From the liberal Atlanta Journal-Constitution, news of a cover-up of “systemic” cheating in the Atlanta public schools. (H/T Reason to Stand)
State investigators have uncovered a decade of systemic cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools and conclude that Superintendent Beverly Hall knew or should have known about it, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.
In a report that Gov. Nathan Deal planned to release today, the investigators name nearly 180 educators, including more than three dozen principals, as participants in cheating on state curriculum tests, officials said over the weekend. The investigators obtained scores of confessions.
The findings suggest the national accolades that Hall and the school system have collected — and the much-vaunted academic progress for which she claimed credit — were based on falsehoods. Raising test scores apparently became a higher priority than conducting the district’s business in an ethical manner.
[…]The report’s release culminates more than two years of inquiries into Atlanta’s huge gains on the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in 2009. An AJC analysis first detected statistically improbable increases in test scores at two Atlanta schools in 2008. The following year, the AJC published another analysis that found suspicious score changes on the 2009 CRCT at a dozen Atlanta schools. The newspaper’s reporting ultimately led to the state investigation that is being released today.The investigators’ report, officials said, depicts a culture that rewarded cheaters, punished whistle-blowers and covered up improprieties. Strongly contradicting denials of cheating and other irregularities by Hall and other top district executives, the report describes organized wrongdoing that robbed tens of thousands of children — many of whom came from disadvantaged backgrounds and struggled in school — of an honest appraisal of their abilities.
At the same time, the document apparently provides a scathing assessment of the school system’s handling of the scandal, accusing district leaders of hampering the special investigators’ efforts to uncover the truth. The investigators reportedly accuse Hall and her top aides of refusing to take responsibility for the district’s problems.
The report also will detail potentially criminal acts by district officials, the AJC has learned.
In an effort to maintain Hall’s high profile in national education circles, the superintendent and her top aides reportedly tried to hide unflattering information as far back as 2006. District officials illegally altered documents related to the test and withheld material that should have been released under the state’s Open Records Act, the report is expected to say.
There is a possibility of criminal charges, and I do hope that this woman and all responsible spend at least a few years in jail.
We need to get taxpayer money out of the public school system, and back into the hands of parents, through a federal voucher system. Let the parents decide which school is best for their children. Let them buy education the same way that they buy things from other retailers. Choice and competition. Lower price and higher quality. If they don’t like the results that public schools provide, then let them take their money to a private school – or use the money to homeschool.
Notice that the largest teacher union, the National Education Association (NEA) has endorsed Obama. Democrats protect the failings of the education establishment, in exchange for votes and political activism. The faster we vote the Democrats out, the faster education in this country will improve.