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A Middle Fish Messed with the Tests in Atlanta

April 1, 2013 pm30 8:02 pm

The smallfry and minnows were the teachers and students. And bigger than those, but still near the bottom: principals. Which makes former Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall definitely a “Middle Fish”  What of the big fish?  The national figures who promote this crud?  And the sharks – the hedge fund guys and corporations who make profit off denying kids quality education?

Most of the thoughts I’ve had on the Atlanta testing scandal, others have already had them. I shall quote liberally:

Definitely read Fred Klonsky’s: The culture that created the Atlanta cheating scandal.
The title says most of it. He reprints his own talk on cheating from just this last February.

His brother Mike, at Small Talk: It’s Duncan’s Race To The Top that should have been indicted

Of course this scandal is really just a symptom of a much larger problem and Duncan bares as much responsibility for it than the 35 who were indicted. It’s his test-crazy Race To The Top, a continuation of No Child Left Behind that is behind the cheating wildfire.

Leonie Haimson at NYC Public School Parents: Cheating in Atlanta; but didn’t it happen here too?

the evidence suggests that the much the same has happened over the last ten years in NYC. The only difference is no effort or resources have been put by the city or the state into uncovering the phenomenon; in fact, quite the reverse.

Under Bloomberg and Klein, the numbers of staff members monitoring test taking has fallen, and the DOE stopped doing the sort of routine erasure and score swing rate analysis which the Board of Ed had done previously. (These methods suggested the anomalies in Atlanta).

In this very blog, Lynne Winderbaum wrote about myriad cheating scandals at Kennedy HS in the Bronx. But the investigations stopped short of any findings about principals and assistant principals (and superintendents, and chancellor). To be clear, there is an interest among all the test mongers NOT to investigate the cheating that results from their policies. Principals and Superintendents may look away, but Mayors and federal officials, testing companies and test-prep companies all have an interest in this testing/fake accountability culture. Cheating comes with the territory.

I read off a listserve an opinion that the middle fish getting in trouble (Hall and Rhee) are two people of color who have risen, and that the billionaires get off while they take the heat. Hmmm. I might buy that for Hall. Not for Rhee. No.

Final thought – the investigation. They caught some teachers. They offered immunity for testifying against principals. And they used principals against Hall. It’s like an episode of Law & Order. Could make a movie. (have you seen that new standardized test cheating drama?)  Maybe not.

One Comment leave one →
  1. chaz permalink
    April 2, 2013 pm30 3:17 pm 3:17 pm

    I forgot about the JFK fiasco. Thanks for the information and the back story of what happened there.

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