Interim chief takes first steps to combat APS cheating scandal

Jul 8, 2011 by

Atlanta Public Schools interim Superintendent Erroll Davis began Thursday to dismantle former school chief Beverly Hall’s administration, promising a host of changes that included academic reviews for students affected by the system’s cheating scandal, more ethics training for teachers and scrutiny of unusual test scores.

He is not done. The “preliminary action plan,” as Davis called it, came as city school board members voted unanimously to give him a year to clean up the district, essentially suspending an ongoing search for Hall’s permanent replacement.

Davis said wholesale changes are needed to empower employees and win back public trust.

“One of things I want to take a hard look at is this issue of culture. No matter what strategy you adopt, culture will always trump strategy,” Davis said. “I believe that we must change the culture of the organization. We have to move to a more open, more transparent and more empowering culture, and I also think we have to make sure we have appropriate processes and procedures in place that demand that we listen more, that we engage our partners more … much more so than in the past.”

The vote of confidence in Davis came after a three-hour closed-door session in which the interim school chief laid out personnel plans for how to handle the cheating scandal that has implicated 178 district employees. Those plans were not made public, although the first of them will be put in place Monday.

“The stability, we definitely need,” board Chairwoman Brenda Muhammad said of Davis, whose contract will end June 30, 2012. Other details, including his pay, were not immediately known. Davis, who retired last week as chancellor of the University System of Georgia, repeated Thursday that he does not want the job permanently.

Muhammad said Davis can help the board as it seeks to win back full accreditation. APS was put on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in January for infighting on the board, which started last year as the scandal and subsequent investigations began.

via Interim chief takes first steps to combat APS cheating scandal  | ajc.com.

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