Once Upon a Time in Atlanta Part II

Atlanta-Public-Schools_Where-Excuses-Go-to-Die1Further thoughts on running a school district like a criminal enterprise.

The Atlanta Cheating Scandal (or “APS Scandal” for Atlanta Public Schools) essentially began in 2009 after the Atlanta Journal Constitution published statistical anomalies in state competency tests that showed suspicious numbers of teacher corrections in 58 Atlanta schools.

By 2011, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission had uncovered cheating by close to 178 educators in 44 of 56 Atlanta schools that were investigated. Students were either directly provided with correct answers or teachers changed incorrect answers on tests after they’d been turned in. They did this, in short, to either collect bonuses or keep their jobs, and anyone who tried to shed light on the fraud reportedly lived in fear of retaliation. Read more

Once Upon a Time in Atlanta

On running a school district like a criminal enterprise.

Bail hearings have begun at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, where 35 educators, administrators, and one Superintendent are charged with everything from theft, racketeering, and violating the Corrupt Organizations Act, to making false statements and influencing witnesses (read: leaning on whistleblowers). While some parents sought to stop these teachers and principals from altering tests so they could collect bonuses for improved scores, it fortunately doesn’t appear that too many other parents were involved.

Atlanta Public Schools_Where Excuses Go to Die

It’s no Scorsese plot: squealers weren’t chased through parking lots with a pair of pliers, a baseball bat, or a 12-gauge. But your shrewdest criminal operations don’t need to resort to hostile messages. And not only had this particular operation been going on for a while, it’s part of the larger and more entrenched standardized testing debate itself. In other words, it’s part of the system itself. Read more