As stated in the Governor’s Investigative Report a “culture of fear” took over the Atlanta School System, and led to a conspiracy of silence which enabled the bubble sheet erasure scandle to happen.
- The targets set by the district were often unrealistic, especially given their cumulative effect over the years. Additionally, the administration put unreasonable pressure on teachers and principals to achieve targets.
- A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation spread throughout the district.
- Dr. Hall and her administration emphasized test results and public praise to the exclusion of integrity and ethics.
One statement in the report that is interesting in the context of this post: “APS is indeed a “data driven system,” and whether or not a school meets targets is the most important data of all” (Volume 3, p. 355). Yet is does not go on a ask why. The answer is simple. The State Department of Education is “data driven,” and if you don’t believe me, please go to this page, and you will be able to access hundreds of Excel Spreadsheets showing the data the state uses to determine whether a school and its district has reached targets set by the state. And much of this mind-set can be traced back to the NCLB Act which has set the target that 100% of students will be proficient in reading, language arts, and math.
The mess we are in could be do to a “corporate reform movement” that has as its backers a billionaire club of investors, businesses, and corporate “charities” that have poured billions of dollars into funding charter schools, the Common Core Standards, and the forthcoming set of end-of-year tests designed to measure the Common Core Standards.
Months ago the film Waiting for Superman was released (See trailer here.) The Guggenheim film, which touts the efforts of a school in New York that was funded by corporate giants to the tune of millions of dollars, and pits public school teachers as the agents of evil, against the “good guys” that teach in charter/private schools. The film is more propaganda, and is based not on any research, but on a preconceived notion that our public schools are failing, and that the way to save them is look for superman. Behind most charter schools, such as the Kipp Foundation, are foundations and corporations, and indeed Wall Street investors, who see a quick return on investment in schools that have not been shown to be any more effective than public schools.
As one educator in Chicago suggested, do we want the business model that caused the Great Recession to take over and be the model of schooling. Slowly, but surely, this same business model has become the reform movement of those in power—governors, corporate heads, wealthy foundations.
Waiting for Superman was the Corporate Reform Movement’s theme song. Now, at last, a film has appeared that questions the corporate model, and suggests that citizens, parents, and teachers offer quite a different picture and it has been captured in the film The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman.” Take a look at this trailer for the movie.
The film premiered recently in New York City, in this video, you can see footage from that premiere, and what some of the viewers had to say.