I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reformy Praise For Beverly Hall

It's been a long time coming, but the disgraced former superintendent of Atlanta's schools, Beverly Hall, is finally being brought up on charges for her role in the city's massive cheating scandal.

Before this all falls into the memory hole, I think it's important to take a moment and recall that Hall was one of the darlings of the corporate reform movement. [all emphases mine]

Arne Duncan:
The partners who have joined you here today also show an unparalleled commitment to dramatically strengthening the accreditation of teacher preparation programs. Sharon Robinson and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and both the NEA and the AFT, are part of this effort. So are distinguished practitioners like Colorado state school chief Dwight Jones—soon to be the superintendent in Las Vegas—SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Beverly Hall, Tom Payzant, and Arthur Levine. Could you please give Jim and the members of this Blue Ribbon panel a round of applause? This is leadership in action.
More Duncan:

In a letter to Franklin dated Oct. 14, Duncan said wrongdoers should be held accountable. He said his primary concern was getting additional academic help for children whose scores may have been changed. "However, it cannot be ignored that under Dr. Hall's leadership," Atlanta students have made double-digit gains on national exams known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, Duncan said. 

"Whatever the outcome of the state investigation, these accomplishments should not go unrecognized," he said.
Mike Bloomberg:
And over the last 6 years, where we have had a chancellor who has set a record as perhaps the longest-serving chancellor in our school system--and Dr. Hall can tell you in Atlanta one of the reasons that she has been successful is that she has had the time in office to really effect change and found ways to overcome the politics that constantly create this revolving door of management in our school systems which keep anybody from being able to succeed--we have done everything possible to reduce our achievement gap, and we have in some cases by as much as half.
Joel Klein:
Joining the press conference by phone, New York City chancellor Joel Klein said the results show that poverty is not destiny. “What we are seeing here in cities like Atlanta and elsewhere, we can change the outcomes for our children. For that we should all take great comfort because the future of the country depends on it.”
Klein praised Hall for her efforts, holding out her leadership and Atlanta’s progress as a national model. “When done right, when done with courage and conviction…I think we are doing to see those kinds of results in the rest of the nation.” 
More Joel Klein:
But do not buy the argument--I think it is a fallacious argument--that when more kids are reading on grade that does not mean that their education is not improving. Should it improve much more? Are there other things we should test? Yes. But when Beverly Hall reports the results she is reporting, or Michelle or Arne, when they report those results, what that reflects is increased--not yet perfect, but increased--teaching quality and learning in our schools, and there is not a teacher in the world who does not think that a level one student is performing at an entirely different level from a level three, and that is what is so critical to this discussion.
The education-industrial complex:
Congratulations to Beverly Hall for representing the ‘best of the best’ in public school leadership,” said Dennis Maple, president, ARAMARK Education. “ARAMARK is honored to be a part this special program that rewards and recognizes a professional like Hall who truly cares about the wellbeing of her students. Also, we salute this year's state winners who so earnestly strive to give every child the ideal learning experience and the greatest chance for success.”
“ING values education and all educators who tirelessly strive to improve student achievement,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation. “Congratulations to Beverly Hall for being recognized for her outstanding leadership in ensuring students receive a quality education. ING also acknowledges all superintendents who are advancing education in their districts.”
The Gates Foundation:
“Our school district is focused on preparing all students for success upon graduation, and ensuring that all graduates leave APS with choices in today’s knowledge-based economy,” said Dr. Beverly Hall, superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools. “While our graduation rate has increased, we still have work to do. We look forward to partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to take our reform efforts to the next level.”
Today’s grant to APS will help fund the development of a clear vision for change. The grant supports APS in developing a strategic plan that will focus on redesigning high schools’ curriculum and instruction. It will also consider the role of new schools in this effort. APS is expected to complete this plan by June 2006.
Atlanta joins a handful of the nation’s urban districts in its commitment to ensure all of its students will graduate from high school ready for college,” said Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “That’s a crucial goal that cannot be overstated, either in terms of the life opportunities for individual students and the impact it will have on the city’s broader economic development.”
More Gates Foundation:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated money because it thought APS [Atlantic Public Schools] was on "the leading edge" in "effective teaching," a foundation spokesman told the AJC in 2010. A spokesman told the AJC that it will continue to support APS. 
The Broad Foundation:

Houston, TX - The Broad Center for Superintendents will conduct a training program for the Urban Superintendents Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Academy will take place September 18, 2003 through September 21, 2003 at the Doubletree Hotel - Post Oak.


Speakers at the Houston Academy session include:

  • Phyllis Hunter, Consultant, Texas Statewide Reading Initiative
  • Uri Treisman, Director, The Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin
  • William Ouchi, Sanford and Betty Sigoloff Professor in Corporate Renewal, Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California-Los Angeles
  • Beverly Hall, Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Alton Frailey, Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Eric Witherspoon, Superintendent, Des Moines Public Schools
  • Wendy Robinson, Superintendent, Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Kaye Stripling, Superintendent, Houston Independent School District
Eli Broad, founder of The Broad Foundation, said, "This is a direct infusion of leadership at the highest management level of our nation's urban public school districts. We are building an executive leadership corps to protect and to grow our nation's investment in children."
 Whitney Tilson:
I'd never heard of Beverly Hall, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, but if Ed Trust's Kati Haycock vouches for her, that's a pretty strong endorsement. This cheating "scandal" is so typical – sadly, there's probably quite a bit of this in every major city, but her enemies (and defenders of the status quo), are trying to use it to force her out.
Teach For America:
The Atlanta public school system, which serves 51,000 students, has 138 Teach For America participants in 63 schools. Elliott, from Columbus, Ohio, and colleague Freda Henry of Milwaukee both work at South Atlanta High School, on Hutchens Road in southeast Atlanta.

"We are closing the gap that exists between children growing up in low- income areas and their peers in higher- income areas," says Beverly Hall, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, the only Georgia system participating in Teach For America.
More TFA:
"A handful of our teachers did confess to cheating and there are no excuses for that. It's completely unacceptable," said Metro Atlanta Teach For America Executive Director Kwame Griffith.
Teach For America's ties to district leadership run deep, and some of its most ardent supporters fared the worst in the report.
Quotes from embattled Superintendent Beverly Hall, who brought Teach for America to the city, still adorn the program's website.
Former Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine was a board member for the organization. The state's report concluded Augustine, "knew or should have known cheating and other misconduct was occurring in schools in the APS system" and that Augustine made false statements about an investigation into cheating at Deerwood Academy.
The reformies have already been backing away from the toxic Hall, but let's not let them get away with that, shall we?

Beverly Hall? Who's that?

ADDING: Diane Ravitch has more Broad Foundation connections to Atlanta and Hall.


Unknown said...

Sorded details surface about the second ranking official indicted in Atlanta: Millicent Few-

7-12-11: APS Human Resources Chief Millicent Few Hands In Resignation - GA Daily News
Few’s position carried enormous power inside the administration because the school system’s internal investigations unit reported to her.

Channel 2’s Richard Belcher first reported in June that the former head of that unit accused Few of directing the destruction of documents related to an investigation into CRCT exam cheating two years ago.

February 15, 2012 BRIDGEPORT CT -- A consultant brought in by Interim Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas to help fix the school district left days after she arrived when it was learned she was caught up in one of the nation's largest cheating scandals.


Few was recommend by Elizabeth Arons, senior human resources policy advisor for New York City Public Schools and the Gates Foundation.

Arons came in to evaluate and assess our human resources department and I asked her if there was someone interim who could come in and help us while we looked for someone permanent. I asked her who was one of the strongest people out there who might be available right now and she mentioned Millicent," Vallas said.

The cheating scandal was brought up, but Vallas said he was told Few was outstanding and "was an innocent casualty" of the cheating controversy. He said he has since done more online research…

[According to an Atlanta School District investigation by the state of Georgia and released in June 2011, Few, on two occasions, "ordered those under her supervision to illegally destroy and alter public documents in order to hide evidence related to test cheating and misconduct." -AJC]


Unknown said...

Yup she's still got her job

I just checked:

Office of Labor Policy - New York City Department of Education
Elizabeth Arons, Senior Human Resources Policy Advisor
718 935-4919

Unknown said...

This well researched piece reads much like an indictment:
Perdido Street School: Unlike Beverly Hall, Michelle Rhee Is Too Big To Be Brought Down

“There is little doubt in my mind that the USDOE and the DOJ willNOT look into Michelle Rhee’s tenure at DCPS and the evidence of test tampering and cheating because if they find anything, it will a near-fatal bullet into the heart of the test-based teacher accountability/education reform movement”

MUCH more:.


EC said...

You are awesome, JJ. That list of encomia to Hall is amazing!

Your list backs up what I keep saying: why stop with her? If the DA doesn't have direct evidence of her involvement beyond the "constant pressure" and the "no excuses" culture, then why aren't we indicting Duncan himself, and the authors of NCLB, and Presidents 43 and 44?


Unknown said...

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