100 Implicated in Cheating Scandal

Not good news for the Atlanta School System.

The committee’s release on Tuesday will be a watershed for the Atlanta system and its acclaimed superintendent, Beverly Hall. Hall will either respond to the report in a way that engenders confidence in the system or that provides more ammunition to critics who want new management.

The school system continues to win national awards — as does Hall — for closing an academic gap that appeared unbridgeable when Hall took over in 1999. But the cheating investigation comes at a time when APS is undergoing increasing scrutiny for some of those gains, as well as for its financial management.

State monitors watched over schools caught up in the investigation. Scores on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests went down this year, according to preliminary data. Meanwhile, the AJC reported this month that the system’s central office payroll, on a per-student basis, is more than twice the metro average and that, again on a per-student basis, the district spends more money on employee travel that other metro systems.

Price said Thursday that there is no evidence “at this point” that anyone in the system’s central office had a direct role in cheating on tests. But he made clear that the panel expects action, starting with the individuals caught in the probe and continuing throughout the city school system.

15 comments

  1. Baker says:

    I came across a story recently about an honors student from APS that couldn’t graduate because she was still waiting on a test waiver. She was not able to pass the English/ Lang. Arts portion of the required graduation test. I understand some people are not fantastic test-takers, but an honors student? I’ve heard that at one school, B’s were regularly given out to ensure qualification for the HOPE scholarship.

    Is this all part of the self-esteem movement? “Aw, we can’t fail them, they might feel bad about themselves.” The teachers unions? Department of Education?

    There are so many genies out of so many bottles on this that I’m not sure there will ever be a fix….Unless there were some way to bypass the public schools altogether. Some kind of way where people could agree on the mission and methods of a school, then they would get approval from the Local authorities and set up some kind of contract. Something like that.

    • Goldwater Conservative says:

      I think it has more to do with NCLB than the “self-esteem” movement.

      Local authorities have been failing for a long time in too many places. It is time to consider only administration of the school system at the local level and to have policy making done at the state or even a federally overseen but regionally appointed body.

      For far too long people have been using local school boards simply as a stepping stone to higher political office. This attitude does not produce good policy and is designed either to keep decisions and action under the radar or to cause a ruckus when it is time to make one’s political label known.

      Keep these decisions at least quasi-democratic…republican even. Have elected officials appoint experts in this particular area of public concern. The stakes are very high and this “local control” b/s is why other countries are starting to pull ahead in certain fields.

      We can keep control local and non-federal if we make some changes to bring the education systems policy process out of the 18th century and into the 21st.

  2. Ambernappe says:

    The person referred to as “Price” may not be important, but will you identify the individual ?

    Thank you.

      • Lady Thinker says:

        Ambernappe:

        Has the Ethics Committee released a report yet on Tom Price or is it still allegations at this point?

        • Ambernappe says:

          LT:
          No report on TOM Price yet.

          GARY Price hopes to have a final report on the standardized test scandal within a “few weeks”. There is mention on “thousands of erasures” – not looking good for Superintendent Beverly Hall !

          School Board members must question administrators regularly. I, for one, am a proponent of “site-based management”. My experience, as a volunteer, in this concept was enlightening and valuable. It is generally opposed by the unions, but them unions are to blame for the current situation. Thank goodness, I witnessed a change in philosophy on the part of faculty members with whom I was associated in this effort at one middle and two high schools.

  3. hannah says:

    If the test-graders, rather than the test-takers, are making changes, it hardly seems appropriate to call it “cheating,” unless the object of the test is to evaluate the graders — a logically flawed strategy. It’s not possible to assess one thing by testing another, even if they are somewhat connected.
    If we are convinced that each person is unique and being unique is a good thing, why put so much effort into trying to make them act the same? Isn’t it all a waste?
    That said, if the graders changed the data, wouldn’t that qualify as honest services fraud?

    • Ambernappe says:

      Give it up, Hannah. Changes on standardized tests involves CHEATING on the part of SOMEONE !

      If you are concerned with how such a situation develops, then volunteer at a local school, or declare your candidacy for the school board in your area. As a matter of fact, you may moderate a number of your previously expressed opinions by volunteering somewhere and talking to some real people. A good book on humor may help.

  4. John Konop says:

    The real blame goes to the one size fit all, one track or out, high stakes testing system created by No Child Left Behind and promoted by Kathy Cox. Stop pointing fingers and fix the system.

    1) We must bring back multi-tracking of kids based on aptitude not one size fit all or out.
    2) We must let local colleges and voc-tech schools set the standards not state and or federal government.
    3) We must integrate the agencies better between higher education and k through 12.
    4) We must focus the money in the classroom not administration.
    5) We must stop forced mainstreaming of kids with behavior problems into classrooms creating disruption for teachers.
    6) We must make extra curricular activities pay for themselves.
    7) We must cross utilize space more efficiently.
    We must hold local school boards more accountable.
    9) We must promote community involvement in the schools not stiff arm it.
    10) We must eliminate the failed math 123.

    This is just a start.

    • polisavvy says:

      And what a fine start it is! Great ideas. I just hope someone is seeing or hearing what you are saying.

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