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Final Rhetorical Analysis

Pamela Reed
7311 Rhetorical Theory
Dr. Heidi Harris
May 10, 2015

Recently, in Atlanta, GA, a group of educators were found guilty of racketeering for their
participation in what has been deemed as the largest school cheating scandal in
Americas history by some media sources. Over 178 educators were initially accused of
misconduct related to the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, a standardized test
given throughout the state of Georgia. The misconduct was carried out by educators
both teaching to the test and changing student answers after testing was completed.
According to many of the educators that were investigated the cheating was the result
of top administrators setting unrealistic goals and creating an atmosphere of fear,
intimidation, and retaliation. This meant that educators in schools within the district that
were unable to meet the goals, like those at Park Middle School, the epicenter of the
cheating scandal, felt that they were only left with one option if they wanted to stay
employed and that was to cheat (Ravitch, 2015).
Of the 178 educators whom were accused, the majority either took plea deals or were
found to be innocent, leaving only 12 educators to stand trial for the cheating
allegations. The group of 12 educators were employed in a variety of roles within the
Atlanta education system, including the roles of teachers, testing coordinators, and
administrators. Of the 12 standing trial 11 were convicted on racketeering, a charge
typically used to prosecute individuals involved in organized crime. This conviction and
the heavy sentencing facing the educators is raising questions in various media
communities regarding whether or not these educators received equal justice, or if they
were sacrificial lambs for a much larger problem with Americas education system
(Ravitch, 2015).

In the article, Atlanta Educators Convicted in School Cheating Scandal, Alan Blinder
focuses his narrative on the events in the courtroom the day that the educators were
convicted, handcuffed and sent to begin serving jail time immediately. Blinder briefly
mentions the societal concerns regarding standardized testing; however, more than
once he reiterates that Beverly Hall, the district superintendent during the time the
cheating scandal occurred, created an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and retaliation,
when discussing the historical events that lead to the conviction.
Diane Ravitch, who originally had a no tolerance attitude toward the accused
educators expresses her concerns that these educators did not receive equal justice in
the article, Did Atlanta Educators Get Equal Justice Before the Law? While Blinder
speaks in a matter fact manner regarding these educators being handcuffed and taken
away to jail, Ravitch is moved by compassion at this scene and changes her position.
Drawing from the writings of Richard Rothstein, the author of Grading Education and
David Dayen a writer for the Fiscal Times, Ravitch offers an eye opening comparison of
the Atlanta cheating scandal against recent scandals in the Department of Veterans
Affairs and several mortgage lending companies. Her article raises the question of
whether or not there is a different justice system for ordinary people than those that are
considered elite in our society.
In the article, Accountability for Whom?, Pedro Noguera lays out a narrative that
captures his experience watching the improvements in the Atlanta school district during
the years that Beverly Hall served as superintendent. He explains how he watched Park
Middle school transform itself from a school plagued with dysfunction to one in which
serious learning was taking place during the Hall years. In contrast to the ideas put
forth by Blinder, Noguera believes that Hall was responsible for these positive changes.
Noguera ultimately raises questions regarding who should be held accountable when
looking at the occurrences in Atlanta comprehensively.
In similar fashion to the Ravitch article, Noguera discusses variables that should be
considered such as the No Child Left Behind requirements of both the Bush and Obama

administrations. No Child Left Behind required that all children become proficient by
2014, which put a time limit on learning and according to many educators is an
unrealistic goal. In addition, Noguera explains that the goals set by state officials in
Georgia to ensure alignment with No Child Left Behind is a variable that should be also
be considered when thinking about fear, intimidation, and retaliation. He further
mentions that other cheating scandals have occurred in Washington D.C., Baltimore,
New York, California, Florida, and Philadelphia which he suggests points to a much
larger issue with standardized testing and government policies.
These three artifacts, Atlanta Educators Convinced in School Cheating Scandal, Did
Atlanta Educators get Equal Justice Before the Law?, and Accountability for Whom?
educate untrained thinkers regarding the events of the Atlanta case and make
suggestion on how we should be thinking about the details of the case and how they
might impact each us personally. By looking at these three artifacts through the lens of
the narrative paradigm, the purpose of this essay is to identify indicators that suggest
that a master narrative may have influenced the construction of the artifacts and explore
the impact these narratives might have on its readers, and discuss ideologies that might
have influenced the outcomes of the case.

Narrative Paradigm
According to the narrative paradigm all humans are storytelling animals, and as such,
one can best appeal to human reason utilizing stories (Fisher, 1999). Stories
(narratives), as defined by narrative paradigm are all symbolic actions, words, and/or
deeds that are arranged into a sequence and aid in developing meaning structures for
humans to create and interpret (Iversen, 2014). Humans use narratives to make
meaning of life and establish cultures and communities that embrace various values,
beliefs, and ideas. Through the process of accounting and recounting we situate our
stories into the past, present, and future tense of the stories of others, which makes it
possible for all humans to find value in narratives (Fisher, 1999).

Narrative probability and narrative fidelity are the analytical tools that Fisher offers for
rhetorical criticism. Narrative probability is the way in which a narrative comes together
to make sense of the world and narrative fidelity determines how well a narrative is
consistent with the values, ideas, and experiences of a particular individual or group
based upon the stories for which the group is already familiar.

Stories that an individual identifies with must be consistent with the experiences of
humans, which is accomplished by both internal and external coherence. Internally, the
narrative as a whole must be void of contradictions. Externally the narrative must have a
certain consistency with narratives that are already present within the society or culture.
Therefore, when an individual identifies or discards a narrative it is based upon the
structure of the proposed narrative as well as how that narrative coheres with narratives
that have already been accepted as truth for the individual or group (Iversen, 2014).
Essentially the analytical process works as follows: 1) we use narratives to share and
interpret history, 2) we then compare, analyze, and synthesize the probability and
rationality based on our knowledge of narratives from the past, 3) and finally, we use our
interpretations of narratives to shape our values, ideas, and experiences. This process
according to Fisher allows for humans to make decisions based on good reasons
rather than good arguments (Iversen, 2014).
Fishers narrative paradigm aids in solving the problem of public moral arguments,
which are interactions and arguments that occur in specialized communities that are
made available publicly to persuade untrained thinkers, which we see in the case of the
Atlanta educators. Public morale arguments operate within public social knowledge and
the good reasons of narrative paradigm. These arguments are based on life and
death, just and unjust, and preferred patterns of living. In a public moral argument the
actors become storytellers and the audience becomes participants in the meaning
formation process, which makes it possible to identify the motivations and values of the
characters in a narrative (Fisher, 1999).

Louis Lucaites and Michelle Conduit offers an analytical approach that augments the
limitations of the analytical tools, narrative probability and narrative fidelity, as defined
by Fisher. Narrative specificity as defined by Lucaites and Condit analyzes the type of
discourse, the ethos, and the purpose of the artifact to provide a more accurate account
of the impact the artifact might have on the audience (Iversen, 2014).

This analytical process also makes it possible to account for counter narratives. For
example, assumptions can be made about narrative performance by considering the
ethos of a publication and the relationship that the writer has with her readers, which
could have a significant impact on how some audiences approach the process of
coherence when new information in introduced.

In the article, When Counter Narratives Meet Master Narratives in the Journal Editorial
Review Process, Christine Stanley discusses the concept of the master narrative and
the role that these narratives play in society to universalize and cast dialogues that
uphold and maintain the normative and authoritative voice of the white male.
According to Stanley, a master narrative or grand narrative is a script that controls how
some social processes are carried out.
Stanley uses her experiences in academic research to explain that literature produced
in academia is dominated by the voice of the white male, which makes it difficult for the
counter narratives of marginalized groups, such as women and people of color, to be
included in certain academic conversations (Stanley, C., 2007). Because master
narratives are stories from the past and have already achieved mainstream fidelity, they
have aided in creating cultures, values, and ideas and are employed to determine the
coherence of new narratives.
Stanley provides two examples of the use of master narratives in education. One is
regarding the term at risk, which is used to describe the academic success of poor
students. The term at risk falls within the realm of the stories of deficit master

narrative, which suggests that at risk students are black and do not have the skills
needed to succeed academically. A counter narrative to the term at risk might be that
at risk students have cultural legacies that have contributed to our nations history and
have not been addressed via educational curriculum.
The second master narrative that Stanley discusses is the master narrative that
quantitative research methods are superior to qualitative research methods in
educational research. Stanley explains how the educational research master narrative
is thought to be more reliable than qualitative research methods in its goal to more
accurately answer research questions and provide specific criteria for decision making
bodies to fix societies issues. Stanley, explains that this master narrative is a mental
model of dominant culture whose voices justify systems and rules that become the
standard. Terms such as fairness, colorblindness, equality, and neutrality are used to
legitimize these systems; however, the systems function to hide institutional racism
(Stanley, C., 2007).
Through the dominance of the educational research master narrative, school districts
nationwide have adopted a model of testing that has been criticized for its inability to
accurately determine academic progress by educators and media sources. In addition,
the systems are creating unnecessary expectations that have resulted in acts of civil
disobedience, as seen with the testing boycott by the junior class at Nathan Hale High
School in Seattle, WA and the deceptive practices employed by educators in
Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, California, and Atlanta, GA to meet
administrative goals.
Methodology
Using the analytical tools: narrative fidelity, narrative probability, and narrative specificity
provided by Fisher, Lucaites, and Condit, a three-step methodology will be used to
determine the impacts of master narratives on the construction of the selected artifacts.

1. Compare and contrast artifact elements in Appendix 1


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2. Each artifact will be analyzed to determine if there is narrative coherence (fidelity and
probability) between the ideologies, principles, and beliefs presented in the artifacts and
the ideologies, principles, and beliefs in select master narratives.
3. As suggested by Lucaites and Condit, the audience, purpose, and ethos of the
writer/publication will be discussed to determine narrative performance. Narrative
performance will assess the relational impacts of the audience with the artifact for the
purpose of making assumptions about how the artifact might influence public moral
argument and the outcomes of the case.
Analysis
The chosen artifacts have both generative and heuristic functions; heuristic in their goal
to help audiences interpret information and generative because audiences can
extrapolate information from inferences based on knowledge about the situation and
characters. Detailed in Appendix 1 is a visual analysis of the plot, ideas, and causation
relationships in each of the artifacts. In analyzing the causation relationships and ideas
we see preliminary clues in the values supported by the each of the artifacts.
For example, we see the effect of creating an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and
retaliation also creates an atmosphere for cheating in all three artifacts in the causal
relationships; however, in the Blinder article the cause is specifically placed on Beverly
Hall. In contrast, the Ravitch and Noguera articles do not specifically suggest who is to
blame, but provide details regarding the practices that enable untrained thinkers to
make inferences that government policies are to blame for fear, retaliation, and
intimidation. By doing so, the Ravitch and Noguera articles suggest that untrained
thinkers need to take a look at the system. Suggesting the society take a look is the
approach that liberal ideology has traditionally taken according to Michael Clarke in the
article Social Problem Ideologies.
Research has revealed that the publications that published all three articles have
traditionally been liberal in their ideologies; however, the Blinder article is more right
wing than that of Ravitch and Noguera. The Noguera and Ravitch ideologies appear to
favor equality and fairness by bringing attention to racism and classism and the Blinder

article on the other hand seems to emphasize greed, law and order, and judgement,
which according to Clarke (1975), have traditionally been conservative ideologies. An
inference can be made regarding the values of each of the articles by analyzing the plot
alongside the ideologies presented, how the ideologies are presented, and the
language employed by the writer.
For example, Blinder uses language that encourages inferences that are condemning in
nature such as, Largest cheating scandal, Tarnished a major school districts
reputation, and organized and systemic misconduct. This language alongside a plot
that unfolds in the following manner, and specific quotes from the District attorney and
the judge suggests that the value and intention of the article is to communicate that
justice has been served.
Figure 1.
Exposition:

Rising Action:

Climax:

11 Atlanta educators

Ordered to go to jail

convicted for

immediately

cheating scandal

Falling Action:

Resolution:

Attorneys and

District Attorney has

Judge Baxter explains

Defendants are

done his job, but

that there will be serious

outraged

wonders if he has

consequences for the

devoted to much time

organized and systemic

to case

misconduct

Blinder ends the article with a specific quote from Judge Baxter, I dont like to send
anybody to jail. Its not one of the things I get a kick out of, but they have made their
bed, and theyre going to have to lie in it, and it starts today. By ending the article with
this quote one can make inferences regarding the presents of the law and order
ideology in the article, which the writer seems to present without questioning the
decisions of the justice system, which makes it possible to make an inference that the
values of the article are conservative in nature.
In contrast the Ravitch and Noguera articles are arranged in a manner that emphasize
the values of equality and justice. When we analyze the language employed by
Noguera alongside the plot of the artifact we begin to see a different value system
emerging. Phrases such as, Failed policies have undermined education, Judge

Baxter showed no mercy, poor and African American, No accountability system, we


see values rooted in equality, fairness, and attention the underserved.
Figure 2.
Exposition:

Rising Action:

Climax:

Falling Action:

Resolution:

The poor children in

Beverly Hall made a

Judge Baxter showed

Who else should be

Policy makers should

Atlanta and other

difference at Park

no mercy

held accountable? And

also be held

why

accountable

communities are the


victims

Nogueras intent for article is clear when the last paragraph of the article is reviewed. He
suggests that the policy makers who endorsed the testing policies should also be held
accountable and that it will take more than jailing a few to solve the problems in Atlanta
and other districts.
Master Narratives
The educational research master narrative as previously stated is a narrative upheld
in our society that is undergirded by the belief that quantitative research methods are
superior to qualitative research methods in education. However, according to Christine
Stanley whom was previously mentioned and Dr. Robert L. Williams II, the creator of the
term Ebonics and the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity, standardized
tests function as hidden racism in our society. Each of the analyzed artifacts make
reference to the issues with standardized tests; however, the Ravitch and Noguera
articles, spend more time exploring the various methods used to uphold this master
narrative in society.
For example, in the Ravitch article, Rothstein makes mention of No Child Left Behind
policies, Common Core standards, and teachers being held accountable for student test
results, all of which are slogans and practices used to describe the presents of
quantitative research methods in education. In the Noguera article, he also mentions No
Child Left Behind Policies in addition to Race To The Top, which incentivized teachers
for improving test scores.

Noguera further suggests that the implementation of these programs by administrators


and policy making officials reflect that goals were being set with little regard for the fact
that the playing field was not level in a school district where the majority of the students
were suffering from unmet social needs. This focus on the goals with disregard for
unmet social needs and variance in experience is how the master narrative of
quantitative research methods functions as racism in our society.
In 1972 Dr. Robert L. Williams II created the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural
Homogeneity to demonstrate the relevance of dialect, culture, and experience in
standardized tests. When the B.I.T.C.H. was given to 100 black students and 100 white
students the black students significantly outperformed their white counterparts
(Williams, 1972). The purpose of his study was to prove that standardized tests
functioned as a form of institutional racism.
Dr. Williams findings are evidence that both the narrative and its relationship to racism
have been present in society for more than 40 years, with little effort on the part of
policy makers to modify practices. The presents of these stories in our society, along
with the white voices that are beginning to speak out against standardized tests aid in
narrative coherence and provide the good reasons for our society to seek education
reform.
The master narrative of deficit as it relates to African American people has its roots in
slavery. This story that is upheld by the idea that African American achievement is the
exception and not the rule carries with it several ideologies as it operates in our society
(Thomas, E.E., 2010). As previously mentioned by Stanley, it can be seen operating
through a variety of policies and terms such as the term at risk when making reference
to students whom are poor, black, have unmet social needs, and dont have the skills
needed to succeed. The use of this master narrative is most prominent in the Noguera
article.

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For example, his emphasis on students being poor and African American with unmet
social needs encourages narrative fidelity and narrative probability by speaking to
peoples beliefs regarding areas and schools that are predominantly black. Also,
according to Noguera the suspicions began when the African American schools began
outperforming their predominantly white counterparts, in this statement Noguera infers
that the operating ideology is that African American achievement is the exception and
not the rule and suggests that this is what prompted the investigation.
Noguera uses the deficit master narrative to achieve identification and consubstantiality
with Huffington Post audiences in a manner that contrasts the typical function of the
narrative, which is to dominate and oppress. The long held ideas and beliefs that African
American children that are poor and illiterate are the victims of unequal social
institutions. These beliefs are shared by both conservatives and liberals for which there
are typically two responses, elitism or compassion. Elitism creates separation and
oppression while compassion encourages aid and relief.
Which takes us to the master narrative of get tough on crime. In the Blinder article,
the main plot of the narrative is regarding the judgement and sentencing of the Atlanta
educators. The motivations of the narrative suggest that the educators cheated for
money and accolades with little regard for the long-term success of the students. This
narrative is not new in our society. It is the same narrative that was used to justify harsh
sentencing for several African Americans during the 1980s and 90s who were involved
in the crack cocaine culture. It was said that individuals sold crack with little regard for
those who might become addicted to the drug and that harsh sentencing would send a
message to dealers to prevent future crime.
Unfortunately, regardless of the harsh sentencing crack cocaine continued to ravish
African American communities. According to Michelle Alexander in the book, The New
Jim Crow the get tough on crime movement in African American communities began in
the 1960s when equality demanded sacrifice on the part of white Americans to adhere

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to civil rights legislation. By the 1990s this ideology had become hegemonic and
remains present in our criminal justice system today (Alexander, M., 2010, pg. 56).
In the Ravich article, it suggests that ordinary people were not receiving equal justice
before the law. The educators in Atlanta were not the first to cheat on standardized
testing; however, they were the first to receive harsh sentencing. The article refers to
the educators as ordinary people, but makes note that the majority of those charged
were African American.
When compared to scandals within other institutions it becomes clear that the values in
our society are driven by something other than justice. The Ravitch article suggests that
justice is something to be bought when you are elite or have enough to pay for it, but I
would also suggests that there is a master narrative at work in the sentencing of these
educators that may subconsciously have more to do with their racial identity. It is a
smart move on the part of Ravitch to refer to the educators as ordinary people,
because it suggests that if we allow a system that obviously has flaws to cause such
unjust treatment for one group of people, there may be others in the future.
There are other master narratives that could be explored such as the master narrative
of triumph, which states that African Americans have overcome the odds as discussed
by Noguera. Or master narratives, ideologies, and beliefs that suggests that those that
reach the goals set by policy makers deserve accolades, awards, and greater financial
compensation, which infers that they have worked harder than those who did not reach
the goals. The question is, how did they work harder? Harder to deceive, cheat, lie,
and steal? Does competition really bring out the best in our society?
Narrative Specificity: Narrative Performance
Diane Ravitch, who was once a proponent of standardized testing served as assistant
secretary of education from 1991 to 1993. The purpose of her article is to call attention
to the disproportionate treatment of ordinary people in the justice system (Ravitch,
2015). Her ethos as one of our countries leaders in education along with her
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experiences make her an informed and credible source. This suggests that readers of
her article are likely to be significantly persuaded, some who will have the authority to
make decisions at a policy level or work to influence those who do.
Alan Blinders article was published in the New York Times, which was established in
1851. The New York Times has won 114 Pulitzer Prizes, is known for being more liberal
than conservative, and has not backed a republican candidate since 1956 (The New
York Times, 2015). The purpose of the article is to provide a post-verdict update on the
case of the Atlanta educators. The New York Times very likely has strong relationships
with its readers through the ethos that has been built over the past 100 plus years,
therefore the audiences are very likely to be significantly persuaded that justice was
served in the conviction and sentencing of the educators.
Pedro Nogueras article published in the Huffington Post. The Huffington Post has been
referred to as an advocacy newspaper regarding social and political issues with a point
of view thats liberal (The Huffington Post). The Huffington Post is a relatively new
publication that won its first Pulitzer Prize in 2012. The purpose of this article is to raise
the questions regarding who was not held accountable and should have been. The
audiences of the Huffington Post are people who are more likely to seek fairness and
equality. Nogueras article likely achieves a great level of narrative fidelity which
suggests that the audiences of the Huffington post might have been significantly
persuaded and more apt to organize grass root responses to groups of people that are
disproportionately impacted by institutions.

Conclusion
Looking at these artifacts through the lens of the narrative paradigm it appears that
master narratives may have influenced the construction of the artifacts. The impact that
the narratives had on the readers would have been in some cases achieved through
narrative probability and narrative fidelity with the master narratives. The writers often
introduced profound new ways of looking at the situation comprehensively along-side
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both master narratives and more recent narratives in the media in which the same
behaviors were present and could have been categorized as public moral argument.
These narratives provided an avenue to deliver new information. For example, the
Ravitch article had the least amount of fidelity with master narratives, but it provided
information from other scandals that aided in achieving probability and fidelity. This
made it possible to introduce new thoughts about the case and the variables that should
be considered for a variety of audiences.
The Blinder article carries ideologies and values that suggest that the conviction was
justified, which as previously mentioned falls within the get tough on crime master
narrative. The narrative also suggests that the motivations of the writer is that justice
has been served, which for the audience might achieves identification and
consubstantiality.
The Noguera article was the most consistent with master narratives by drawing on the
master narrative of deficit and the master narrative of educational research. It is very
clear that the goals of the article was to suggest that there are others in the system who
should be held accountable and to ensure that Beverly Halls name was not slandered
after her passing. With so many elements in the article ranging from emphasis on the
students, to emphasis on the educators as sacrificial lambs, to emphasis on the
successes of Beverly Hall, to flaws with the system, it becomes a matter of the reader
deciding which cause in the article that is identified with the most.
These articles along with countless others created a public moral argument and may
have had influence on Judge Baxter reconsidering his April 15, 2015 sentencing. He
states in a publicized hearing on May 1, 2015, Ive done a lot of reflecting on my
sentence. Im not comfortable with it. When a judge goes home and he keeps thinking
over and over that something is wrong, then something usually is. Anyway, I want to
modify the sentence. The counter narratives that made their way into mainstream such
as the Noguera and Ravitch articles helped educate the public and possibly the judge

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regarding alternative variables that should be considered when analyzing the case of
the Atlanta educators cheating scandal. Judge Baxter reduced the sentence for three of
the educators by more than half of the original sentence.
The media responses regarding the case were thoughtful, analytic, and offered
subjective and objective facts to aid in untrained thinkers forming ideas about the case.
When people from a variety of backgrounds including those from the dominant group
and marginalized groups provide counter narratives regarding injustices in our society
decisions can be made based on good reason rather than good argument.
Appendix 1. Plot, Ideologies, Causal Relationships, Language

Plot

Diane Ravitch

Alan Blinder

Pedro Noguera

Equal Justice?

Atlanta Educators
Convicted

Accountability for
Whom?

Exposition: Atlanta educators


(photos included) were
investigated for cheating,
convicted, sent to jail, and are
facing up to 20 years in prison.

Exposition: 11 Atlanta
educators were convicted for
their role in the nations largest
cheating scandal and tarnished a
major school districts
reputation.

Exposition: The poor


children in Atlanta and other
communities are the victims
of failed policies that
undermine the quality of the
educational process. Policy
makers dont recognize their
role in the scandal. The
verdict by Judge Baxter is an
indicator that something is
very wrong with our justice
system.

Rising Action: The


sentencing of the African
American defendants is unjust.
There are indicators that
suggests that the education
system is broken.
Climax: This is proven by
identifying the similarities
between the acts of the
educators in Atlanta and the
deceptive acts of the
Department of Veterans
Affairs and several mortgage
loan companies, which
resulted in far worse impact to
consumers.
Falling Action: The message

Rising Action: Judge Baxter


ordered most of the educators to
be jailed immediately. District
Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr.
states that the goal of the
prosecution was to get the
community to take a look at the
education system. The
investigation began in 2009
when investigators discovered
that Dr. Hall and her
administrators created a culture
that permitted cheating- at all
levels and allowed employees to
collect bonuses.
Climax: Defendants and
attorneys are outraged by the

Rising Action: The


improvements of Park
Middle School, identified as
the epicenter of the cheating
scandal, during the Beverly
Hall years was dramatic;
Park went from being chaotic
and dysfunctional to a space
that became conducive for
education. Therefore, Hall
deserved the awards she
received.

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is that if you are an ordinary


person you cannot get the
same kind of justice as those
that are considered elite in
society.

outcome of the case.

Falling Action: The District


Attorney feels that he has done
his job, but questions whether
so much attention should have
Resolution: The lesson to the been devoted to the case. Did he
Atlanta educators is that they
kill a fly with a sledgehammer?
should be a banker, polluter, or People know that test
run a for-profit education
scores/process are flawed.
scam, or torture people, but
dont ever change answers on Resolution: Judge Baxter
standardized tests.
explains that there will be
severe consequences for the
organized and systemic
misconduct.

Climax: Judge Baxter


showed no mercy to the 12
educators on trial.
Falling Action: Should the
12 be the only ones held
accountable? What about the
governor who kept pushing
for higher test scores, but did
little to address the problems.
Or presidents Bush and
Obama who have reduced
time for non-tested classes
such as art, music, and
physical education; should
they be held responsible too?
Resolutions: In addition to
the educators being held
accountable, the policy
makers who endorse school
reform should also be held
accountable.

Ideologies

Liberal Ideology
We need to take a long hard
look
There is no equality in who
is being held accountable
Classism
Justice is not a commodity
to be purchased (ordinary
people vs. elite)

Right Wing Liberal Ideology


Law and Order
Justice has been served
Changing leadership and
teacher staff will improve
problem
Religion
Greed, Pride

Racism
The African American
defendants serving poor
African American children
deserve equal justice before
the law. The punishment does
not fit the crime

Phrases

taking the fall

Liberal Ideology
We need to take a long
hard look
There is no equality in who
is being held accountable
Racism
Testing confirms the
assumption that poor black
students do not have the
skills to succeed
academically
The African American
defendants serving poor
African American children
deserve equal justice before
the law. The punishment does
not fit the crime.

largest cheating scandal in

Failed policies have

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out of touch policy makers


proficiency
desperation to save schools

nations history
tarnished a major school
districts reputation
organized and systemic
misconduct

undermined education
Judge Baxter has shown no
sympathy
no accountability for
system
Poor and African American

Cause: No child left behind


policy Effect: forces policy
makers to set unrealistic goals
Cause: Unrealistic goals and
standards by policy makers
Effect: creates an atmosphere
for fear, intimidation and
retaliation

Cause: Dr. Hall created a


culture of fear, intimidation, and
retaliation Effect: cheating

Cause: Creating an
atmosphere of fear,
intimidation and retaliation
Effect: can create an
atmosphere for cheating

Cause: Educators received


bonus checks for reaching goal
Effect: cheating occurred to
receive bonus checks

Cause: Dr. Halls created a


goal oriented atmosphere
Effect: an atmosphere for
better performance was
created.
Cause: An atmosphere for
better performance was
created Effect: in 2012,
Eighth grade students
improved test scores in
reading and math by 22
points

from destruction
deserve no mercy from the
court
Causation
Relationship

Cause: Changing answers on


a students test Effect: can get
you serious time in prison
Cause: If you are African
American Effect: you may be
more severely punished for
your actions
Cause: If you work for an
organization such as a
mortgage loan company or the
Department of Veterans
Affairs and create a system of
deception and theft Effect:
you are exempt from being
punished by the law.

Cause: Prosecuting attorney


uses racketeering charges
Effect: educators face up to 20
years in prison.

Cause: District attorney wanted


for people to take a look at the
education system Effect: his
office gave extraordinary
attention to the case and the
verdict affirms work of
prosecution

Cause: Standardized testing


forces teachers to narrow
lesson plans Effect: teachers
are teaching to the test
Cause: students are only
learning to the test Effect:
they are not learning or being
evaluated in other areas
Cause: students are not
being evaluated and learning
in non-tested areas Effect:
tests are not a good
representation of a students
academic progress
Cause: black schools began
outperforming white schools
Effect: investigation for
cheating

17

18

References
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http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/07/21/wrong-answer

Blinder, A. (2015). Atlanta Educators Convicted in School Cheating Scandal. Retrieved


April 15, 2015 from: ttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/us/verdict-reached-in-atlanta-school-testing-trial.html?_r=1
Ravitch, D. (2015). Did Atlanta Educators Get Equal Justice Before the Law?. Retrieved
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Noguera, P. (2015). Accountability for Whom? Retrieved April 15, 2015 from:
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narratives_in_Schooling_and_Society

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The New York Times (2015). Retrieved on May 3, 2015 from:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times

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Diane Ravitch (2015). Retrieved on May 3, 2015 from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Ravitch

The Huffington Post (2015). Retrieved on May 3, 2015 from:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Huffington_Post

Alexander, M. (2010). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of
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from: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED070799
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