

November 23rd, 2010
8:02 am

an “alternative” campus for students with academic and behavioral problems.

Gwinnett County uses that approach as does our little ole county up here in north Georgia.

This Story is Liberal Spin - Get to the Point

November 23rd, 2010
8:02 am

This Mission/Story business is liberal huey. Measure performance to evaluate how good things are progressing. Be a stand up person who does their job with integrity. Hall didn’t.

As Margart Thatcher said, “Life is conservative”. There is no trophy for everyone who participates in life.

Jay, it is difficult to take you seriously. This adminstrator allowed or was incompetent enough to allow widespread cheating.

what if

November 23rd, 2010
8:04 am

Bravo Jay, Bravo Josef. Seems to me this Story might give us some insight about our various alternative futures.

First, let’s hope it has become a bit clearer that state- (or locally-)developed low-bid minimum competency tests are under no circumstance a relevant measure of educational quality. The AJC – and most other papers – continue to make the egregious mistake of saying “scores increased (or decreased)” when the ONLY thing reported is PASS RATES at typically VERY low performance levels. In fact, IF we paid the requisite dollars for tests that measured ALL students in some limited domain like simple math or reading or recognition of factoids (which is about all these tests do), most research shows that in fact when we focus only on these very low bars, OVERALL scores (if we had them) would actually DECLINE – simply because we’re only focusing on the lowest of the low performers, to the detriment of the other 80-90% of the students. Will we continue to spend millions to learn nothing of what might help us improve the education of our kids?

Second, if this doesn’t show us what will happen to both test information and school culture if we are inept enough to insist on hiring and firing teachers (and administrators) on the basis of pass rates (or, if we pay for full-range tests, scores), nothing will. The private sector learned a long time ago that any attempt to rate complex skills with overly simplistic measures can only (a) corrupt the measures and (b) ruin the very skillsets one is trying to reward. Will we be so blind as to ignore the evidence before us?

@@

November 23rd, 2010
8:04 am

USinUK:

students with academic and behavioral problems.

Behavior problems don’t always manifest themselves thru violence.

Normal

November 23rd, 2010
8:05 am

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 am

I’ll do better than that. I’ll write you a synopsis of the day….

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

November 23rd, 2010
8:05 am

Well, I say we turn them all into Private Schools. Which don’t have all this testing and teacher liscensing and stuff like that. Then when they say there’s been a whole bunch of student improvement, nobody will be able to prove them wrong. It’s all this testing that’s making our kids look like a bunch of dummys. Get rid of the testing and we can say our kids are real smart. And the best way to do that is turn our schools into Private Schools.

But nobody listens to me. If they did we wouldn’t have the mess we’re in. Have a good day everybody.

Normal

November 23rd, 2010
8:07 am

USinUK,
Is Prince William the future King of England after Elizabeth passes?

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:07 am

@@ – “Behavior problems don’t always manifest themselves thru violence”

they may not always be violent, but they are always disruptive – which keeps the rest of the class from learning.

or are you okay with lowering the classroom achievements to the lowest common denominator?

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:08 am

Normal – Charles, first … then William …

(and if the Queen and Queen Mum are any indication, Wills is going to have to wait a loooooooong time – that family has some serious longevity in their genes!)

Fred

November 23rd, 2010
8:08 am

The truth is that I doubt many (if any) who post on this blog are even in the Atlanta School district. I’m not. Although i have an Atlanta mailing address if I sent my child to public schools she would be going to Dekalb schools (as big or a bigger mess).

It’s easy for us, the non effected, to sit here and self righteously throw stones, but at the end of the day, we really don’t care. I truly believe the attitude is, “It just those kids, the ones in Atlanta. Glad our children live in good districts.’

At my daughters school they raise money for and support a “sister school” in Africa. It burns me up and I’m unpopular with some of the admin ever since I told them that if they wanted to help educated underpriviledged poor black children they could get in their beamers and drive for 5 minutes to an APS school and donate books, food, and school supplies. instead of spending 10’s of 1000’s on plane tickets for a dog and pony show trip to Africa, they could use the cash for scholarships for those same poor black kids to go to OUR school. Every person that went on that trip equals one student they could have educateted HERE.

As jonix hurriedly put it, those kids in Atlanta ARE “our kids.” We SHOULD care. But we don’t. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m as guilty as the rest……………

Shame on us. ALL of us. And shame on the school board for spending so much time on the blame game and so little on the students…….

StJ

November 23rd, 2010
8:12 am

“The Mission had given way to The Story.” (Oh, wait, could have sworn this was the “Voters unhappy with Obama” blog.)

Cheating is cheating. If you cannot do the job with integrity, then the rest is irrelevant.

dcb

November 23rd, 2010
8:19 am

I can’t be the only one sick and tired of the AJC editorial board and op-ed writers patting themselves on the back for taking credit for nailing Beverly Hall to the wall, and then urging her to get out of Dodge sooner rather than later. The crowning glory – and I’m sure it won’t be the last until she is actually gone – was Bookman’s comment in his November 23 Opinion titled “Schools chief lost sight of mission”. The AJC theme exemplified by Bookman’s sentence beginning with “So when an AJC investigation …” is overkill but not unexpected considering the overplay it has been getting throughout this ordeal. For those who say the news media doesn’t make news, it only reports it – hogwash. I’m not a Beverly Hall fan. But enough is enough. You got her AJC. Now leave well enough alone. I don’t blame her for getting out. And the AJC’s now demanding she leave today and allow an Interim to take over for “credibility” reasons is also hogwash. The turf protection in the APS system already going on would only be compounded during the tenure of an Interim. And with the dysfunctional APS board in place, where would the stability in the system be? But then no matter – the AJC has spoken.

carlosgvv

November 23rd, 2010
8:23 am

USinUK

During your time in the UK has that Country ever had this kind of school cheating nonsense happen?

Jay

November 23rd, 2010
8:24 am

I would actually agree with one point in DCB’s post: Under Hall, APS has been structured to respond to strong leadership and oversight from the top down. Her lameduck status and the board’s dysfunction have created a dangerous vacuum that could have real consequences over the next several months.

Other than that, though….

@@

November 23rd, 2010
8:26 am

USinUK:

or are you okay with lowering the classroom achievements to the lowest common denominator?

A student, who wants to excel, will do so in spite of the environment. My daughter did.

What I would like to see are more innovative teaching techniques which set out to include ALL as opposed to excluding some.

Try to remember…..I’m a person who believes that NO child is disposable. As adults, it’s our job to make them feel valued…..important, if you will.

Sorry, but I don’t have time for your silliness.

Southern Comfort

November 23rd, 2010
8:27 am

Amen josef!!!

If only liberals would stop trapping poor kids in bad schools with no way out.

The only thing I could think of after reading that was…
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dcdi–LdAeQ/Sa1sWd8j4pI/AAAAAAAAEBg/BGX_vc32JHc/s400/wtf.jpg

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

November 23rd, 2010
8:28 am

Reminds me of NCAA Football. The Coach comes in makes the program over into a winning program, national championship aspirations, etc. Then…the rumors start about the violations, the money, the payoffs. Soon, The Coach moves on to his “dream job” that he has “earned” based on the gains his program made. The school, program and athletes that he leaves behind however, have to face the consequences and pay the price for their former leader’s lack of moral and ethics.

Gale

November 23rd, 2010
8:28 am

I had a conversation related to this with my partner this weekend. We do need to scrap the standardized testing. It is damaging the teaching effort by removing the joy of learning from kids. We are insisting they learn specific things so they can pass a multiple guess test. Instead, we should be teaching them how to reason. Our case in point was history. She has a history degree. I just had a few good history teachers. Her experience was teachers who insisted she learn dates. Mine taught the where, what and why. While I may not have all the facts, I think my teachers gave me an enduring interest in digging beneath the story.

The tests don’t help enough. Atlanta is still at the bottom of the education stack. Atlanta’s grad rate is still abysmal. We need to stop experimenting with our kids.

Jimmy62

November 23rd, 2010
8:28 am

I’m basically a right winger. I don’t know what the answer to our education problems is. But the first step is to admit that there are serious problems with our current system, problems that are a lot bigger than whether or not to evaluate with standardized tests. And the problems are bigger than the various teachers’ unions can fix. The problems are bigger than vouchers can fix, and the problems won’t be solved simply by throwing more money at the issue (that’s been tried, over and over and over again).

So I don’t know what the solution is. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. But we definitely need to get past any partisanship on this, and stop trying to push things that have already been tried and failed. Come up with some innovative solutions, and try them out. Ignore the naysayers and go for it, because it can’t be worse than what we’re doing to kids now.

The first hurdle is to get past the people who are invested in the current system, there are too many people involved that have skin in the current system and care more about the status quo than actually helping kids, and we need to learn to distinguish those people from those who truly want to help, and ignore the first group.

Common Sense isn't very Common

November 23rd, 2010
8:29 am

josef nix@7:20 am

It is all YOUR fault.

I’ll get ahead of the pack of wolves NOW. LOL.

Not in a million years would I blame the current mess on all teachers.

Standardized testing is a POS. It is a POS for the SAT test and all others I have had to take over the years.

That type of testing only lets the testers see WHO CAN TAKE THOSE TYPES OF TESTS BETTER.

But as to the cheating. There never should have been a tie in between teacher evaluations and test scores. Very sad that some teachers were probably rated very low when either the test was more difficult or the test takers did not care about the result.
The teachers if any that participated in the cheating need to be fired.

AmVet

November 23rd, 2010
8:30 am

Good morning all. Another day in paradise!

I’ll not address the specifics in this matter, as I am uninformed of them.

To Fred’s point about the vast scale of this problem in Georgia, what can one expect when we have an enormous percentage of lazyass lamebrains in this state? Black, white, urban and rural.

Many of these kids bought into the ever-expanding universe (get it?) that being stupid and ignorant is cool, and by proxy that being smart and having a deep thirst for knowledge and learning, is not.

In my opinion, one of the many great failings of modern education is how Physical Education was dropped so that the little lardbutts aren’t uncomfortable. (Comfort is everything you know.) Screw that. There should be PE every semester until they graduate. It is a travesty that we have so many hundreds of thousands of obese children, and millions more who are completely physically weak and unfit. Physical fitness is directly related to overall mental and emotional health. No wonder so kids many have such low self esteem. They couldn’t run 100 yards full out, if their very lives depended on it.

To wit, just how many kids “graduate” from Georgia high schools, and even universities(!), that are semi-literate? Barely able to function and perform at eighth grade level work? Plenty.

Education in Georgia has to a large degree always been an unpleasant reality forced upon the people by the loathed “authorities”, who are always the ONLY ones to blame for these woes. Not the parents, not the communities and certainly not the children themselves. And I have little doubt, that if they could do so legally, many here would allow their kids to drop out of school around the eighth grade – just like they did, and their parents before them.

To demonstrate just how entrenched the ignorance factor is, we have rank and file Republicans who don’t even believe in the 150 year old teachings of Darwin! And who would love nothing more than to start up Round 2 of the Scopes monkey trial to bring back creationism or intelligent (HA!) design or whatever they call it these days into public school rooms.

Alas for them, the words of Clarence Darrow still ring true, “We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses form controlling the education system of the United States.”

But much, much worse, that mentality has made it’s way to the very pinnacle of faux conservative thinking. We just witnessed eight years of a science-free White House as led by a man with a stunning void of intellectual curiosity. And three of the ten 2008 GOP candidates for president of the United States of America publicly acknowledged that they don’t even believe in evolution.

So now we have garden variety neo-cons who simply dismiss any and all things science, intellectual or academic if they do not dovetail with their ideology, mythology and demagoguery. For them that is reason alone to reject out-of-hand mountains of evidence, data, facts, etc.

And the children of these people will make for so-so employees at Burger King…

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:30 am

carlos – cheating? not that I remember in the 5 years I’ve been here … there is a lot of hullaballoo about the A-levels being dumbed down, though (these are the exams you sit when you want to move on from college – which is ages 16-18 – to university) … from what I understand, A-levels are exams that test you on your cumulative knowledge of a subject (history, languages, literature, maths, etc) — folks my age say that the most you could study for would be 3 exams – 4 if you were super-brilliant. Now, kids are taking 5 and 6 exams and getting A’s in them, so the quality is definitely in doubt.

Jimmy62

November 23rd, 2010
8:32 am

Southern Comfort: There was a very popular voucher program in D.C. that allowed a lot of kids to escape the crappy schools they were stuck in. Obama and the Democrats wiped it out the second they had the chance, and sent most of those kids back to the bad schools they worked so hard to escape. So you say WTF, and I say yes indeed, liberals in many places are killing successful voucher programs so that kids get stuck in bad schools. It’s not the right killing school choice, it’s the left, and teacher’s unions. That’s a fact, and D.C. isn’t the only place it’s happened.

Gale

November 23rd, 2010
8:32 am

@@, The problem is that we pack kids into the same environment regardless of their desires and goals. The ones labeled as disruptive, or not wanting to learn, probably DO want to learn, just not what is being taught. The are just as good, probably just as intelligent and motivated. We simply need to engage them differently in the learning experience.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:35 am

@@ – “Sorry, but I don’t have time for your silliness.”

:roll: yes, @@, anyone who deigns to disagree with you is “silly”

I think that people should take responsibility for their actions.

if you are a constant disruption in the classroom – if teachers are spending more time correcting your behavior than actually TEACHING – then you need to be removed from the classroom and put somewhere else so that the kids who want to be there and who want to learn, CAN.

USMC

November 23rd, 2010
8:37 am

The Truth:
I was born and raised in Atlanta and graduated from an Atlanta Public School.
If Beverly Hall were white, she would have been FIRED a long time ago and rightfully so.
She is the result of Affirmative Action.
The Atlanta Public Schools are run by an incompetent Black Racist City Government who have gridlocked the APS in Racial Politics and Affirmative Action Results.
Now, I didn’t vote for Kasim Reed, but I think he is good for the city and will hopefully break up some of the Racial gridlock that has hijacked Atlanta.
Diversity doesn’t just mean “Black”.
Our schools need to get back to the 3 R’s: “R”eading, w”R”iting, and a”R”ithmetic.

Gale

November 23rd, 2010
8:37 am

USinUK, thanks for that note on “A levels”. Now I understand what Hogwarts “OWLS” are all about. :-)

Marie

November 23rd, 2010
8:39 am

Jay how can you continue to write that Beverly Hall improved the graduaton rate among APS students? The graduation rate has been called into question by your own paper. According to the article printed by your own paper a few months ago the whole graduation rate is just smoke and mirrors in which the APS has used deception, trickery, and deceit in order to rig the numbers. And in fact may have actually caused some students who could have graduated not to graduate because they were sent packing to underperforming schools.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 23rd, 2010
8:41 am

Good morning USinUK @ 7:15. I regret to advise you that you missed my point, which is “government is always corrupt, and the corruption is always greatest at the top.” It is a function of the lack of accountability, which accountability is the singular strength of the free market.

You query whether that means free markets are exempt from corruption, and of course the answer is qualified. Free markets are self-correcting, which discourages “cheating.” However there are always corporatists – almost uniformly leftists and democrats – who would use the guns of government to obtain an advantage over their competition, and use the government as a means to control the market.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:42 am

Gale – a little lagniappe …

you take your GCSEs when you’re 16 – that stands for General Certification of Secondary Education. These are simpler and show basic knowledge in any of the subjects you want to sit for (again – math, science, music, languages, etc). In the UK, you can legally leave school when you are 16, so kids will take them to show prospective employers that they have basic proficiency in those areas.

Bosch

November 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

“The are just as good, probably just as intelligent and motivated. We simply need to engage them differently in the learning experience.”

From my experience, there are two reasons for disruptive behavior — sometimes its because these kids are usually MORE intelligent than their peers – maybe not on the scales of a standardized test.

Or two because they just do not get the material they are seeing and act out.

But in both instances, they are bored. In every case, there needs to be seperate evaluation to see what the problem is. But, many times, the school does not have the funds to do it.

You simply can not choke a system to death with defunding it and then claim it doesn’t work.

Southern Comfort

November 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

Jimmy

Why do we even need voucher programs? Why not take the existing schools and ensure they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing instead of rerouting money to somewhere else? I have no problem with people switching schools, but you can not voucher 100% of the kids out of a poor performing school.

Our current systems is a broken system. There’s more emphasis placed on test scores than there is on actual learning. I’m not well versed in all things relating to the educational system, but I do know that kids today are not taught the same as I was, and I have yet to attend my 20th year reunion from high school. If you give a child a solid foundation in learning, you help that child more than any amount of money could ever do. However, if you teach that child to take a test, they never learn how to study and learn, and you’ve crippled that child for life.

I have a 2 year old that can speak English, a little Spanish, and she’s learning to count in Japanese. Our family is not one of the elite private school attending, country club living types either. My wife and I are trying to instill a love of learning into her early and we work daily to ensure she keeps that love going strong. Education starts in the home, and it starts early. For all the emphasis on things to help kids, I have yet to hear the public service announcements or billboards preaching that. It’s not the education system that’s failing the kids, it’s the family that’s doing the damage.

Bosch

November 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

And off topic, but when did NK attack SK?

TaxPayer

November 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

You query whether that means free markets are exempt from corruption, and of course the answer is qualified. Free markets are self-correcting, which discourages “cheating.” However there are always corporatists – almost uniformly leftists and democrats – who would use the guns of government to obtain an advantage over their competition, and use the government as a means to control the market.

Looks scripted to me. Dare I say, almost standardized.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

Ragnar – “Free markets are self-correcting, which discourages “cheating.” ”

the problem with the concept of markets being “self-correcting” is the length of time – and the numbers of people who are destroyed – before the “market” catches on to malfeasance.

see: Bernie Madoff.
see: Enron.
see: WorldCom.
(the list goes on)

I think that your statement “government is always corrupt” is incredibly facile to the point of falsehood. just as I would never say that the corporate market is ALWAYS corrupt – or that the examples I listed above mean that ALL corporations are corrupt – you can’t take say government is ALWAYS corrupt or that everyone who works with government is corrupt.

Southern Comfort

November 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 23rd, 2010
8:41 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHo

Paulo977

November 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

USinUK
@6:49am…11:00 am Brit time?
Darn right …at least wait till the young ones have grown and developed , may be by 4th grade, to intnroduce them to the sorry world of intense competition …reward and punishment!!!

grading bookman

November 23rd, 2010
8:47 am

Erasing the Atlanta School cheating and lying scandal requires sharpened, standardized remedies: hold nothing back, or teachers shall be forced to hold more students back. Remember when the only problem we had in our schools were food fights, spitballs and passing notes? We demonized those activities and created the truant delinquents maurading the halls now. And those are just the teachers. you should see what the students are doing.

Raise taxes. Pay teachers even more, so they can afford the lifestyle all corrupt officials aspire to.

What nobody seems to understand is what a damnable measure of our society the Atlanta School Scandal is. We are corrupt down to the chalk in our bones, man.

We should all have our ears boxed. Especially Bookman for writing about a scandal he clearly didn’t study for. I give his piece a C+. The textbook I would recommend for him is “Dunce Cap Making for Dummies.”

Merry Xmas, bookman, man. Have some eggnog spiked with castor oil. do some deep background next time and maybe your blog will inspire and appeal to the stem and core of applied teaching techniques.

Bosch

November 23rd, 2010
8:47 am

USinUK,

“I think that your statement “government is always corrupt” is incredibly facile to the point of falsehood. ”

or as Obi Wan Kenobe said, “Only the Sith speaks in absolutes”

:-)

GALE!! Have you seen the new HP movie? Three words. Oh. My. God.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:48 am

Bosch – are you sure that it wasn’t Yoda “Sith absolutes only speaks”?

Bob

November 23rd, 2010
8:49 am

Most ATL schools have sucked for a long time. But lets go after the tea party, it’s either their fault or George Bushs fault, we can’t blame the dems that have run the show in Atlanta for over 100 years.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

Paulo – 8:46 – I just think entirely too much time is taken away from lessons for these kids to spend in standardized tests … limit them to 3 over the course of their K-12 career – one in the middle of elementary school to make sure they are tracking where they should be … one in middle school … one in high school …

Southern Comfort

November 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

I think Ragnar just called me corrupt… And all this time I thought I was a good officer. Man, the things you learn at Bookman’s…. :???:

Southern Comfort

November 23rd, 2010
8:52 am

UnU @ 8:50

I think that was about how it was when I came thru school. May have been 4…

Curious Observer

November 23rd, 2010
8:52 am

I will disagree that standardized testing is a problem per se, and I will candidly acknowledge here that I devoted almost twenty years of my career to supervising the development of standardized tests. If there is a problem in the tests used to measure the performance of students, that problem lies in the lack of validity in the tests, rather than in standardized testing itself.

How many of you ever saw one of the tests used at APS? How many of you are even aware of who developed those tests? How many of you are aware of the methodology used in the development of those tests?

I daresay there are few here who could respond affirmatively to those questions. You examine the results with a microscope, as though test development is irrelevant. A few of you dismiss standardized testing as emphasizing memory of dates or obscure facts. Yet, a really good achievement test should measure reasoning ability as well as the application of facts.

Most standardized tests are developed by amateurs in the testing field. Oh, sure, those amateurs have access to psychometricians, but those psychometricians are largely concerned with the data produced within the test results. It is safe to say that most of those who develop the test items have absolutely zero training in test development. As the shade-tree mechanic would say, there’s your problem.

If you really want measurement of knowledge, make sure that the test developers are fully trained and qualified to do the measuring. Don’t act as though the tests themselves come from Zeus.

atlanta mom

November 23rd, 2010
8:53 am

@jimmy62
That voucher program that was so popular in DC–was that the program that was open to only 2% of the school population? Was that the program that resulted in two thirds of the students attending religious schools because that was all they could afford with the voucher? That program? That program which could never be implemented on a large scale basis?

Bob

November 23rd, 2010
8:53 am

Jay, you forgot to mention the scam Hall ran when it came to graduation rates. Kid drops out, just say he transferred !

walter

November 23rd, 2010
8:53 am

Oh what a tangled web we weave….

Paulo977

November 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

Bosch @8:43am

re: ” disruptive behaviour “? Spoken as someone who knows what EDUCATION is all about!!! Thank you

pencilneck

November 23rd, 2010
8:57 am

Must have been a mistake–Grab an eraser

Paulo977

November 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

USinUK @8:50am

GREAT !!!!!

AmVet

November 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

Free markets are self-correcting, which discourages “cheating.”

In light of what has happened over the past few years, I am not even sure if there is an adjective to adequately describe how preposterous this statement is.

I honestly believe, the poster writes this nonsense to make himself alone, feel better about living under a rock.

Because, please tell me that nobody else buys into this $3,000,000,000,000.00 lie…

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

Sorry SoCo – you’re THE MAN … you’re keeping us DOWN … and you’re corrupt and have no moral compass

jm

November 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

Well Jay, I’d say the column is generally on target if a bit over simplified. Ok, enough with the rear view mirror.

How is APS going to attract a decent superintendent while it is in the middle of losing accreditation, in a position to possibly be taken over by the governor, and has a board clearly incapable of making any decisions because it is so divided?

I don’t have the answers. But some smart people in positions of power better have solutions or we are in very deep trouble.

The testing problem can be fixed. I don’t know how one fixes the governance problem.

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

AmVet – 9:00 – my $$$ is on Ragnar blaming the victims (they should have researched more!)

Gale

November 23rd, 2010
9:02 am

Bosch re: HP, I’ll up your word count to 5. “That was exciting.” and “Bored now.” Like the last book, there was too much slow moving.

TnGelding

November 23rd, 2010
9:03 am

Why do we continue to place our children on those big yellow monsters before daylight when we can bring the best educators in the world into our homes?

TH

November 23rd, 2010
9:04 am

Today is November 23.

BONER, WHERE ARE THE JOBS CREATED FROM THE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY?

Southern Comfort

November 23rd, 2010
9:07 am

Sorry SoCo – you’re THE MAN … you’re keeping us DOWN … and you’re corrupt and have no moral compass

:shock:

Guess I can’t rage against the machine anymore since I am the machine. :)

RB from Gwinnett

November 23rd, 2010
9:07 am

The only way to end this garbage is to immediatly terminate everybody involved right up to Ms. Hall. Until we start holding these people accountable with their jobs and reputations, nothing will change.

See Charlie Rangel….

USinUK

November 23rd, 2010
9:08 am

AmVet

November 23rd, 2010
9:09 am

Ex-pat, to my earlier post about how the neo-cons live in an idealized, romanticized past where modern realities and truths dare not impede, this mentality is truly shocking.

Example after example after example after example where the very antithesis of that bizarre claims is the common place reality.

Vast and massive corporate crime in this nation. Unchecked and apparently, even unquestioned!

Culminating in that disaster of September 2008, aka “a sustained orgy of greed and reckless behavior.”

And to your point it is the neo-con model to blame the victims and hold faultless these Titans of Malfeasance and Criminal Negligence.

Or as I call it, “Vilify the weak and glorify the wicked”…

Bosch

November 23rd, 2010
9:09 am

Looks like RB is still having trouble quitting Jay.