Over testing of our students and merit pay, two of the planks in the platform of what has been termed “education reform”.

Does it work? If you check out the articles in the right hand column of this website under “High Stakes Testing” and “Merit Pay”, you can decide for yourself.

Also read New Regulations Fail Teachers by Jim Horn and Esperanza Donovan-Pendzic.

In the meantime, see how it affected the folks in Atlanta as it did under Rhee’s reign while Chancellor of Schools in DC. Check out Cheating Fears Cast Doubt on Rhee’s Legacy in DC Public Schools and Rhee and the School Cheating Investigations: Do Incentives Corrupt?

In the New York Times Education section published on July 5th, Systematic Cheating is Found in Atlanta’s School System. An excerpt:

A state investigation released Tuesday showed rampant, systematic cheating on test scores in this city’s long-troubled public schools, ending two years of increasing skepticism over remarkable improvements touted by school leaders.

The results of the investigation, made public by Gov. Nathan Deal, showed that the cheating occurred at 44 schools and involved at least 178 teachers and principals, almost half of whom have confessed, the governor said.

A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation existed in the district, which led to a conspiracy of silence, he said in a prepared statement. “There will be consequences,” Mr. Deal said.

That will certainly include dismissals, according to school board members and the interim superintendent, Erroll B. Davis Jr., and could possibly result in criminal charges.

The findings of the investigation, which was conducted by a former state attorney general and a former county district attorney, will be delivered to district attorneys in three counties where cheating most likely took place.

Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta called the release of the investigation “a dark day for the Atlanta public school system.”

The cheating, he said, showed a complete failure of leadership that hurt thousands of children who might have been promoted to the next grade without meeting basic academic standards.

At the center of the cheating scandal is former Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, who was named the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year and has been considered one of the nation’s best at running large, urban districts.

Dr. Hall, who announced in November that she would be leaving the job at the end of June, left Tuesday for a Hawaiian vacation.

Dr. Hall is a veteran administrator of the New York and Newark public schools. She took over the Atlanta district in 1999 and enjoyed broad support. Under her administration, Atlanta schools had shown marked improvement in several areas.

Still, the investigation shows that cheating on the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Test began as early as 2001, and that “clear and significant” warnings were raised as early as December 2005. Dr. Hall’s administration punished whistle-blowers, hid or manipulated information and illegally altered documents related to the tests, the investigation found. The superintendent and her administration “emphasized test results and public praise to the exclusion of integrity and ethics,” the investigators wrote.

For the full article go to:

Systematic Cheating Is Found in Atlanta’s School System