Monday, March 28, 2011

This weekend at APS

What, more problems?

Beverly Hall closely tracked CRCT results
...E-mails, memos and other documents recently obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provide the most detailed look to date at the intensity with which [Atlanta Public Schools' Superintendent Beverly] Hall followed the yearly CRCT results. She parsed scores in detailed exchanges with district researchers. She praised subordinates whose numbers improved. She kept business leaders and other supporters apprised of successes.
Nothing in the e-mails and other material suggests that Hall, Atlanta’s superintendent since 1999, ordered anyone to tamper with test papers or to behave illegally or unethically to achieve certain outcomes. How the district achieved its impressive 2009 scores is at the center of two criminal investigations.
I'm assuming everyone has noticed that reports keep leaning heavily on the item, paraphrased differently from story to story, that nobody is saying Hall knew. Neither am I -- but if she was qualified to sit in that chair, she must have suspected. The best possible spin that can be put on it is that she was too eager to believe unbelievable numbers. Villain or victim, though, she shouldn't become the CRCT scapegoat. There's plenty of clear deceptive intent to go around.

And now what?

APS underfunded its pension plan
The district has underfunded its pension for custodians, bus drivers and cooks by more than a half-billion dollars.
APS has the worst underfunding of any large public pension plan in the state, according to a recent state audit. While it is generally agreed that, at any given time, a pension plan should contain 80 percent to 90 percent of the money it is obligated to pay out, APS has assets to cover just 17.4 percent of its pension promises.
“It’s something that dates from long ago,” ...said Chuck Burbridge, the district’s chief financial officer.
How long? When did it begin? Nobody wants to say.
Most teachers are in a separate state-run plan that is much better-funded. 
Oh, well, then.

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