Politicians, writers, bloggers, and other media types are all a roar this week at the news of the Atlanta Public School (APS) System CRCT cheating scandal(s). Most outlets and talking heads are using the opportunity to wag a finger at the school system and talk about how they “pledge” to “fix” the “problems” of the school system. Today, the new superintendent of APS announced his plan to “fix” the errors of the school system. This prompted the school board to give him a one year contract to ensure that he has the time to implement his plan. Hearing this prompted me to do a little background on the superintendent.
Mr. Errol Davis holds a BS in electrical engineering and an MBA in finance. He has served on various boards of trustees and was most recently the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Mr. Davis’ plan of action for APS includes ethics training (which I’m sure every adult takes already), Automatic investigations on “suspect” test scores (data profiling on specific students, teachers, and schools most likely), changing the department that handles complaints, and the point that rung my alarm – doing academic reviews for every student who’s grade was changed… This is the plan that will cure cheating in the Atlanta Public School System?
Is Mr. Davis saying that the children that failed without cheating won’t receive an academic review and its subsequent remediation asssitance? If a student is in the fourth grade and failed, they may still be moved to the next grade becasue the 4th grade CRCT is not required for promotion. Are they to be left behind? I’m sure Mr. Davis’ work in education has prepared him to address this oversight right… OH that’s right! He’s never worked in education. He’s never worked in a school, yet this man has been given the charge to cure the woes of a SCHOOL SYSTEM? Genius. My next point.
This clip shows the Mayor of Atlanta, the Speaker of the State House of Representatives, and the chair (at the time of the investigation) of the Chamber of Commerce all finding time to wag their finger at APS and talk about how they want to work “together” to “fix” the school system. I am curious to know the following of these entities that “care” so much about the children of Atlanta: 1. How many schools have you visited on unofficial business? 2. How much financial support have you offered to any school in the school system? and 3. What ARE your real expectations of the students of Atlanta Public Schools?
I believe that the type of television grandstanding that these officials have displayed is unbecoming of any true leader. For these leaders to publicly show their disgust first, speaks to their character. It tells me that the resolutions that they will come up with will be vindictive in nature and further empower wrong-doing. For mayor Kasim Reed to indulge in this line of talk further hinders the rebuilding of spirit in the community because the majority of the school system’s students and employees are black themselves. These leaders, by forgetting thier responsibility to the people and by joining in on the rock throwing and self-promotion as they have to this point, have proved to me that they only have an “on the surface” care for children, but truly seek to gain votes in the coming elections. Through all of this unnecessary banter that will ultimately continue and turn into paperweighted mandates and scare tacctics; the true impact on the students will still be zero for this one fact… TESTS ARE NOT ABOUT CHILDREN! Tests are about money and this scandal is about politics. The real impact here is that the city of Atlanta is prone to losing a ton of investments, real estate sales, etc.
and if it is not fixed under the leadership of these elected board members (comprised of one real teacher and several people that “care” about children) and the newly hired superintendent (and his board of trusstee expertise), the city will stand to lose a whole lotta money at the expense (pause) of the children. The End.
…and the children, their parents, and their teachers are again left to fend for themselves. While our elected “leaders” point at us and tell us what’s best for us, we are left to do the real work. The crafting work. The molding, mentoring, and advising work of creating competent citizens along with parents and those that make a tangible impact with students.
I would hope that if you are to call yourself a leader and get in front of a television camera and make your melodramatic outcry to the “lack of leadership,” that you will now, not only work on your end with other elected officials, but work with schools, principals, teachers, parents, and students. That you will allow them to SEE that you care because right now, I’m sure they don’t hear you. That you will allow them to FEEL your presence as you make your way through the hallways of schools and as you shake their hands.
The great thing about this, leaders, is that it only costs a segment of time. You all work in the vicinity of several area schools when you go to work and the visiting opportunities have always been there. I dare to see if you care enough to donate time to your schools as much as you donate to those cameras. The time has not been more important to your political and financial lives to do so. Can you handle it?
Mr. E! The Motivator