Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Governor's Report is in...

The Governor released the 800-page report on the Atlanta School System's cheating scandal. It paints Beverly Hall in a very bad light and reveals the shocking number of teachers and principals willing to put their integrity on the line in order to show respectable test scores for their schools - even though it literally costs the students their education, as it robs these students who would have been entitled to private tutoring in order to catch up what the tests showed they had missed of the chance to level the playing field -- for life. This is ground that is nearly impossible for young students to regain.

The AJC has the entire report available to read online. Click here to read the article and access the report.

Page 55 of Volume 3 (Findings) of the report states,

THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Dr. Hall had the support of community leaders after becoming superintendent. She courted philanthropic and business leaders rather than spend her days in the schools, working in the "trenches" and speaking one-on-one with teachers to know what was happening in her district. In many ways, the community was duped by Dr. Hall. While the district had rampant cheating, community leaders were unaware of the misconduct in the district. She abused the trust they placed in her. Hall became a subject of adoration and made herself the focus rather than the children. Her image became more important than reality. What began as a minor cheating scandal at Deerwood Academy, led to an investigation by a then-obscure state agency, headed by a former elementary school teacher. This was the first CRCT cheating by APS uncovered by a governmental agency, the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. Questions began about Dr. Hall's leadership.

When the 2009 results were published, they were startling. Governor Perdue ordered an erasure analysis. There were concerns that the high scores were the result of cheating. Many of Dr. Hall's supporters defended her and the district. The possibility of a negative reflection on the Atlanta "brand" caused some to protect Dr. Hall and attack the messengers. Image was more important than the truth.

An email we obtained illustrates this belief. The email, from Senior Vice President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Renay Blumenthal, stated that the BRC final report is to be "finessed" past the Governor. (Ex. 47). This effort was unsuccessful. Somewhere in this process, the truth got lost, and so did the children.

FINDINGS
We found cheating in 44 of the 56 schools we examined There were 38 principals of those 56 schools found to be responsible for, or directly involved in, cheating. We determined that 178 teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public School System cheated. Of the 178, 82 confessed to this misconduct. Six principals refused to answer our questions, and pled the Fifth Amendment, which, under civil law is an implied admission of wrongdoing. These principals, and 32 more, either were involved with, or should have known that, there was test cheating in their schools. We empathize with those educators who felt they were pressured to cheat, and commend those who were willing to tell us the truth regarding their misconduct. However, this report is not meant to excuse their ethical failings, or exonerate them from their wrongdoings. The massive test score increases alone, on the CRCT beginning in 2001, were enough to trigger an inquiry by Dr. Hall or others to determine if the gains were achieved legitimately. We interviewed experts in the education field, including teachers, principals and superintendents, who agreed that the incredible increases in the test scores, over a short period of time, should have drawn the attention of Dr. Hall and her cabinet.

The standard deviations with regard to the WTR erasure analysis on the 2009 CRCT were so high as to rule out any conclusion other than cheating. However, we stress that a high standard deviation does not always mean that a particular teacher cheated because we know that some teachers' tests were changed by others, without their knowledge. Additionally, during the 2009 CRCT and previous testing years, security protocols were regularly breached with reckless disregard for state-mandated procedures.

Amazingly, while APS was in denial, entities such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, recognized these gains as extraordinary and began raising questions as early as 2001. The AJC questioned test score gains in APS in 2006 and 2009. Never once did Dr. Hall, or other ofticials, investigate to confirm that these scores were legitimate. While others were questioning these gains, Dr. Hall denied that the scores were a result of cheating, attributing the gains to their educational initiatives and prowess. To make matters worse, the district then touted the principals at schools with the highest increase in scores, like Parks Middle School, as models of APS and the district's achievements.

The very last part of Volume 3 names names.  It's so sad to see high-ranking school officials sink so very low.  Having had our own experience with educators changing answers on student's tests, DeKalb needs to take this report to heart and see it for what it is: People selling their souls to protect their jobs at the expense of the very children they are charged with educating.

===
Today's print version of the AJC has an in-depth report on the findings. It's worth the cover price...

49 comments:

Cerebration said...

Maureen posted this section of the report on her blog today -

From the report:

Data can properly be used to assess academic progress. But data can also be used as an abusive and cruel weapon to embarrass and punish classroom teachers and principals or as a pretext to termination. After hundreds of interviews, it became clear that Dr. Hall and her staff used data as a way to exert oppressive pressure to meet goals. When principals, in groups of 10 to 12, met annually with Dr. Hall, each school’s scores were displayed on large colorful graphs framed and hung on the wall around her conference room.

During the meeting, Dr. Hall would ask each principal, one by one, “Are you going to meet targets this year?” No one dared tell her “no.”

Many principals humiliated teachers in front of their peers for failing to meet goals. For example, at Fain Elementary School, the principal forced a teacher to crawl under a table in a faculty meeting because that teacher’s students’ test scores were low.

Cerebration said...

Here is how they did it:

1: Teachers and administrators gathered and erased wrong answers after the test was given

2. The process was so sophisticated that some schools used plastic transparency sheets to make it easier to change wrong answers quickly.

3. The answer changing took place on weekends and once at a teacher’s house in Douglas County.

4. A principal forced a teacher with low CRCT scores to crawl under a table at a meeting.

5. Teachers arranged classroom seating so that weak students could cheat off better students.

6. Teachers in the early grades used voice inflections to help children figure out right answers.

7. Teachers pointed to the right answer as students took the tests.

8. Teachers just gave out the answers in class.

9. Some teachers let kids change their answers the next day in class.

10. Teachers discussed the answers to the next day’s test in class.

More later. I am still reading.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

atl said...

Regarding the APS cheating scandal, Maureen Downey says, ...“The 178 employees cited in the report represent less than 3 percent of the 6000 APS employees.”

Look at the Made AYP (student achievement as measured by standardized test scores) rate for APS Title 1 schools (as of 2010, 93% of APS schools are Title 1):

I. 2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring):
81% of APS Title 1 schools Made AYP (75 out of 93)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=761&T=1&FY=2009

II. 2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring):
58% of APS Title 1 Made AYP (53 out of 91)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=761&T=1&FY=2010

It’s disconcerting that only 178 (3%) of APS teachers could have swayed the results so drastically that the Made AYP rate in APS Title 1 schools dropped by 23% (22 schools).

If you look at the same numbers for DeKalb Schools (As of 2010, 67% of DeKalb schools are Title 1):

I. 2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring):
74% of DCSS Title 1 Schools Made AYP (66 out of 89)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

II. 2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring):
52% Made AYP (46 out of 89)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

The same statement could be said of DeKalb. It’s disconcerting that only 24 DCSS employees could enact so drastic a change in 20 DCSS Title 1 schools that went from Made AYP to Did Not Make AYP.

http://championnewspaper.com/news/articles/792employees-removed-from-dekalb-schools-in-wake-of-crct-cheating-scandal792.html

atl said...

Wasn't Jeff Dickerson the APS PR person for Beverly Hall? Now he's the PR for the DCSS upper management? Who hired this guy?

atl said...

See how Jeff Dickerson defends APS:
Jeff says APS is doing the right thing by having their Blue Ribbon Commission independent study. He aggressively supports the people doing the investigation.
http://www.georgiafamily.org/press-room/gfc-in-the-news/474-crct-investigation-sparks-controversy

Cerebration said...

Dickerson is also quoted in the Religion News blog -

Keep in mind, too, that the income Long drew from this one charity [$3+ million in salary, a $350,000 luxury car and living in a $1.4 million six-bedroom, nine-bath mansion on 20 acres] was in addition to whatever his congregants awarded him each week in their “love offerings.” Churches report to the IRS how much they pay employees, but those records aren’t public. It’s also not known how much Long has collected from the other 20 nonprofit and for-profit corporations that he started after becoming pastor of New Birth in 1987.

A publicist hired by Long defended his pay and his perks Monday: “I think it goes back to a long-standing culture in the black community to make sure your minister is well-compensated and drives a nice car,” said Jeff Dickerson.


http://www.religionnewsblog.com/12129/the-sin-of-false-profits

Of course, these are Dickerson's public statements in defense of his clients - not necessarily how he really feels... seems most people will do or say about anything for a buck.

Fred said...

Maureen asked a question in one of her blogs that may have been overlooked. Most seem to be focused on extracting a pound of flesh but does anyone want to get to the root cause and attempt to understand what created/caused this environment? Could the high stakes testing along with financial incentives for doing well with punishments for not caused this? Yes we want accountability but at what cost?

Do we really want to know? Maybe we have our suspicions but are afraid to say?

teacher said...

Fred, the way that data is gotten in education is backwards and would never fly for my husband who has a PhD and regularly publishes in top journals in his field.

I am all for data driven instruction, but the data used is not valid. You cannot compare data from year to year on a different group of kids. Also, what is more important from my perspective (ex-teacher and parent) is the growth that a child makes from year to year. How much progress/growth is the child making each year? If a teacher is effective, a child will make at least a year's growth, no matter what level he comes to her at, if not more.

The problem with education right now, is that we are not focused on the children, and taking a look at each child individually. Instead we want an easy fix, be it an expensive program or blaming everyone but the root of the problem as we don't want to offend anyone-except the teacher.

Until government gets out of the business of educating our children, parents start taking responsibility for their children and their child's education, and we focus on educating our children and not job creation in the field of eduction, than maybe we'll be able to better educate our children. Getting politics out of education is a first step in improving the quality of our schools, as well as putting blame on parents, all administrators, as well as the teachers.

It's time that those that are in education and are disgusted with what is happening stand up and no longer be afraid for their job. What we need to be afraid about is the future of our country.

teacher said...

When looking at the CRCT scores for your school or any school, don't focus on the percentage of students passing. Dig deeper into the data and look at the percentage of students exceeding. Meeting expectations on the CRCT is earning 51% or more, while exceeding is earning 83% or more.

dekalbga said...

@Teacher, who said, "It's time that those that are in education and are disgusted with what is happening stand up and no longer be afraid for their job. What we need to be afraid about is the future of our country"

Are you still working? I am, and I have no idea how I might stand up and not be afraid for my job. If that were possible, we would not be in this mess.

I need my job and am not naive enough to think that there would be no consequences for standing up.

Judas said...

I wonder if there is enough in there to indict the super? Hope so.....

September said...

The problem in Georgia is that some schools are managed by people who create an environment of intimidation and retaliation. I'm not surprised that teachers, who thought they didn't have any other options, went along with the cheating. From what I read in the AJC this morning some teacher complaints were dismissed without investigation. Where was the Professional Standards Commission when we needed them? How many teachers quit or moved on because of the cheating?

Keep in mind that you must have a recommendation from your most recent or current principal to be considered for another teaching job in Georgia. If you aren't offered a contract for the next school year, your chances of ever getting another teaching position are nil.

Fred said...

@teacher, I say AMEN to your comments! Educators have become afraid partly because We The People that may not know as much about educating children seek to put business models and measures in education, expecting improved outcomes. Yes, there needs to be accountability from the Superintendent to the teachers, and all in between. As you said, some of the data driven measures used to evaluate both teacher and student performances is somewhat flawed.

I am very concerned about the high stakes testing environment we have created. A friend shared it is similar to what they have in their sales environment. They indicated people "cheat" in sales to achieve their objectives. We've seen that with firms like Enron, Xerox, and Tyco over the years. Are we putting the same pressures on our educators to achieve goals that flat out are unrealistic with some children?

It should be noted that most of these accountability requests and measures came from citizens advocating to legislators. Just like our economy, there is no quick fix to many of the challenges experienced with Education today.

atl said...

In both APS and DCSS, the Teacher/Staff Ratio is 4/1. That means for every 5 employees who are certified to teach in a classroom, only 4 teach while 1 employee “supports” those 4 teachers. Gwinnett by contrast has many less administrative and support positions.

Did anyone think the answer to APS’s or DeKalb's problems was to add administrators?

APS:
Certified Staff Position Ratios
Teacher/Administrator Ratio
8:1
Teacher/Support Person Ratio
10:1
Teacher/Staff Ratio
4:1

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=761&T=1&FY=2010

DeKalb:
Certified Staff Position Ratios
Teacher/Administrator Ratio
13:1
Teacher/Support Person Ratio
7:1
Teacher/Staff Ratio
4:1

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Gwinnett:
Certified Staff Position Ratios
Teacher/Administrator Ratio
16:1
Teacher/Support Person Ratio
15:1
Teacher/Staff Ratio
8:1
Student Enrollment/All Teachers
15:1

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=667&T=1&FY=2010

atl said...

@ Fred
Have you actually seen what is on the CRCT? Asking students to be able to identify the main idea in a story, understand the difference in a fact and an opinion, be able to compute double digit multiplication, or convert a fraction to a decimal is entirely appropriate.

What's not been appropriate is the way classrooms have been drained of resources as CRCT results have been used as an excuse to increase admin and support numbers to ever higher levels. Also inappropriate is the emphasis on over compensating non-teaching personnel while under compensating the teachers who actually instruct our students. Most importantly, DCSS has also cheated many students out of the direct instructional help they need, particularly in our Title 1 schools.

It's not comforting to me as a taxpayer to see that DCSS is as "fat" as APS when it comes to Teacher/Staff ratio. "Staff" are personnel certified to teach students who are not in the classroom instructing students. DCSS and APS have the dubious honor of having the highest Teacher/Staff ratio in the metro area.

BTW - I was in sales for a decade, and if management doesn't get a handle on "cheating" in sales in a hurry, the company goes under. Not so with a public entity like a school system. Tax dollars flow to them no matter if they are doing a good job or a poor job.

Fred said...

@atl, could the ratio differences have anything to do with the fact that both APS and DeKalb have a greater percentage of Title 1 students? Some the the position titles don't accurately reflect the services they provide to the student.

atl said...

@ Fred

Not really. Marietta and Clayton have 100% of their schools Title 1 (DCSS is 67% and APS is 90+%). Clayton and Marietta both have a lower Teacher/Staff Ratio than DCSS and APS.

What are we getting for this higher than any other school system non-teaching group who is certified to teach?

atl said...

@ Fred

Perhaps you can answer this question.

Why did the DCSS Title 1 school Made AYP rate go down by 20 schools as soon as strict test monitoring was instituted (almost IDENTICAL to APS's decrease)?

Clayton and Gwinnett and Rockdale and Marietta with high numbers of Title 1 schools DID NOT see this huge decrease in Title 1 Schools Made AYP rate even after strict test monitoring was instituted.

Why did DCSS's Made AYP Title 1 school rate plummet from 66 of our 89 Title 1 schools Making AYP in 2009 to only 46 of our 89 Title 1 schools Making AYP in 2010? What happened that 20 of our Title 1 schools would experience such a decrease in one year when they had not seen this kind of a decrease before?

I. 2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring):
74% of DCSS Title 1 Schools Made AYP (66 out of 89)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

II. 2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring):
52% Made AYP (46 out of 89)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

It's being discussed on Maureen Downey's blog as to why APS saw such a huge drop in their low income schools Making AYP. What is the rationale for DCSS's low income schools to see such a drop?

Does the management of DCSS have no clue as to why this drop occurred? Was it just "bad luck"?

BTW - DCSS's 40+ non-Title I schools Made AYP rate stayed the same from 2009 to 2010 - there was no change before strict monitoring of testing and after strict monitoring of testing. APS has similar rates with the exception of their non-Title 1 schools actually did better after strict test monitoring.

Fred said...

@atl, is is possible that cheating is going on in those districts yet they have not gotten caught yet? You may recall that Gwinnett got caught cheating on their disciplinary reports a few years ago.

Don't be naiive and think that cheating is restricted to APS. DeKalb addressed their incident quickly when it was uncovered but most would probably say that Atherton was a sacrificial lamb for other schools.

Take a look at Maureen's many blogs on the Governor's report along with the comments from many with interesting perspectives. You might notice that the sentiments I have expressed regarding DeKalb appear quite a bit.

Do we really want to understand how this enviroment and culture was created or simply look to extract a pound of flesh from those that chose education as a career?

atl said...

@ Fred
"... is is possible that cheating is going on in those districts yet they have not gotten caught yet? "

So you are saying that cheating in DCSS resulted in 20 of our Title 1 schools Not Making AYP in 2010, but the other systems (Gwinnett, Rockdale, Marietta, and Clayton) just weren't caught because they didn't have strict monitoring in place like DCSS had?

If you are saying that 20 of our Title 1 schools decreased in their Made AYP rate because no one was able to get away with cheating, how do you explain that only 24 DCSS employees made that much impact?

24 is the number of employees that Ms. Tyson's found and reassigned during her investigation of CRCT cheating. Those 24 must have been very efficient when without their efforts 20 DCSS Title 1 schools see such decreases that they didn't make AYP

Cerebration said...

@Fred - rather than focus on the "pressure" from some mysterious, unnamed outside force, why don't you ask the question, "What is so very wrong with our schools that in order for our students to achieve at what is considered a fairly low bar, teachers and principals feel they must "cheat"?

Why is it that these students simply can't read or do math at a very reasonable grade level (these standards are very basic!)

Stnuocca said...

Good afternoon all,

Cheating (detected or undetected) is going on in any "successful" district with the size and demographics of Atlanta Public Schools. A significant number of their superintendents are Broad Superintendent Academy graduates trained as or by Beverly Hall. All DATA-DRIVEN at the exclusion of common sense. These clowns ELECTED Beverly Hall National Superintendent of the Year!!!!

Even with their often poor graduate education, these guys and gals understand that a 1970 Ford Pinto will not achieve the same result on coast to coast rally competing with is likely 2011 Ford Mustangs and 2011 Chevy Camaros.

Now, guilt-ridden 2011 Ford Mustangs and 2011 Chevy Camaros owners might want to fund garages and technicians to "fix" the Pintos so that the race can be fairer.... (The Casey Foundation had a beautiful 14 page brochure praising the Principal of the APS school with the most cheating!! http://www.diaristproject.org/file2/Atlanta%20Parks%201-22-08.pdf)

Why don't we just apply common sense in Dekalb County? Let's, as the citizen of Dekalb, stop giving the County Administrators more smokes and mirrors to divert our attention from the joke they are playing on us?

Let's fix the Pintos without racing them against Ford Mustangs unless we are all OK with giving them (cheating) a 2 state headstart.

Anon said...

Rumor has it that DCSS heads are on the block next week -- not quite as many as APS but we're not off the hook yet.... look for black marks in the next week or so.

Anon said...

I really don't understand why with the technology we have in 2011, we can't just take a kid that enters a classroom with last year's IOWA scores and monitor said kid through the school year and see if he/she improves in the following year's IOWA scores -- forget the CRCRT-- do it on a computer -- no bubbling -- no tests going into chambers to be watched. One IOWA per child to the next (yes, I know it's not a critereon based test) ... follow the progress of a specific kid from year to year and see if a teacher can make each individual kid in the classroom grow during the course of the year. If the answer is no -- the teacher needs a new profession. If the answer is yes, the teacher is doing an adequate or splendid job. For older kids, use the psat or sat. It's not rocket science. There's growth or there isn't growth. Some teachers will show more growth than others. The kids should grow. Use other tests to see if they are at grade level but get rid of these absolutes for grade leveling -- it harms those who are way below grade level to start with and it also harms those who are way above grade level to start with.... And most of all -- I give it a "duh" to the cheating.

Stnuocca said...

APS shows that there were always only 2 choices available to teachers in at risk schools:


a) VAINLY ( I stress vainly) long hours to achieve both UNREASONABLE and IMPOSSIBLE results----and INEVITABLY failing to meet these expectations BE FIRED or TRANSFERRED while in a HOSTILE work environment.

b) CHEAT ( cheat or allow cheating on one's behalf or tolerating cheating)

Let's be honest with ourselves, were not the cheating schools in APS very much like our own Dekalb schools?

Good people like Cere see "mismanagement or incompetence" in Dekalb schools. We all do. However, the making AYP and the improving test scores (some already based on previous cheating) standard is already too high. As long as we hold that impossible standards (not impossible to the higher socioeconomic strata of our diverse county), we are in effect ENABLING the current modus operandi because this modus is ACTUALLY what is advocated by all these charlatans who are now "mainstream" everywhere.(Polititians, educrats, pundits...etc..)

Read the report from the APS scandal--especially Volume 3 of the report

http://www.ajc.com/news/volume-3-conclusions-why-1000781.html

atl said...

@ Stnuocca

The Office of School Improvement and the enormous growth of the non-teaching bureaucracy has used NCLB adherence and the need to Make AYP as the reason for their existence.

NCLB and federal requirements to Make AYP has been used for years by low income schools districts to install armies of non-teaching coordinators and coaches and supervisors and managers and counselors and facilitators and lead teachers and additional assistant principals and on and on and on.

The cry of "we have so much federal paperwork and the Feds require this or that program" has been used as the excuse to drain our classrooms of resources and personnel directly instructing students. In DCSS, Upper management has diverted funds into a Friends and Family plan of highly paid non-teaching positions.

NCLB has been the best career builder in the history of the U.S. for non-teaching personnel within low income school systems (DCSS is not alone in this respect). Georgia DOE statistics show the increase in non-teaching admin and support personnel and the decrease in teaching personnel as a relative measure in all school systems. But the imbalance between non-teaching and teaching personnel is particularly egregious in systems with a considerable number of low income schools.

The main problem I see with testing is that upper level administrators have perverted the process so that funding has left the classroom and ended up in the pockets of a swollen non-teaching bureaucracy. DCSS is not alone in this. Most low income school systems have done this.

This phenomenon is limited in high income systems because the lack of Title 1 schools makes AYP a moot point. AYP and test "failure" are ONLY applicable to school systems that accept federal funding, and in particular the sanctions are only applicable to Title 1 schools. Since high income systems get much less federal funding, the problem is pretty much non-existent.

It's discouraging that the children who need the resources and direct instruction the most end up getting the least.

Anon said...

The APS debacle has made NATIONAL news -- both NBC and ABC covered it tonight and it made the NY Times today... it's huge. Time to get our ducks in a row at DCSS very quickly and get our story to the National press as quickly as we can.. .the time is ripe.

Cerebration said...

I pray that we didn't have anyone who had to "cheat" to get the scores we got in some of our schools ---

Here is the link for the entire DCSS CRCT Scores. It is formattable also.
2011 Georgia CRCT results, by school

Click on the Science scores and it put them in descending order.

We have 95 ES and MS that has a 50% pass / fail rate for Science scores in DCSS!

We have 57 schools for MATH that are at 50% failure rate.

We have 130 schools with 50% failing Social Studies!

atl said...

@ Anon

Well, DCSS had the same drop in test score percentages as APS. Why has no one addressed this? Is it because Crawford Lewis is no longer at the helm so it's hard to find someone to pin the blame on? Does that make it less tragic for students?

JGrant said...

In honor of the Atlanta cheating scandal, I’m posting an excerpt from my novel, Chain Gang Elementary. This section–in the middle of the book–highlights the overreactions by parents and educators to high-stakes testing, which, as we see in both art and life, can yield disastrous consequences. As we wait for more shoes to drop, we wonder: Is truth stranger than fiction? You can check out the state investigators’ report, then read this section and judge for yourself: http://chaingangelementary.com/?p=284

atl said...

Cere,

20 low income schools (Title 1) dropping into the DID NOT MAKE AYP category in one year cannot be blamed solely on 24 DCSS educators.

DCSS needs an investigation just as thorough as APS. Our low income schools declining MADE AYP rate was almost identical to APS. How is this possible with only 24 educators at fault?

APS:

I. 2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring):
81% of APS Title 1 schools Made AYP (75 out of 93)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=761&T=1&FY=2009

II. 2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring):
58% of APS Title 1 Made AYP (53 out of 91)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=761&T=1&FY=2010

DCSS:

I. 2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring):
74% of DCSS Title 1 Schools Made AYP (66 out of 89)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

II. 2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring):
52% Made AYP (46 out of 89)

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

No other school systems have these figures, even schools with 100% of their schools low income (title 1).

Open+Transparent said...

Restored to their old jobs...way to bring on the reform Ramona, Morcease, Audria and the great Ron Ramsey.



http://www.ajc.com/news/scores-rise-fall-at-1002523.html

In DeKalb's sweep of testing impropriety 24 educators were removed but later most all were restored to their original jobs and stricter protocol was instituted to protect tests.

Fred said...

Maureen Downey said,
"I think there is plenty of blame to go around, including the media, but I have to wonder about the role of the state Department of Education. The agency mandates and administers all these tests. Should the agency make any effort to validate scores? If not, how can it eventually use the scores to reward or punish teachers?"

This is in her GetSchooled blog titled "Dr. Hall: I knew nothing about cheating in Atlanta schools". Seems like we heard this somewhere else before. I wonder where????

Fred said...

Open+Transparent, most of the educators were CLEARED after a thorough investigation. A few retired and a few were demoted. This is old news.

Are you suggesting that the school district should essentially haze employees that were suspected of wrongdoing then cleared of it? Perhaps it is that attitude that has helped to create the culture educators face today.

Fred said...

@Cerebration,
" rather than focus on the "pressure" from some mysterious, unnamed outside force, why don't you ask the question, "What is so very wrong with our schools that in order for our students to achieve at what is considered a fairly low bar, teachers and principals feel they must "cheat"?"

There are no mysterious, unnamed forces. High stakes testing ultimately goes back to citizens wanting greater accountability with respect to student performance. It also goes back to legislators, responding to citizen and passing legislation such as NCLB to tract this. Add Pay for Performance and you have what partly created the environment we have today. Is anyone interested in the root cause?

I and many noted educators have said, I have no problem with accountability. We need to ensure our dollars are being spent in the best way possible. My concern is with the use of High Stakes testing as the measurement tool. How many of you believe someone else can know all there is about you from a standardized test?

You should chat with Dr. John Trotter. He and I have been saying this for years, independent of one another. Add the expectation that spending about $620/student via Title 1 is going to make a difference is also unrealistic.

Providing more disciplined learning environments with the ability to temporarily remove students that don't want to be in the classroom could do more for schools throughout the country. I say temporary because maybe some students need Alternative schools to help them realize where they don't want to be. Ask any teacher and most will agree with this.

Cerebration said...

That whole thing was handled pretty aggressively. Apparently, Tyson more or less "quarantined" all employees within range of suspected cheating while it was investigated. Many who were sent back to their jobs were never found to have done anything wrong, other than hold a job with access to tests in certain schools.

Fred said...

@atl
"20 low income schools (Title 1) dropping into the DID NOT MAKE AYP category in one year cannot be blamed solely on 24 DCSS educators. "

You see, there are things that you and I agree on! Like Maureen and I have both said, there is plenty of blame to go around.

atl said...

@ Cerebration

Let's assume the drop was not due to cheating since Ms. Tyson concluded cheating was not widespread in DCSS as a result of the in-depth investigation she commissioned.

That doesn't negate the fact that 20 DCSS Title 1 schools fell out of the Made AYP category from 2009 to 2010.

Is no one interested in why 20 of our Title 1 schools suddenly could not Make AYP?

I could not find any other metro school system that saw this degree of decline in Title 1 schools with the exception of APS so we can't say the state made the standardized tests more difficult.

Did Dr. Berry and Dr. Beasley introduce a program(s) throughout the Title 1 schools that caused this drop? All the more reason for the BOE to ask for data linking DCSS student progress to funding of educational programs.

Did Dr. Lewis's decisions over time to increase class sizes and cut teacher positions finally overwhelm the classroom teachers and adversely impact our neediest students? If so, Ms. Tyson and the BOE need to understand the implications of their balancing the budget by increasing class sizes to preserve non-teaching positions.

Did our teacher turnover rate rise in Title 1 schools and impact student progress due to overloaded classrooms, increased paperwork and more meetings? Human Resources computes the Teacher Turnover rate. The DCSS Teacher Turnover rate should be made public since studies show that low income students are negatively impacted more by high Teacher Turnover than their peers in more affluent schools. If the rate is high, DCSS should determine and correct the causes of high teacher turnover.

Did Dr. Beasley's No Zero policy and decreased student accountability cause a decrease in student motivation and therefore achievement? In that case, discipline and student accountability need to be repaired.

When the number of DCSS Title 1 schools Did Not Make AYP goes from 23 to 43 (almost double) in one year, then the BOE, Ms. Tyson, Dr Beasley and Dr. Berry need to ask what went wrong at the District level.

Has anyone heard the BOE ask Ms. Tyson, Dr. Beasley or Dr. Berry about the negative ROI we are receiving in our Title 1 schools, particularly since we took in more federal dollars for our neediest students in 2010 than 2009.

DCSS went from $77,227,391 in 2008-09 to 128,255,748 in 2009-10 in Federal Funding.

Look at the DCSS Made AYP data for Title 1 and non-Title 1 schools.

DCSS Title 1 Schools:
2008-09
Title I
Meeting AYP Criteria 66 (74%)
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 23
Total 89

2009-10
Title I
Meeting AYP Criteria 46 (52%)
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 43
Total 89

DCSS Non-Title 1 Schools:
2008-09
Non-Title 1
Meeting AYP Criteria 38 (84%)
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 7
Total 45

2009-10
Non-Title 1
Meeting AYP Criteria 36 (84%)
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 7
Total 43

* These figures do not take into account summer retests. Taking account summer retests, the numbers are even worse as they drive the numbers farther apart.

If Ms. Tyson is sure cheating didn't cause this decline, then she certainly needs to be looking for what factors did cause it.

Sources:
http://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.display_proc

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Cerebration said...

Totally excellent questions ATL! I guess my point hasn't been clear -- my point is - our test scores are so bad that god help us if we had to cheat to even get scores like these!

I think there isn't the high level of cheating in DCSS as elsewhere because we really don't have high expectations ... exactly the opposite of what Fred is saying but sort of the same. The fact is - even if we had high expectations, in order to raise test scores, many of our educators apparently think they have to "cheat" in order to get their students to pass. My question is -- is it REALLY that hard to just properly teach the material? Really??? If so, there is no hope then.

Fred said...

@atl, I'm sure it doesn't surprise you that I responded to your inquiry. I'd like to know the answers to those questions also. In my opinion, I don't think anyone in the central office had any direct impact on the schools you mention, through approving programs requested by principals or otherwise. It is interesting that you ask for more data linking student progress to funding then immediately aftwards, question whether paperwork and meetings is cutting into instructional time. How can you have one without the other?

As I have mentioned to you before, principals are the instructional leaders for their respective schools. They are told the resources they have available and asked how they wish to use them for their school. Every school did not use AC. Those that used AC chose to use it because they thought it could help with their school.

Tell you what, pick 1-2 schools. Let's do the analysis you suggested and see what we come up with. If we can answer the WHY question, maybe we can make recommendations that will make a difference.

Cerebration said...

Are you kidding Fred? Didn't we spend like 8 or 9 MILLION dollars on America's Choice??? Was it then left to principals to choose whether or not to use it???? Really????

atl said...

@ Fred
"I don't think anyone in the central office had any direct impact on the schools you mention, "

Well, why have a Central Office if you have no impact on our 89 Title 1 schools?

DeKalb has 1 Staff person for every 4 teachers. Staff are the personnel certified to teach in classrooms who DO NOT teach in classrooms. No other metro system has these figures except for Atlanta Public. Yet teachers are asked to do the same paperwork over and over. What do these "Staffers" do all day?

Certified Staff Position Ratios
Teacher/Administrator Ratio
13:1
Teacher/Support Person Ratio
7:1
Teacher/Staff Ratio
4:1

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

The decisions coming out of the Central Office and most particularly the Office of School Improvement have resulted in a decline in Title 1 schools making adequate yearly progress. Either that, or a significant number of personnel cheated like APS.

You can't have it both ways. There has to be a reason for 20 Title 1 schools having such a drop in making adequate yearly progress. If the drop just coincidentally corresponded to the year strict test monitoring was implemented, then we need to look for another reason. I can see if 4 or 5 Title 1 schools dropped out of making AYP, but 20 is just not acceptable. This points to a systemic problem.

Cerebration said...

Kathy Ashe sent out the following eloquent email:

Greetings:

Every crisis affords opportunity to learn and to drastically change. Of all of the horrible information we're learning about the APS/CRCT cheating, the most crushing truth may be that "too many Atlantans did NOT believe that all our children can achieve high standards." It must be our mission to create a system where we stop believing that some kids can't learn, and need adults to intervene in inappropriate and unethical ways so they appear to be achieving.

While you will find it heartbreaking, I recommend that you read as much as possible of the state investigators' report issued yesterday. It can be found on the AJC web site by clicking here. All three volumes might be too much for you to read. The overview in volume 1 - pages 2-15 and the summary found in volume 3 - pages 350-411 will give you a clear understanding of the challenges we all now face.

While our community ponders its next steps, our priority right now must be the children. While it is important to hold those responsible accountable, as a city we are immediately challenged to get ready for school to start in August, to figure out ways to remediate the damage done to students we were supposed to be educating, to make certain that this sort of disaster never happens again and to make Atlanta the "most educated City." Dr. Errol Davis (the interim Superintendent) and the APS Board are hard at work BUT it will take us all working together. These are indeed dark days but I do not believe God gives us more than we can handle. I remain confident that together we can restore integrity to the system, be wise and efficient stewards of public funds, and most importantly, educate the next generation of Atlantans - our children.

Thank you,

Rep. Kathy Ashe, House District 56

Stnuocca said...

@ATL
http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/best-in-class-993635.html
July 5, 2011 7:22 PM

There is a reason why you don't put living people on stamps or name national airports after the living.

I have faith in K____ but who should be the judge of the quality or efficacy of her 500 computer jiggies? Microsoft? The CRCT? ( 2nd no longer take CRCT, right?)

Crawford Lewis was a Miliken Principal (http://www.mff.org/mea/mea.taf?page=recipient&meaID=299) and Beverly Hall was well you know http://www.aramark.com/PressRoom/PressReleases/National-Superintendent-of-the-Year.aspx

Anon said...

FYI -- Kathy Ashe was a certified teacher... I'm not sure where she taught. She had 2 kids -- living in the APS system during the 80s or 90s. They went to the Children's School and Westminster(I think) -- not public school even though she's a certified teacher. She probably has a very interesting perspective on things. She was a D and then an R and then went back to a D -- there's a great "golden stirrups" story about her in the legislature. Also, Ed Lindsey (Senate Leader for the Rs) sent around an e-mail about APS -- he and his wife are both attorneys and their kids (3) went through Pace. Just gives you some perspective. Once you've seen the differences between public and private (really good private) -- the differences are astounding and I'm not sure that the actual costs are really that different -- the differences are in the better qualified teaching, the more localized curricularm, smallers clases and much less beaurocracy.

Stnuocca said...

@Anon and other faithful bloggers.

a) What are the differences between Pace, Lovett, Woodward and Padeia?

b) What are the differences between McNair, Lithonia, Redan, Stone Mountain?

c) What are the differences between Dunwoody, Chamblee, Druids Hill, and Lakeside?

What are the differences between a) Pace, Lovett, Woodward and Padeia and b) McNair, Lithonia, Redan, Stone Mountain?

Can we tell it like it is?

msbssy said...

@stnuocca
#1 Parents who give a rat's behind
#2 Rigorous curriculum, not teach ing to the CRCT, going way above GA Standards
#3 Not tolerating persistent discipline issues
#4 High Expectations from teachers & parents

These are the major differences. I pulled my child from DCSS for those reasons. I could care less about CRCT or AYP, take a good look at the ITBS scores. What good is meeting or exceeding expectations on the CRCT if you are in the 50 - 60 %tile on the ITBS. Outside of Kittredge, Fernbank and a few others, take a deep look at the ITBS scores, including some of the so called schools of choice (themes, etc)

bu2 said...

APS had an intimidating culture of corruption. On Maureen's blog, one of the pro-Hall posters actually threatened an insider who was critical, saying they knew who he was and would report to his boss.

I get the impression, DCSS has a culture of indifference.

I'm not sure which is harder to change.

Dekalbparent said...

I do not often agree with Jim Wooten in the AJC, but today's column speaks the truth. One thing in particular caught my eye:

Investigators attributed a quote to now-retired principal Armstead Salters that explains how wrongdoing by individuals descends into systemic corruption. Said Salters, according to the report, “If anyone asks you anything about this just tell them you don’t know. … Just stick to the story and it will all go away.” That, one suspects, is the defense bureaucracies teach and learn to avoid accountability

Have we not seen almost the exact phrase here in DeKalb? Does the phrase "Just stick to the story and it will all go away" not ring a bell? In our case, it was said by the chairman of the BOE, which I find quite as unsettling, since it indicates the attitude of someone tasked with oversight of DCSS.