America’s Biggest Teacher and Principal Cheating Scandal Unfolds in Atlanta

Patrik Jonsson, Yahoo! News, July 5, 2011

Award-winning gains by Atlanta students were based on widespread cheating by 178 named teachers and principals, said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday. His office released a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that names 178 teachers and principals–82 of whom confessed–in what’s likely the biggest cheating scandal in US history.

This appears to be the largest of dozens of major cheating scandals, unearthed across the country. {snip}

The report on the Atlanta Public Schools, released Tuesday, indicates a “widespread” conspiracy by teachers, principals and administrators to fix answers on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), punish whistle-blowers, and hide improprieties.

{snip}

On its face, the investigation tarnishes the 12-year tenure of Superintendent Beverly Hall, who was named US Superintendent of the Year in 2009 largely because of the school system’s reported gains–especially in inner-city schools. She has not been directly implicated, but investigators said she likely knew, or should have known, what was going on. In her farewell address to teachers in June, Hall for the first time acknowledged wrongdoing in the district, but blamed other administrators.

{snip}

The 55,000-student Atlanta public school system rose in national prominence during the 2000s, as test scores steadily rose and the district received notice and funding from the Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation. But behind that rise, the state found, were teachers and principals in 44 schools erasing and changing test answers.

One of the most troubling aspects of the Atlanta cheating scandal, says the report, is that the district repeatedly refused to properly investigate or take responsibility for the cheating. Moreover, the central office told some principals not to cooperate with investigators. In one case, an administrator instructed employees to tell investigators to “go to hell.” When teachers tried to alert authorities, they were labeled “disgruntled.” One principal opened an ethics investigation against a whistle-blower.

{snip}

“The [Atlanta] teachers, principals and administrators wanted to prove that the faith of the Broad and Gates Foundations and the Chamber of Commerce in the district was not misplaced and that APS could rewrite the script of urban education in America and provide a happy, or at least a happier, ending for its students,” writes the AJC’s education columnist, Maureen Downey.

“And that’s what ought to alarm us,” adds Ms. Downey, “that these professionals ultimately felt their students could not even pass basic competency tests, despite targeted school improvement plans, proven reforms, and state-of-the-art teacher training.”

BeverlyHall.jpg

Beverly Hall

[Editor’s Note: According to the Georgia Department of Education, the students in the Atlanta Public School system are 79% black and 12% white. This website indicates that the cost per student in Atlanta Public Schools is $12,090. The Georgia statewide average is $9,650, as listed here.]

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  • scandalicious

    Atlanta is racing to catch up with and surpass Detroit.

    White taxpayers in Atlanta are chumps, and they have Obama stickers on their cars. Keep your eyes on Atlanta. More news to come. We’ll have our “flash mobs” soon. Let’s just hope it’s at Lenox or Phipps malls.

  • Anonymous

    Why not just give all elementary school black kids a Master’s degree, and have done with it? No need to fake every step of the next 18 years.

  • sbuffalonative

    Every year or so, we read, generally in the New York Times, about some school or program that defied that statistics and expectations and closed “the gap”.

    None of these alleged successful programs ever seem to be replicated (and AR readers know why).

    Later, we read that there was cheating involved.

    Whenever I read about a breakthrough school I know cheating was involved.

    The only thing I wonder about is why the New York Times continually falls for these scams or knowingly participates in promoting this fraud.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    As I have said before, do the testing at a central center on computers or have teachers randomly assigned to other schools on test day. Should we really be surprised that this happened in Atlanta? A few underlings will see their careers ruined, but those at higher levels will just move on to another “under-served” school district in a major metropolitan area and this will happen again in 5 – 7 years. If Quantavious Jackson has an IQ of 81, his mental capacity hits the brick wall long before Henry Smythe with an IQ in the 125 – 130 range. But then again, we are all alike! Testing is “rayciss” because no (honest) tests yet have been devised that have equal outcomes.

  • E Pluribus Pluribus

    Public school educators — administrators in particular — score low on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) tests. Education administrators, in fact, score approximately one full standard deviation below the mean for all GRE test-takers. Quoting from the Wall Street Journal:

    “Applicants for graduate study in education administration — tested between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2004 — had a combined mean total GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score of 950 (Verbal, 427; Math, 523). That is sixth from the bottom of 51 fields of graduate study tabulated by the Educational Testing Service. The mean total GRE score across all fields was 1066” (“Dismal GRE Scores for Education Fields,” July 25, 2007):

    http://tinyurl.com/2vkbgl5

    ====

    Given such unpleasant experiences most public school educators have had with standardized tests, it seems plausible that they may not have much of a stake in protecting the integrity of such tests. Indeed, their approach — at least in Atlanta — to getting the student test scores they wanted can be characterized as By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

  • JuneWarren

    Many articles about this sordid affair have already made excuses for these criminals. Of course the “problem” lies with standardized testing! Its the tests fault! Its George Bush’s fault!

    BUT how else do you compare academic achievement?

  • Anonymous

    Smoke and mirrors. Test after test confirms that whites and blacks should attend separate schools. The government ignores all the results. The government demands that schools produce results showing black kids perform at the same level as whites kids. In the end, the teachers gave the government what it was demanding. If, however, administrators could discuss race openly, if they could consider test scores are correlated with race, they might be able to actually address problems realistically.

  • Anonymous

    The reason why this is a scandal, and the reason why they got caught, was because it was, ahem, low IQ ‘teachers’ who did the cheating. We white teachers know how to pass the ‘youff’ and do it legitimately, even though the ‘youff’ by no means mastered the material.

  • Question Diversity

    Christian Science Monitor’s version: http://goo.gl/tg0pg

    Note the smarmy headline. Yes, they should face jail, but NOT because they somehow “robbed kids” (like APS students had something to “rob” to begin with). They should have a long stay at Graybar Hotel because their cheating led to increased test scores which very likely led to increased state and Federal money and grants, and private money and grants, based on the “successes.” Sitting duck for wire and mail fraud.

    Let me put it to you this way: They better get serious prison time. And I don’t mean felony conviction plus a month of “shock” time then a long probation, after which they’ll go out on the lecture circuit and get paid big bucks per event about “making the right decisions” and “avoiding a life of crime,” or maybe it’ll be about “white racism in the education system which drove us to cheat.” If they don’t get serious prison time, they’re only begging for massive cheating like this to happen over and over again.

  • rjp

    As long as there are quotas to be meant and possible bonuses to be paid, this will continue to happen, and it will tend to involve certain segments of the population at higher rates because time and time again they have proven the can’t keep there hands out of the cookie jar when no one is watching.

    Just look at the history of black CEOs.

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    ’12 year tenure “… At that pay scale she wanted to try and make it thirteen… Also, in an earlier post I admitted being wrong about a lot of things. Snitches are one of them. I thought that they were mostly “disgruntled” too. But now I see they are too tired of the games,deceptions,illusions and other burdens to continue any longer keeping their mouth shut.

    The ultimate crime is that the children don`t have a realistic idea of where their true performance is. My own wake up call came when I turned in 12 toy soldiers glued to a soap box for a semester long project I had procrastinated on while the girl behind me presented a 6000 sugar cube Fort Sumter…complete with cotton wisps for cannon smoke!!

  • thehammer

    Atlanta: 37% white 54% black

  • Anonymous

    I thought I saw on the internet a couple of weeks ago that Ms Hall had ordered destruction of all the evidence of the cheating scandal. If true why is that not a felony?

  • Mrs. Victoria

    “…these professionals ultimately felt their students could not even pass basic competency tests, despite targeted school improvement plans, proven reforms, and state-of-the-art teacher training.”

    This statement simply confirms what most of us have known for 40 years.

    The professionals didn’t feel this way without some kind of experience to support the feeling.

  • ice

    “The racial breakdown of Atlanta public-school students is as follows:

    “Black 83%

    White 10%

    Hispanic 5%

    Asian/Pacific Islander

  • on the lam from the Thought Police

    The Atlanta school district spends $13,150 per child per year. The average for the state is $9,089.

    The racial breakdown of Atlanta public-school students is as follows:

    Black 83%

    White 10%

    – Editor’s Note

    ——-

    That explains it. You can’t teach what is not there. I feel concern for the white students. They are probably in constant danger.

  • rebelicious

    Atlanta, or as the black mayors call it, The ATL (total rap ebonics, we approve!), will soon get its taste of flash mob violence. The good news is that Whites all carry video capable phones. Look for lots of postings.

    THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED.

    http://news.yahoo.com/atlanta-mayor-announces-return-music-midtown-174601937.html

    Atlanta mayor announces return of Music Midtown

  • Planet of The ATL, gawdawful!

    Truth to Power, tell it, preach it!

    http://goo.gl/eYuhv

    July 6th, 2011

    10:27 pm

    Beverly Hall isn’t the biggest liar in this mess.

    All those black city officials, especially Kasim Reed, who stand in front of the cameras and say how shocked and dismayed they are at the findings are the biggest liars.

    They know how dysfunctional and corrupt Atlanta’s black rule is. How do you think they are all getting rich?

    What they are meaning to say is “Wow, that’s all you found? Chumps.”

    They are shocked that the report didn’t find more, especially financial corruption.

    Blacks always play the “aw shucks” game when other blacks are caught acting typical.

    None of this surprises Atlanta’s White taxpayers (excepting those self-hating types with Obama stickers on their cars), who are only surprised that our White governor had the courage to appoint White investigators who did a good job.

    This is a race scandal, and the fact that the Whites outed such massive black corruption and chaos without saying that that we Whiteys are really somehow to blame for black failure and crime is the real story.

    Are Whites fed up enough to quit taking the blame? Now that’s a sea change. Obama really did transform us…

  • Anonymous

    “But behind that rise, the state found, were teachers and principals in 44 schools erasing and changing test answers.”

    Gee whiz, maybe they should start using pens instead of #2 pencils.

  • Anonymous

    6 — JuneWarren wrote at 6:37 PM on July 6:

    Many articles about this sordid affair have already made excuses for these criminals. Of course the “problem” lies with standardized testing! Its the tests fault! Its George Bush’s fault!

    BUT how else do you compare academic achievement?

    _________________________________________________________

    Good point. I started college late. I was 35 when I started and I majored in biology which meant I also to had to take courses in chemistry, calculus and physics. It wasn’t easy. By my senior year one of my professors during a lab joked that he had never seen a case of burn-out like mine. He wasn’t mean about it and I took it in stride.

    After class we were talking and I said something about all these tests, tests, tests! He agreed that, yes, it was difficult for the students, but how else can the professors measure if we had learned anything? I thought it over for a minute and had to agree with him. There is no other way.

  • Sureesh

    Solution to eliminating the achievement gap on paper. Classify dark skinned Indians as Black on paper. Indian-Americans score higher than whites on standardized tests so if there are enough of us, we can pull the “black” average up.

  • Anonymous

    Cutting edge technology now should make it feasible to acknowledge the random use of covert video cameras with high enough resolution to capture all that is needed of the test-taking behaviors and item choices of examinees. This would amount to an iron-clad disincentive to anyone to do anything but keep answer sheets intact and do the arithmetic without cooking the books. Of course, the larger frame of reference is that there is not a sound reason on earth that overt cameras would not be a required presence in all public school classrooms and the footage accessible online to parents/guardians of the students. This cuts through all manner of massive accountability efforts. You know teaching and learning when you see it and you immediately detect the other classrooms in which it is at best a now-and-then presence. As matters now stand, at least half the attendance centers in America and most urban attedance centers would have parents with pitchforks massed on the sidewalks outside after about thre days of such publicly accessible footage.

  • Anonymous

    It is a simple choice for teachers, they can give blacks the grades they deserve and get fired for being a bad teacher or cheat and keep their jobs. I am sure Obama would agree.

  • SKIP

    “Hall for the first time acknowledged wrongdoing in the district, but blamed other administrators”

    I wonder if there are/were any Whites in the APS system for Ms. Hall to blame. SPBDL has a great article on this to include photos of all the miscreants..YUP! all black, what did we expect. Didn’t Ms. Hall come from a similar position in the District of Coloreds school system some years back? having left for similar reasons? In any case, this is what happens in anything that has black management and in ANY school that has a >5% black student body and less than 1% is optimal and those black students usually do well.

  • Sureesh

    For the comment about blacks and whites getting separate schools, I am worried about my smart, hard working Indian kids having to attend school with Blacks. Some of us are just as dark skinned as Blacks and most whites think race=skin color. I would like us dark skinned Indians to be accepted as honorary whites for our own safety and well being because those blacks would eat us alive!

  • John Engelman

    No Child Left Behind makes public school teachers even less willing than they used to be to teach in inner city schools. Unless one feels a profound concern for the poor – and I feel a profound respect for such people – it is not very rewarding to try to teach the illegitimate children of unmarried welfare mothers and violent street criminals.

    Expecting teachers to get the same results with those children as they could get with upper middle class children trying to get into the college of their choice, and punishing those teachers when they are unable to, is profoundly unjust.

  • Anonymous

    the only reason there are only 350k in atlanta is because the city limits have not been expanded since 1969 and half of those moved out. atlanta had a 600k population in 1930.

    the metro area is mostly white and 6 million strong.

    at least the state of georgia has the right idea to force residents to vote on city annexation so no need to crtiticize them as 90% of blacks are inside the city limits. expanding city limits anywhere only creates more added taxes for waste on these inner cities zoos. city expanionism annexation is all a trick. reject it at all costs.

  • olewhitelady

    I have a liberal family member whose eyes are gradually being opened to the reality of racial intellectual inequality. He says he doesn’t doubt the facts of this case, but wonders why no white GA schools have been implicated in the scandal. So, along with the educators-were-cheating-poor-black-kids howl, the liberals may seize upon my family member’s dodge as well. Everybody’s doing it! they may lament–it’s all George Bush’s fault! (although Obama went right along with the idea and even lauded it).

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if any school did the same thing if teachers and administrators were faced with losing jobs if their students failed to meet the mark. Sometimes the most competent, experienced teachers will be given the worst students in hopes that such a superior teacher can actually help them. Under NCLB, she would be the very teacher who would lose her job if these below-par pupils didn’t make the grade. Imagine if doctors would be fired if a certain percent of their patients didn’t recover. Then no one would want critically ill or terminal ones!

    It’s certainly interesting that the liberals have thrown teachers, whom they’ve long alleged to staunchly support, under the bus. But, when it comes to blacks, everyone else must support martyrdom–unless Moslems are involved. Then everyone, even non-Moslem blacks, must give sway.

  • ED

    All of the top administrators should serve jail time or have their pensions suspended! I teach school in one of the metro counties that have a large white population and many of the must hire black administators are racist agaist white staff and continue to use their black agenda to destroy our school system as well! Time for “GAME OVER”!! Atlanta is the next Harlem full of rap, gangs and other thugs who make or city a joke on the national stage! I had friends in from out on the west coast and they even thought the city was a mess!!

  • Allan

    As long as teachers are held responsible for the failure of the parents, these things will happen. The fact that these kids are not getting enough sleep at night and being fed junk food is not the fault of the teachers, yet they are the ones who have to suffer for it.

  • Anonymous

    I had CNN on when this story broke yesterday. They showed 100% white students walking around at some random school while they told the story, as if this was a white student only problem.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    http://goo.gl/z0j6H

    July 7th, 2011

    12:53 pm

    Everybody knows that blacks only excel at voodoo music and crime. Why do we waste our time and money trying teach them the higher arts of reading, writing, and arithmetic?

    Test them for IQs, and then design a training program to fit their capacity. Stop wasting my White earned tax money to teach those who are “dumb and hell” to quote a black teacher.

  • rockman

    As a nation we are throwing our country away as fast as possible. The grades of black students are faked and everyone is happy about the great progress made in education. These phony scholars can then apply for money to go to college and get into name schools on the basis of race where it is a free ride from the college profs. The end result is college grads who then can apply for affirmative action jobs especially with the govt where they can run the country. Thus we are where we are as a nation.

  • Anonymous

    In paragraphs 2 and 3, poster #26 has hit the nail on the head. As a teacher in an urban area – one who is successful in general – I know that if I get certain classes the ‘data’ will show me to be ‘ineffective.’ Then I’ll be shown the door, even though students and parents and even the admins can’t praise me enough. To maintain that (and keep my job) I make sure to lobby for classes that do not end in state exams.

  • Question Diversity

    Rush covered this story today. The version he read claims that this scandal started 10 years ago. 2011 minus 10 is 2001 — The same year NCLB was passed, with its impossible racial equality demands. Coincidence? Methinks not.

    Rush then ended his coverage of this story blaming “liberals.” Sorry, Rush, “liberals” in the sense of doctrinaire liberalism didn’t do this. Michael Kinsley didn’t do this, Paul Begala didn’t do this, neither did Alan Colmes, Christopher Lasch or James Carville. This is all a result of typical black cheating behavior done to “comply” with Federal educational law that lamestream conservative Republican egalitarians like Bush 43 demanded and got.

    Not that I wasn’t aware of this, but the conversation I heard two black women having a few months ago drives the point home — One told the other in essence that there are no such things as doctors, only people who have successfully convinced other people they’re doctors. IOW, there are no people who have mastered the art form that are the medical sciences, there are only successful scam artists. She then told the other one that that’s what she wanted for her daughter, to be able to scam enough people into thinking she’s a doctor. That shows you what kind of scammy mindsets they have, then again their cousins back on the old continent brought the world the 419 Scam.

  • Anonymous

    Judging from this picture, they can’t even blame Whitey.

    http://goo.gl/3UMk6

  • Anonymous

    I am worried about my smart, hard working Indian kids having to attend school with Blacks. Some of us are just as dark skinned as Blacks and most whites think race=skin color.

    One thing that race realist websites have done is give evidence that race is not a matter of skin color, but of genetics. So the race=skin color paradigm is, oddly enough, being displaced by a more scientific approach. And yes, if your kids are doing well, then they should not be dragged down by the school system. Good luck to them!

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Sometimes the most competent, experienced teachers will be given the worst students in hopes that such a superior teacher can actually help them.

    –olewhitelady

    More often than not, experienced White teachers were assigned to the worst students as a form of punishment or as a way to get rid of them. They were told “these poor kids need someone like you with all of your experience!” Principals doled out teaching assignment down racial lines first (last and always), after that, it was based on who kissed the principal’s (expletive deleted) — union reps, the ones that enforce such things as a teacher’s right to send out disruptive students or to representation in the office when he is accused of child abuse — were especially singled out for this type of punishment. And everyone knew it.

    See EDs comment above, #27.

    Finally, a number of years ago, my union demanded that seniority rights be implemented for class assignments, transfers and lay-offs. Say what you will about seniority rights (and, yes, sometimes it does protect bad teachers, but that is the exception). What it did was immediately take the racial and favoritism aspects off of the table as far as “who gets the worst students” or who is transferred or laid off. It is THE ONLY fair way to dole out assignments. The district and the ACLU have fought us teachers in court ever since to over turn seniority rules — but then they want us judged on students’ test scores, which is a backdoor way to eliminate higher-paid, experienced White teachers.

    And, from the prolific John Engelman:

    it is not very rewarding to try to teach the illegitimate children of unmarried welfare mothers and violent street criminals.

    This is why TFAs are so popular in large urban districts — brainwash ’em into thinking they’re going in to rescue black children from racist White teachers and hope that they stay for more than a few months –after that, fill in with substitutes, one after the other until the school year is over, and, as always blame Whites racism for the intractable achievement gap.

    Expecting teachers to get the same results with those children as they could get with upper middle class children trying to get into the college of their choice, and punishing those teachers when they are unable to, is profoundly unjust.

    Exactly, Mr. Engelman!! And beautifully written as well.

    Would that more people would internalize your profound statement — and not education officials!! — THEY already KNOW the truth of your words and carry on anyway, promoting yet another stupid plan to “close the achievement gap” because their cushy jobs and high salaries depend on the next “profound breakthrough.”

    The entire educational system, top to bottom, is built on a pack of LIES.

    Bon

  • Question Diversity

    28 Allan wrote:

    The fact that these kids are not getting enough sleep at night and being fed junk food is not the fault of the teachers, yet they are the ones who have to suffer for it.

    That’s how you louse up an otherwise good comment. Let’s make sure every low IQ black student gets the proper number of hours of sleep and eats the right food to get the right Vs & Ms. That way, they’ll all turn into geniuses, or at least eliminate the “achievement gap.”

  • Lee

    The most hilarious thing is that Beverly Hall was named “Superintendent of the Year” in 2009 – specifically citing the gains these same schools made.

    http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=1592

    Gotta close that pesky achievement gap by any means necessary, donchaknow.

  • boogieboogie

    Now are all going to be charged with a Federal law because of taking money from the Federal Gov.That is what is suppose to happen.They stole from all Governments,put them in JAIL.Why wait,let them post bond on Federal charges.Obammy and Holder would change the law again to fit the colored code.

  • Strider

    rebelicious (#17) said: Atlanta . . . will soon get its taste of flash mob violence. The good news is that Whites all carry video capable phones. Look for lots of postings.

    Video capable phones are great. Guns are the greatest. IIRC Georgia now has a “stand your ground” law. Litter a few sidewalks with the corpses of black flash mobsters and the rest of them will slither back under their rocks, to the cheers of Neal Boortz.

  • Middle American

    I like the picture of Beverly Hall in another CSM article holding up her bling – the award they gave her back in 2009.

    At first I thought she couldn’t be that stupid – I’d be embarrassed to be seen accepting such an award knowing it was a sham – but alas, I suspect she IS that stupid.

    Worse, what she did (and condone) violates every principle of educational goals and ethics – right down to the core of the profession.

    Lastly, who is she hurting? She is only hurting other blacks. Her dumb grin for a short-term gain and a shiny piece of tin set back what little progress could have been made for literally thousands of black students who are now not only further behind but were expected to live up to the “high-performing” students who came before them.

    First, home school your kids if it comes down to it. Really, how much worse can you do? Besides, they’ll be safe.

    Next, can anyone tell me why we are even paying to try and educate blacks?

  • Harumphty Dumpty

    Blacks are a lying bunch, and always have been. Put them in a situation where they have to pretend to be as smart as white people, and what do you expect.

  • WHC

    Cheating is a way of life in black communities. Just as crime, drugs and children born out of wedlock are standard forms of behavior. The children I feel most sorry for, are those 10% white students who are forced to endure unimaginable physical and mental abuse on a daily basis, in school systems around the county like the one in Atlanta. It is better for a poor white family to live in a trailer, in a rural enclave, than subject their children to such abuse.

  • Anonymous

    What I want is honesty in three simple areas:

    1. How many Americans -of all races- are in the sub 87 IQ range and thus not really fit for competitive work in a high tech field?

    2. How much are we really paying to ‘make everyone equal, anyway’ as function of supporting A/A and other quota work driven social classes whose brutal inefficiency drags down the economy with either job classifications that should be outsourced. Or which are maintained at the expense of pushing technology forward to streamline what we have (bus drivers for instance).

    3. How much is it going to cost to fix it? I mean _really start to treat the cause not the symptoms_ of genetic based differential performance outcomes? I honestly believe we know a lot more about what is really at the base of this (seratonin, dopamine suppressors, serum testosterone, myeline, whatever) but particularly as even a smart pair of parents will most likely have kids between their own average intelligence and that of their racial mean (i.e. a downwards curve), I think it’s time to stop pretending that random genetic dice tossing is the way forwards in a highly technical world where we are competing with Europeans, Chinese and Indians, doing the same work, for less money.

    Bluntly: how much money on ‘education after the dice toss’ do we have to waste before we start working on having better kids? Even Lysenko never would have said that a draft horse was going to win the Kentucky Dirby against a pure bred Arabian. But that’s what is effectively happening here.

  • Anonymous

    Cooking the books, the ONLY way possible to close the Education Gap. It’s time we had more trade schools or alternatives to a “regular” school. Let’s be honest, school is not for everyone. IQ is the factor, it goes hand in hand with race.

  • Anonymous

    What’s wrong with this? For the last 45 years the EEOC, DOJ and most of all the federal judiciary has been ordering every civil service commission in the country to subtract 20 or more points from the scores of Whites and add 20 or more points to the scores of blacks and hispanics to ensure that the Whites fail and the blacks and hispanic college grads who cannot read at 6th grade level get the job instead of the White who scores the highest possilbe score on the written exam.