11 Ge­or­gia ed­u­ca­tors con­victed in cheat­ing scan­dal

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY KATE BRUM­BACK

Eleven for­mer public school ed­u­ca­tors were con­victed Wed­nes­day for their role in a scheme to in­flate stu­dents’ scores on stan­dard­ized ex­ams — one of the big­gest cheat­ing scan­dals of its kind in the U.S.

The de­fen­dants, in­clud­ing teach­ers, a prin­ci­pal and other ad­min­is­tra­tors, were ac­cused of fal­si­fy­ing test re­sults to col­lect bonuses or keep their jobs in the 50,000-stu­dent At­lanta school sys­tem. A 12th de­fen­dant, a teacher, was ac­quit­ted of all charges.

Thirty- five ed­u­ca­tors in all were in­dicted in 2013 on charges in­clud­ing rack­e­teer­ing, mak­ing false state­ments and theft. Many pleaded guilty, and some tes­ti­fied at the trial. At­lanta School Su­per­in­ten­dent Bev­erly Hall never went to trial, ar­gu­ing she was too sick. She died a month ago of breast can­cer.

Hall was named Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Year by the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of School Ad­min­is­tra­tors in 2009 and cred­ited with rais­ing stu­dent test scores and grad­u­a­tion rates, par­tic­u­larly among the dis­trict’s poor and mi­nor­ity stu­dents. But the award quickly lost its lus­ter as her dis­trict be­came mired in the scan­dal.

Hall in­sisted she was in­no­cent. But ed­u­ca­tors said she was among higher- ups pres­sur­ing them to in­flate stu­dents’ scores to show gains in achieve­ment and meet fed­eral bench­marks that would un­lock ex­tra fund­ing.

The cheat­ing came to light af­ter The At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion re­ported that some scores were sta­tis­ti­cally im­prob­a­ble.

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