Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

35 Educators Indicted in Atlanta

Here is a really shocking piece of news. 35 educators in Atlanta have been indicted for cheating on standardized tests. Charges include racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, and making false statements. Beverly Hall, the former district superintendent and a star of the school reform movement, was included in the sweep. The former Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, took this matter very seriously. He appointed two special prosecutors and a special investigator to conduct a criminal investigation into cheating on standardized tests. The Atlanta Journal & Constitution helped the investigation. The key to breaking the cheating ring was the "extraordinary increases in test scores from one year to the next, along with a high number of erasures on answer sheets from wrong to right." After years of lying and stonewalling, some educators finally began to tell the truth. Some are now state witnesses. The cheating was so pervasive that erasing parties were held to correct student score by erasing wrong answers and writing in correct answers. One teacher states that she and six other teachers "sat in a locked windowless room every afternoon during the week of state testing, raising students' scores by erasing wrong answers and making them right."

The cheating was apparently managed by superintendent Beverly Hall, who was known as a tough leader who demanded that teachers and principal perform. Teachers whose classes did not meet standardized test targets were fired. Hall received more than $500,00 in bonuses over 10 years that were tied to increased test scores.

According to the indictment, the indicted educators "conspired to either cheat, conceal cheating or retaliate against whistle-blowers in an effort to bolster scores for the benefit of [personal] financial rewards associated with high test scores." It was a shocking performance.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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