‘Mission Accomplished’ banner premature for scandal-plagued APS (Updated)

I hate to rain on Atlanta Public Schools’ parade, but yesterday’s restoration of the system’s full accreditation is premature.

It’s premature, that is, if you think the real problem in APS is the system’s pervasive cheating scandal. Interim Superintendent Errol Davis appears to be making significant progress at cleaning house. But the professional reviews of teachers and principals implicated in the scandal — not to mention the criminal investigations of some of them — are not yet complete. There’s still work to be done in figuring out which students were affected and how much remedial help they need to close the gap between what they learned and what the cheaters made it appear they’d learned. And, the AJC reported a couple of weeks ago, the scandal may have reached into Atlanta high schools as well.

The removal of APS from probation by its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, only makes sense if you agree with SACS that the big problem in Atlanta was the infighting among school board members. True, the board’s 5-4 split and leadership struggle have been resolved. But those problems not only paled in comparison to the cheating scandal; the cheating scandal created them. The five-member majority began throwing its weight around, drawing tsk-tsks from SACS, because those board members realized they’d been hoodwinked for years by (thankfully, now-ex) Superintendent Beverly Hall and the board’s previous officers.

They’re not doing that anymore, but the real heavy-lifting at APS is still very much under way. You wouldn’t know that from the “Mission Accomplished” banner handed the system yesterday.

UPDATE at 11:15 a.m.: As if to hammer home the point, the Georgia Department of Education said this morning that the cheating scandal means dozens of Atalanta elementary and middle schools have lost their federal standing. From the Associated Press:

Georgia has revoked the federal standing for more than 40 Atlanta elementary and middle schools named in a massive cheating scandal.

The Georgia Department of Education released data Wednesday morning showing that a handful of the schools have lost their status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act dating back to 2001. The majority of the schools had their standing yanked for only 2009.

That means the schools can face sanctions under federal law and may have to return thousands of dollars in federal money for each year they reported inflated test scores.

But, hey — at least the board members are all holding hands again!

NB: We’ll also be getting 2011 AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) data for schools in Atlanta and elsewhere today.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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31 comments Add your comment

BULLSEYE

November 2nd, 2011
10:46 am

Get yer Freedom fries right here.

BULLSEYE

November 2nd, 2011
10:48 am

Flag Pins! Flag pins!. Three for a dollar.

BULLSEYE

November 2nd, 2011
10:49 am

We’ll be Liberators I tell you.

Aquagirl

November 2nd, 2011
10:57 am

Kyle must have inside info—are they going to follow up by killing a few thousand of our soldiers and trashing the economy?

BULLSEYE

November 2nd, 2011
11:15 am

You go to school with the system you have, not the one you want.

Kyle Wingfield

November 2nd, 2011
11:20 am

Ok, I think that’s enough Iraq references. Anyone want to talk about APS?

[...] Read More… [...]

Junior Samples

November 2nd, 2011
11:33 am

Step in the right direction, but yes, premature. Still more work do to.

Hillbilly D

November 2nd, 2011
11:38 am

From the outside looking in, it looks like an attempt to put perception ahead of substance. The powers that be in Atlanta, going back at least to the 1940’s have a history of putting image ahead of what’s actually going on.

Bart Abel

November 2nd, 2011
11:42 am

I don’t agree with the implication that restoring full accreditation to APS is the equivalent of handing the school system a “Mission Accomplished” banner. The accreditation reflects the quality of education that APS students are receiving in the present, not that of the recent past or possible outcomes arising out of possible funding issues in the future.

Undoubtedly, nobody on the board perceives the restoration of accreditation as “mission accomplished”. To the contrary, it’s a sign of forward progress that everybody agrees must continue.

Kyle Wingfield

November 2nd, 2011
11:50 am

Bart: The sad truth is that the accreditation has nothing to do with the “quality of education that APS students are receiving,” in the past, present or future. It has to do with whether school board members are getting along.

If accreditation by SACS or any other agency had anything to do with quality of education, a whole lot of school systems would be on probation at any given time. Instead, it’s news when a single system isn’t accredited.

Bart Abel

November 2nd, 2011
11:51 am

I want to add that the restoration of accreditation to APS is an important accomplishment, and the Superintendent Davis and others should be credited and praised for their work that got APS to this point after a devastating scandal that will likely have ripple affects for years to come.

As I said earlier, it’s not “mission accomplished”, but it’s still a big deal.

Kyle Wingfield

November 2nd, 2011
11:57 am

Bart: You act as if accreditation/probation and the cheating scandal had anything to do with one another.

Bart Abel

November 2nd, 2011
11:57 am

If what you say in your 11:50 comment is true, Kyle, then APS should never have lost its accreditation in the first place. A school board’s behavior at a given point in time might raise a red flag about the quality of the education that students are receiving, but that, in and of itself, should never be the deciding factor about whether to revoke or grant accreditation.

Jefferson

November 2nd, 2011
12:16 pm

APS is barameter of the city gov’t in general. You can blame gov’t or fix gov’t, but you can’t not have gov’t.

Kyle Wingfield

November 2nd, 2011
12:26 pm

Bart: I’d agree with you that the actions of the board members did not warrant probation. And it sounds like you might agree with me that the cheating scandal did warrant probation. I go a step further and say that, while progress is being made, the cheating scandal is not resolved to the point that APS should be removed from probation. (Again, if we assume that should have been the reason for its probation in the first place.)

getalife

November 2nd, 2011
12:42 pm

Kyle,

Why are you cons trying to over throw the government?

You tried that before and lost.

Watch out for the drones cons.

You might want to start acting like patriotic Americans because our President loves to use the drones.

Just sayin.

getalife

November 2nd, 2011
12:49 pm

Your regulars are missing.

Hmmmmmm.

@@

November 2nd, 2011
1:08 pm

SERIOUSLY!!??!!

Heck! Review of Clayton County’s system started in 2007. Accreditation was lost in 2008. It wasn’t until late spring, 2009 that it was regained. Had little to do with scores (which remain abysmal.) Had everything to do with a bunch of egotistical board members trying to micromanage things. Had it not been for Governor Perdue and an ensuing election, we likely wouldn’t have regained accreditation.

ragnar danneskjold

November 2nd, 2011
1:09 pm

Actions have consequences. Looks like some children in government schools are going to be left behind, due to the actions of their instructors. Perhaps there is some valuable teaching there.

@Bart Abel

November 2nd, 2011
1:45 pm

@Bart Abel, are you paid to shill? Seriously, as if SACS accreditation had ANYTHING to do with quality of teaching at APS. As if there was ANY integrity in the whole debacle.

Maybe Bart will explain why, if there was ANY credibility, SACS said NOTHING about Butler-Burks ACTIVELY conspiring with Hall to delete the Porter report, but was suddenly concerned about the “illegal” actions of El; actions a judge ruled PERFECTLY LEGAL.

Anybody else notice that Elgart said the cheating wasn’t a factor since it was at the elementary school level, but now he is COMPLETELY SILENT about the WIDESPREAD cheating that is now being documented by the AJC at the high school level?

Bart for you to say it’s an “important accomplishment” has as much credibility as Crazy Elvis in North Korea saying “I’m glad to have been chosen by the people in a fair and open election”

carlosgvv

November 2nd, 2011
1:45 pm

The APS scandal is a witches’ brew of race, politics and money. It’s no supprise they got full restoration and there’s no doubt it is nowhere near being deserved. Race, politics and money made this decision. I wonder if anyone is truly suprised by this?

Sha'Quonda

November 2nd, 2011
2:12 pm

“That means the schools can face sanctions under federal law and may have to return thousands of dollars in federal money…”

Ha, fat chance that’ll happen. More likely the government will find a way to shovel even more federal money at these broken schools through one ‘program’ or another. Don’t forget who’s in the White House, and don’t underestimate John Lewis.

@@

November 2nd, 2011
2:44 pm

Too funny!

Greg Mankiw, to the OWS walkouts:

Occupy Wall Street comes to Ec 10

The Harvard Crimson has the story. Ironically, the topic for today’s lecture is the distribution of income, including the growing gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent. I am sorry the protesters will miss it.

@@

November 2nd, 2011
2:48 pm

I’m likin’ what I’m seein’.

A Rasmussen survey conducted Tuesday found Mr. Cain in the lead with 33% support from likely Republican primary voters. Mitt Romney trailed with 23% followed by Newt Gingrich, 15%

When Newt moves ahead of Romney, we’ll have a formidable twosome. Impossible to beat in my opinion.

getalife

November 2nd, 2011
2:53 pm

OWS.

Winning.

There are snitches in the Georgia militia.

Yeehaw.

@@

November 2nd, 2011
3:11 pm

While Cain has impressive numbers early in the presidential contest, David Bositis, a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Northwest, said that it might not even matter.

“It is 100-to-1 odds that he will get the Republican nomination,” Bositis said. “He has never been elected to public office. He has a crackpot economic scheme.”

Bositis said that Cain “is a black face that will make conservatives feel comfortable.”

Did he just call Cain, a minstrel? What an AZZ!!!!

“I don’t even see him as a vice presidential pick because he brings nothing to the ticket,” Bositis said.

Nevertheless, Crystal Wright, a black Republican in the District, likes what she sees in Cain.

“He is talking as a businessman and with common sense,” she said. “His 9-9-9 plan is easy to understand and it is simpler than Romney’s 59-page economic development plan. Herman Cain is shattering perceptions about black conservatives among White conservatives and Blacks in general and I think a Romney-Cain ticket in 2012 is doable.”–Washington Informer

What is it with white leftists, who think they OWN the black vote.

Bositis is the same guy, who predicted black voters would turn out to maintain control of the house in 2010.

Somebody needs to tell the “forever entitled” Bositis, that Cain is nobody’s “boy”…especially not his.

Arrogant putz!

@@

November 2nd, 2011
3:31 pm

Over 100 Criminal Probes Related to Stimulus Funding in the Department of Energy Alone

Bear in mind that the Department of Energy only recieved $35 billion of the $787 billion allocated by the stimulus bill. It would be impossible to get a handle on how much criminal activity surrounds the stimulus bill, given that the federal government is not exactly known for aggressively policing fraud. Still, it sounds like the Department of Energy inspector general is doing yeoman’s work. If the schemes that he’s uncovered are anything to go by, the stimulus has likely produced a staggering amount of crime.

That’s ^^^ why we should NEVER be eager to hand money to the government.

saywhat?

November 2nd, 2011
4:04 pm

Nevertheless, Crystal Wright, a black Republican in the District, likes what she sees in Cain.

“He is talking as a businessman and with common sense,” she said. “His 9-9-9 plan is easy to understand and it is simpler than Romney’s 59-page economic development plan. Herman Cain is shattering perceptions about black conservatives among White conservatives and Blacks in general and I think a Romney-Cain ticket in 2012 is doable.”–

Is it just me, or does she seem to be saying that white conservatives had no idea black conservatives were such simpletons too?

MM

November 2nd, 2011
4:09 pm

Judging from what I saw Brenda Muhammed saying on TV yesterday about how joyous she was APS was to be fully accredited, I can see their preoccupation is with their own bureaucratic status wrt the quarreling Board. So much patting on the back makes me wretch but APS and the Board has always been tonedeaf and self-absorbed. No mention of the real issue of massive cheating, just the fact that they could remain in their jobs unchallenged. Time for a self-congratulatory happy hour down on Peachtree at our favorite watering hole!

Also, is it my imagination or is the cheating investigation losing steam? Suddenly, the FulCo District Attorney has yet to complete their investigation before the PSC can continue theirs. Isn’t this the same PSC that refused to do anything about APS (and statewide) cheating when the test scores revealed a 1-in-a-billion chance of being true. Any excuse to drag their feet will do. Have the status quo powers that be (who, make no mistake, are still in place except for Hall herself) sensed that the public’s attention is wandering away to other issues? Do they think we have the attention span of a gnat? Anyway, I need to get my 3-star rating on the new level of Angry Birds so I don’t have anymore time for this. Bye!

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

November 2nd, 2011
4:36 pm

I am just happy that my kids go to a good private school…