Black Education / Schools : Atlanta Cheating Scandal: NCLB/Tenure/Unions

Discussion in 'Black Education / Schools' started by cherryblossom, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    The Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal refers to the accusation that teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public Schools(APS) district cheated on state-administered standardized tests, and the subsequent fallout.

    The scandal began in 2009 when theAtlanta Journal-Constitution published analyses of Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results which showed statistically unlikely test scores, including extraordinary gains or losses in a single year.[1] An investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation(GBI) released in July 2011 found that 44 out of 56 schools cheated on the 2009 CRCT.[2] 178 teachers and principals were found to have fixed incorrect answers entered by students.[3] The size of the scandal has been described as one of the largest in United States history.[3][4][5]

    The scandal has thrust the debate over using high-stakes testing to hold educators accountable, mandated by the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, into the national spotlight.[6] Teachers who confessed to cheating blamed "inordinate pressure" to meet targets set by the district and said they faced severe consequences such as a negative evaluation or termination if they didn't.[6]

    Prior to the scandal, the APS had been lauded for making significant gains in standardized test scores. Between 2002 and 2009, eight-graders' (the grade level at which the CRCT is taken) scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test jumped 14 points, the highest of any urban area.[5] Superintendent Beverly Hall, who served from 1999 to 2010, was named Superintendent of the Year in 2009.[7] The GBI's report said Hall "knew or should have known" about the scandal.[2] Hall's lawyer has denied she had any knowledge of cheating practices.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Public_Schools_cheating_scandal
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Updated: 6:39 p.m. Monday, July 25, 2011 | Posted: 6:37 p.m. Monday, July 25, 2011
    Viewpoints: How should APS cheating scandal guide public school overhaul?

    Georgia should seize the chance to change the tenure system and fire bad teachers.

    By Robert Enlow
    For those who haven’t seen the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” there is a portion of Davis Guggenheim’s film devoted to a place in New York City public schools known as “The Rubber Room.”
    It is a place where teachers who were accused of crimes, academic or criminal, and who could not be removed from their jobs were sent to wait in limbo, sometimes for years.
    That’s because, thanks to the over-the-top contracts bargained for by the teachers unions and agreed to by school boards, it’s very nearly impossible to fire a teacher in this country.
    It’s called tenure and it means that teachers who are accused of crimes or incompetence cannot be dismissed without undergoing a lengthy dismissal process that can cost taxpayers millions of dollars. It is an archaic benefit that defies common sense and one that most of us in the private or non-profit sector don’t enjoy.
    We may soon see in Atlanta Public Schools the reality of teacher tenure policies playing out in the cheating scandal.
    Interim Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis should be commended for issuing an ultimatum to 179 APS teachers and principals involved in the Atlanta testing scandal. He said either resign or be fired.
    But the teachers unions are stepping in to fight these firings, potentially protecting a worker’s interests over the welfare of students....

    ...COMPLETE HERE:
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/opinion/viewpoints-how-should-aps-cheating-scandal-guide-p/nQJx9/

     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Updated: 10:44 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | Posted: 5:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2011
    Investigation into APS cheating finds unethical behavior across every level

    By Heather Vogell
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes.
    Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.
    Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.
    Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.
    For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.
    In the report, the governor’s special investigators describe an enterprise where unethical — and potentially illegal — behavior pierced every level of the bureaucracy, allowing district staff to reap praise and sometimes bonuses by misleading the children, parents and community they served.
    The report accuses top district officials of wrongdoing that could lead to criminal charges in some cases...
    ...For teachers, a culture of fear ensured the deception would continue.

    “APS is run like the mob,” one teacher told investigators, saying she cheated because she feared retaliation if she didn’t.
    The voluminous report names 178 educators, including 38 principals, as participants in cheating. More than 80 confessed. The investigators said they confirmed cheating in 44 of 56 schools they examined....
    ....Don’t blame teachers?
    Phyllis Brown, a southwest Atlanta parent with two children in the district, said the latest revelations are “horrible.” It is the children, she said, who face embarrassment if they are promoted to a higher grade only to find they aren’t ready for the more challenging work.
    Still, she doesn’t believe teachers should be punished.
    “It’s the people over them, that threatened them, that should be punished,” she said. “The ones from the building downtown, they should lose their jobs, they should lose their pensions. They are the ones who started this.”

    ....continued HERE:
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/investigation-into-aps-cheating-finds-unethical-be/nQJHG/
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Beverly Hall posts apology about APS cheating scandal on Facebook

    Posted by Thomas Wheatley @thomaswheatley on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 7:11 PM


    Beverly Hall, the former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent who oversaw the district during a widespread cheating scandal, says....

    I am shocked and saddened by the facts uncovered by the Investigators. The instances of cheating they have documented are serious and cannot be ignored. I am particularly concerned for those students who have been affected by misconduct and whose education has fallen short as a result.

    I am also disturbed by the repeated references to statements by teachers and other professionals declaring that they cheated or chose not to reveal cheating because of a perceived atmosphere of intimidation and retaliation. A number of years ago, we installed a hotline by which persons with knowledge of misconduct could report it and could do so anonymously if they wished. Anonymous emails and letters provided a further channel of communication. Even so, it now appears that our efforts and procedures were not enough.

    To the extent that I failed to take measures that would have prevented what the Investigators have disclosed, I am accountable, as head of the school system, for failing to act accordingly. I sincerely apologize to the people of Atlanta and their children for any shortcomings. If I did anything that gave teachers the impression that I was unapproachable and unresponsive to their concerns, I also apologize for that. Where people consciously chose to cheat, however, the moral responsibility must lie with them.

    I do not apologize for the reforms my staff and I implemented during my tenure as superintendent. The public has a right to hold educators — and administrators — accountable if they fail to teach children what they need to learn. We set goals for our schools because our students deserve no less. But, most importantly, we accompanied our targets and the targets mandated by No Child Left Behind with programs and facility improvements designed to give principals and teachers the means to achieve them.

    It is my hope that APS parents and supporters will not read the report as a sweeping indictment of the Atlanta Public Schools and the accomplishments of the past decade. The vast majority of our educational professionals are dedicated, hardworking and innocent of wrongdoing. They fully deserve our respect and our gratitude. ....

    COMPLETE HERE:
    http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives...pology-about-aps-cheating-scandal-on-facebook
     
  5. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Beverly Hall In First TV Interview After Atlanta Cheating Scandal: 'I Can't Make You Cheat'


    VIDEO HERE:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/beverly-hall-in-first-tv-_n_1117117.html


    .....The initial 800-page report criticized Hall for breeding "a culture of fear and intimidation," in which teachers feared speaking out about cheating by coworkers that they became aware of, and in which educators were pressured to meet or exceed annual goals for test results. Hall told The New York Times that how she's been portrayed in the media is an image "foreign" and "crazy" to her.

    Hall has also repeatedly denied a culture of cheating or fear, first telling The Times in September that she "can't accept" its existence, and noting on Rock Center this week that she "can't imagine where the fear and intimidation came from."

    In July, Hall repeatedly denied being aware of widespread cheating during her tenure. She told WXIA-TV that she "absolutely knew nothing about the cheating."The district's high test scores after Hall's arrival at APS propelled Hall's status to National Superintendent of the Year, brought her $580,000 in bonuses and reaped in nearly $1 million in federal funds for Atlanta schools --which were under threat following the investigation.

    Hall retired from her top spot at APS just before investigators released their report.

    The district is now led by interim Superintendent Erroll Davis.

    ....http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/beverly-hall-in-first-tv-_n_1117117.html
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    A New Leader Helps Heal Atlanta Schools, Scarred by Scandal


    [​IMG]
    Erroll B. Davis Jr., Atlanta’s superintendent, at Slater Elementary, one of the 10 schools he visits each month.

    By MICHAEL WINERIP
    Published: February 19, 2012

    ATLANTA — For years, Beverly L. Hall, the former school superintendent here, ruled by fear. Principals were told that if state test scores did not go up enough, they would be fired — and 90 percent of them were removed in the decade of Dr. Hall’s reign.

    Underlings were humiliated during rallies at the Georgia Dome. Dr. Hall permitted principals with the highest test scores to sit up front near her, while sticking those with the lowest scores off to the side, in the bleachers.

    She was chauffeured around the city, often with an entourage of aides and security guards. When she spoke publicly, questions had to be submitted beforehand for screening. “She was known as the queen in her ivory tower,” said Verdaillia Turner, president of the Atlanta teachers’ union.

    But Dr. Hall got results. Test scores soared. Two national groups named her superintendent of the year. The secretary of education, Arne Duncan, hosted her at the White House.

    Fear seemed to work.

    Then, last summer, the Atlanta miracle collapsed. A state investigation found that 178 principals and teachers at nearly half the district’s schools — desperate to raise test scores — had cheated. Students from this poor, mostly African-American school district who could barely read were rated proficient on state tests, and they didn’t receive the remedial help they needed..

    ....On July 1, the day he was supposed to retire, Mr. Davis was sitting at Dr. Hall’s old desk, reading the 800-page investigative report and trying to figure out which, if any, of the people in the offices surrounding him could be trusted.

    Since then, he has been unbending about rooting out corruption, to the point that Richard L. Hyde, who had been the lead investigator on the commission that issued the state report, said, “He’s brought order to chaos, it’s very impressive.” Mr. Davis has removed more than the 178 teachers and principals named in the report, and he dismissed several top administrators....

    ....As he travels the district, often driving himself to meet with small groups of principals, Mr. Davis repeatedly tells them, “Education is the only industry in this country where failure is blamed on the workers, not the leadership.”

    ....People are still shellshocked from the Hall years. Ms. Turner, the union president, said she was surprised when Mr. Davis’s secretary called to set up a lunch. “I said, ‘Why does he want to do that?’ ” Ms. Turner recalled. “She said, ‘He wants to get to know you.’ The man is a breath of fresh air.”

    Dr. Hall was viewed as inaccessible, sequestered in her office.
    Mr. Davis’s home telephone number is listed.

    .... “My policy is zero tolerance,” he said. “I do not want people who cheat teaching children. Can I do that? We’ll find out. If I lose, so be it, sue me.”
    ....He says he does not want a school system driven by test results.

    That is not how education should work,” Mr. Davis said. “If you create the right kind of system, run by the right kind of people, tests scores will take care of themselves.”

    When Dr. Hall was the superintendent, she covered one wall in her office with bar graphs showing the test results for all 100 city schools.

    After Mr. Davis became superintendent, he took the test scores down and replaced them with large color photographs of Atlanta schoolchildren.

    ....COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/e...a-schools-are-on-the-mend.html?pagewanted=all



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  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Shayla Smith, Atlanta Math Teacher, Allegedly Helped Students Cheat On State Exam Because They Were 'Dumb As Hell'

    Posted: 08/29/2012 11:48 am Updated: 08/30/2012 8:00 am

    VIDEO HERE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/shayla-smith-atlanta-math_n_1839753.html



    .....With 21 pending tribunal hearings, the school board has yet to vote on the panel's recommendation to terminate Smith. Superintendent Erroll Davis said during the hearing that erasure analyses showed that tests administered by Smith had high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures, WSBTV reports.
    "This district has lost complete and utter confidence in her ability to remain in the classroom," Davis said of Smith. "I have absolutely no confidence that [this] teacher could, in fact, administer future exams with integrity."
    So far, of the educators implicated in Atlanta's cheating scandal, 17 have been fired, 16 have been reinstated and 110 have either resigned or retired.
    The investigations and pending punitive actions come from a two-year investigation released last summer that found widespread cheating among educators in at least 44 Atlanta schools. The findings shook the country and "stunned" U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
    The district spent about $600,000 monthly on the teachers on leave, and the entire scandal could cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of $9 million.
    APS last October sought to raise $600,000 to help tutor struggling students affected by the scandal, including students whose test scores weren't directly inflated. The district also agreed in January to repay more than $363,000 in federal money won by teachers and administrators cheating.
    Firing educators in the right-to-work state is costly and complicated. Depending on the case, firing a teacher could take anywhere from days to years.
    In Georgia, teachers can be fired for "incompetency, insubordination, willful neglect of duties, immorality, encouraging students to violate the law, failure to secure and maintain necessary educational training and any other good and sufficient cause,"according to state law.


     
  8. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Is it that bad? I wonder if thats all that were involved?





    .
     
  9. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    1. EVIDENTLY SO.

    2. probably not but those who DID "get caught" were surely "made examples of." ---SOMEBODY had to go to "the chopping block" for this and 'Heads had to roll." (while the former Superintendent STILL DENIES any knowledge of this AND of its EXPLICIT nor TACIT ordering.)

    However, I posted this here and in that other thread to show a "correlation" between "teacher unions/tenure/and the NCLB act" which all relate to this tragedy.

    And I say "tragedy" because, MOST of these principals and teachers who encouraged and/or did this, did so because of the "atmosphere" of pressure their school district was under to increase test scores and their JOBS being on the line if they did not.

    Many of these teachers involved in this were/are GOOD TEACHERS who are knowledgeable, skilled in their profession and genuinely care about their students.

    But, when TEST SCORES are low, TEACHERS are ACCUSED of "FAILING THEIR STUDENTS" and "NOT DOING THEIR JOBS as EDUCATORS" and their jobs are in JEOPARDY based on those test scores.

    ....an attitude and atmosphere of "When a students FAILS, it's because the TEACHER FAILED to ADEQUATELY TEACH THE STUDENT."

    Now, no, I don't CONDONE their actions; but because of the MENTAL and ECONOMIC PRESSURES they were under, I also cannot/will not "CONDEMN" these teachers and principals, "WHOLE-CLOTH" for what they did.

    Truthfully, the NEW Superintendent said, "Education is the ONLY industry in this country where failure is blamed on the WORKERS, not the LEADERSHIP."

    And, YES, the "Captain," the FORMER Superintendent made sure SHE DID NOT "GO DOWN WITH THE SHIP."

    SHE did like Pontius Pilate and "washed her hands" of any accountability in this scandal.

    ...while for all these teachers and principals, it was "Every man (or woman) for himself and God for us all."

    For these teachers/principals and the students, it was a LOSE-LOSE situation from the start.


     
  10. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    How about firing bad administrators who hold teachers hostage, block reform, and allow classrooms condition to be so unconductive to learning that teachers cannot teach?

    How effective can one be with over 40 students in a classroom?
     
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