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

cherryblossom

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A New Leader Helps Heal Atlanta Schools, Scarred by Scandal


WINERIP-1-articleLarge.jpg

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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cherryblossom

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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.


 

Kemetstry

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





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cherryblossom

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Is it that bad?

I wonder if thats all that were invilved?

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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.


 

Omowale Jabali

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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/



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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