Today, The New York Times published an article about the new Superintendent of the Atlanta schools, Erroll Davis. He’s replaced Beverly Hall after the publicized cheating scandal (see The Best Posts & Articles About The Atlanta Testing Scandal).
Based on what the article says, he appears to be saying and doing many of the right things, though I’d love to hear from teachers in Atlanta if they think that assessment is accurate. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
As he travels the district, often driving himself to meet with small groups of principals, Mr. Davis repeatedly tells them, “Education is the only industry in this country where failure is blamed on the workers, not the leadership.”
….People are still shellshocked from the Hall years. Ms. Turner, the union president, said she was surprised when Mr. Davis’s secretary called to set up a lunch. “I said, ‘Why does he want to do that?’ ” Ms. Turner recalled. “She said, ‘He wants to get to know you.’ The man is a breath of fresh air.”
….He says he does not want a school system driven by test results.
“That is not how education should work,” Mr. Davis said. “If you create the right kind of system, run by the right kind of people, tests scores will take care of themselves.”
When Dr. Hall was the superintendent, she covered one wall in her office with bar graphs showing the test results for all 100 city schools.
After Mr. Davis became superintendent, he took the test scores down and replaced them with large color photographs of Atlanta schoolchildren.
It appears he might understand the difference between being data-driven and being data-informed.
Bob Sutton has also written an interesting post about Superintendent Davis.