Shirley Franklin: Beverly Hall left APS ‘better than she found it’

PolitiFact takes the former mayor to task for her absurd defense of the beleaguered APS superintendent:

The data Franklin uses to demonstrate Hall left APS “significantly better than she found it” is flawed.

At least two of the statistics Franklin mentions are clouded by APS’ integrity crisis, and two are unconfirmed. That leaves school construction as the only clear-cut accomplishment of the Hall administration, and this does not outweigh the trouble the district now faces.

The district has to re-educate students who received high scores they did not earn. It must replace the 178 implicated educators. Key administrators may face criminal charges, and court battles could drag on for years. A district culture that Hall shaped over 12 years needs to be gutted and rebuilt.

Confirmation of massive, widespread, coordinated school cheating is more than a bombshell. It’s the H-bomb of revelations. After Hall’s term, the district’s academic reputation, culture and integrity are in ruins. How can it possibly be better off?

Notes on a scandal

Engrossing stuff:

State report depicts Parks Middle as example of problems in district

A few weeks later, teacher Damany Lewis told investigators, [Principal Christopher] Waller approached him with an unusual question: “Do you think you could get into something undetected?”

Lewis, who gave investigators an extensive statement admitting his role in the cheating, answered yes. But he did not know what Waller wanted until the principal summoned him a few days afterward. Waller and an aide from a school program called Success-For-All had several CRCT booklets, each shrink-wrapped in plastic. Lewis used a razor blade to slice the plastic around each booklet, slipped out the tests and made copies so teachers could give answers to students. With a lighter, Lewis melted the plastic shut again.

Each year after that, Lewis told investigators, Waller would call him into his office when CRCT booklets arrived.

“Do what you do,” Waller would say, according to Lewis.