Atlanta test scandal erupts

ATLANTA, Ga. — A testing scandal in Atlanta Public Schools could result in criminal charges in a public school district once lauded for its soaring scores, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Gov. Nathan Deal recently released a report alleging widespread conspiracies among teachers and administrators, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall, to secretly erase and correct wrong answers on student tests, to reward educators for meeting academic goals by any means possible, to ignore complaints, and to alter earlier investigative reports about the wrongdoing, the Journal-Constitution reported.

“APS is run like the mob,” one teacher told investigators, according to the Journal-Constitution. Like others, this teacher said she cheated because she feared retaliation for not cooperating, the report said.

More than 80 educators and principals confessed to cheating, the Journal-Constitution reported. Investigators said the district demanded that educators meet unreasonably high academic targets at the expense of ethics, the report said.

Students who failed the tests ? but whose scores were altered ? were cut off from the extra help they might have received otherwise, the Journal-Constitution reported.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Investigation into APS cheating finds unethical behavior across every level,” July 6, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “What MEAP Scores Mean,” March 22, 2010