Concerned Black Clergy Opposes APS Witch Hunt

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Concerned Black Clergy held a press conference on Monday, December 06, 2010, denouncing what they characterize as a witchhunt against the Atlanta Public Schools.
“This morning the Concerned Black Clergy call on local and state prosecutors, the Governor of Georgia, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to stop their attacks on the public schools and public educators in general,” Rev. Dr. Richard Cobble said, according to a video posted on Atlanta Progressive News, produced by Clyde Bradley of Voice of the Voiceless.
“The recent move by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to empower prosecutors Mike Bowers and Bob Wilson, is disturbing, reprehensible, and misguided,” Cobble said.
“We expect prosecutors to go after criminals and not our educators,” Cobble said.  “This criminalization process negatively impacts our schools, our students, our teachers, and our ability to attract businesses.”
“We expect our governor to show amends for three centuries of disparity amongst education opportunities for Black Georgians,” Cobble said.
“During this difficult economic times, Georgia leadership cannot engage in a costly witchhunt on Black teachers, school children,” Cobble said.
“Already over one million dollars of taxpayers money has been wasted on a useless investigation that has intent to trash public education,” Cobble said.
“We expect Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the paper that wrote against integration in 1950’s, to acknowledge its role in undermining the education aspirations of Black Georgians,” Cobble said.
“Throughout the 1950s, this reporting body of biased news aided and abetted racist leaders in denying equal education to Black Georgians,” Cobble said.
“We expect educational leaders to tell the truth about standardized testing.  They must acknowledge in Georgia there is no standard… For centuries, there was one standard for White students, and far lower standard for Black students… Standardized testing fails to acknowledge our history,” Cobble said.
“Standardized testing is cheating our students out of a genuine education… Standardized testing cannot measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, efforts to build and improve, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable attributes,” Cobble said.
“Standardized testing create the conditions for cheating, by measuring students’ achievement and teachers’ performance solely on the basis of test results. Will we put teachers in jail because they knew or they know that students were smarter than a test measured?” Cobble said.
APN interviewed activist Joe Beasley, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and also a member of CBC, regarding Cobble’s claims.
“I believe the Governor thing, is excessive in what he’s doing.  He’s mean-spirited.  I think he’s flexing muscles unnecessarily.  He brought in people like Mike Bowers and the former DA… who don’t have good records relative to people on our side of town,” Beasley said.
“I just think it’s excessive.  The meeting Concerned Black Clergy brokered with Paul Howard, and the subsequent meeting with Howard and his commitment that he would move slowly before they try to indict someone I think is a kind of reasonable approach.  I think Paul is an honorable man,” Beasley said.
“My understanding the districts Gov. Perdue has pursued has been predominantly African American districts… three African-American school districts,” Beasley said.
“Atlanta had done so well on the CRCT, it was like, it can’t be, those Black children don’t have the ability to make that much of a gain so there must be some malfeasance.  The way he responded without any allegations was distasteful,” Beasley said.
“I think that you need to call the dogs off.  And I think Concerned Black Clergy did the right thing and approach to say this is not a criminal matter.  Even if the worst is the worst, we shouldn’t have this hanging over the School District; the teachers and the children suffer,” Beasley said.
Last week, APN reported that the new APS Board Majority has been assisted by a pro-privatization activist, Glenn Delk, who seeks to privatize public schools.
“This whole matter of Glenn Delk.  I’ve been on this character for over 20 years.  He’s the same guy that wants to secede Buckhead from Atlanta.  You get a sense of where he’s coming from, he’s not a friend of Atlanta Public Schools for a while.  We’ve been in contention with him over 20 years.  This is not a battle he started recently.  They’re out to get a system like the APS system,” Beasley said.
“The Chair of the School Board might be in bed with him, and the Gang of Five.  I was disappointed in [Khatim El and] Courtney English — if in fact they’re in bed with Delk, I think that’s not good, I think that’s not good at all,” Beasley said.
(END / 2010

(APN) ATLANTA — The Concerned Black Clergy held a press conference on Monday, December 06, 2010, denouncing what they characterize as a witchhunt against the Atlanta Public Schools.

“This morning the Concerned Black Clergy call on local and state prosecutors, the Governor of Georgia, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to stop their attacks on the public schools and public educators in general,” Rev. Dr. Richard Cobble said, according to a video posted on Atlanta Progressive News, produced by Clyde Bradley of Voice of the Voiceless.

“The recent move by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to empower prosecutors Mike Bowers and Bob Wilson, is disturbing, reprehensible, and misguided,” Cobble said.

“We expect prosecutors to go after criminals and not our educators,” Cobble said.  “This criminalization process negatively impacts our schools, our students, our teachers, and our ability to attract businesses.”

“We expect our governor to show amends for three centuries of disparity amongst education opportunities for Black Georgians,” Cobble said.

“During this difficult economic times, Georgia leadership cannot engage in a costly witchhunt on Black teachers, school children,” Cobble said.

“Already over one million dollars of taxpayers money has been wasted on a useless investigation that has intent to trash public education,” Cobble said.

“We expect Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the paper that wrote against integration in 1950’s, to acknowledge its role in undermining the education aspirations of Black Georgians,” Cobble said.

“Throughout the 1950s, this reporting body of biased news aided and abetted racist leaders in denying equal education to Black Georgians,” Cobble said.

“We expect educational leaders to tell the truth about standardized testing.  They must acknowledge in Georgia there is no standard… For centuries, there was one standard for White students, and far lower standard for Black students… Standardized testing fails to acknowledge our history,” Cobble said.

“Standardized testing is cheating our students out of a genuine education… Standardized testing cannot measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, efforts to build and improve, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable attributes,” Cobble said.

“Standardized testing create the conditions for cheating, by measuring students’ achievement and teachers’ performance solely on the basis of test results. Will we put teachers in jail because they knew or they know that students were smarter than a test measured?” Cobble said.

APN interviewed activist Joe Beasley, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and also a member of CBC, regarding Cobble’s claims.

“I believe the Governor thing, is excessive in what he’s doing.  He’s mean-spirited.  I think he’s flexing muscles unnecessarily.  He brought in people like Mike Bowers and the former DA… who don’t have good records relative to people on our side of town,” Beasley said.

“I just think it’s excessive.  The meeting Concerned Black Clergy brokered with Paul Howard, and the subsequent meeting with Howard and his commitment that he would move slowly before they try to indict someone I think is a kind of reasonable approach.  I think Paul is an honorable man,” Beasley said.

“My understanding the districts Gov. Perdue has pursued has been predominantly African American districts… three African-American school districts,” Beasley said.

“Atlanta had done so well on the CRCT, it was like, it can’t be, those Black children don’t have the ability to make that much of a gain so there must be some malfeasance.  The way he responded without any allegations was distasteful,” Beasley said.

“I think that you need to call the dogs off.  And I think Concerned Black Clergy did the right thing and approach to say this is not a criminal matter.  Even if the worst is the worst, we shouldn’t have this hanging over the School District; the teachers and the children suffer,” Beasley said.

Last week, APN reported that the new APS Board Majority has been assisted by a pro-privatization activist, Glenn Delk, who seeks to privatize public schools.

“This whole matter of Glenn Delk.  I’ve been on this character for over 20 years.  He’s the same guy that wants to secede Buckhead from Atlanta.  You get a sense of where he’s coming from, he’s not a friend of Atlanta Public Schools for a while.  We’ve been in contention with him over 20 years.  This is not a battle he started recently.  They’re out to get a system like the APS system,” Beasley said.

“The Chair of the School Board might be in bed with him, and the Gang of Five.  I was disappointed in [Khatim El and] Courtney English — if in fact they’re in bed with Delk, I think that’s not good, I think that’s not good at all,” Beasley said.

(END / 2010)

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