Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Monday, July 18, 2011

Corporate school "reformers" engineered Atlanta cheating cover-up

“School systems, like businesses, must also look at the return on their investment,” wrote Georgia Power’s former CEO, Mike Garrett and UPS’ Evern Cooper Epps. “Any honest dialogue about salaries must be based on that principle.”

The city’s chamber of commerce and another business group took control of the district’s investigation last year into irregularities on state-mandated tests. Executives at the Metro Atlanta Chamber set the parameters of the inquiry and largely selected the people who ran it. Later, they suggested ways to “finesse” the findings past the governor.

Business leaders published opinion pieces and letters to the editor defending [Supt. Beverly] Hall before cheating inquiries were complete; calls for the superintendent to resign, they said, could undermine the district’s progress. And just as they had lobbied almost a decade earlier to give the superintendent more autonomy from the Board of Education, this year they sought new power for the governor to remove recalcitrant board members. -- AJC 7/17

A Feb. 15, 2010 memo drafted by a chamber executive, reads:

“It [cheating scandal] also has implications on the business community, many of whom ... are heavy investors, and on the economic development community who touts the superintendent and school board’s recent awards as best in the nation.” 
Seventeen months later, a state investigation has revealed that many of the school district’s claims of academic progress were, in fact, based on systemic wrongdoing.

GE’s vice chairman, John Rice, who was based in Atlanta, became one of Hall’s closest confidants. Her emails, obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act, show she frequently consulted Rice on matters large and small. He offered advice on managing stress, for instance, urging her to not read critical editorials.

Once the cat was out of the bag, the same corporate "reformers" that had used Hall as their front person and who had funneled big bonuses her way, unceremoniously dumped her and threw he under the proverbial bus.

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