"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Kafkaesque Trial Going on in Atlanta

“This conspiracy was cleverly, cleverly disguised and the purpose of the conspiracy was this – to illegally inflate test scores and create a false, false impression of academic success for many students in the Atlanta Public School system,” prosecutor Fani Willis said. “It was done to those students’ detriment.”

Too bad the corporate television networks don't find this trial in Atlanta as juicy as O.J. or  the last murder victim story. Perhaps The Ed Show will pick up the story.  Meanwhile, a Kafkaesque scene that embodies everything  wrong with NCLB, RTtT and Common Core, is playing out and thank goodness there are reporters covering the trial.

After reading this article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about today's courtroom drama, the prosecutor's statement seems a bit ironic, or perhaps just full of as many holes found in a bubble-in sheet of inane questions.  Since inflated test scores, high test scores or any multiple choice test scores for that matter, are inherently a false impression of academic success, WTF are they talking about?
After 13 years of this garbage and waste of precious funds, everyone knows standardized test scores are more a measurement of the size of a parent or grandparent's wallet. 

These teachers were probably petrified to lose their jobs and put themselves and their families at risk of total destitution if student scores didn't reach the magic number or 100% proficiency, an impossible, ridiculous goal Margaret Spellings, the real wicked witch of Texas. 

Students in Atlanta come from some of the most impoverished districts in the state. Teachers knew that if scores weren't high enough to protect them from the chopping block, privatization or chartererization (is that a word yet?) closure of their public schools would be next. Desperate people will do desperate things in order to survive and this is the situation that has been created all across the country since NCLB was written in to law. Now 13 years later, parents across the country are pushing back and voicing their opposition to the constant measuring and testing and punishment climate. More and more people are beginning to see the light, but it might just be too late for the teachers in Atlanta who buckled under the pressure of the guillotine. ISIS might be chopping off heads in the physical sense, but chopping off children's heads in the intellectual sense, just doesn't make any sense. Does anyone care? Does anyone even know what's going on down there in Atlanta?  

And then theres the money, the amount of money a state superintendent made during her tenure, a lot less than most of the CEO's who bankrupted the country as they sold CMO's and other bogus fraudulent financial products and pushed housing and mortgage they knew could never be paid. Perhaps she was overpaid but I'd like to see one of these CEO's successfully run a poor urban school district where children are hungry, abused, neglected and then tested to death.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Former Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall’s presence loomed large Monday at the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial, even though she wasn’t in the Fulton County courtroom.
Lead prosecutor Fani Willis recounted how a desperate school system wooed Hall in 1999 to close a longstanding achievement gap and how she earned $544,472 in bonus money over a decade, on top of her $279,985 salary.
That set the stage for a swipe from defense attorney Sandy Wallack, who represents former teacher Dessa Curb.
“The state gave a very nice opening (statement) in the trial of Beverly Hall,” Wallack told jurors. “But Beverly Hall is not on trial here.”
Wallack was one of seven defense attorneys to tell jurors their clients should be found not guilty at what’s expected to be a months-long trial. Lawyers for five defendants — including ex-School Reform Team executive directors Tamara Cotman, Sharon Davis Williams and Michael Pitts — reserved giving their openings until after the prosecution presents its case.
In his opening, defense attorney Keith Adams, who represents former Dunbar Elementary teacher Diane Buckner-Webb, agreed a crime had been committed and there was indeed a conspiracy.
“I’m charging and accusing the DA’s office of engaging in the conspiracy,” Adams said. The district attorney is relying on witnesses whose credibility is “beyond belief” because they have given markedly differing statements over the course of the investigation, he said.
Adams’ hard-edged delivery was followed by Hurl Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran who pulled out a camouflaged sheet and draped it over his head to remind jurors his client — former testing coordinator Donald Bullock — is cloaked in the presumption of innocence.

No comments:

Post a Comment