At first glance, this woman looks harmless. Something like a really cool grandmother, or perhaps a teacher. However, Dr. Beverly Hall, former Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools is in waist deep shit with the release of the Governor’s Office for Student Achievement investigation regarding cheating on Criterion Reform Competency standardized tests in 2009.
The office used a simple assessment. They scanned all the competency tests to view the number of erasures on answers that went from wrong to right. They found out that several public school systems, including the state’s largest, Atlanta Public Schools, as having a high number of erasures. These erasures imply that answers were removed and the correct answer replaced. By whom is the million dollar question, but also suggest that adults rather than students having an epiphany of testing intelligence to go back and fix numerous wrong answers.
Two years ago, when the governor’s office requested information regarding these large numbers of wrong-to-right erasures from Hall Administration, Dr. Hall, the 2009 awardee of “Superintendent of the Year” rebuffed requests, sending even more alarms during the inquisition.
But get this, there are whistle blowers in this investigation, principals and teachers who say that the Hall Administration created a climate of fear and retribution if one did not comply with the erasures. According to the investigation, 58 principals and 444 teachers who instruct in 1 – 8 schools are under fire for cheating. Add to that over 80 people have come forward with information detailing the cheating climate at APS.
Dr. Hall who announced her retirement months before this investigation was released has now come out to say that she did not know about the cheating. According to the Jamaican born educator who got her fame working in New York and New Jersey public schools, the whistle blowers were blowing hot air. In a written statement she says, “Apparently, not one of the 82 persons who allegedly ‘confessed’ to cheating told the investigators that Dr. Hall at any time instructed, encouraged or condoned cheating.”
Okay, I am simple, but if 82 people have said that they were coerced and over 500 people have been fingered for this scandal, Dr. Hall is either a dumb ass, or a horrible liar. A woman who had the reputation for running a school district with “an iron fist” now pleads that she was ignorant to these egregious acts of which were spread throughout her district.
Interestingly, it was the large jump in achievement on standardized tests that was a major accomplishment that got Dr. Hall her fame, accolades, a $400,298 yearly salary, and over half a million dollars in bonuses from the excelled performance that her district exhibited from these same standardized tests that have been fingered for cheating.
Furthermore, she has literally vanished from Atlanta and has left others to take the heat.
This scandal has created a round of discussions, one of which is around the “No Child Left Behind” bill during the Bush regime that totally disrupted public schools and dis-empowered teachers and parents in providing wholesome education. The implementation of schools being given funding based on standardized achievements placed pressure on schools to concentrate on passing tests instead of getting real education. As well, parents have meet a plethora of roadblocks in finding the right schools for their child if they did not perform well on tests.
This draws another fact in standardized tests. As a former teacher, it is well known that in the history of teaching there has cheating going on for a very long time. From elementary tests to SATs, cases upon cases have discovered that many have fallen under the pressure of tests that really don’t prove much at the end of the day. George W. Bush can agree to that!
Nevertheless, Dr. Hall, you get an F for major fuck up! You have failed communities and the public education system grossly.