Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Commend the Board for Bold Action Against CRCT Irregularities

Greetings ~

The DeKalb County School System announced today actions to address concerns raised during its internal investigation of the administration of the April 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT).

Based on the results of the investigation to date and after receiving feedback from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), the School System has taken the following actions to ensure that the CRCT process is accurate and represents the progress of students:

  • Twenty-nine current and former school system employees have been referred to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission based on concerns that they may have been engaged in inappropriate conduct during the administration of the 2009 CRCT.
  • Twenty-four school system employees, including principals, assistant principals and teachers, have been reassigned to duties outside of the schools, pending review of their teaching certificates from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. One employee who is not currently certified by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission will also be removed from currently assigned duties.
  • For students who may have been affected by irregular testing administration, individual learning support plans are being put in place for those students identified as needing assistance to improve their CRCT performance. Parents of those students have also been notified.
  • The system, as it did in 2010, will continue to monitor the CRCT administration.

The DeKalb County School System’s investigation was initiated to address the results of an analysis conducted at the direction of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement of erasures on CRCT answer sheets. The GOSA analysis showed that in some classrooms statewide, including some in DeKalb Schools, there were an unusually high number of wrong answers changed to right. The school system conducted an extensive investigation, including interviews, a review of the erasure audit data, an analysis of student performance comparatives, and consideration of other data and information. The school system’s investigation is ongoing.

The school system’s investigation, and the report of its findings to GOSA in August, identified potential testing irregularities at nine schools. GOSA has agreed with the majority of the findings in the school system’s report, as well as the school system’s responses announced today.

“We appreciate the state’s support in our actions to resolve this serious investigation,” said Thomas Bowen, Chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Education. “We have made all of our decisions in responding to these irregularities based on what’s best for the students, and we will continue
to do so. The DeKalb County Board of Education is committed to ensuring that we have an ethical, responsible and effective school system for our children.”

Ramona H. Tyson
Interim Superintendent
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
678-676-0010 office
678-676-0709 fax
tysonr@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

===

Thank you Ramona Tyson and the Board of Education!

223 comments:

1 – 200 of 223   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

well, the obvious question is "which schools"?

Anonymous said...

I hope DCSS loses its accreditation

Anonymous said...

Five principals are suddenly gone today and no one knows which schools?!?

Anonymous said...

Why can't DCSS employees be suspended without pay, as opposed to being re-assigned? Most of us know that re-assignments like this in DeKalb are basically "adult timeouts" with pay. At the end of the investigation, if they are found to be innocent, then award them with their back pay. These 24 people have been working with pay, benefits and accruing retirement for almost two years as the 2011 April testing season is upon us. Couldn't this be written into or addressed in their contracts?

Anonymous said...

This is progress, but more needs to be done. The 8th Grade Writing test is due to be administered soon. Last years county-wide results from that were abysmal, yet key county administrators responsible for the Language Arts curriculum are still in place and some 8th Grade Language Arts teachers were promoted. The state also needs to monitor that test. They also need to audit individual plans of disabled students that may routinely be re-written just prior to administration of the CRCT to make sure these students have FEWER testing accommodations, so as not to inconvenience the schools.

Anonymous said...

So they're still getting paid? How long will it take to officially let them go, and get us taxpayers off the hook for their salaries and sweet benefits?

Insider said...

I would imagine (but do not know for sure) if they lose their certification, they would no longer be able to fulfill their contracts & be left go.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but FYI the board's vote was just posted--we will have school on the 18th and 21st

Anonymous said...

Well, shades of "Humpty Dumpty." Any review of certification should extend to the Dekalb Schools **HR** Department. It has long be speculated that some teachers who were granted provisional teaching certificates via an alternative certification program, were not even minimally qualified to participate, have not ever passed any state mandated certification tests, nor did they take state mandated coursework. Further, when their 5-year provisional certificates expired, they were recommended by Dekalb's HR to the state certification board for full renewable certification, due to having relatives and/or friends in HR. In other words, some documents required for teaching certification were missing or information given to the state was falsified.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County citizens...we find the timing of this action highly suspicious! The spinmeister
JD and his staff are experts in the art of misdirection! Do not lose focus of issues still critical to the current and future success of our...OUR system!

Ben Dover and Jim Bohica

Anonymous said...

Agreed. The timing is suspicious. Can you say 'sacrificial' or 'diversionary tactic?' We still need names.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the AJC is all DCSS today:


http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/01/27/two-dozen-dekalb-educators-yanked-from-classroom-after-cheating-probe/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog
"Two dozen DeKalb educators yanked after cheating probe"


http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-removes-24-educators-817787.html
"DeKalb removes 24 educators from classroom
Reassignment linked to CRCT cheating investigation"


http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-parents-picket-school-817689.html
"DeKalb parents picket school board meeting
Livsey Elementary in Tucker on list for possible closure"


http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-students-no-longer-817614.html
"DeKalb students no longer have Feb. break"

Leo said...

I agree with removing these folks from the schoolhouse, but what is the plan to ensure that our schools now have adequate administrators and teachers in place. Last I checked, we didn't have a whole lot of extra folks outside of the CO hanging around.

I agree with Anonymous 1:27 -- suspend them and then provide backpay if you're wrong

Anonymous said...

“No cheating has been proved and no one has come forward and admitted to cheating," schools spokesman Jeff Dickerson said. "It’s just to keep the district attorney comprised of actions.”

Dickerson said he does not anticipate criminal charges, but it is up to the district attorney if he wants to investigate.

---

Funny how the Office of Student Improvement didn't notice the statistically impossible test score improvements at those schools. This all came from an AJC article from a tipster about an Atlanta school.

Shoot, Audria Berry was probably taking credit for the impossible test score improvements.

Anonymous said...

Great, 24 brand new non-teaching staff members performing administrative duties. Just what we needed.

Anonymous said...

"Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said she informed the board Thursday morning of the staff changes after receiving results of an investigation into 2009 CRCT tests by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement."

-Was the investigation done by the DCSS Office of Internal Affairs? Ha! RO Ramsey and Robert Tucker performing an investigation that might embarass the Central Office???

-This is from 2009, but is announced the same week as the SACS visit?

You're briliant Jeff Dickerson, brilliant. Worth every penny.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that the timing is very suspicious! I also agree that HR should also be investigated. Not only did they lose one of my relative's paperwork but,in the interim, the position was given to someone not nearly as qualified. When another vacancy became available, the PRINCIPAL said that there was no vacancy!!!! My relative interviewed and was immediately hired in a county that paid more. This same principal who said that there was no vacancy, later called to inquire as to whether my relative was still interested after the person that he hired did not work out! More BS that should be investigated as vigorously as the CRCT mess. If these people are found guilty, will they be charged by the DA as fast as they hauled the others in?

Anonymous said...

Here are the "Severe List" schools.

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-schools-on-states-295379.html

Those suspended probably came from these schools.

Anonymous said...

They are:

Cedar Grove Middle, 35.00%
Dekalb Path Academy, 25.00%
Dekalb Truancy, 66.70%
Glen Haven Elementary, 44.90%
Shadow Rock Elementary, 40.00%
Stoneview Elementary, 48.10%

Anonymous said...

Hilarious!


AJC's Maureen Downey
January 27th, 2011
1:22 pm

Jeff needs to talk to the DeKalb school system operator, who, when I asked to speak to Jeff Dickerson, told me that no such person worked for the schools. I told the man that Jeff was the system’s spokesman

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 2:16.

You are confused. There is no Office of Student Improvement. If you are referring to the Office of School Improvement,then you should know that department oversees Title I funding and mandates,No Child Left Behind, and planning for school improvement.

Student and school data is overseen by the Assessment and Accountablity Department. However, it is unlikely that statistical improbabilities in five schools would have been picked up without whistleblowers from inside the schools.

Anonymous said...

Question for the blogosphere??

Does Jeff Dickerson speak for or on behalf of the BOE?

We understand he is a (or the) spokesman for the DCSS but does this include the BOE?

Hypotheticaly then, if he is a duly authorized voice of DCSS and/or the BOE, the BOE members have taken an oath of office which holds them to a certain legal standard which we would assume make it a violation to purposely offer up incorrect information, in other words, to perjure themselves.

If Jeff Dickerson is speaking on behalf of the BOE, and he spins information in a manner which is less than truthful, is this not by extension, violating the BOE's oath of office??

Just a thought...

Any one speak legalese out there that can answer this??

Thanks

Jim Bohica and Ben Dover

Anonymous said...

DeKalb Path is a start up charter school. So I doubt the personnel layoffs came from there. So strike that one from the list.

Anonymous said...

If you take DeKalb Path off then it leaves five, which is the right number.

Anonymous said...

Article said "The 29 include five principals and five assistant principals. The rest are teachers. The employees are from nine schools."

Since the severe list only contained 5 schools (excludes Dekalb Path Academy), might this be because some of the people suspended may have once been at the schools on this list and have since been transferred?

Anonymous said...

"I hope DCSS loses its accreditation"

what a positive comment-we wish you well and a long interesting life

No Duh said...

Don't know another place to ask this...

During the SACS visit, the visting team supposedly (according to the AJC) met with "community leaders." Does anyone know who those leaders were? Who chose them? And why?

Anonymous said...

This is positive. DCSS took definitive action unlike Atlanta Public. Timing is over rated. Everything has to be done now. No one can be fired until the GPS cmmission decides thier cases. If you don't wait for that you risk firing someone before proof of wrong doing. In any case this route avoids another HR mistake and costly law suit. Also good timing for impending layoffs. Maybe we can promote the right APs or reassign some AIC folks and cut back on all those schools with 4 or 5 APS.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why these people were hired back this year and why they are getting paid now. They should be scrubbing toilets and being paid that salary.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should remember we live in a very litigious society. You can't just arbitrarily fired someone over an allegation UNLESS there is something in their employment contract that indicates you can do so. If anyone of you was terminated for an allegations, you would lawyer up as quickly as possible.

Anonymous said...

"The DeKalb County Board of Education is committed to ensuring that we have an ethical, responsible and effective school system for our children.”

ROFL

All of the temporarily displaced who have the right connection to the higher authority will make out fine. Example is Walkaway Calloway.

Ramona probably found out that SACS knew of this. Is she throwing up a half court shot at the buzzer?

@ 12:42 says that he hopes accreditation is lost. If not that, then what else will produce the desired "... ethical, responsible and effective school system for our children.” ? Please tell me.

Anonymous said...

This is surely an attempt to save accreditation, a direct response, I'm guessing, to a demand SACS made this week. It happened in 2009 and it's clear DCSS did not take corrective steps of its own accord. SACs made 'em.

I predict a string of "pronouncements" emanating from Ramona and Beezus as they backpedal and try to get in SACs good graces. This will not be the last.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the State dragged this out. They were waiting for Atlanta to get its act together. When that didn't happen, then they let teh systems begin to take actions.

DeKalb is the first, I believe to voluntarily remove personnel.

Anonymous said...

Is there a list posted of those involved?

Anonymous said...

are any of these schools on the list to be closed or consolidated? wouldn't it make sense to close these schools? (just asking....).

Anonymous said...

I'll admit I'm honestly surprised that there were so many teachers on the list - but any time my school does EOCT or GHSGT/GHSWT, teachers don't have the tests long enough to do anything with them. We get them give them out and turn them in as soon as the testing's over - so no time to really do anything with them.

Anonymous said...

I can see one or two teachers and principals a rouges. But 29 sounds like a plan orchestrated by someone.

Now we will see what stuff our new DA is made of. Will he investigate?

Anonymous said...

Updated AJC article:

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-yanks-24-teachers-817787.html


Reminded me of when Crawford Lewis defended James Berry's cheating at Atheron

Anonymous said...

So the State BOE orders Dekalb to investigate the cheating scandal almost one year ago:

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-yanks-24-teachers-817787.html

"February 11, 2010: The state Board of Education orders districts to investigate 191 schools statewide for potential cheating, including schools in DeKalb County."

DCSS completes its investigation way back in September 2010:
"Summer 2010: DeKalb officials complete their preliminary investigation, turning initial findings over to the state."


But suddenly employees are suspended only after SACS comes to town????

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. We knew about testing irregularities in August of 2009 (when we employees also received a first class email* reminding us that our "family members" had apologized and we should lend them our support as we allow them to move on).

Then in February of last year, the state's examination concluded that there were too many erasures, and now a year later, these people are finally moved (with pay?).

So were the best interests of the students on hold for the last year and a half?

Does anyone know why this obvious breach in ethics was overlooked? Could the former board members still in office be held accountable for this email?

Anonymous said...

WSB TV showed parents at Glen Haven who received notes home that their principal was removed.

Anonymous said...

Still confused. So these people were allowed to keep their jobs and receive, in some cases, their generous adminstrator salaries while paraprofessionals and other lesser-paid staff were let go?

Anonymous said...

I participated once in a sacs review. The principal asked us to represent the student body. They asked us a number of questions and it was suppose to be confidential......it was not, the principal new before the ink dried......

Ella Smith said...

Ethically these individuals are under investigation by the Professional Practice Commission which can take their license. The county has retired teachers and administrators who are coming in and take their place.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if any of those "transferred" administrators at SWD who were giving Dr. Blackwood grief are a part of this crop of folks being investigated......

Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty.

Guess some of you folks don't give a crap about that - punish 'em now. Fire 'em. Don't pay 'em. They should be scrubbing toilets. Why not just throw them in prison until their guilt or innocence can be determined. Better yet, water board them and force them to confess!


If you are ever suspected of a wrongdoing and then accused how would you want to be treated?

Anonymous said...

APIs and principals have more access to to the CRCT. Teachers administer the test; however, they are requited to submit the testing information to the API or testing coordinator directly after testing. If answers were changed, I can bet you that they weren't changed in the presence of students. Testing information is normally locked in a secure place. If several answers were changed, I would guess that someone should look at the principal, the API, and all others that assisted with the test. My only issue is this: Did they get everybody? What about those in the Good Ol Boy system? Let's look at the information that the AJC submitted on the number of erasures and compare them with who actually got reported to the AJC. Some of these people have probably gotten their big time promotions and are currently working at the Golden Tower......Just saying...

Anonymous said...

What I really don't understand is why we don't administer the CRCT (or use the IOWA in the first place-- I know it's nationally normed and not critereon referenced) by computer input rather than scantrons...if the kids directly answered the tests onto a computer screen (with enough computers with that enormous computer budget), there would be little opportunity for these issues to arise.

Anonymous said...

Have any of you thought about how ridiculous it is for the board and Ramona to do something like this now? They removed these individuals for 2009 results. But, these same individuals administered the 2010 test. How dumb!!!! You think they cheated in 2009, but you leave them in their jobs in 2010! Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How is it determined which marks were erased by students and which were erased by an adult? Hmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Kathleen Mathers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, called DeKalb’s investigation “very comprehensive and thorough.”

“DeKalb did one of the best investigations that we saw in the state,”Mathers said.


http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-yanks-24-teachers-817787.html

Anonymous said...

@ Anon - 8:55 PM
"Wonder if any of those "transferred" administrators at SWD who were giving Dr. Blackwood grief are a part of this crop of folks being investigated......"

Make sure you know you the background and the true intent of those of whom you sing the praises on these blogs. You may be proven foolish when all is said and done.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:12 It's the number of children in a class with a large number of eraser marks from wrong answers to correct answers. There will always be a few questions that children go back and answer correctly, but the sheer volume of correct answers by one child and then multiply that my several children in a class to the entire class.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:01

What the administrators and teachers did was to mess with children's lives. They have no right to do this. They gave false hope and sense of accomplish that was not earned, so that they or their schools would look good. This cheating went on in 2009. These same individuals gave the 2010 CRCT tests and could have given the 2011 CRCT tests to children. The teachers and administrators should have been put on probation without pay right away when this was first discovered. To me this is a tactic by DCSS to cover their behinds and to try and save SACS accreditation.

When the kids are put behind the adults in a school we have a problem. Once again, too much time has gone past and swifter actions should have taken place. With teacher pay most likely riding on test scores, teachers and administrators who were caught cheating should have had swift and severe actions taken against them, so that others who try to do this know that their will be consequences and that they will be caught. Our children deserve better than this from any adult who spends time with them.

No pay until they are cleared if they aren't cleared, take their certificates away, so that they are never able to teach in any state and repay the salaries to those that did nothing wrong.

Anonymous said...

Now can we please get rid of this leadership! The reign of Crawford Lewis MUST come to an end before we can lay a foundation for the Vision 2020 plan. It's time to replace the old guard at the Palace.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:09 PM

The schools that were on the state's severe list (and maybe the level below that) were given extra oversight during the 2010 CRCT. Independent proctors were placed in all those schools' classrooms. In fact, different teachers may have administered the exams.

DCSS and the state's hands were tied as the City of Atlanta school system spent months challenging the process and procedures of the investigation.

This is not a new story, it is just that it took this long to get it resolved.

Anonymous said...

"The actions taken by DeKalb will not have an impact on (its) accreditation,” said Mark A. Elgart, SACS’ president and CEO. “In fact, it shows that leadership is responding to and handling the situation.”

Maybe the 24 just got thrown under the bus. The administration does another head fake and their a***s are saved to keep the system going as it is .

Anonymous said...

There may be something to be said for that. DCSS apperas to be responsidve to SACS whihc does not bode well for being put on probation. It does seem that it is time to really clean house.

Anonymous said...

My concern is the total disruption of the instructional process and running of the building just a couple of months before testing takes place. If we are truly concerned about the children, why do this now? **side eye** These people should have been removed before the start of the school year, not now as a peace offering to SACS. So we fail yet another group of kids who are already in a fragile environment.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:31 pm

One of those SWD APs had his license suspended for 6 months in 2007, and two of the others were principals who were demoted to Assistant Principals in 2009. Quite a crew.

dustilies said...

I'm a parent at Medlock Elementary. Today we got a letter home from R Tyson telling us about the reassignments.

Medlock is not a "school of concern."

However, we were told that we have been assigned an Interim Asst Principal, Beth Holton.

The letter does not state it, but I gather that our previous Asst Principal Anna Thomas is among the "reassigned outside the schools."

She started at Medlock in Fall of 2009. Previously, she was Asst Principal at Stoneview, which is one of the five schools with suspicious 2009 CRCTs.

FWIW, I liked Thomas a great deal--she seems very ethical and very caring about the children.

Can't find Beth Holton in the DCSS directory--maybe she is retired.

Sorry for the long post--just wanted to add to the pool of facts and sense of how DCSS is proceeding.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Holton retired from Sagamore last year after 5 to 7 year tenure, previously was at Browns Mill for a long time as AP. Are you sure it is Beth?

Anonymous said...

This is another example of poor utilization of tax dollars. Now we pay these people for simply being in positions where they essentially do no work and then pay "duplicate" dollars to their replacements to perform the jobs they were supposed to be performing!

Does this make any sense to anyone who pays taxes into this management nightmare?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:47pm and Anon 2:02am

You both seem to think these people have been found guilty. We do not punish people who have only been accused of a wrongdoing - that's what is done in third-world countries. Here, we actually expect you to PROVE that someone has committed a wrong-doing BEFORE they are punished. That is why they are entitled to keep their job and their pay. DeKalb did the right thing by transferring them to other positions until it can be shown that they did what they are suspected of.

How do you two not understand this?

Private School Guy said...

This made the head line of today's AJC.
Regardless from all of this and so many of the responses here it is obvious that the tail is wagging the dog in regards to school testing. A poster indicated concern in the matter in that schools were now just getting ready for testing. Consider this do restaurants have a period in which they get 'ready' for health inspection? Do they stop serving food and just spend all their time cleaning the kitchen? Even without considering the validity or necessity of testing the current method of testing is warping and damaging education. If schools were doing things right they would always be ready for testing.
And by the way, the producers of the test materials are still laughing all the way to the bank at our expense.

Anonymous said...

While DCSS uses "decoys" such as wordwalls and 7 steps lesson plans, it quietly allowed cheating....

DCSS uses the ill-gotten scores to meet higher than deserved scores (Are the stats re-adjusted for the cheating?)and the high-priests of education take managerial and leadership credit (and $$$) for the improvement.

Now DCSS armed with false righteousness moves to punish the cheating administrators and teachers for whom DCSS provided cover, encouragement, and the incentives to cheat!

Is that JUSTICE? The whole chain of leadership who created this atmosphere and overlooked this cheating should be punished.

With a class of 20 students (5 special ed low intelligence, 7 esol from war-torn Soudan/Somalia, 7 transient reading below grade) DCSS would have to suspend reality to expect, presume, or ascribe divine intervention to SUPPORT passing the CRCT!

On the flip side, if the teacher had given the 19 kids failing grades, he/she would have been branded an incompetent teacher!

Anonymous said...

There are reportedly instances were some of the 24 had moved from the school they were at when the testing occurred to a new school. That appears to be the case at Medlock.

Part of what has always confused me about the erasure study results is that many, many schools had higher than expected erasures in grades 1 and 2. These grade levels neither count for AYP or for promotion. What is the motivation here?

Anonymous said...

You are right Anon 5:20! Many here seem to have a "shoot first, ask questions later" even in matters of employment. An allegation is an allegation until someone is found guilty. Until that happens, the employees cannot be discriminated against.

Cerebration said...

This is a right to work state. In most businesses, you can be fired for any reason. If it's a large company, sometimes people file discrimination suits, but most of the time they just deal with being fired. There is no teacher's union here and this is not a legal charge— we are not in court having to prove beyond a doubt that someone committed a crime.

If you are simply not doing a good job, or if your behavior is questionable with reasonable evidence, then management should be able to fire you. If we don't operate in a way that allows us to weed out bad performers, we will never be able to fill our schools with quality personnel.

Anonymous said...

I would think that for a teacher to have the opportunity to cheat on a test, they would have to have the cooperation of administrators (to allow them to have extended access to the test) or the cheating was done during the test. At any rate, if any of these teachers are found guilty of cheating, I would suspect that they will bring others down with them (or at least attempt to).

At any rate, as others have stated, the cheating is a symptom of the pressures placed on educators to pass specific test(s). The emphasis seems to primarily be more on the effectiveness of the teacher/and success of the school (and to some degree it should) rather than using it as an aid in gauging the progress and needs of the students. The test(s) may only tell a part of the story (for both the educators and the students). Therefore, it should not be the end-all be-all in determining the success of a school.

For those schools that have a number of their high achieving students transfer to other schools, I'm sure the pressure is greater. After all, they are being held to pretty much the same standards as those schools that have a high number of students that will succeed academically wherever they go and parents who are more involved and will help to ensure the academic success of their children (and the passing rate reflects this). Those schools that have large numbers of students who are included in classifications that typically struggle academically (e.g., ESOL, special-ed/interrelated, low income, etc.)as well as the problems that are added due to social promotions...

That being said, the number of educators being accused is relatively small in comparison to the ones that have not been accused. Those educators that are not being accused have the same pressures, but did not cave in to these pressures. They showed character under pressure and did not put their cerifications at risk> They chose to do right by their students by not giving the appearance of achievement where it was not warranted. Where cheating occurred, these students will suffer and struggle because they may be expected to work at a level at which they are not ready or capable.

Bottom line, (as others have stated), the number of tests and how they are used needs to be re-evaluated.

Anonymous said...

1. This whole scandal worries me. They all got caught in the same year, APS, DeKalb and others. This wasn't a massive conspiracy - the teachers/admins at APS don't talk to DeKalb, and its doubtful that one DeKalb faculty has the opportunity to talk to another. This is just the year they all got caught - this is the year somebody went looking. This stuff has been going on for years.

2. SWD is a High School. No CRCT.

3. When the EOCT first came out every exam was the same (later on students were given different versions.) The first year the test didn't count. One teacher I remember told me that she thought the test was going to be used against us, and if they did she was going to give the kids answers because she didn't want her career jeopardized by a bunch of ninth grade knuckleheads.

3. The "union" - professional organizations is what they are called in this state - has very little power. In other states they negotiate for better salaries and benefits, and in some states put together the conferences that help determine what will be taught - the curriculum. In GA, they provide the lawyers that will defend these personnel, which puts them in an awkward position because they don't condone cheating and cheaters, but are forced to defend them. Somewhere out there there is a study of education in union vs non-union states - with GA, AL, SC, MI all being non-union, guess which states have a higher quality education system? Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Quick edit. the third 3 should be 4. MI should be MS (Mississippi, not Michigan). Sorry.

Anonymous said...

@2:04,
I agree that the alternative certification process is not as rigorous as it could be. But state certification tests are administered by an independent company which forwards results directly to the state.

There are plenty of issues as to what else goes on with these folks' "preparation," but there that testing is not subject to DCSS maneuvering.

Anonymous said...

It's very easy for teachers to cheat on these tests. Seen it happen in just about every school that I worked at. A teacher can quietly come up to a child and say are you sure that is the answer that you want?

In 1st and 2nd grade the tests are read to the children. In first grade the entire test and I am not sure about second grade how much, but I believe just the answers. It would not be normal for children in first and second grade to have so many eraser marks, as they wouldn't really be given the opportunity to go back and erase. Also the first grade test and booklet are one, so it would be much easier to cheat and change answers.

Principals and aps have the tests long after the teachers turn the tests in. Who knows what happens to the tests once I have turned them in. I do know that if I was suspected of cheating and was innocent, that I would be speaking out and not taking removal from the classroom lightly. I take pride in my honesty and integrity and would not take the fall for someone else and would be speaking up if I knew something, even if that would leave me blacklisted in DCSS.

I understand people who don't think that anyone should be fired until they are proven guilty. However, I believe that teachers (which I am one by training) should be held to a higher standard. Their actions affect the children that are under their control. I also believe that the principals and aps in the schools suspected of cheating are just as guilty whether they took part in the cheating or not, as they should have better monitored the testing situation and caught this.

As a tax payer, I begrudge paying the salaries for the 24 taken from their positions to do menial work-which I sincerely hope is the case as I would not trust them to anything but menial work, because if they can't administer a test that they have to read to children and walk around and make sure that the kids aren't having any trouble with than they aren't capable of much of anything.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb provides no monitoring of the student's progress in the classroom. No program, such as Checkpoints, which Fulton uses in Math to identify areas of strength and weakness for each child individually. When these areas are identified, the classroom teacher works with the student to improve in these areas.

Wasn't this something that the great ESIS was supposed to provide? Have any of you asked for aggregate data as to how your child's class is doing in Math? If you recall under the old system, the class average was there for every assignment. With ESIS it is not available and you cannot get it from the teacher or the school. Is the purpose to keep the parents in the dark?

Don't you think that some of these parents would question a high score on the CRCT with a child failing Math? I would and my experience has been that parents (even those in Title 1 schools) question student performance.

Ms Tyson, why can't ESIS give us this student data?

If teachers were monitored based on student mastery of skills, not testing perhaps we our own internal controls would have identified these as issues IMMEDIATELY on seeing the results. Afterall if your internal monitoring shows a student to be grade levels behind in a subject, wouldn't you question his passing the CRCT?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1/28/11 9:10 AM

For what is worth...In ESIS, if you click on the detail button for each assignment, it will summarize give a summary of the grade for that assignment that includes the total points avaialble, what your student earned, the class average, and the weight.

I too preferred the parent portal and have yet to see the suppposed improvement of ESIS.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration
"This is a right to work state. In most businesses, you can be fired for any reason. If it's a large company, sometimes people file discrimination suits, but most of the time they just deal with being fired. .."

Accusation would be a poor reason to fire teachers. Teachers sign a year long contract with school systems because the nature of their work is that continuity is of the utmost importance to a class of students being taught. It is very disruptive to students in elementary school in a self contained classroom to have their teacher there one day and gone the next. You can see the difference in a customer service rep being fired without cause and your child's 2nd grade teacher fired without cause.

In other jobs, you can quit with impunity. Not so in education. When I was in sales, I quit my job for a better job offer and gave them the requisite 2 weeks notice. No one told me I had to continue my employment for the entire year and miss out on a better job opportunity.

What if teachers were allowed to do what you espouse - be fired at will, but also be able to quit at will?

Suppose I'm a math or science teacher or a 1st grade teacher and take a job in a school that has low achieving students, lots of extra paperwork, and inexperienced management. On top of that, I'm told I have to stay and tutor for free, and I need to bootstrap up those scores.

It's far from my ideal position, but it gets my foot in the door to teach - much like my first entry level sales job - not my first pick, but it got my foot in the door. Meanwhile, I as the teacher (just like the entry level sales person I was) am looking at other jobs in more affluent areas where the students are high achieving, the PTA is supportive and I can teach without a script. I can teach in that school and get some money while I'm looking (haven't you ever taken a job for the money while you looked for something better?)

When a teaching job comes open in Gwinnett County, and I'm offered that job 3 months into the school year, I give the principal 2 weeks notice, and I'm out of there. I pack my things up, say good-by to my 1st graders and my colleagues and drive off to my new and better job opportunity. Just like we do in business - I'm after all - a free agent - the organization that hired me owes me nothing, and I owe them nothing.

Now multiply that, where teachers are free agents - going and coming in and out of schools - giving their 2 weeks notice?

This happens in business, and maybe it should happen in schools - maybe you're onto something - maybe they would treat their front line producers (kind of like salespeople) better and pay them more to make sure they don't take off in the middle of the year.

If management has the leeway to fire you at will, then shouldn't you have the leeway to quit at will?

This is really a moot point because currently it only works one way. School systems can sign teachers to a contract, and then if they have too many teachers they can lay them off - i.e. schools systems are not bound by the contract. However, if a teacher tries to quit to take a better position in the middle of the contract year, the school system can and do appeal to the PSC to suspend their license.

Since teachers have no real protection with a contract, I'm sure many of them would love the scenario you describe - free agents subject to firing by management, but also free to give 2 weeks notice and take a better teaching position if they get the offer.

Is this what you had in mind for students?

Anonymous said...

As with private companies, the current economy has resulted in an environment that employees are not as quick to leave a job because of the lack of opportunities. Employers exploit this knowing -- or assuming -- that people will not leave because there is nothing to go to. Or, if an employee does leave, there are scores of unemployed people ready, willing, and qualified to take their place.


I've been in schools where teachers, for various reasons, have left during the school year. It is not only inconvenient, but is a disservice to the students in that they often have to deal with substitutes (sometimes multiple subs) and may have few grades during the time that a replacement can be hired. Little learning may take place and there is no real structure in the classroom. For other teachers, it is also a strain because they are often asked to take up the slack (e.g., prepare lessons, administer tests, etc.) for the class without a permananet instructor, as well as cover their own class(es).

So unless it is a situation where conditions are completely intollerable for the teacher to remain, it is better for the student to have a teacher that will be committed to them for the entire school year.

Anonymous said...

regarding teachers in dekalb cheating; years ago, i taught gifted at my curent high school (the classes have since vanished into packed "advanced/gifted" classes)"; the first group of 8th grades i rec'd from a feeder elementary school freely admitted that the elementary teacher passed out answer sheets and called out the answers; i reported this to the gifted coordinator (long since gone) and, as usual in dekalb, nothing was done. on a side note, yet strangely relevent, it is anti-bullying month and a kid who i referred for blatant bullying and sexual harassment was given one day by the dekalb student evidentiary board - it is nowhere near his first offense or appearance at an evidentiary hearing. this culture of success by any means necessary and "cover you a**" by any means necessary is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

The obvious question is STILL "which schools"?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:13, for obvious reasons of privacy, you won't hear the names of the individuals as it would allow you to tie that back to the schools where they work.

Based on the media reports thus far, Glen Haven and Cedar Grove Middle Schools had staffing changes. Both schools also appeared on the Severe List. You could probably assume that other schools on that list had staffing changes.

Anonymous said...

If a teachers salary is public business, so should the teachers/administrators who are under investigation be known. They are public employees. Their salaries are paid for by tax payer dollars. There should be just as big deal if they are found innocent. Parents have the right to know if their child's teacher/administrator or both were involved in this.

This criminal activity if proven to be true, should also effect the teachers ability to get clearances.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Angelique Conner, who had been the AP for 8th grade at Tucker Middle School, has, as of today, been reassigned and is no longer at the school. She had been newly appointed to the school for the 2010-11 school year. Her office has been stripped bare, and her name and image removed from the school’s website. It’s like she never existed.

A Google search suggests that she had been an AP at Chapel Hill Elementary for 2009-10, and was the principal at Woodridge Elementary before then. Her current email listing at the DCSS website states her organization as ‘Employee Users’.

Tucker High was also the unfortunate recipient of Dr. Ralph L. Simpson, the ignominious author of “From Remedial to Remarkable” and ex-principal at Miller Grove, as a new AP this past year. Why does DCSS insist upon dumping their miscreants in the Tucker Cluster schools?

Anonymous said...

Why is C Lew's buddy, Dr. Ralph L. Simpson, still on payroll? How come Yvonne Butler got the boot for he in-school book selling, and somehow Simpson is still making well over $100,000 per year plus benefits.

Well, Simpson is a Ron Ramsey buddy, which explains a lot. And like Ramsey, Simpson is a bully. And like Gene Walker, Simpson isn't exactly going to win any women's equality awards.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Connor is a wonderfully nice person. I hope it turns out there was no wrongdoing.

Anonymous said...

Teachers and administrators who have been reassigned are NOT limited to the schools on the 'Severe List.' ***HR should be investigated for recommending people for certification who are not qualified, have not passed certification tests or passed required courses. These are people who have friends/family in HR and often bragged about in the past. There needs to be an AUDIT of HR. But, that's another issue. ***Cheating can easily be done, by the teacher tipping off students as they are walking around, so erasures are mostly by students. Teachers, even in Special Ed, are ranked by their students' performance on the CRCT. The pressure to raise performance on the CRCT is substantial. Teaching is based on a curriculum and timeline developed and mandated by the system. The Instructional Department mantra is, "Don't teach to the test," but teachers are judged primarily on test results. It is no secret that the most important indicator of a teacher's skill are CRCT results in elementary and middle schools. There are many great, honest educators in the system who are frustrated.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Connor is nice depending on how she feels about the person with whom she interacts. There are people who doubt that she was involved with any testing irregularities, but still find her abrasive and unreasonable, and prone to micro-management in a less than constructive and productive way.

Anonymous said...

@Cere 8:03 AM

With comments about "right to work" state, teachers may follow Tunisia's or Egypt's lead.

I don't think that you are advocating doing away with due process because we happen to live in rearwards states of the Union.

And why do we keep pursuing the bad teachers?

Let's also put some energy into identifying the bad parents from either side of the economic or racial divide---Truth be held on high, my molecular and social DNA and my child's peers play a far greater part than a teacher in his/her success.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cere
Yes, this is a right-to-work state . . . and teachers CAN be dismissed IF there is good and sufficient cause. However, any teacher, principal or other school system employee with a contract for a definite term is, by law, entitled to a fair and meaningful hearing before being discharged. And Cere, while you state that “this is not a legal charge- we are not in court having to prove beyond a doubt that someone committed a crime”, it actually is a legal charge and must be handled as such - the school system will have the burden of proof – the school system must PROVE that there is good and sufficient cause to terminate the employee’s contract. All the rules of law that apply to a non-jury trial in the local Superior Court will apply to the hearing. The School Board or its designee cannot act in an arbitrary and capricious manner or their ruling will be overturned on appeal. The employees will have the right to appeal to the State Board of Education and then into the local Superior Court.

GA law also requires that these employees continue to be paid while awaiting their hearing.

In NO WAY do I condone the behavior which these employees are accused of. I do support having constitutional rights (Fourteenth Amendment (due process) as applied to states (and therefore state agencies).

If you are one of the employees that has been temporarily suspended, you would be wise to seek an attorney’s advice now. You have only a matter of days to prepare for your hearing, subpoena witnesses and examine whatever evidence the school system will be using against you.

Anonymous said...

And DCSS had better gird its loins because the non-teaching leadership "should know or should have known" that cheating was afoot by looking at the extraordinary CRCT score coming out of certain schools.

The fact that they failed to inquire or investigate the score spikes exposes the DCSS leadership to a charge of passive collusion or neglect of duty.

The entire DCSS cabinet should resign before the 29 begin to forcefully defend themselves with every legal weapon available.

Anonymous said...

@7:32PM

If DCSS can walk in a classroom and estimate in less than 1 minute the skills and success of a teacher by her word wall, objectives, essential questions-----surely the Beasley crew can look at CRCT scores and determine their legitimacy!

There is no excuse for APS or DCSS management to continue to exist with these serious breaches...

Tunis & Cairo

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous jan 27, 2011 9:08 pm
You recommended administering tests by computer input rather than scantrons...
This is not feasible due to the high costs of cubical style desks needed for each student to guarantee computer screen privacy.

To all the teachers that did not
cheat.You are the solution and we salute you. Keep spreading the integrity.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Angelique Connor - why would an employee take a job as an Assistant Principal when they had a job as a Principal? Look at the 5 Southwest DeKalb High School Assistant Principals. Two of them were principals who were demoted to Assistant Principals last year and the other is an Assistant Principal who had his teaching license suspended in in 2007 by the Professional Standards Commission for an Ethics Violation. And what about Ralph Simpson who was demoted from an Area Superintendent to an Assistant Principal? Are Tucker HS parents happy that he is there as an employee that needs a job because he was demoted?

It sounds like DCSS thinks the Assistant Principal position is not a very important position from an educational standpoint. That's odd. We taxpayers pay $26,500,000 in salary and benefits for 264 Assistant Principals or around $100,000 for each one.

I remember when DCSS had one to two Assistant Principals per middle and high school and one Lead Teacher per elementary school.

Ella Smith said...

These employees deserve due process.

A school employee cannot have a warrant taken out on them and be arrested without a judge reviewing the evidence and signing off on the warrant.

I do not approve actions like this, if they are true. However, we do not know if they are true and you are talking about professionals who, if true, may never work again in a school system. Because of this these are serious charges and may seriously affect these professionals' ability to earn a living.

Each of these individuals must have a hearing with representatives from the school board before being fired. It is not that easy. The school board has to fire these individuals legally. The school superintendent makes the recommendation after each one of them has a due process hearing.

The school board must take action on each one of these individuals after a formal hearing.

These individuals also have been turned over to the Professional Practice Commission which will determine if they lose their professional license to work in the field of education. They could be put on probation or their license could be taken away for different amounts of time depending on the offense.

Each of these individuals do need to have an attorney representing them. Hopefully they all belong to one of the teacher's associations which could help them with these expenses.

Anonymous said...

"""School officials say some 1,400 students may not have accurate test results. That means these students could be below grade level, even though their scores showed otherwise. To try and address these students, the district is communicating with parents and intends to set up “learning support plans.”""

When you cheat in state sport league, you forfeit the games in which you cheated. DCSS should forfeit these score. School who cheat should have their making AYP status removed!Crawford Lewis should return all incentives

Anonymous said...

OT:
The Board is distinctly NOT to be commended for choosing to make up as few days as possible. One has to wonder where thne savings for the other 3 days will go.

And one has to wonder about the thought process that wouldn't consider using MLK Day (as well they should not have) but has no problem with using Presidents Day, and not any of the other 4 days of February vacation week. I can just imagine what we'd be hearing if the reverse decision had been made.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Anon @ 8:20 PM ....

This is the DEKALB COUNTY School Watch Blog. We don't have a February vacation WEEK. We had a previously scheduled teacher workday the Friday prior to Presidents' Day and then Presidents' Day off for all students & employees. Were you going to keep your kids home all week long???


And the State gives the districts 4 days that don't have to be made up due to weather. We've used all of those up now. If we have any more snow days, we'll have to dip into Spring Break or extend the year. I'm sure you had THOSE dates on your calendar somewhere.

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Big Spender Tom Bowen gave CLew $100,000 for advance legal fees while he was still working for the system. Aren't the 24 "little people" entitled to at least a similar amount?

Defend THE DCSS ACCUSED 24!

DCSS has Jeff Dickerson. Bring in Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Nelson Mandela for the Accused 24.

Anonymous said...

Dear Wow--
Obviously I misspoke--I meant April break. But thanks for the generous attitude. Wow indeed.

The point is --yes, I know what the state SAYS we can take. We have a system that does not make AYP in many areas. Shouldn't we be making an effort not to miss any days at all? And if we apparently need to make up our less than half of the time missed earlier rather than later (April), why was MLK Day out of bounds but Presidents Day not?

Leo said...

A right to work state means only that you cannot be forced to join a union to keep your job. An at-will employment relationship is one where either party may terminate the relationship at any time with or without notice. Teachers are not at-will. They have contracts which limit how you can handle them, meaning under their contracts a hearing is required to terminate their contract early without penalty. However, schools systems are permitted to suspend a teacher without pay pending an investigation. If the investigation reveals no wrongdoing, and the teacher is reinstated, they are then entitled to all back wages and benefits that were withheld during the suspension period.

Reassigning these folks is a joke.

Anonymous said...

@8:52PM

2 days of school that many parents will take as time off will AYP make or break, rest assured!

Anonymous said...

Re: LEO
You've got several things wrong
. . . under their contracts a hearing is required to terminate their contract early without penalty. Please refer to the post @ 7:20pm. The right to a hearing is due to the Fourteenth Amendment (provides that no state may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" - the school system is considered to be an agency of the state). Furthermore, the right to a hearing is also guaranteed by GA State law. See O.C.G.A. 20-2-940. A contract may restate federal and state law, but cannot alter it even if all parties to the contract agree.

However, schools systems are permitted to suspend a teacher without pay pending an investigation. NO, THEY ARE NOT! - again, see O.C.G.A. 20-2-940(g) D.C.S.S. is aware of this law and that is why the employees are being paid.

If the investigation reveals no wrongdoing, and the teacher is reinstated, they are then entitled to all back wages and benefits that were withheld during the suspension period. LEO, you are misstating GA Code. The code you are citing to applies ONLY, if after the initial ten day suspension, the teacher or employee requests a delay in the hearing date. SEE O.C.G.A. 20-2-940(g) The board must pay the employee from the time of the suspension until they render their decision. If the employee's contract is terminated and then later the employee is cleared and reinstated by the board, the employee would be entitled to all pay from the time of the termination to the reinstatement. Simple. :)

Anonymous said...

The high stakes testing is creating a climate of fear and frustration for EVERYONE. I was at a middle school where ALL staff members were required to re-apply and re-interview for their jobs, if they sought to return the following academic year. While we were still working, DCSS offered our jobs under a pilot program where those interested in taking jobs at this school would be paid a signing bonus of $3,000 and then additional monetary rewards each year for the next three (3) years if the school made AYP each year. Talk about an invitation to cheat.

Yet despite the financial incentives, this school did NOT make AYP, and the program was scrapped (as far as I know). The problem was that our jobs were offered on-line while we were still working. Interviews for my position were taking place while I was at work. I loved that school--great administrator and great staff. We were making gains, but not at the speed the district thought appropriate.

Anonymous said...

One of the SWD APs was an AP at Lakeside, interviewed for the principal position, didn't get it, remained an AP, was eventually was transferred.

@ Medlock parent: a staff member was sent from Stoneview (under investigation for CRCT cheating) and placed in an AP role at Medlock?? APs in most elementary schools are the ones in charge of overseeing testing - what was DCSS thinking? Oh yeah...they weren't!

In most businesses, it is frowned upon, even forbidden, to pass your bad apples off to another dept. Guess that is standard operating procedure in DeKalb, unfortunately for the students.

Anonymous said...

With regards to cheating...

Any teacher can tell you that cheating is rampant throughout the district. However, "erasure" cheating is the least common. The cheating that occurs is so much more subtle.

At one high school where I worked, I reported to the gym during my planning to help supervise one of the GHSGT sessions. I was appalled by what I saw--6-8 children sitting around a large cafeteria table; each one able to clearly see the answer documents of their table mates. The adults were not involved in the cheating. However, the administration had created a testing environment that ENCOURAGED the students to cheat. I also noted that there was one very high-achieving student at each table, surrounded by notoriously low-achievers. Shocked, I left the gym and sought advice from a colleague. This teacher informed me that the principal had established this testing "method" upon taking over the school.

After the testing concluded, I asked several students about how the testing went for them. Several of the low-achieving students actually bragged about copying from the higher achievers.

Given the level of corruption throughout DCSS, I was scared to report the testing "irregularities" to anyone. To whom can I report what I witnessed?

Anonymous said...

@ Leo
"Teachers are not at-will. They have contracts which limit how you can handle them, meaning under their contracts a hearing is required to terminate their contract early without penalty. However, schools systems are permitted to suspend a teacher without pay pending an investigation....Reassigning these folks is a joke."

But if there was no at-will relationship, then teachers would be free agents, able to give two weeks notice and go to a better opportunity, leaving classes and schools in the lurch. This would not work for kids, and most parents would not like their child to be taught by employees that have no more loyalty to a job than a two week notice.

This works great for salespeople and employees in the business world. It would probably work very well financially for teachers. If the school has a poor administration, you might have 50% of your teachers looking for and finding other employment at schools or in other jobs during the school year. They could leave with 2 weeks notice - or maybe no notice - and the school system could do nothing about it - certificates would stay intact and no downside for the teachers.

Do you think this is what we should have for teachers? Would this be good for students?

Anonymous said...

Shout out to former McNair Middle School Principal, Mr. Merlon Jones! He supported his staff with integrity! He stood up to the board member who tried to make him change the students' grades. Truly a great administrator! Wish there were more like him.

Anonymous said...

The students/parents are akin to patients in a hospital?

It would much better for patient if doctors did not charge of surgery.

Anonymous said...

@ Leo

I think if school systems can fire teachers without cause and no notice, then teachers should be able to quit without cause and give zero notice. That seems fair to me. Maybe then schools would work harder to keep their good teachers. Of course, schools on the firing line because they have a lot of students that are difficult to teach - Special Ed, behavior problems, behind grade level, ESOL, etc. may have teachers coming and going all year long. But that's not the teacher's problem. They need to look after their career just like anyone in business does.

Anonymous said...

Most teachers do NOT want to leave their school. What we want is fair and equitable treatment. Our contracts are fundamentally unfair because the district has no "skin in the game." In other words, our contracts are worded such that DCSS can change the terms at will and the teachers have no recourse. Our contracts are in essence LETTERS OF INTENT until July 1st, even though we sign them in February. Our contracts state that the terms and conditions of our contract are "subject to change without notice." Now, that does NOT sound like a contract to me. It sounds like a proposal. Thus, I must pass up opportunities to move laterally (even though the pay is better in some other districts) because I am bound by my contract, but DCSS is not bound.

Anonymous said...

What DCSS wants are teachers as indentured servants on a farmstead where teachers are asked to pick more and more cotton every year.

candace said...

who are the other five that are no longer with the county? Did they retire?

Anonymous said...

I have worked under Dr. Connor. I did not always agree with her but I do not believe that she would cheat in any way on a CRCT exam.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the test score improvements were statistically IMPOSSIBLE. Talk to a college statistics professor or anyone who's job involves statistics. Tests were altered. The question is by whom. And how could administrators not know it? How could Audria Berry and Gloria Talley not immediately be alarmed by the improvements???



http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/key-cards-show-dekalb-819546.html
"Key cards show DeKalb educators could have accessed CRCTs"


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution learned DeKalb COunty school district's internal investigation into possible cheating on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test hinged on illegal access to the tests and led to 24 educators being removed from the classroom this week. The list includes principals, assistant principals and teachers who are now doing administrative jobs.

“There’s a chain of evidence that requires only certain people to have access to those tests,” schools’ spokesman Walter Woods said Friday. “There were several instances where employees accessed school over the weekend and those employees were flagged.”

Anonymous said...

"The school district has spent more than $490,000 for substitutes to temporarily fill those vacancies."

A half a million already. if this drags out, it will be very, very expensive.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:47 am

I think that I do get it! If there is no basis for these charges, then leave these teachers and administrators where they are! The point here is for the taxpayers to pay one salary to one person for performing the responsibilities of one job - not to pay two salaries to two people for performing one job.

Anonymous said...

Still wondering. The board was able to replace our superintendent in one day, consider and grant Ramona Tyson's salary increase and extension in fewer than two months, and map out a budget for one of the largest systems in the state in about four months, yet it has taken more than 18 months to even conclude there were irregularities worthy of further investigation?

As a teacher, I want due process for all but I also want the standards by which I work and teach to be upheld. Teachers and administrators at my school have been placed in the "rubber room" for lesser transgressions. I still want to know why these "educators" were kept in school buildings (I'm not advocating for arbitrary firing here) and why this investigation wasn't more timely?

Like six-period teaching days and custodial lay-offs, this "commendable action" appears more like a pr stunt intended to distract people's attention from the real problems of Dekalb: denying students' access to a meaningful education and mispending taxpayer's money.

Anonymous said...

@8:29

PR stunt it probably is. When we lack substance, we run on ether.


DCSS is all about mis-direction so the eyes (our brain) do not see DCSS's actions.

Tunis & Cairo

Anonymous said...

The only reasoning I can see is that reassigning the persons in question was Crawford's way of dealing with the situation - we have suspicions, we move 'em somewhere else. At that point, he figured it was all taken care of.

SACS comes in and, either they questioned this, or someone was afraid they would, and this action was taken.

Private School Guy said...

If investigators can find a a link between laptop theft and erasures then they can just blame the cheating on the creeper. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of these suggestions that there's something wrong with Dr. Blackwood. Go to SWD. Talk to the students and the parents. Many of the students have been reading a talking about his essey in class. He is a very commited teacher who is willing to stand for something. He is an asset to SWD and DCSS. There are too many people doing bad who are afraid.

Anonymous said...

This is the most ridiculous and absurd explanation that I have ever heard since being an educator.Key Cards! Wow! For all of you smart people who don’t realize that it is almost imperative that an administrator works on the weekend in order to get any work done. The school day consists of too many interruptions in order to get anything done. If this is the only evidence that they have, then look out DeKalb! You think you don’t have money now, then just wait on the lawsuits. That raise sure didn’t make Ramona any smarter. Geesh!!!

Anonymous said...

They knew or should have known that cheating was going on as soon as the results of the tests came out.

Moderately reasoned statistical projections don't lie.

When my patients tell me they feel better after chemotherapy, I check their "I feel better" with scan or X-ray. I will not need an autopsy to tell me that the patient was suffering from a placebo euphoria.

Anonymous said...

Devora Spear, principal at Woodridge, was AP for testing in 2009, and 2 5th grade teachers, were removed. Spear was the ap for instruction and testing and was promoted to principal in 2010. All 3 were reassigned.

Just hope this gets resolved soon.

Anonymous said...

it is funny that some of the people involved in this mess were promoted since 2009 and some were demoted. Doesn't seem fair.

Also, many of them were involved in CRCT testing during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.

Many of them are doing a great job and their colleague and the kids love them. This is just not true or something would have been done sooner. Seems crazy to move them now. The students just do not understand.

Anonymous said...

If promotion, pay, and retention hinge solely on test scores, cheating will continue.

Wall Street is able to increase share value by the same methods if share value is the only criterion for success.

All of them cheat: the DOE manipulates the cuts score of these tests; Dekalb allows student with a flat %50 average to make-up a 1st semester course grade while in the following course.

Anonymous said...

My sympathies to everyone who wants to hear good news about DCSS. I just don't believe that this is good news. A few concerns:

-Timing. Many posters have commented well on this.

-Internal Affairs? Internal Affairs conducted the investigation. Ronald Ramsey is head of Internal Affairs. We all know his sordid tale.

-This is DCSS. This is not an awesome school system that occasionally experiences an ethical hiccup and then gets to the bottom of it immediately. This is the house that Lewis and all others of his ilk built.

Please lets not feed the collective ego of this dysfunctioning, allegedly "criminal enterprise" by feeding the public some feel good pr bs.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, it's too bad you don't view this in a positive light. Kathleen Mathers of the Georgia Office of Student Achievement praised DCSS handling of the matter.

"The state’s mandate that DeKalb investigate highly suspicious numbers of erased and corrected answers at 26 schools appears to have met quiet acceptance and determination to find out what happened. The district’s investigation — though one of the longest to complete — elicited praise from a top state official.

“They left no stone unturned,” said Kathleen Mathers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement."

Cerebration said...

Curious - Did Ron Ramsey conduct this investigation?

Cerebration said...

I believe that Ramona Tyson is trying with all her might to steer this ship back on course. I also believe that we've hit an iceberg making all her steering efforts possibly in vain.

Dunwoody Mom said...

From the AJC article:

DeKalb formed three four-person teams of staff members from its internal affairs and curriculum divisions to conduct the investigation. It did not hire contractors. District leaders took the personnel action after the state signed off on its report about a week ago.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-earns-praise-for-820133.html

Anonymous said...

To the blogger to said:
Shout out to former McNair Middle School Principal, Mr. Merlon Jones! He supported his staff with integrity! He stood up to the board member who tried to make him change the students' grades. Truly a great administrator! Wish there were more like him.

Yes, a big shout out! Most principals who stand up and support their employees against the county get punished by being "re-assigned" ... so even when they say they will stand up for you against wrong, they usually don't have the courage to actually do it.

And, even after they have looked you in the eyes and verbally promised to support you, the fear of DCSS makes them go along and help throw you under the bus by their silence or their decision to "wash their hands" of you to save themselves.

It's the kind of hurt that stays with you for a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom 1:03 PM

I taught my children that to deliberately mislead by telling only part of the story is the same as lying. Clearly you assumed that most people reading this blog would not have read the whole article about the DCSS "investigation" into CRCT cheating.

Here's what was said in today's AJC article about Ron Ramsey, who is now representing himself as DCSS's attorney:

"The agency has met with DeKalb system attorney Ron Ramsey, said Gary Walker, deputy executive secretary for the standards commission. Ramsey has a history 'of completing excellent and extensive investigations' that provide the agency the detail it needs to proceed, Walker said."

I would like to know more about Ramsey being the DCSS attorney. (Why, then, do we have those other firms on expensive retainer?) I would also like to know more about Ramsey's "excellent and extensive investigations."

I have evidence that has been given to the DeKalb DA and is being passed along to the US Attorney that details Ron Ramsey's willingness to oversee fake investigations as a means to reach a pre-determined end, thereby framing the innocent and allowing the guilty to continue on their merry way.

Dunwoody Mom, you stepped into it this time! In response to Cerebration's question (12:49 PM) you did not tell the whole story and that really calls into question any other assertions (delivered as fact) that you have made or might make on this blog.

Lefty said...

Anon 1:54pm - you have the balls to anonymously point the finger at Dunwoody Mom!?! She has the courage to post with a an identifier. Why don't you show your name or some kind of ID so we at least know your opinions in posts ongoing. Then we'll get an idea of your integrity or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

“In each school, the tests were locked in filing cabinets, closets or other locations that were secure from the public, custodians and other staff.”

First of all, every school I am familiar with in DeKalb County School System has a fireproof walk-in vault. Some schools have two. They are accessed through a built-in combination lock in the bank-type vault door. Only the principal and a few others with a "need to know" (i.e., bookkeeper and head counselor, and possibly the counseling secretary and the school secretary) have the combination. Someone who had the combination would have to have given it out to others. Also, either the school building alarm was not set on the nights and weekend the suspected teachers used their key cards for access or the alarm code was given out as well.

School vaults are used to securely store student records, as well as collected cash and checks until they are picked up by the armored car service. Why would the CRCT tests be in a filing cabinet or closet — locked or not — where they were at risk from fire, theft or tampering? Why not in the vault -- unless, of course, that made them "too" secure?

Next question: Why let Ron Ramsey of DCSS Internal Affairs investigate anything? His “investigations” are suspect, as are his findings. An independent investigator should have been retained. Ramona contracts out everything else, why not this investigation since there is no real investigation expertise in-house -- unless, of course, DCSS had/has something to hide?

So, students are passed along on the basis of these tests. They don't know they haven't gotten everything they should know and neither do their parents. All they know is that school has changed from an engaging challenge to an impossible daily struggle. Most of these short-changed students who finish 12th grade manage to pass the Georgia High School Graduation Test; many manage to get into college. Imagine their surprise and the surprise of their parents when those unable to pass the GHSGT are denied a diploma -- or -- unable to pass college freshman placement tests, they are relegated to remedial classes -- in college!

Final question: Why now Ramona? The timing on this is just too suspicious. There was/is no one at DCSS qualified to identify questionable erasures that appear in blocks? These were CRCT tests from 2009! Why now, Ramona? And what about the results of 2010 tests?

Because DCSS refuses to be transparent, we simply cannot believe a word you say!

Cerebration said...

Oh come on now. Dunwoody Mom isn't trying to "hide" anything. I wouldn't have even noticed the AJC article had she not posted the link after I asked the question. I'm glad to see that Ramsey's department did a good job according to the state. And I think Tyson probably didn't have this on her radar until the result became available, as she really has been putting out all the other "fires" since she stepped foot into the superintendent post. Even so, she acted swiftly and responsibly. I mean, it's all so overwhelming - I can't imagine even how one would prioritize everything that needs attended to in DCSS. I wonder if she's even able to sleep at night - hers must be the most stressful job in Georgia right now.

Anonymous said...

@ Lefty 2:20 PM

Sorry, Lefty. I'm not buying. "Dunwoody Mom" is as much of a pseudonym as "Anonymous." Neither one is a secure ID.

Besides, the point of my post was not to compare my integrity against hers.

The facts speak for themselves. Dunwoody Mom answered Cerebration's question with only partial information -- a half-truth -- when all the information was right there in the same article. A half-truth presented as unimpeachable fact is unacceptable on this blog.

Dunwoody Mom said...

My intent was surely not to mislead anyone. Cere asked a question. I attempted to answer and them provided the link so that everyone could read the article for themselves.

btw, anonymous aren't you engaging in a little hypocrisy yourself? You did not include this little tidbit as well...

Ramsey has a history “of completing excellent and extensive investigations” that provide the agency the detail it needs to proceed, Walker said...

And for people who have asked me for my "real name", I have willing obliged.

"

Cerebration said...

So, Ramsey aside, I'm not really following the key card evidence. Are they saying the cards were used to simply get into the building (which as someone pointed out would need to be done even to feed the fish) - or could they tell if they had been used to access the "vaults" that contained the tests? Two very different levels of access.

Cerebration said...

BTW - you may all be interested in this related blog post at Maureen Downey's Get Schooled blog. It's ODE's president's reaction to these accusations:

Imperiled DeKalb educators will “never stand alone.”

Anonymous said...

On CRCT testing days, give the teachers a 1/2 off and contract the testing out.

I can set up a company and charge about $1 per kid. $2 per special education kid.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom 3:27 PM

Take another look, Dunwoody Mom, at my first post directed to you at 1:54 PM. I absolutely included what you said I left out.

I have read -- and been annoyed by -- the tone and content of many of your posts. Today, though, you touched a nerve and I decided to call you out. Yet, unbelieveably, you continued on with selective truth-telling (i.e., your post at 3:27 PM).

The thing that bothers me most is not that you misquoted me, but that your statements -- always presented as unassailable fact -- influence others who come to this blog and assume that you are telling the truth. That's just not right.

Anonymous said...

No idea where to post this.. but the reference to Dave Schutten prompts this observation: has anyone heard the PSA the GA Asso. of Educators (GAE) is currently running? There are no fewer than THREE grammatical errors in a 30 second spot. Honest. I went to the website, hoping to save them some embarrassment. Aside from being the most cluttered and horrendously organized website I have every struggled to navigate, there was no place to click to email the association. I was invited, however, to visit their Northlake Headquarters or write them a letter. With a stamp and everything. 21st Century education indeed.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things:

The cardkey access I'm familiar with is for teachers' access to various entrances that are not available to a walk-in visitor before, during, and after the school day. They only grant building access and are only activated for Mon-Fri with exceptions for coaches, custodians, etc.

In the schools I know, APs and Principals are the only folks that have key access to locked rooms that contain testing materials. Teachers, at least teachers that I know, are not given access to those rooms.

On another note, how weird is it that we hear nothing about irregularities or cheating on the Georgia High School Graduation Tests? Is cheating just endemic among middle and elementary schools?

Anonymous said...

Actually, card key access can be 24/7....it depends on the needs of the school.at the high school level, may coaches can get in at almost all hour. A card key WON'T get you into a secure vault....were testing materials should be stored. Any principal that stored testing materials in anything less secure should be reassigned, whether tests were y tampered with or not

Anonymous said...

There are many schools were multiple teachers have all access door keys as well as card key access to the entrance of the school. It would be easy to get into an AP or principals office or to where ever the materials were if one had such access. It is only now that even janitors do not have keys to get into aps and principals rooms.

Anonymous said...

At my school, custodians and bookkeeper have access to the principals office which is a separate keys and ap offices are on the master and every coach, dept chair and team leader has a master key. The alarm code is still the same as when the previous principal was there, its his birthday and everyone knows it. No security. I have see pad locks broken,etc. Security??? Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Contract out the testing. Testing coordinators (APs) often have committees to help them made up of teachers,etc. If I was asked to assist, it would now say NNNOOO!!!! Principals and all others better get out of those buildings after hours. In small schools, principals often help out. Not anymore.

Anonymous said...

The custadian at my school open the principal's office door for her every morning.

Anonymous said...

I am cold. Cheating took place, plain and simple.

Cheating always took place.

The key/security system in DCSS is so lacking that you can't prove who cheated beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is likely that whenever/wherever there was cheating the school administration enabled it or directed it.

The County Office likewise created and sustained an environment through veiled threats and lack of active test supervision that green-lighted cheating.

When any schools suddenly see an unexpected jump in score, the County should have checked.

The whole darn place will crumble!

Anonymous said...

Kathleen Mathers is a former DCSS employee! Hmmmmmmmmmm

Cerebration said...

Oh brother. Let me guess - she worked in internal affairs... ha ha... JK.

Anonymous said...

Ralph Simpson did not buy his own books. Ms. Sanders Butler purchased her own books and then resold the books. Her sister bought books and sadly, only copy could was found in the school.
Ms. Butler had a hearing and is still being paid along with her sister by DCSS. Both have lawyers appealing their cases. Sad, both of these ladies cannot see how much damage they did to the children, and community of DCSS by stealing thousand dollars worth of books. Maybe they would have come out better selling CRCT remedial workbook materials instead of fake cookbooks that children never used just had their pictures on the covers for show and tell. Ralph Simpson, and the Butler sisters are all thieves who promote themeslves.

Anonymous said...

Of course teachers have opportunities to change answers.
1. In many places, there is a shortage of proctors to come and cover a class in order for a teacher to turn in test materials. Teachers have to wait their turn, often a long period of time.
2. Teachers are asked to clean up stray marks when testing is done. Another opportunity.
3. Assistant principals and their testing committees of teachers meet and clean up stray marks later during sorting and packing up.
4. Teachers often have absent kids on days of testing and these test booklets just sit on the teacher's desk for hours while other kids test. --opportunity again. Again, no proctor in the room, or the proctor is clueless.
If a school is able , they make sure plenty of proctors are available and properly trained.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Ralph Simpson, read this below. In the history of Maureen Downey;s Get Schooled blog, she's never gone off so specifically as she did with the Simpson Bookgate:


http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/07/26/another-dismal-chapter-in-dekalb-schools-official-sells-his-autobiography-to-schools-under-his-supervision/

Anonymous said...

With a 200 person school police department with two chiefs (?), and a 300 person MIS dept., DCSS should have cutting edge in-school securities systems.

But once again, despite the bloat and outlay, our's is worth blankety blank.

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from a blogger post:
Next question: Why let Ron Ramsey of DCSS Internal Affairs investigate anything? His “investigations” are suspect, as are his findings. An independent investigator should have been retained. Ramona contracts out everything else, why not this investigation since there is no real investigation expertise in-house -- unless, of course, DCSS had/has something to hide?

THIS RIGHT HERE IS THE CLUE TO MANY MANY THINGS. PAY ATTENTION.

Anonymous said...

After reading these blogs, I wonder if anyone at my child's school erased her answers? because she tested very low which I thought at the time was out of the norm for her.

I did bring this to her IEP team's attention and as always the administration claimed that what my child stated didn't happen. I've always felt funny about this issue, I'm really questionable about this now that all of the testing scams are coming out.

My child and I wasn't well like by the administrator at this school. I keep them on there toes and make sure that they are in compliance with I.D.E.A which most of the time there not.

I do know that my daughter stated that when she was supposedly been in a private room with a non classified employee which was not a trained proctor.

My child also stated that while she was testing other special need students kept coming in and out of the testing room which was very disturbing to her. I mentioned this to her IEP team and as always they denied that this took place?A special ed teacher or the Lead Teacher was suppose to have been testing my child this didn't take place.

Does anyone have any suggestion's on what steps I should take in this matter? I don't fully trust the administration of DCSS at this point.

Anonymous said...

to Anon @ Jan 30th, 6:15 pm -

Take it from a high school teacher in DCSS--cheating DOES OCCUR on the GHSGT. As I mentioned earlier on this blog, cheating is not only of the "erasure" variety.

Administrators often create testing environments that ENCOURAGE cheating: Placing all students in one large room, crowding them at cafeteria tables where they can easily view the answer documents of their classmates; 2-3 weeks intensive preparation during the school day (where they remove all 11th graders from their classes for the entire day in order to cram for the GHSGT), etc.

Imagine my chagrin when my 11th grade students have been "absent" from my class for 2-3 weeks (but NOT absent from school) and I must re-teach them everything they missed. We are robbing these kids of their education.

While not technically "cheating," these cram sessions are not in keeping with the spirit of honorable instructional practice.

GHSGT cheating is very "hush-hush" because graduation rates reflect poorly upon the district and the site administrators. CRCT cheating is unnecessary simply because parents can appeal the middle school decision to retain a child in the 8th grade. Thus, a failing child will still be promoted to the 9th grade even if s/he did NOT pass the CRCT.

Funny old world, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous@9:34 a.m.
PLEASE CONTACT THE STATE OF GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION-SPECIAL EDUCATION.

Start with:
Brenda Turner
Administrative Assistant to the State Board
2053 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 657-7410
(404) 651-6867
brturner@doe.k12.ga.us:
OR CONTACT AN ADVOCATE for Special Education. Not implementing testing accommodations, as specified in your child's IEP is a ***VIOLATION*** of Federal Law. The IEP specifies who administers the test, etc. Some schools routinely amend IEP's to take away testing accommodations (like reading the test to students) because they are 'inconvenient' and mislead parents into agreeing to changes by saying that the child is doing so well that the accommodations are "no longer needed." (of course, people like hearing that their children have improved and need less help) Interestingly, Special Education students are a subgroup and the pressure to show improvement is high. If the process were audited, there surely be an annual spike in the number of IEPs amended just prior to the administration of the CRCT.
Off topic, but equally important: The system's Special Education Department is pushing writing IEPs to specify the **BULLYING** as a manifestation of a disability. The significance of this is that if a disabled student bullies any other student, no punitive action can be taken, because it is officially listed as a part of his/her disability.
KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF GOOD PEOPLE WORKING IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND THEY CARE!

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know who these administrators and teachers are who are reassigned from their schools?
I can suspect that academically low performing students usually tend to finish tests early, and they use a lot of free time erasing and bubbling their answers. Also,nobody talks about the clear insentives these teachers or administrators were getting by changing the scores.
Something is not right.

Anonymous said...

I am a former teacher at one of the schools which the principal was removed. That particular principal falsified documents and had me removed from my position unjustly.If she and the Assistant Principal were able to railroad me without probable cause without checks and balances in place to prevent it what else could administrators in this county be able to accomplish and go unchecked. Principals are given free rein to do as they please without question in this county and in others as far as I have investigated. There is no professionalism or ethical conscience to keep checks a balances. Which schools are involved is not really important the fact that an environment exist in this county which enables individuals to act in this manner and go unchecked for so long is the bigger problem. This woman acted without a moral or professional conscience and even rubbed my nose in it in front of the entire faculty with out consequences for her actions. What is being exposed is not nearly what is actually going on. That same principal is still in contact with the assistant principal, which she hand picked because of her lack of experience so she could mold her to her liking, trying to cover her trail and prevent anything more from being revealed about her practices. I won't mention names but those that knew of my battle can figure out who I am and which school principal I refer to based on my experience. Her removal has been a resounding accomplishment and revelation that the superintendent of Dekalb county schools does not support the behavior. I commend Ms Tyson for her courage. God allows you to do what you want to do but not as long as you want to do it. Everyone must answer for their actions and with what happened to the principal the assistant principal should take this action as a warning but as arrogance of festers ignorance she is clueless.

Anonymous said...

Teachers do not have the time and opportunity required to change answers on the CRCT. Teachers are given an alloted time to pick up testing materials, administer the test, pick up and organize the materials then turn said materials into the testing administrator. Teachers have another person around them at all times when the testing materials are in their possesion called a proctor. The testing administrator is the Assistant Principal. I know for a fact some Assistant Principals stay in the schools long after everyone has gone for the evening as late as 10 or 11 at night during testing. If Dekalb has a system in place that monitors when these schools are officially locked up for the night during testing and who the last person was to leave and at what time, that is half the battle in identifying the guilty parties. Ask yourself for what purpose are these individuals in the schools for such a great lenght of time? Those teacher caught up in this mess are casualties of war just because they are the testing teacher of record. I remind everyone about the Assistant Principals who were caught a few years ago and confessed to cheating. Assistant Principals have time and opportunity to accomplish the cheating lets be realistic. They are trying to cloud the issues including these teachers. One principal told her faculty that she was not going down by herself that she would take them down with her. This is the caliber of leader in some schools. WOW! Someone knows and won't tell.

Anonymous said...

The school Dr Connor was principal of that year in question, she could not have been a part of that. Again the assistant principal of that school at the time played a game of manipulation with Dr Connor and undermined her authority and had her removed from her position. This lady is a menace. I know first hand that Dr. Connor left that school when she was suppose to and left the Assistant Principal there alone with the testing materials. She is another casualty like the teachers of anothers devious mentality. I pray Dr. Conner is cleared of all charges.

Anonymous said...

I spoke with several teachers from different schools. They all seem to agree that it is almost impossible for a teacher to change the answers on a test because they have neither the time nor access to do so. A few also indicated they heard of stories of cheating over the years but not to the level seen with the high erasures at the accused schools.

There is cheating throughout the academic world and it is surprising that many are surprised by this. By the same token, cheating in the business world far outweighs what is happening in our schools. Remember, Bernie Madoff happened to get caught. There are many like him cheating others although at a lower scale.

Anonymous said...

Please!!!!!!! TEACHERS DO CHEAT ON TESTS!!

Cerebration said...

Since we have such an enormous security and police staff, and since this is obviously a legal issue, could we not somehow utilize them to go around and lock up tests securely?

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anonymous@ 9:08a.m.

It's not the majority, but a teacher who walks around during a test as required and nudges a student or makes a brief comment that questions a student's answer choice is cheating.

Most don't have time or opportunity to pull individual answer sheets out of test booklets and erase. Its easier to clue the student to a problem.

Test results are used to rate teachers, even though some bright students just don't test well. There is enormous pressure on teachers to have a high performing class on tests. Test results can impact your assignment even within the same school, for the following year.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are some teachers who will prompt a student when they need to check answers and if you deem that cheating then so be it. But on the grand scale of high percentage erasures teachers don't have the time nor opportunity to do so. Georgia is an at will state as long as that element of at will is in place there will always be an environment for corruption and individuals who feel they can do as they please and get away with it. The administrator who was removed at Woodridge School has that mentality and she has trained her Assistant Principal to emulate her behavior. Now that is the legacy that Dekalb has in place. Even the Area Superintendent of that school protected administration to the degree it left one wondering if there was something personal going on between them. This type of corruption runs deep and has legacy overtones embedded for decades in its infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

She was protected and even promoted.

Anonymous said...

To the Feb 1 5:53 comment-

I know this is an educated forum and we are not suppossed to use profanity, but, FAHQUE!

Your indignant assertions about the administration of Woodridge and the Area Superintendents office without specific evidence are incredulous. How brazen and proud you must be to libel people here, anonymously.

Bring the heat and spill some hard evidence or shut up. This is America. Guilty until PROVEN innocent. End of discussion.

P.S. Shame on you DCSS. You knew the same information March 2009 as you did when you removed the twenty something people a few days ago. Good luck determing "guilt" by erasures. Lol! Until 3rd party handling of these tests - there will always be questionable. Why do you think highschools don't grade SATs?

Anonymous said...

Mnay of the older schools do not have these keypad, vaulted storage rooms which have been mentioned. They have a small office space with locking metal cabinets and a standard door with a key lock. The "vault" in these schools is either a sunken container in the floor of a locked closet space that has a combination code where money/small items can be stored or the vault is one of the massively heavy floor safes that are about 2.5 feet high, wide and deep with a combination lock.

Anonymous said...

oops...meant to say "many"

Anonymous said...

Here is the list of affected schools with personnel removed. From the AJC, "The list of impacted schools, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, includes: Cedar Grove, Stoneview, Medlock, Woodbridge, Glen Haven, Rainbow, Shadow Rock, Avondale and Oak View elementary schools. It also includes three middle schools: Cedar Grove, Tucker and Salem."

Anonymous said...

to the unprofessional individual who chose to use profanity due to a person exercising their right to free speech, you are no better that the one you cursed. But opps I guess that is your right to free speech too. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm! which one is right and which is wrong. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Both of you have a right to your opinions.

Anonymous said...

This is for the idiot who chose to cuss and reprimand someone for leaving a message anonymously, where's your revealed identity. At last glance you posted anonymously too. Pot can't call the kettle black in this regard. Post your thoughts and stop attacking others for their feelings.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous February 1, 8:25
she was indeed protected and promoted. Leaves you wondering if it were a payoff. What does she know that could hurt someone at the top of the pyramid. Devora Spear is her name. She was the Assistant Principal at the school for what 8 years and finally promoted to Principal after she played a game of deceit with Dr. Connor and undermined her position resulting in Connor being reassigned and demoted and Spear being promoted to Principal. She knows nothing about leadership. Any decision she made she had to first consult Mr. Dunson before she could proceed. Ha hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa! Doesn't sound like a solid leader sounds like a prepared figure head.

Anonymous said...

Jamika your essence is permeating the forum I know its you! Once a flunky always a flunky hows that for cold hard facts.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous Feb 1 5:53 who helped you witht he big words? Tell that teacher they did an awesome job. Still defending your Principal well you are going down with her too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you BOE. Thank DCSS Administration! Your legacy will be legendary!

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/chamber-exec-dekalb-schools-825349.html

Anonymous said...

"Kevin Greiner, president of Gas South and a member of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce's board, told county commissioners Tuesday that he is concerned that DeKalb’s schools are sending business to Cobb, Gwinnett and other counties. Greiner said he could not quantify the number of businesses, but said it something the county needs to address.
In the past 12 months, DeKalb schools have struggled with its superintendent being indicted, an accreditation investigation, and allegations of cheating by teachers and principals."


Oh Lord. This is not the owner of a regular small business. This is the president of Gas South. Gas South's annual revenue is estimated at over $190 MILLION a year.

For Kevin Greiner, also a new member of the DeKalb Development Authority, to make such a public statement regarding the schools...well, it's a big blanking deal.

Wonder if anyone on the Board of Education is lisening or even cares.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@anonymous Feb 2; 3:25pm I truly don't think they (DCSS) understands the collaboration with business and high performing schools. So the link has yet to connect.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County News 5:56 p.m. Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ruling could cost DeKalb schools millions more in legal fees.


KA-CHING!

Anonymous said...

"Kevin Greiner, president of Gas South and a member of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce's board, told county commissioners Tuesday that he is concerned that DeKalb’s schools are sending business to Cobb, Gwinnett and other counties. Greiner said he could not quantify the number of businesses, but said it something the county needs to address.
In the past 12 months, DeKalb schools have struggled with its superintendent being indicted, an accreditation investigation, and allegations of cheating by teachers and principals."

TIME TO STEP UP, TOM BOWEN!

This is a perfect opportunity for ypu to finally show some leadership.

Tom, call Kevin Greiner, Sit down with him. Listen to his concerns. Then make it a positive. See if Gas South can partner with DCSS with some energy/science related programs, some internship opportunities, bringing in Gas South executives to guest lecture on business practices, energy, etc., getting Gas South to pony up some scholarships.

I've heard Tom Bowen has aspirations of higher office. Don't see that happening as he was the BOE chair when the superintendent and chief operating officer were both indicted for criminal enterprise, unprecedented in Georgia. The best he can do is finish his term with some positive achievements.

The ball is in your court, BOE Chair Bowen. DOn't let this opportunity with Gas South's president slip by.

Anonymous said...

What the blankety blank???!!!

We have to pay for lawyers for scumbags Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope???

$15 million dollars of taxpayer dollars already spent, and the trial won't go to court for another year?

And the spineless BOE head Tom Bowen says it will cost the district, what about us taxpayers, Tommy Boy?

What the...?


http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/ruling-could-cost-dekalb-825555.html
Ruling could cost DeKalb schools millions more in legal fees


DeKalb County taxpayers likely will have to pay millions of dollars more in legal fees in the school district's civil suit against a construction manager, which could include funding representation for ex-superintendent Crawford Lewis, because of a federal court ruling.

This is the latest setback for the DeKalb County School System in its $100 million civil suit against its former construction manager Heery/Mitchell.

On Tuesday, a federal judge granted the company’s request to send the case back to DeKalb County Superior Court, where it originated. In November, the school system had the case moved to federal court in an effort to circumvent DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger's decision to enable Heery/Mitchell to sue 17 individuals, in addition to the school system.

As it stands, the district will have to pay for its own legal bills and provide lawyers for those 17 individuals, including Lewis, former chief operating officer Patricia Reid and members of the 2006 school board.

The school system already has spent more than $15.5 million in trial preparation for the suit. The judge's decision could cost several more million dollars, board chairman Tom Bowen said.

“This is truly a case of justice delayed being justice denied for the taxpayers of DeKalb,” Bowen said Wednesday. “Adding the additional parties to the suit will further increase the legal fees the district incurs as we continue to wait for our day in court.”

Heery/Mitchell was responsible for managing the district’s SPLOST program to build new schools. In 2006, the district terminated its contract with the company, and a year later, the company filed suit, alleging the school district breached the contract. The school system countersued, claiming the company mismanaged more than $100 million in sales tax funds and defrauded the district.

Heery alleges DeKalb terminated its contract in order to assist Lewis and Reid’s alleged criminal enterprise. Last year, a DeKalb grand jury indicted Lewis, Reid, Reid's ex-husband, an architect and Reid's secretary on charges of running a criminal enterprise with the schools' construction program. Reid took over the construction program after Heery/Mitchell was terminated.

“The civil and criminal cases are intertwined; they deal with the same allegations, the same schools and the same people,” said Mark Grantham, Heery’s lawyer. “We allege there was a coverup by the school district.”

Reached Wednesday, Lewis’ lawyer, Mike Brown, said he was still evaluating the situation and determining how to move forward.

School officials said the case likely won't go to trial for at least a year.

Anonymous said...

The cheating is beyond the testing days, it has many forms.

Teachers are forced to give
students a 10 instead of a 0 for
no homework, classwork, and test.
If the child sits in the class,
he/she cannot receive a zero.

Teachers have a new grading ratio,
where homework makes up less of the
final grade. Why you ask? Well,
students are turning in less homework.

Teachers are forced to give an elementary school Art assignment to high school math students to allow them to pass at least 1 test.

Teachers are forced to write
long detailed explanations of
why a student failed the class rather than allowing the students test and quiz scores to be submitted as evidence.

Teachers are forced to pass star sports players.

Paras are forced to read for students during test and classwork assignments.

I could go on for days...........

Anonymous said...

To the idiot that left a comment on Feb 2 @ 2:11pm....FAHQUE too.

1. I did not anonymously LIBEL someone with allegations. Have PROOF or shut up. Free speech doesn't stand when it's illegal libel. Again, spill the evidence or shut it.

2. I will put my name if I say anything against someone. I am only responding to the initial email and there would be no point in identifying. My point is RIGHT ON and I think you know it.

If something DID happen at Woodridge ad the Area Suoerintendent, then what is it? A gut instinct? All that does is make you look fat!

Anonymous said...

Mr or Mrs Fahque you are so hypocritical. You want to invoke this is American "Innocent until proven Guilty" but American also has freedom of speech. You are showing your immaturity by calling someone fat which has no to do with the convo being displayed. Just like an American always wanting to invoke their constitutional rights while suppressing the rights of others. Its their opinion and opinions are based on feelings not factual evidence. You need to respond to what is being said on the level of intelligence you possess. That having been said. You really need to grow up. Its about corruption in our schools hindering the complete education of our future which is our children. My Holy God get a grip and act like an adult. If you are an educator you should be setting an example, if you are an adult you should be setting an example. If you are neither then I apologize for my assumptions.

Anonymous said...

I'm fat as in PHAT Pretty Hot And Tempting. Thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous said...

Nice...my 16 year old taking an interest in the debate, great to have a golden opp to discuss appropriate adult behavior.

Anonymous said...

not only your 16 year old my 13 year old is also interested in the debate. He is a former Woodridge student and he thinks now that administration could have tampered with their test scores because they were out to get his teacher. So many of them missed mastery by 3 to 5 points. We parents are watching this thing very closely.

Anonymous said...

Well I was actually referring to the PHAT business, and more, but your point is much better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Yeah, the PHAT took wind out of the other's comments. LOL!

Only a fat person would call another person fat........oops, Did I do that?

Anonymous said...

I am a parent and I am watching extremely close and so is my lawyer. To think this type of behavior exist among so called professionals. And this is what we are aware of, think about what is still concealed from us. I can only imagine.

Anonymous said...

@January 28, 5:59pm
I could not have put it any better. She (Dr. Conner) can be extremely abrasive depending on who she is dealing with and the behavior can be unprovoked. Yet in reality I don't think she is involved in any cheating scandal. She was the Principal of Woodridge School during the year in question and Devora Spear was her Assistant Principal. On the surface Ms. Spear can appear to be very friendly and straight forward but she has fooled many with that demeanor, Dr. Conner was one of them and anonymous Feb 1, 2:23AM.I personally watch Ms. Spear manipulate Conner in a campaign against that former teacher. It was horrific the lady (teacher) had to seek care from a heart specialist and she was prescribed anti-depressants. Dr. Conner did not figure out what was going on until it was too late. She felt that Spear would bring certain teachers to her attention and when she and Spear would discuss their plan of action and bring the teacher in for a conference Spear left her high and dry with no support. That same teacher gave Mr. Dunson a glorious recommendation to promote Ms. Spear to the position of Principal, only to have Spear and her newly appointed Assistant Principal set her up on the following year. Those of us who knew Spear were afraid to warn her (the Teacher) because we thought she would discuss what we said with Spear. Spear gave this teacher an NI for not demonstrating to her students who were 10, 11, 12, and 13 year olds in March how to fold a piece of paper like a hotdog, a concept they have been exposed to since pre-kindergarten and the fact that it was mid second semester and the teacher had demonstrated this folding in the first semester. Spear told her although the students folded the paper as she instructed she did not demonstrate how to fold the paper to the students. Then Ms. Brown the Assistant Principal gave her an NI because the students playing a comprehension game were not passing the answer key around so that every student could get an opportunity to give the answer. What did that have to do with the concept of the game and every child will adapt a game to their own liking as long as they are still grasping the games concepts what does that matter. I personally advised that teacher to call GAE when Spear placed her on PDP the teacher refused because she did not want to offend Spear and Spear told her it was strictly for enhancement and was not punitive. Spear never gave her a copy of the PDP until she returned from a meeting with Mr. Dunson where he informed her that her last day would be May 24, 2010, and that the PDP was for the record. I personally watch how Spear and Brown belittled her in front of faculty and took pleasure rubbing her nose in it. Spear and Brown passed out our contracts in a roll call fashion in a faculty meeting knowing full well that this teacher was not receiving a contract. Many of us complained openly about why our contracts were being delivered in this manner. After many of the complaints and some people even saying how wrong she was to do what she did she stopped passing them out and told the rest of us to come to her office to receive them. She (the teacher) rose to every occasion and did far and beyond what was asked of her but whatever she did they found fault in her actions. This lady was a team player, she supported administration unconditionally and she was a professional. She taught her students to think critically her first year with our school her scores were off the chart the second year she encountered Conner and with her harrassment the students scores were flat, the next year only one of her students passed both sections of the test. They harrased her to no end. It affected her health both mentally and physically. She had been sexually harassed on the job and they also swept that under the table.

Anonymous said...

continued from Feb 3 8:47am
The sad part about it she only had 3 years with Dekalb and she couldn't find any lawyer that would represent her. Although several of them asked her what she did to upset the Principal. I hope with this re-assignment of Spear she can finally get some justice. She told me the experience left her not wanting to work with African Americans and she herself is one. The teacher said she was accustomed to working in a more diverse environment and this was her first time working with a predominantly African American staff. Ironically, it was her students in the beginning of the school year who told her that Ms. Spear was not a nice person and that she was evil. This teacher defended Spear to her students and at the end of the year she apologized to the students for not believing them and she also apologized to Dr. Conner for anything she did to contribute to her demotion directly or indirectly.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, why is it that it's now critical for students to "fold paper like a hotdog"? I am not understanding.

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