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Showing posts with label beverly hall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beverly hall. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tony Bennett: Scandal, Resignation, and Cheating

Cheater or Reformer Tony Bennett?: Tony Bennett's resignation as Florida's commissioner of schools confirms disarray in Education Reform

If only Tony Bennett had stuck to the script of promoting Florida Scholarships sponsored by National Academy of American Scholars. Instead of staying focused, Tony Bennett veered off course. It didn't take long for Tony Bennet's alleged corrupt practices, and his refusal to promote important scholarship programs, to reach his new employer in Florida. On August 1st, 2013, after media scrutiny of his fancy grading system that benefitted a wealthy political donor, Tony Bennett resigned as Florida's commissioner of schools. Until recently, Tony Bennett had achieved a reputation as a national school reform leader. In fact, educational pundits even touted him as a rising rock star in the educational reform movement.

Although the voters of Indiana refused to renew his term in his re-election bid as school superintendent (Tony Bennett lost to challenger Glenda Ritz in the 2012 election), the same defeated Tony Bennett was hand-picked by Jeb Bush to become the Florida Education Commissioner. Brian Sandoval, the Governor of Nevada, hand-picked another failed member of the Bush entourage when he selected Jim Guthrie to become the Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction. After less than 12 months, or thereabouts, Jim Guthrie resigned his top Nevada education job without explanation; and, he later expressed his opinion about the value of Nevada residents when he told the local Nevada media that the voters of Nevada didn't deserve to know why he resigned so early.

Tony Bennett loses election to Camilla-Parker-Bowles look-a-like

In this latest fiasco, the voters of Indiana favored a simple librarian in Marion County's Washington Township school district, Democratic challenger Glenda Ritz (a Camilla-Parker-Bowles look-a-like), over Republican incumbent Tony Bennett in the race for the Indiana state superintendent of public instruction on Nov. 6, 2012.

The privileged Jeb Bush, never known for his intellectual ability, has fashioned himself as an education reform leader. Bush was instrumental in the appointment of Tony Bennett as Florida's next education leader. Despite the mountain of complaints from residents in Indiana, and his failed effort to win re-election in that state, Tony Bennett was selected to become the next Florida Education Commissioner.

If the current allegations are true, and if we assume that his resignation is an admission of wrong-doing, then Tony Bennett has disgraced himself and many Indiana residents feel that he has cheated Indiana students. His actions deserve the same treatement as the March 2013 criminal indictment of Beverly Hall, another media-labeled rising star in education reform.

Tony Bennett Cheating Scandal Compared to Criminal Indictment of Big Beverly Hall of Atlanta

Although Beverly Hall and many of her African-American educator lieutenants were paraded before a national T.V., handcuffed, embarrassed, and indicted with numerous criminal charges for allegedly inflating grades, and altering standardized test scores, it is unlikely that the state of Indiana will be so tough on the fair-haired, tan, privileged, and socially-connected Tony Bennett. Not too many people can get fired in one state, and be promoted to a higher occupation in a different state.

Facebook commentators hailing from the Hoosier state have called the State of Indiana as corrupt, called the state of Florida corrupt, and referred to Tony Bennett as an embarassment to Indiana. In delivering the George Zimmerman verdict, Florida media pundits noted that Florida jurors applied a strict interpretation of Florida law in finding George Zimmerman innocent. Apparently, the law in Florida can be bent, twisted, and revised depending upon the identity and characteristics of the perpetrator. Not only does Florida now have the innocent verdict of George Zimmerman on its hands, Florida needs to address why Tony Bennett and his education lieutenants have not faced the same criminal charges, or similar ones, that have been levied against Beverly Hall of Atlanta. If electronic email indicate grade-tampering by Tony Bennett and his staff then why have the interests of Florida moms, mothers, women, and Florida students been taken into account?

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford
Responds to Selection of New Commissioner Tony Bennett

The Florida Education Association is disappointed and disheartened at the selection of Tony Bennett to be Florida's education commissioner. Bennett proved to be divisive in his tenure in the same position in Indiana and was voted out of office last month in the conservative state. He is a champion of the testing mania, unchecked expansion of charter schools and voucher programs and has proven to advance the Jeb Bush education agenda that has drawn fire from teachers, parents and experts in the field. That is the same approach that has led to a flawed and chaotic system in Florida that has frustrated parents and teachers alike. In Indiana, teachers and education professionals felt he was blaming them for all of the state's education woes.

We certainly hope he has learned his lessons by being rejected in Indiana. But we're skeptical. This decision does not indicate that the State Board of Education and Gov. Rick Scott understand that parents, teachers and those who question a flawed reform agenda deserve their voices heard and their insights and expertise incorporated into Florida's strategy for public education. The Board and the governor once again have ignored the parents and teachers of our state.

Cheating Allegations Against Tony Bennett

In a nutshell, Tony Bennett, the former head of Indiana's public schools, faces allegations of favoring a charter school backed by a major donor.

During his tenure as Indiana Superintendent for Public Instruction, media pundits report that suspicious emails associated with Tony Bennett create the apparent illusion that he publicly favored education reform for Indiana students and parents, when in fact he was secretly pushing to fatten the purses of major Republican donors. Critics argue that his tenure was even marked with racial disparity. For examle, when his reform theories were trained on minority schools, African-American critics allege that Tony Bennett was quick to level his axe; e.g., refer to the Indiana state takeover of Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana.

When it came to rich donors failing to make grade, suspicious email traced to Tony Bennett indicate he would take an entirely different approach. For example, emails published by the Associated Press indicate that Tony Bennett and his apparently corrupt Indiana staff scrambled last fall to ensure Christel DeHaan's school received an "A" despite poor 10th-grade algebra scores that initially earned it a "C."

After Bennett learned about a likely low grade for charter school Christel House, Tony Bennet sprang into action and fired off a Sept. 12 email to his chief of staff. In the email, the contents stated: "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote. "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work."

Tony Bennett cut corners as Beverly Hall cut pies and chomped burgers

E-mails from the Associated Press indicate that Tony Bennett was willing to cut corners to create the illusion of excellent performance by entities and persons who were also recognized as large donors or operators of charter schools.

Whereas Beverly Hall may have been willing to cut pies, and chomp burgers, both Tony Bennett and Beverly Hall appear to share a common denominator: Inflate the performance of low-performing schools and/or mask the underperformance of schools. According to a criminal indicted released in March 2013. Big Bev (Beverly Hall), and many in her administration, were indicted in the spring on charges of racketeering and corruption. At least 35 Atlanta Public Schools educators and administrators were indicted.

By the time the indictment reached her, Beverly Hall had already "retired" because she most likely knew that her recipe for success was instead a phony diet with a 1000 calories, 0 proteins, 1 pound of sugar, and 1200 mg of sodium, and more hundreds of inflated low performing schools on steriods of deceit.

*Tony Bennett Hiring Compared to Pat Skorkowsky of the Clark County School District

When Pat Skorkowsky of the Clark County School District was hired as the Clark County School District on May 22, 2013, without full public participation, and despite a legal requirement that the public be allowed to weigh in on such important matters such as selecting a new Superintendent, a legal 21-page complaint was filed by parent Kevinn Donovan, of Henderson, NV. Like many us, Kevinn Donovan felt that when the seven-member Clark County School Board voted unanimously to appoint Pat Skorkowsky as the leader of the fifth-largest school system in America, the Open Meeting Laws of Nevada strictly applied. Such laws require public input on important matters of concern to Nevada residents, Nevada moms, Nevada women, and local residents, but were skirted by the Clark County School Board in its ambitious efforts to plant Pat Skorkowsky as a Superintendent of the Clark County School District.

In the case of selecting Tony Bennet, at least Tony Bennet can claim that his selection for the top Florida education post was valid and legitimate. Tony Bennet was selected among a pool of over 60 applicants to become the next Florida Education Commissioner while the suspicious Clark County Board of Education used a zero (0) pool of competing candidates when Board members made the choice of selecting Pat Skorkowsky. Time will tell if the Clark County Board of Education made the right choice or a corrupt choice.

Summary of Tony Bennett Cheating Scandal

The investigation of the Tony Bennett cheating scandal is ongoing, and new details are being developed daily. Florida Education Association President Andy Ford immediately denounced the selection of Tony Bennet as the new top chief of Florida education. In the state of Nevada, not a single top educator has denounced the selection of privileged Pat Skorkowsky, who apparently must be handed the position because he lacks the credentials to compete for the job. When the state of Nevada originally selected Dwight Jones as the next Clark County School District Superintendent, Dwight Jones was subjected to numerous interviews, numerous background checks, drug tests, and official interviews with no fixed agenda of a foregone conclusion. Dwight Jones was forced to compete against qualified candidates of his peers. Eventally, however, Dwight Jones still quit midway in his term, and was subsequently labeled as a Nevada Quitter.

On the other extreme hand, Pat Skorkowsky did not have to go through even 10% of what Dwight Jones faced, faced no competition, and he was still hired by the same dimwits that appointed Dwight Jones! By comparison, the selection of Tony Bennett more closely followed the hiring process of Dwight Jones. Eventually, Tony Bennett was appointed Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida.

The purpose of these comparisons is to illustrate how diverse states, whether Florida, Indiana, or Nevada, etc., can have widely different standards on appointing, nominating, or choosing top educators, and in implementing grades. This lack of a uniform process creates a gap for corruption to flourish. and how the choice will affect parents, and students.

Florida has been among the fastest states to adopt changes favored by education reformers, from school report cards to radical changes to teacher evaluations and tenure. Although Jeb Bush, an apparent groupie of Tony Bennett, expressed his approval of Bennett in the wake of the scandal, the resignation of Bennett will no not slow down the education reform effort in Florida. Florida Moms, women, and educators wiil devise ways for Florida to best implement Common Core State Standards, improve standardized testing tied to the core standards, and improve it's charter school voucher programs.



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Monday, May 27, 2013

Clark County School Board Cheats Nevada Parents and Students

Clark County School Board Cheats Nevada Parents and Students
ACLU Claims Appointment of Pat Skorkowsky is Illegal

As we know, on March 5th, 2013, Clark County Superintendent Dwight Jones announced that he was "stepping down (i.e., quitting) his position as Clark County Superintendent. Dwight Jones had reneged on his four-year contract to continue beyond April 2013 as the Clark County School District Superintendent. Instead, Dwight Jones quit his contract early. The departure would be effective in as little as two weeks.

On March 29th, 2013, another disturbing or routine (depending upon your perspective) announcement was being circulated just weeks after the abrupt departure of quitter Dwight Jones. This time the Nevada State Superintendent Jim Guthrie announced that he too was quitting his cereomonial, easy, and no-brains required job that did not even require an official job application or job interview.

Unanswered Questions by the Clark County School Board

In less than two weeks, two of Nevada's top educators decided to quit their prominent Nevada jobs. Both men declined to provide legitimate reasons why they would not fulfill the terms of their contractual obligations. Quitter Dwight Jones, for example, claimed that he was leaving his well paid job as the Clark County School District Superintendent to care for his ailing mother in Texas, but his exit flight from Nevada was bound for Colorado. Jim Guthrie had no problem telling the Governor of Nevada and all Nevada residents that "All I can say is I’m resigning, effective immediately.” Neither man offered to return any portion(s) of the extensive salary, perks, and supplemental income that was also provided to them by the state of Nevada and the Clark County School District. Meanwhile, Nevada students, Nevada moms, Nevada mothers, and Nevada working adults continue to ask questions. Why were two prominent quitters hired? Why was taxpayers' monies wasted on two greedy men? Why did these two lousy men quit so early, and at essentially the same time? Why were there no penalties levied against either Quitter Dwight Jones or Quitter Jim Guthrie for quitting their contract too early? Why does the Clark County School District impose stringent rules and requirements on students and parents, and even threaten arrest for the slightest perceived infraction, while at the same time the sleazy Clark County School Board tolerates the inexcusable conduct of high-paid "educators"? Was the abrupt departure of Quitter Dwight Jones and Quitter Jim Guthrie related to the cheating scandal involving overweight Beverly Hall of Atlanta, GA, who allegedly coerced Atlanta educators to cheat? Is Dwight Jones fearful that the graduation rates of Nevada students will be a major source of embarrassment?

None of these questions have been answered, and neither can we expect any local Nevada newspaper to conduct any sort of in-depth reporting to satisfy the concerns of Nevada residents or Nevada moms, Nevada mothers, and Nevada students.

This Scholarship Blog provides uncensored reporting on news, events, and education topics of interest to Nevada students, and Nevada parents because the local Nevada newspapers cannot be trusted to report the facts, or objectively ask controversial questions. For example, why were the salaries of two men who ultimately quit so high in the first place? What is the Clark County School District going to do to penalize people like Dwight Jones who renege on their contractual obligations?

The alleged illicit hiring of Pat Skorkowsky by the Sleazy Clark County School Board

In a closed-door meeting, in which the public was not invited, and without prior advance notice to the public, the Clark County School Board voted to hire Pat Skorkowsky as the next Clark County School District Superintendent. The same sleazy Clark County School Board that hired Dwight Jones, and numerous other failed educators, voted to hire Pat Skorkowsky on a hunch that he is the best suitable candidate. No back-ground check for Pat Skorkowsky. No tough questions for Pat Skorkowsky. No checking of the references for Pat Skorkowsky. No attempts to prevent the quitting of Pat Skorkowsky after he gets the first series of large paychecks. No attempts to verify if Pat Skorkowsky (a caucasion male) has any interest in young boys despite the fact that 67% of incarcerated sex offenders are white males.

To ensure the public was excluded from providing any input, the actual agenda item to hire interim superintendent Pat Skorkowsky as the new superintendent was never publicly posted and therefore Nevada residents and Nevada moms who may have wanted to provide their input on the decision couldn't.

According to the local media, a private citizen filed a complaint with the state attorney general's office accusing the school board of violating open meetings law. "This is going too fast for me," Clark County School Board president Carolyn Edwards said, the day after Skorkowsky was approved for the job.

General counsel for the ACLU says the vote by the Clark County School Board could have opened the board up to legal complications regarding the open meetings law, which requires agenda items to be clear and posted for the public before being discussed in a meeting.

Unlike Georgia, which has strong record of prosecuting educators who engage in fraud, corruption, and violate public meeting laws, no person should expect that either the Nevada attorney general or the local Clark County prosecutor will prosecute a single Clark County School Board employee. In Nevada, criminals and board members that are friends with judicial officials are never prosecuted. Given his suspect integrity, as evidenced by his acceptance of a $250,000 a year contract by a school board that met behind closed doors, it is a relatively safe bet that Pat Skorkowsky will be another failure and/or quitter.

McDonald's Corporation Takes an Average of 3 months to Hire a Manager

To give you an idea of what type of fraud and inferior service the Clark County School District is perpetuating on the public, McDonald's Corporation and the typical fast-food restaurant spends more time hiring a burger manager than the Clark County School District spends on hiring a Clark County School District Superintendent. In fact, many McDonald's franchises spend more time, effort, and energy interviewing and selecting suitable candidates as cooks, and managers, than the Clark County School District spent on recruiting and hiring and Pat Skorkowsky. The fact that Pat Skorkowsky was hired in such an easy way, does not mean that parents and students have to approve the primitive procedures used by the sleazy Clark County School Board. It is quite clear that the sleazy Clark County School Board does not and has never had the best interests of Nevada students in mind, and that a huge amount of money wasted on incompetent educators, and incompetent teachers that are barely interviewed. Consequently, the Clark County School District has a high-proportion of child-molestors and perverted teachers who either seek out other students, children, or who seek out the married partner of other teachers.

To safeguard the welfare of students, Nevada teachers should be required to undergo a detailed Perversity Test, and must substantiate being involved in a normal, healthy, and verified relationship over the past 10 years. Single persons and divorced persons should be disqualified immediately. If a single person or divorced is not qualified for the White House then they should not be qualified to be in the classroom around minors. Given the fact that the appointed superintendent, Pat Skorkowsky, has certain physical and/or genetic traits or DNA strands that appear to be similar to certain other male molestors, we need to increase our awareness level and stop ignoring well documented trends and historical data.

For a detailed review of our Nevada Scholarships, grants, and financial-aid for Nevada students, moms, mothers, and women, please visit our official state-by-state Nevada scholarship directory page at: Nevada scholarships
Credits: This article and all images are copyrighted for exclusive use by National Academy of American Scholars. Linking to this article is accepted and welcome. No part of this article may be re-produced in whole or in part without full express permission by National Academy of American Scholars, or its authorized author representative.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Big Beverly Hall of Georgia Indicted in Wide-Stretching Cheating Scandal

Cheating Schools: Big Beverly Hall of Georgia Indicted in Wide-Stretching Cheating Scandal

At 5'4", and over 180lbs., and with a waistline that matches her ambitions, it seems that former Atlanta schools chief Beverly Hall likes big things. According to Atlanta-area students, Beverly Hall likes to eat big burgers, big cakes, and big sweets. Beverly Hall was named "National Superintendent of the Year" in 2009 and had previously headed troubled school districts in New York and Newark.

It is clear that Beverly Hall is big on education, has always had big goals. Beverly Hall has demanded the same or similar big goals for the Atlanta teachers, and educators under her administration. Her impressive accomplishments, and her ambition to succeed are quite admirable. Her appetite for big things is equally impressive.

For example, Atlanta Educator Beverly Hall is credited with rescuing the struggling Atlanta school system and helping it meet testing standards set by the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. Big Bev had asserted that she found the secret to success, and the secret to teaching the under-class. The newly elevated test-score improvements were evidence of her sweet recipe of academic success. What has eluded educators, teachers, and adminstrators for over 100 years, in America's urban areas, and school systems, Big Beverly Hall claimed to have finally found the answers.

The Hiring of Big Beverly Hall for the Atlanta Superintendent position

Not long after she became Atlanta’s superintendent in 1999, Beverly Hall established increasingly tough performance targets for every Atlanta school that would become progressively more difficult to hit. Like her fondness for Big Macs, the mantra of Beveral Hall was: “No exceptions and no excuses.” Atlanta educators had a difficult task. How to instruct, motivate, and maintain discipline in a school system with youth who may themselves feel disinterested in the process? Do African-American youth desire to learn? Of course! Are African-American youth capable of high aptitude? Most definitely! Youth are rarely the problem.

What is typcally the problem are the quality of the educators. The Clark County School District of Nevada is an example of a failed school district where only a tiny percentage of the students are African-American, but over 80% of the educators and administrative staff are Caucasion. So, race is not the barometer for academic aptitude success, and the Georgia students are most likely no different than other students. It is lazy, under-educated teachers, and educators, who want to lounge around Starbucks during their breaks, and take the easy path to success.

Beverly Hall cut pies and cut corners

Not only was Beverly Hall willing to cut pies, she was also willing to cut corners according to a criminal indicted released in March 2013. Big Bev (Beverly Hall), and her many in her administration, were indicted in the spring on charges of racketeering and corruption. At least 35 Atlanta Public Schools educators and administrators were indicted. By the time the indictment reached her, Beverly Hall had already "retired" because she most likely knew that her recipe for success was instead a phony diet with 1000 calories, 0 proteins, 1 pound of sugar, and 1200 mg of sodium. Prosecutors allege that the alleged cheating scandal may have begun as far back as 2001 when the standardized test-scores began to turn around.

The state of Georgia is not the state of Nevada, where cheating is routine, and local Nevada prosecutors and police are just as corrupt as school administrators; ref: *A June 2006 article by the Los Angeles Times entitled "Juice vs. Justice" on actual corruption in the Nevada judiciary, and how most Nevada judges/prosecutors are corrupt. Local Georgia media report that Georgia law enforcement officials finally launched an investigation in 2010 of potential cheating in Atlanta. As part of that probe, the state enlisted at least one third-grade Georgia teacher to wear a wire to record her fellow teachers.

The state of Georgia approved and conducted a public integrity investigation of Beverly Hall, the Georgia school superintendent, and determined that Big Beverly Hall ignored serious allegations of cheating beginning in 2005. There are also allegations that Big Beverly Hall "ruled by fear" and did not hesitate to throw her weight on the table to intimidate teachers and educators.

When Big Beverly Hall was not throwing her weight around, ior munching on Krispy-Creme donuts her staff broght to her, prosecutors claim that Big Beverly Hall was generating fat bonuses to her staff members at schools with high test scores. For example, The New York Times has reported that Big Beverly Hall made $581,860.82 in bonuses between 1999 and 2009. It is unclear of the expense tally of that income, and how much went to food,clothes, bonuses, living expenses, etc.

*Atlanta-Style Corruption Not Prosecuted in Clark County School District

Although corruption of the type alleged against Beverly Hall and Atlanta eductors is not typically prosecuted by local Nevada prosecutors, the public needs to understand why and how a school district that is ranked near the very bottom, and how is it possible to justify the obscene salaries that Nevada educators receive depite all indications that the Clark County School District, and its teachers, are doing a lousy job? Quitter Dwight Jones, for example, was hired by suspicious Clark County School District personnel as a school superintendent and was quickly provided an outrageous compensation package worth $358,000, according to a local media source in October 2010 when he was hired. His benefits included $15,000 for moving expenses; $4,000 a year for professional development; $700 a month car allowance; 31 days of vacation; a $150,000 life insurance policy, and $660 a month to defray expenses for being visible in the schools. Not one penny over the minimum wage was justifed.

In March 2013, coincidentally, Dwight Jones abruptly left within weeks after the Beverly Hall indictment. Both Hall and Dwight Jones made promises and/or insinutations that were not totally accurate and both recieved undeserved amounts of compensation. Both Beveraly Hall and Dwight Jones have expanded waistlines, and both alluded to the need to improve test scores when hired.

*More Georgia Scholarships Due to Beverly Hall Indictment

Instead of being a model of scholarship excellence, Georgia has been described by prosecutors as a model for cheating. The Georgia scandal illustrates the need for transparent scholarship sponsors like National Academy of American Scholars that do not claim memberships in organizations like the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), standardized testing organizations, National Association of Student Financial-Aid Administrators (NASFAA), or National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), or the deceptively named Better Business Bureau (BBB). If a school superintendent is willing to cheat, and is able to recruit hundreds of teachers in the process, then why should one believe the mission statements of third-party organizations that charge membership fees?



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