The APS cheating scandal will become subject of movie with Michael B. Jordan

The Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal will become the subject of a movie.

Michael b. Jordan, shown here in his upcoming new boxer film "Creed," will take on the APS cheating scandal in one of his next projects, "Wrong Answers."

Michael B. Jordan, shown here in his upcoming new boxer film “Creed,” will take on the APS cheating scandal in one of his next projects, “Wrong Answer.”

Still in the early stages, “Wrong Answer” will involve actor Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station,” “Fantastic Four,” “The Wire,” and the upcoming new movie, “Creed,”) and director Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” ).

I assume the focus of the movie will be the moral struggles and ethical conflicts of an individual teacher who, faced with impossible test score targets, resorts to cheating.

It is likely based on a 2014 magazine story of the same title.

“Wrong Answer,” a dramatic New Yorker magazine profile, described the fall of Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School, which was ground zero for cheating.

“We were told that failure was not an option, ” said Lewis during a hearing in March 2012. When that hearing ended, Lewis became the first Atlanta teacher fired as a result of the test-cheating scandal.

As the AJC reported out of that hearing in 2012:

An emotional Lewis testified Wednesday about the pressure he and other teachers were under to improve scores at the school, which faced takeover for not meeting testing goals. After (principal) Waller’s first year at the school (when the report said cheating began), he said Parks won praise from visitors for its teaching and learning and day-to-day operations.

But the demand for more increased.

“Every day, every teacher at Parks worked hard. Every day, teachers came early and stayed late, ” Lewis said. “Everything was data-driven. Data was the primary source of behind-the-scenes pressure on individuals who really cared about the school the most.”

I doubt the movie will focus on the role The Atlanta Journal Constitution investigative team played in bringing the scandal to light.

But I would suggest Keira Knightley play intrepid AJC reporter Heather Vogell, now with ProPublica, Ed Harris play unflappable AJC reporter Alan Judd and Edward Norton portray AJC database reporting master John Perry.

 

Reader Comments 0

69 comments
C. Diff
C. Diff

Just what APS needs . . . their failures immortalized on film. I'd much rather see 'em turn the adventures of Victor Hill into a film.

Mustang100
Mustang100

Don't worry all you distorted reality sufferers, Bev ( I think Beyonce should play her, all reality will be thrown aside anyway) and Co.'s  reputations won't be sullied. As Truthyness' delusions were stated below by her, it will all be blamed on the prosecution of the case itself.

Much like the Rathergate movie in production now, with  Rather and Mapes being painted as thrown under the bus by CBS execs for 'simply asking the questions', all reference to forged and manufactured documents being ignored except in passing, this is how the LibMedia rewrites history. 20 years from now this will be the only side of these scandals presented to generations who are too young and/or aren't around now.

canon ball
canon ball

Will this Movie be a Comedy...?? 

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

I predict that in the end they'll conclude that it's........................Bush's Fault!

Tonii6
Tonii6

I only feel sorry for the children who cheated out of the best possible education.

partlycloudy
partlycloudy

Awful. Now the scandal will be preserved forever on film.  The school system shame.  

El-Bey
El-Bey

Melissa McCarthy is playing former APS Supt. Beverly Hall

Truthyness
Truthyness

Are they going to show the part where the Fulton Da's office sit in a room and because of the lack of actually finding any other crime, charge middle aged African American women, and men in  posession of PHDs with the RICO statute that was meant for gangsters who had become wealthy from ill gotten gain. I want them to show later some bigot using the crime statistic that a certain number of blacks were convicted of RICO Iin Atlanta as a bigoted comment on the AJC.

tranqillo
tranqillo

Tyler Perry going to cash in on making fun of black culture ?

Scott Miner
Scott Miner

the $$ made from this better not go to any Atlanta city department...even you Reed

W2XAB
W2XAB

I hope they focus some on the students who were cheated.

Wilbur T. Fitzgerald
Wilbur T. Fitzgerald

I plan to shave my head and read for the role of Judge Jerry Baxter, one of the heroes in this sordid mess.

Chuck8200
Chuck8200

Not wasting my money on such a "bore-fest" ..... Atlanta gets embarrassed once again !  

darbrednew
darbrednew

Im sure everyone in the movie wlil be black.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@darbrednew 

So what? The school administration was black, the teachers were black, the students were black. Of course, Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce people who gave Superintendent Hall the awards were white, the state Superintendent of Schools was white.......

Starik
Starik

How in the world can anybody write a script on the scandal that makes APS, its teachers and students look good?  Beware a Bonfire of the Vanities fiasco.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Starik 

The New Yorker article told the story from the viewpoint of one of the teachers who reluctantly cheated (and only in a minor way) because he was scared not to, due to the intense pressure from his administrative superiors. 

Point
Point

@OriginalProf @Starik I hope they get to the real beginning of this mess, Rod Paige and the Texas Miracle.  Bush  appointed him Secretary of Education and gave us No Child Left Behind even though it was reported that students were pushed out, data was manipulated and it was a complete failure.


The Georgia Legislators that enacted the graduation tests should spend some time in jail next to APS teachers because they cheated thousands of students as well.



justhetruth2017
justhetruth2017

@1Robert @Point @OriginalProf @Starik Not to split hairs but No Child Left Behind was actually started by Lyndon Johnson even earlier ...had a different name but was still a program conceived and passed by Democrats. All Bush did was change the name.  Unfortunately those who think it was Bush's fault are exactly the ones the program was designed to help. What an irony. Leads credence to the old saying no good deed goes unpunished:) 


Astropig
Astropig

@justhetruth2015 @1Robert @Point @OriginalProf @Starik


You'll read hundreds- no,thousands-of stories in this space about how reforms fail when proposed by anyone other than the eduacracy,but I remember that they were on board with NCLB in a big way.They're shabby hypocrites.

1Robert
1Robert

@Point @OriginalProf @Starik Point, No Child Left Behind was passed by congress and championed by Ted Kennedy.  How good were APS schools before Bush ?  How many republicans have anything to do with APS schools ?

mamaj7104
mamaj7104

Is it me, or do the people that blog on the weekends seem to be more intelligent and articulate than the fools during the week. They actually have something to say that makes sense, and I haven't read one yet that stooped to another level and called someone a disgusting name....wait, @AtlantaAvenger -I take that back.

AtlantaAvenger
AtlantaAvenger

One thing I never see mentioned in this story is the fact it was basically 100% African Americans involved. I looked and looked and didn't see one white teacher involved. What's the bet the movie shows a bunch of white teachers cheating? And what's the bet it doesn't say a word about the obvious racism in so many teachers being black in the school district. Wait don't tell me-they were all hired after a nationwide search and all of them were hired because they were the absolute best candidates out there. Skin color played no part! Perish the thought! My wife is a teacher. Privately her and many of her co-workers say it's another shining example of affirmative action gone horribly wrong. What else would they expect hiring these cretinous 'teachers' that can't even speak English properly to teach children? 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@AtlantaAvenger 

You certainly don't seem to know much about South Atlanta, the dynamics of minority education, the student demographics in South Atlanta (economic as well as racial), or even the dialect of colloquial  Black English.  I would guess that your wife is a teacher far up on the North side whose suburban school has few or no reduced-lunch students. And "affirmative action" has nothing to do with the way that the APS hires its teachers.

DJ_ATL
DJ_ATL

So sad that ignorance is pervasive. 100% were not black. At least one person was of another race but of course you failed to perform any research. And what will happen when you find that one person, you will say "99% were"... But guess what, your lack of research still has your first comment WRONG

The_Fury
The_Fury

@OriginalProf @AtlantaAvenger "Dialect of colloquial Black English"? What kind of PC crap is that? And for pete's sake, stop calling Blacks "minorities", especially on the south side. They haven't been a minority since 1975. Everyone is capable of speaking proper English regardless of skin color. Society should not accept anything less. That's what school is for, it is not "racially insensitive" to teach children to enunciate and avoid slang. The teachers definitely need to lead by example, all of my black teachers spoke impeccable English and did not tolerate any of "that ghetto talk" in their classrooms. Nobody with a PhD should sound like a hoodrat, ever.

justhetruth2017
justhetruth2017

@AtlantaAvenger If your gonna point fingers at us white people it should definitely point out the white people who fawned all over Beverly Hall....like the people who gave her awards from the Chamber and such. show those PC phonies. 

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

July 19, 2014

The article “Wrong Answer” (The New Yorker, for July 21, 2014) tells a lengthy story about Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS’) test cheating crisis.  The story is a rather obvious close-up look at a few key people at one APS school, Parks Middle School.  However, Parks was just one among the 80 APS elementary and middle schools about which a systemic, wide-angle lens story might have been told.

Indeed, the test cheating crisis at Parks Middle School was horrible in the extreme.  But Parks wasn’t alone.  By my report, “CRCT 2009 Wrong-to-Right Answer Erasures: Seeing System Behavior through Quality Lenses” (April 15, 2010), 51 of 57 (89.5 percent) of Parks classrooms were detected to have had uncommon, non-random occurrences of students’ answers changed wrong-to-right, which made the school the third highest.  Second highest was Peyton Forest Elementary School, with 62 of 69 (89.9 percent) of its classrooms detected.  And first highest was Dunbar Elementary School, with 30 of 30 (100 percent) of its classrooms detected.

Still, as horrible was the test cheating crisis that emerged from Parks, Peyton Forest, and Dunbar, it remains an absurdity to think or to accept that any close-up, reductive story limited to a few people at one school proffers useful learning about “why” the test cheating crisis happened.  Inarguably, the test cheating crisis showed up in a massively systemic way for which no people at a single school or even at a few schools was the root cause, as the tabulation below represents.

In the tabulation below, each horizontal bar represents a count of schools within the percent range indicated that had at least one classroom where uncommon, non-random occurrences of students’ answers were detected to have been changed wrong-to-right.  Overall, at least one classroom in 73 of the 80 APS elementary and middle schools was detected.  Moreover, the fairly uniform distribution of the counts cannot possibly or rationally be attributed to just school-level behavior.

00-00.9 percent: *********9

01-09.9 percent:   ************12

10-19.9 percent:   **********10

20-29.9 percent:   ***********11

30-39.9 percent:   *****5

40-49.9 percent:   **********10

50-59.9 percent:   ***3

60-69.9 percent:   ****4

70-79.9 percent:   ********8

80-89.9 percent:   *******7

90-100  percent:   *1

<continued in the Reply...>

Charles Douglas Edwards
Charles Douglas Edwards

The Atlanta Board of Education establishes and approves the polices that governs the Atlanta Public School system !!!


The nine member board select the APS Superintendent.


The "THEN" Atlanta Board of Education members had to have been aware that test scores were unusually high.


We wonder how they will be portrayed in a movie.


They  ere also responsible for the APS cheating scandal.

redweather
redweather

Here are few brief excerpts from the New Yorker article:


1.  At the end of the testing week, Lewis went back to the testing office with Crystal Draper, a language-arts teacher. For about an hour, they erased wrong answers and bubbled in the right ones.


2.  “We had to trick the parents and give away this, that, and the third in order to get them into the building,” Lewis said. “Some of them looked like they were on drugs—not fun drugs but ruin-your-life drugs.”


3.  During testing week, after students had completed the day’s section, Waller distracted the testing coördinator, Alfred Kiel, by taking him out for leisurely lunches in downtown Atlanta. On their way, Waller called the reading coördinator to let her know that it was safe to enter Kiel’s office. She then paged up to six teachers and told them to report to the room. While their students were at recess, the teachers erased wrong answers and filled in the right ones. Lewis took photographs of the office with his cell phone so that he could make sure he left every object, even the pencils on Kiel’s desk, exactly as he’d found them.


4.  In 2008, he decided to resign, but Hall worked with the Casey Foundation to give him an “incentive award grant” of fifteen thousand dollars. He agreed to stay, believing that soon he would have the strength to tell the district that its targets couldn’t continue to rise.


5.  At Waller’s direction, they began maintaining what they called “standard-based mastery folders,” an index of all the objectives that each student needed to grasp in order to comprehend a given lesson. Lewis, who was taking night classes at the School of Education at Clark Atlanta University, wrote his master’s thesis on the technique. “It was a wonderful system,” he said. “But we only put it in place to hide the fact that we were cheating.”


6.  He described the resilience of the students, who were “down but never out, losing but never lost.” He told the panel, “You may wonder why I haven’t resigned. It’s because the morality that resides within me are the same morals I taught my students for years; that is, whenever you are persecuted or face challenges or circumstances rise against you, you must see things through to the end.”



atlfalconno1fan
atlfalconno1fan

my wife and i were in hawaii on a whale watching sea/life tour and we were asked that everyone introduce themselves and tell where they were from we told them we were from Atlanta...a snarky Santa barbara,california woman..asked is that where the school cheating and the confederate flag rallies are held??my wife wanted to bash her face in...what a embassassing time for Atlanta=aps schhol cheating 

Enoch19
Enoch19

What was important about the APS scandal was not that a teacher cheated but that the cheating was systemic.  Starting at the top there was a culture of cheating and cover up.  This coverup was abetted by a so-called blue ribbon committee of business people who shamed themselves by trying to protect what was happening at APS.  The "improvements" in test scores were too extreme to be believable and the statistical likelihood of wrong to right erasures infinitesimally small.  the corruption at APS began in the leadership and spread through the system and even outside the system into the community.  There was enough shame here for everyone involved.  


Deny. Deny Deny worked until investigators with the power to indict criminally were engaged. Without that decision by the state APS would still be maintaining it's "innocence" and part of the power structure in Atlanta would be supporting them.


Sadly, the folks at the top escaped meaningful accountability.  



redweather
redweather

Something tells me this film will seek to exonerate the teachers. 

bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf @redweather

That would be a shame.  It could be exploring a difficult topic, ethics in the workplace.  It could be a really good movie.


But Hollywood tends to want bad guys and good guys instead of the real world with some bad guys and lots of real people, many of whom make poor decisions.

bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf @redweather

Think of Saving Private Ryan and the guy who was afraid to go up the stairs to help.  The German didn't kill him when he came down the stairs.  Later he captured several Germans, shot that one (who had killed Tom Hank's character) and let the others go.


There's a lot of moral ambiguity there and it was a powerful sequence.  It didn't paint everyone in black and white.

popcornular
popcornular

I heard Bill Cosby or Eddie Murphy will play Bev Hall. 

hssped
hssped

@OriginalProf @popcornular Funniest thing I've heard all day!!  Except I do like Tyler Perry and Eddie Murphy....not so sure about Cosby anymore. 

f.i.l.a.
f.i.l.a.

I'm waiting for the Ashley Madison movie....starring Nicholas Cage as Alan Peake.