None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed , and the Criminalization of Educators (Paperback)

None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed , and the Criminalization of Educators Cover Image
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An insider’s account of the infamous Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal that scapegoated black employees for problems rooted in the education reform movement.

In March of 2013, 35 educators in the Atlanta Public Schools were charged with racketeering and conspiracy—the same charges used to bring down the American mafia—for allegedly changing students’ answers on standardized tests. All but one was black. The youngest of the accused, Shani Robinson, had taught for only 3 years and was a new mother when she was wrongfully convicted and faced up to 25 years in prison. She and her coauthor, journalist Anna Simonton, look back to show how black children in Atlanta were being deprived long before some teachers allegedly changed the answers on their students’ tests.

Stretching all the way back to Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation in public schools, to examining the corporate-led education reform movement, the policing of black and brown citizens, and widening racial and economic disparities in Atlanta, Robinson and Simonton reveal how real estate moguls and financiers were lining their pockets with the education dollars that should have been going to the classroom.

About the Author

Shani Robinson, an alumna of Tennessee State University, is an advocate for troubled youth and their families. She taught in the Atlanta Public Schools system for three years.

Anna Simonton is an independent journalist based in Atlanta and is an editor for Scalawag magazine. Her work has been published by the Nation, In These Times, and AlterNet, among others.

Praise For…

“A former teacher convicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal makes a strong case that students have been cheated by corporate profiteers and racist policies that undermine public education. . . . Robinson claims she didn’t do it, and her book leaves no reason to doubt her.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This collaboration of former Atlanta public school teacher Robinson and journalist Simonton is powerful, offering a bird’s-eye view into the now notorious 2013 cheating scandal. . . . What grips the reader most is Robinson’s personal story, especially her other black teachers’ trial under the RICO act, ordinarily reserved for racketeers. A vivid and dramatic look at the consequences of the corporatization of public education.”

“Provides an in-depth look at how the cheating scandal unfolded, resulting in a modern-day witch hunt. . . .Robinson’s own experience is engaging. For readers interested in educational reform, urban development, or the impact of race and racism.”
Library Journal

“Sure to be an important and, I hope, influential book.”
—Noam Chomsky, author of Who Rules The World?, political theorist and professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The publicity surrounding the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial convicted Robinson in the court of public opinion. With this book, she has the opportunity to present her case in full. Her voice deserves to be heard.”
—Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, former National Education Secretary, founder of the Network for Public Education

“A blistering account written by a Black educator who has nothing to lose but fear. None of the Above is a stunning indictment of the loveless neoliberal politics of public education ‘reform’ that plagues predominantly Black communities like Atlanta. And those who conspired to create the theatre that was the cheating scandal should be shaking in shame upon reading.”
—Darnell L. Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America

None of the Above forces the reader to think about the high price of the commodification of public education in the United States as well as public policy issues surrounding issues of economic justice and political power. This book takes the reader inside the burning house that our public education system has become and seeks to show us a way out.”
—W. Ralph Eubanks, author of Ever is A Long Time and The House at the End of the Road

“Sobering and brilliant, None of the Above is one of the best, most timely books I’ve read.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

“Robinson has stood her ground at immense personal cost. Now, in this book, she and Simonton represent the best of teaching as they challenge taken-for-granted assumptions and reveal the root causes of urban school struggle—historic state neglect, racism, and profiteering at the expense of black communities. Will we learn or continue to scapegoat black teachers for a crisis they did not create? This is the real test.”
—Kristen Buras, professor of education policy at Georgia State University and author of Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance

“In an affecting narrative with scrupulous reporting, Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton detail the hypocrisy and greed behind an ‘education reform movement’ that used the same test scores to award Georgia federal grant money while sending black teachers to prison. Providing facts lost amid the ensuing media circus and stoking resolve to serve those at the story’s true center—the children cheated of opportunity before they even make it to school—None of the Above is essential reading for those fighting to preserve public education.”
—Angela Ards, author of Words of Witness: Black Women’s Autobiography in the Post-Brown Era
Product Details
ISBN: 9780807039915
ISBN-10: 0807039918
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: February 25th, 2020
Pages: 256
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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