From APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall …
I accept the Blue Ribbon Commission Report and thank the members for their considerable time and effort in this difficult process.
I will review the report very carefully and will present to the Board of Education as they have requested steps that will be taken to follow up on the recommendations in the report.
I will not wait until August 16th to begin to make some immediate changes. As a matter of fact, we announced at the July Board of Education meeting, strategies we will have in place on day one to help students who failed to meet standards on the 2010 CRCT. To ensure no child falls through the cracks we have created a 12-week individualized, accelerated academic recovery program to make sure they catch up quickly and succeed this school year. After all, this is job one.
We have maintained all along that we will prosecute to the fullest any cases of cheating, and that remains our intent.
But we trust the media and public will focus on the main findings of the report that there is no orchestrated cheating in Atlanta Public Schools, that there are no low testing standards, that APS administrators demanded high standards, and that under pressures some people may have compromised the credibility of the school system and their own personal integrity to try to cut corners. We will insist that our testing standards are strictly adhered to at every grade level.
The Blue Ribbon Commission Report makes it clear: “The investigative team did not find any data or other evidence, nor were there qualified allegations made, that there was any district-wide or centrally coordinated effort to manipulate the 2009 CRCT scores and outcomes of students at 58 APS schools.”
If we are guilty of anything, we are guilty of demanding high standards of our students, teachers, and principals – and unfortunately in any large organization, a few people may cheat to try to meet those demands.
We will ferret them out and the consequences will be severe.
Again, I will report to the Board of Education a full set of actions based on the Report’s recommendations on August 16th as requested.
Finally, to the thousands of employees who report to work in our schools and central office every day, I thank you for all that you do and will continue to do for our 48,000 students. Thanks also to the parents and the community at large for your continued support and confidence in the students and staff of APS.
Our school system will clear this up and continue our focus on even greater student achievement over time.