Atlanta Public School Scandal Investigation Coming to a close

April 2, 2013

 

APS_SuperintendentHall

The scandal investigation into the Atlanta school system is still ongoing. The Fulton County District Attorney’s office has released a statement  that indicates the conspirators “conspired to either cheat, conceal cheating or retaliate against whistle blowers” to improve the CRCT scores.  To date the scandal has involved about 180 educators, about 50 schools and has spread across two Georgia counties. Of the 159 cases which have been reviewed so far only 6 have had no disciplinary action taken against them. That’s not to say that they did nothing wrong but that there was proof found to convict them. To say that only 180 educators were involved is not to say that there were no others involved also, but again just no proof was found. With such a wide spread conspiracy it is hard not to believe that just about everyone in the system had to know or had to participate at some level.  Especially since the corruption is from the very top and permeates to the very bottom.

The school superintendent is being charged with racketeering, giving false statements, and theft. Every educator and employee in the Atlanta School System was dependent on the test scores for their bonuses. That means the better the scores the better the bonuses. Even the superintendent’s bonuses were tied to those scores. It only stands to reason that if the superintendent was part of the scandal to then she obviously pressured all the schools and all the educators to do whatever was necessary to achieve the goals, especially at the lower performing schools.

Since this was the environment within the school system, one can only imagine what other corrupt things they may have done. These are not educators, but imposters who are impersonating educators with the intent of lining their pockets by stealing an education away from the neediest children. They are impersonating school teachers and are extortionist at best. If I had my way none of them would ever be allowed in any classroom ever again. Unfortunately there have been at least 21 of those named and disciplined that have been reinstated to the Atlanta school system. You can bet that many of the others are probably at some other school somewhere in the country teaching right now. Even though 44 had their license to teach in Georgia revoked, they could have just moved to another state and applied for a license to teach there.

The teaching profession is supposed to be an honorable profession and usually it is but ever since the unions have unionized the profession it has been anything but honorable. Don’t get me wrong there are still a lot of honorable educators but for a conspiracy of this magnitude to have survived and thrived the way it did, there has to be a large amount of corruption in the system.

The cheating would have never been known if it had not been for concerned parents. One particular parent knew something was wrong, when her child who could hardly read scored exceptionally high on the standardized test. That parent brought this information to the attention of state investigators.  The task was given to investigator Richard Hyde to get to the root of the problem. He pressured many of them and some of the educators turned. He managed to get some of them to wear wires for weeks. Those recordings started exposing the corruption and resulted in expanding the investigation from the classroom all the way up to the Atlanta School System Superintendent’s office.

BeverlyHallSuperintendent Beverly Hall has earned a reported $500,000 in performance bonuses during her decade of service in that position. If that isn’t extortion then I don’t know what is. She was a feared administrator by all subordinates. She informed all under her that there was not going to be any acceptable excuses for not meeting the targeted scores. She made it known that she would not tolerate any one who didn’t get the test scores up. She was a ruthless boss. She replaced 90% of the principles and countless teachers for not meeting those required scores.

One teacher, who finally confessed to cheating, stated that she observed and participated in the cheating since day one of her being hired to teach in the Atlanta system. She couldn’t say how long it must have been around prior to that but she said that she thought it was just a normal practice and part of the job. She also stated that it was common knowledge that if your students had low scores then you weren’t around very long.

The bonus thefts weren’t the worst part of the corruption. The worst part was the damage it did to the students. The very students that needed the help the most had the resources for that help pulled right out from under them. When the test scores excelled the educators filled their pockets but the state and federal aid was pulled at those needy schools because their students theoretically no longer needed the aid to make them excel.

The worst damage was done at the Parks Middle School, where Principle Christopher Waller rapidly cheated his way higher up the academic ladder with impossible to believe achievements. Before his arrival math scores were at 25% and a year later they were 86%. The reading tests were 35% prior to his leadership and 78% a year later. The tests scores became so good that the school was moved out of the category of needing improvement and thus lost state and federal aid in the amount of $750,000. That money could have been used to help the low scoring students but instead it was pulled and the students were left abandoned in the dark with little hope for improving.

Georgia is by no means the only state with a cheating problem. There are cheating problems in many states and many are being exposed. The only difference is that Georgia has gone to lengths to expose and correct the problem. None of the other states have ever tried as hard as Georgia has to stop the cheating. I have to commend Georgia and former Governor Perdue for doing the right thing. However I have to condemn Georgia for allowing this to happen in the first place.

Actually I shouldn’t condemn Georgia as much as I should condemn Atlanta. As far as we know it is a problem only within the Atlanta School System or at least that is the only place it has been exposed. That fact doesn’t amaze me at all because if you look at the Atlanta government you can see all types of corruption within City Hall. Many of its past officials have gone to jail for corruption, so for the school system to have cheating shouldn’t be a surprise, since corruption is also at the highest levels of the city government.

There was another factor in the reason for cheating and that was commerce. Higher scores meant better schools which appealed to people who might be moving to better school system or to another city. That in turn brought in more businesses.  Superintendent Hall had heavy ties to the local business community. The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce even resisted the Governor’s inquiries into the cheating and exerted some pressure on him to drop the investigation but he was diligent in his duty to expose that cheating.

This is the type of environment we are fighting in American government today. It’s not just in the education system, it is everywhere. When individual achievement is thrown out the window and the group achievement is your goal then you are throwing the individual out the window as well. This country was founded on and has prospered through individual achievements.

Improving the group test scores created the corruption at the expense of the individual student. The group health care system, better known as Obamacare is creating the same corruption in our health care system. Our health care system cannot excel and be a world leader in health care if the system is allowed to cheat everyone the way it does. The system cheats us in pricing, in quality of service, in the availability of medical staff and in the ability to control our own health care.

Health care is just one aspect of the “cheating” within our government. It is rampant in all aspects of our government especially at the federal level. I say it is time to stop the cheating and not just in the school systems but it all our government. It is the “Progressive” movement that feeds this cheating because they will use whatever means they can to achieve their goals. They don’t care whether if the actions are moral or immoral because they believe that the end justifies the means. I say that the end has no justice if the means are unjust.

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Further information can be found at the following sites.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/01/atlanta-cheating-scandal-puts-national-education-policy-on-trial/

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/03/29/ex-aps-superintendent-beverly-hall-other.html

http://abcnews.go.com/US/atlanta-schools-cheating-scandal-suspects-set-surrender/story?id=18856607#.UVogJjc8iCk

 

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MeCloseUp1This article was written by Bertrum J Meisner Jr. I am not a professional writer. I am just a common every day laborer like most of you. I write from my heart, logic and life experiences. I am a devout Constitutional conservative and Christian. My only degree is in life experiences, which comes from a lifetime of learning from life. I derived my education from being part of this great nation and that has given me more of an education than I could ever get from any text book. I love this country and everything it is supposed to stand for. I write to bring it back to its roots and to help stop the destruction that is coming to this country both morally and physically.

Bertrum James Meisner Jr

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