The last time Gadfly checked in with Atlanta
Public Schools, the board of education was under question for nepotism,
infighting, a lack
of adequate fiduciary responsibility, and speculation that teachers were
cheating on state tests. Some months have passed, and it seems that each
situation has come to a head. This week, the Southern Association of Colleges
and Schools, the accrediting body for APS, placed it on probation. The
ultimatum to the board reads along the lines of: Shape up, or lose
accreditation (a move that may push Atlanta’s public schools to mayoral
control). In order to keep accredited status (essential for students interested
in receiving the state’s HOPE scholarship, or planning to attend college in
general), the board must comply with a list of six mandates ranging from resolving
their internal squabbles through an external mediator to creating a transparent
process for selecting a new superintendent. (Their long-term supe, Beverly
Hall, will resign in June.) Purportedly, they’ll also have to deal with the
teacher-cheating scandal that continues to raise hackles in the Big Peach—and
the practice of vilifying, ostracizing, and sometimes even firing
whistle-blowing teachers. We tend to think of school board governance as
intrinsically dysfunctional, but Atlanta takes the cake.
teachers targeted,” by Alan Judd and Heather Vogell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 23, 2011.
schools and a disturbing outbreak of common sense,” by Jim Galloway, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January
“Atlanta schools accept
SACS probation report,” by Dorie Turner, Associated Press, January 24, 2011.