Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You can talk, you can talk, you can bicker, you can talk

WABE: State Investigators Warn Atlanta Public Schools to Stay Out of the CRCT Cheating Probe: A Conversation with State Investigator Bob Wilson (2010-09-16)
The investigators appointed by Governor Perdue to look into allegations of cheating on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test in the Atlanta Public Schools have rejected a request from Atlanta school officials who wanted to participate in the probe.

Former state Attorney General Mike Bowers and former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson have also warned the Atlanta schools against mounting their own investigation. APS already has the results of a probe by a blue ribbon commission appointed by the school board. But Governor Perdue called it "inadequate."
Well, that's what he calls it. You don't want to know what the teachers call it.

A-a-and here comes another layer of investigators

Feds probe Atlanta schools | ajc.com
Federal authorities are investigating whether Atlanta Public Schools committed fraud by illicitly boosting scores on standardized tests, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

...The CRCT provides a key measure of whether schools are meeting standards mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Meeting the standards can earn those schools additional federal money, which principals can spend for almost anything they wish.

But if the schools are found to have earned extra grants through inflated scores, officials could face criminal charges. The U.S. attorney’s office also could ask a judge to order the school district to reimburse the federal government. The bonus grants for Atlanta schools total nearly $360,000 a year.
This strikes at the core of the fiction that public schools are locally-run. "We can't just tell you what to do," says the Fed, "but we'll make it worth your while to do it our way, if you take my meaning." And the local school boards, for their part, will jump through any hoop the Fed puts in place to get that money. The idea of NOT doing so simply doesn't occur to them. "That's OUR money," the school board will say. It was written into the budget years ago.

"Bonus" grants? Hah!

Can't tell the boardroom from the playground

Dissenting ATL school board members don't accept new chief | ajc.com
Four dissenting Atlanta school board members on Monday called on their new chairman not to sign items or speak on behalf of the board as a whole, saying they will not recognize Chairman Khaatim Sherrer El as the body's leader "until it is ruled by higher authorities otherwise."
When are these clowns up for re-election?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This may be why newspapers are dying

Out on a limb: Cat stuck in tree finally descends - USATODAY.com

On the other hand, I've always felt it will be local news that saves the local newspaper. National news is a glut on the market, and local outlets' habit of filling their pages with the AP wire adds no new value to it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's pandemic!

Cheating Brit teachers gave wrong answers - UPI.com
British education officials say teachers at three schools were caught helping students cheat on a standardized test when kids gave the same wrong answer.
Perhaps the teachers had just transferred to Britain from Atlanta.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh, yeah, we do have a city Board of Education

School board in 'eye of a storm' | ajc.com

From an interview with Khaatim Sherrer El, the newly-elected chair of the Atlanta school board:
It’s been very unsettling for me that with all of the issues that have come out, the one body that the public has not heard from is the Board of Education. We’ve heard from the governor. We’ve heard from the state Board of Education. We’ve heard from various stakeholders in this city. But at the end of the day, none of them are elected to represent the citizens in this city when it comes to what’s happening in APS. That’s unacceptable to me. ...I was completely shocked and floored to find out about the decisions that had been made about the coming together of the Blue Ribbon Commission before this board even had a chance to formulate a plan about how we wanted to move forward.
One gets the impression the previous leadership was hiding under the table hoping the ruckus would blow over.

Friday, September 17, 2010

“We all know government can’t stand to give up a source of revenue”

Ga. 400 toll may not expire as promised | ajc.com
The 50-cent toll on Ga. 400, set to expire next summer after the road finishes paying for itself, may be extended for years to fund improvements along the highway, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

The state is also considering an increase in the toll to $1 for those who pay cash, to encourage drivers to sign up for a Cruise Card, according to local officials who have been briefed on the idea by the State Road and Tollway Authority.
I don't think anyone ever seriously believed that the Ga. 400 toll would go away. Isn't a politician's promise sort-of the Gold Standard of Lying?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Musical Chairs at the board of education

Atlanta board dumps chairwoman and vice-chairwoman during cheating probe | ajc.com
A slim majority of the Atlanta school board voted Monday to approve a controversial policy change and elect new officers to replace its sitting chairwoman and vice-chairwoman.

Members took the 5-4 votes after failing yet again to reach consensus, despite intervention that has included Mayor Kasim Reed. They also cemented a rift that has erupted at a crucial time for the school system, drawing condemnation from members in the minority who called the actions illegal after the board's attorney advised against it.

"You don't even have a cause, except you don't like the way [the former chairwoman] did things, according to some of you," member Emmett Johnson said. "Do y'all believe in the rule of law?"
Sure they do. They didn't bring guns to the meeting, right?

State investigators launch tip line in Atlanta test cheating probe | ajc.com

State investigators launch tip line in Atlanta test cheating probe | ajc.com
Special state investigators looking into alleged test cheating in Atlanta Public Schools have set up a confidential tip line number for anyone who wants to report possible violations.

The number, 404-962-3849, went active at noon Wednesday, according to a memo obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The memo said the line may be answered by a live person or voice mail. If callers want a return call, they are to leave a telephone contact number.
The CRCT cheating scandal fights its way back to the newspapers after several days' free publicity for the Fox Theater.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

But it's in a memo, you can't ignore a memo

Memo directs Atlanta school employees to cooperate with state cheating investigation | ajc.com
Superintendent Beverly Hall has issued a memo directing all Atlanta Public Schools employees to cooperate with a special state investigation into alleged test cheating "or risk being found insubordinate."

"Any employee who fails or refuses to fully cooperate with the special investigators may be subject to formal disciplinary action, including termination," the memo said.
Well, since you put it like that, I'm sure everyone will be 110% cooperative now.