The CEO who oversees the firm that will determine whether or not Atlanta Public Schools will regain full accreditation says the APS cheating scandal is the worst ever seen in the U.S. — and will make it harder for the system to redeem itself by September.
Mark Elgart, president and CEO of AdvanceEd, parent firm of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, made his remarks in an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM). Listen to it here.
Among Elgart’s points:
– The APS scandal “is probably more extensive and broad-based than we’ve experienced any place else in the country.”
– “We’re very concerned with the ability of the school system to effectively move forward. It’s critical that the leadership of the system take strong and decisive action to guide it through this very difficult period of time….Leadership by this board – unified, focused and strong – must be demonstrated in order to help this system move forward.”
– Elgart also said that SACS will be looking at how the Atlanta school system addresses elementary and middle school students who were moved, unprepared, into high school. “This is certainly a new wrinkle,” he said.
– The head of AdvanceEd said APS will lose no points for deciding last night to abandon its search for a superintendent to permanently replace Beverly Hall. Elgart described former university chancellor Erroll Davis, who was given a one-year contract, as “very capable.”
The bottom line for the Atlanta school board: “The challenges ahead of them are far greater today than they were before this report came out, and that includes accreditation. This is a very unusual event, in that it was such a wide span of inappropriate decision-making and inappropriate actions,” Elgart said.
On a related note, Gov. Nathan Deal late Thursday reversed himself and said a probe into CRCT scores in Dougherty County schools would continue. From the press release:
“After completing the Atlanta Public Schools report, we had hoped that we were at a stopping point,” said Deal.
“Unfortunately, I have received word today that the investigators’ review of their preliminary results in Dougherty County has raised grave concerns. We owe it to the children of Dougherty County to get answers, and our commitment to equal protection under the law requires us to treat all jurisdictions equally.
“In other words, the state simply cannot single out Atlanta if strong evidence suggests similar patterns elsewhere.
“I have instructed the investigators to present me with a complete report of their investigation into the Dougherty County School System as quickly as possible.”
The quote from one of the investigators:
“After reviewing the preliminary results of the investigation in Dougherty County on Wednesday and today, contrary to my initial impression, I do not believe the investigation should be terminated,” said former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers in a message sent to the Governor’s Office. “Given those preliminary results, it is my recommendation that we complete the investigation in Dougherty. We will do this expeditiously with as little intrusion into the school system as is possible.”
Those municipal contests in Macon have become a true pot-boiler. From the Macon Telegraph:
Macon City Council candidate Chris Horne filed a complaint Thursday asking that the local and state Democratic Party look into and publicly dismiss allegations by his opponent, incumbent Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, that there is a “Republican conspiracy to take over local and state government, supposedly involving (Horne), Mayor Robert Reichert, and other well-known Democrats.”
…Lucas has accused Horne, who qualified with the county board of elections to run as a Democrat, of being backed and financed by Republicans.
Lucas posted on her Facebook account Sunday that “my opponent and my husband’s are bought and paid for by Repubs.”
Her husband, David Lucas, is running against Republican Bobby Gale and Democrat Miriam Paris in a special election to fill the state Senate District 26 seat that became vacant when former Sen. Robert Brown resigned to run for Macon’s mayor.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s claim that his campaign problems are “exactly” like those endured by Ronald Reagan in 1980.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider