Holidays unhappy for school system

The year is ending on a decidedly sour note for the Dougherty County School System.

On Monday, the findings of state investigators were given to Gov. Nathan Deal. Coming in at nearly 300 pages, the report found that 49 principals and teachers in the Dougherty County system had cheated on 2009 standardized tests given to elementary and middle school students in the system.


“The disgraceful situation we found in the Dougherty County School System is a tragedy, sadly illustrated by a fifth grade teacher who said one of her students could not read, yet did well on the CRCT,” the report opens. “What we found was an acceptance of wrong-doing, a pattern of incompetence and a lack of will to correct it.”

The document also names former Superintendent Sally Whatley as “ultimately responsible” for the shenanigans that investigators say went on in the system.

Members of the Dougherty County School Board were expected to get copies of the report, which were delivered to system attorney Tommy Coleman, today.

The number of people implicated by the investigators should not be a surprise to anyone who has followed this story in The Albany Herald and online at albanyherald.com. Through reporting on the investigation, it was clear that the state investigators would be at odds with the bill of clean health the system gave itself after its own probe.

What’s more unfortunate is that this comes after a School Board member, Velvet Riggins, and a school principal, Gloria Baker, were charged with falsifying information on the system’s free and reduced-cost lunch program.

We have deep suspicions that there are many people who should not be approved for free and reduced-cost lunches, but through a lax administration that apparently starts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we believe taxpayers who are struggling to put food on their own tables are picking up the tab for families that are better off than they are.

How many roadblocks, many under the premise of protecting the privacy of people working the system, will be in the way of arriving at the truth there is anyone’s guess.

But one scandal at a time.

We don’t know if all 49 people cited in the report are guilty of cheating, but it’s hard to believe that all or even most of them are innocent victims of the investigation process.

Any teacher, principal or staff member who was involved in or knew and kept quiet about cheating on the 2009 CRCTs should do the right thing and resign immediately, rather than put an already teetering school system through more unnecessary anguish. That goes for School Board members as well. Those who don’t are showing they’re only interested in self preservation and don’t care one whit about the students.

The students have already learned about cheating. Now would be a good time for lesson in owning up to your mistakes and putting children ahead of your own selfish desires.

And if that is not forthcoming in short order, we hope that the governor will act decisively and quickly to do whatever state law empowers him so that the students in Dougherty County are not cheated out of a chance to get a quality education.


Ashamed2BfromAlbany 3 years, 8 months ago

I stopped telling people I was from Albany Ga over 10 years ago. Each shameful news article reinforces my decision. To the few remaining decent Albanians---last one out, turn off the light.


AuntieDee 3 years, 8 months ago

If you are so ashame why haven't you moved? I hope you don't tell anyone that you are from Lee County. That's even worst. People may think you run a Meth Lab or grow house.


Abytaxpayer 3 years, 8 months ago

“49” “Do the right thing and resign immediately” Really? ROFLMAO sadly! Unfortunately Lying Cheating and Stealing is a way of life that is taught in Albany. Even sadder is that it is widely accepted by so many here, i.e. “the bill of clean health the system gave itself after its own probe” and top that off with the lack of peer and public pressure for Riggins and Baker to resign after being caught stealing funds that should be going to families who truly need the funds. The students who can not read, yet did well on the CRCT are the true losers here. Guess if they can’t get a quality education they are at least learning how to have no morals and self respect and how to work the system that will be forced to support them for the rest of their lives. With examples like Riggins, Baker, #34, The 49ers and toss in few of the DCSS broad members how can we expert Albany to raise anything more than just more of the same. “Quality in Quality out”.


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 8 months ago

The president of FAMU wouldn't even resign and he had two deaths on his hands. Really pitiful but another manifestation of the entitlement mindset even at the highest levels.


ObjectiveEyes 3 years, 8 months ago

I think the public has the right to know who composed the "team" that was sent to Indianapolis in March 2010 to review the answer documents. That "team" concluded, "No pattern of cheating was noted by the team of investigators who reviewed the test documents." Surely none of the "49" were on the team, were they? But, then again, nothing would surprise me.


Spike 3 years, 8 months ago

If we really want to fix this problem and we don’t need to care about where people find work then the school board needs to be replaced ENTIRELY! The Leadership from the Superintendent down to the Vice Principals GONE! Teachers that could be directly proven to have cheated either by having a child change the score or they changed them GONE! If we REALLY wanted to fix this problem there would be more than 49 people without a job.
Unfortunately too many will be more concerned with the problem that this drastic action would take on the perpetrators. They’ll be squawking about the 49 People with mortgages and bills like all of us. “Of course they obviously lack some morals but they have families too.” will be their motto.
While there is part of me that agrees with the King Richard philosophy "Off with their heads" there is another part of me that understands (a little bit) the squawks above. Some of the 49 should be fired immediately (perhaps they will resign before given the pink slip to save face and maybe find another job in some other school system); The rest should be severely reprimanded, fined and put on some sort of probation that allows no more room for any future moral lapses.
If the amount of money spent per pupil for public school is greater than the amount spent on private school then why aren’t the results better or at least equal?


Sign in to comment