Investigators allege systemic, decade-long cheating in Atlanta schools

Have you been following the cheating scandal in Atlanta? Beverly Hall, the superintendent implicated in the recent state investigation, was named national superintendent of the year in 2009 by the American Association of School Administrators — in part, for her students’ rising test scores.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today, the Georgia governor’s special investigators believe this behavior went on for as long as a decade:

Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.

Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.

Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.

For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

What do you think we, as a nation, should take away from this news? That it’s a mistake to reward or punish educators based on their students’ test scores? That it’s easier than you might think to game the system?

Are you surprised at the lengths to which top administrators went, according to the report, to meet their goals (and cover up their actions)?


OUSD’s latest personnel report

Some of you have asked for the district’s latest official reporting of new hires, promotions, departures, etc. I know this list isn’t up to date — e.g. Ash Solar, who headed the effective teaching task force, has left OUSD, but his name wasn’t on there — but here you go:

Personnel Report June 2011