Atlanta School Cheating: 35 Indicted

From the AJC:

Former Atlanta Public School Superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 others were indicted Friday indictment on charges of racketeering, theft by taking, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and false statements in connection with the cheating scandal that has dogged Atlanta Public Schools for years.

The 90-page indictment says Hall put pressure on subordinates to reach goals on standardized tests. “APS principals and teachers were frequently told by Beverly Hall and her subordinates that excuses for not meeting targets would not be tolerated.

Also named in the indictment were Milicent Few, head of human resources; Tamara Cotman, area director; Christopher Waller, principal of Parks Middle School where seven educators confessed to cheating, and five others were implicated.

We would all like this to be over. But the kids aren’t going to get those years of school back.  At least this should begin to hold some accountable while showing to others who think they need to game the system that there are consequences bigger than a bad performance review.

 

16 comments

  1. gcp says:

    Good job by Paul Howard and his staff so far. Some of these defendants will plead out but others will go to trial. If found guilty, Beverly Hall and the others should pay restitution in the amount of their performance “bonuses”. But if found not guilty maybe “Big Bev” could get a job in the useless federal Dept. of Education.

  2. xdog says:

    Wow. Racketeering charges. $7.5 million bond. I’m all for assigning blame and punishment but that seems extreme. Hall et al have pissed off the wrong people. Actually, I guess they’ve pissed off everyone.

  3. Dr. Monica Henson says:

    I haven’t read the full indictment yet, but I’ll bet that it’s tied to the fact that APS denied children Title I- funded reading and math assistance. Title I monies are federal block grants to states to use in educating low-income children. The reason why states administer high-stakes testing is to demonstrate academic performance results to justify their receipt of federal Title I dollars. (Any state can opt out of high stakes testing by forgoing the federal funds, by the way.) Federal education funding accounts for approximately 10% of all dollars spent on K12 public education in the U.S.

    • Feelinmystyle says:

      The racketeering charge is tied to the fact that they were running a criminal enterprise, also known as a racket, which provided financial gains to the perpetrators. The criminal enterprise they were running was The Atlanta Publc School System. Chew on that

  4. Bob Loblaw says:

    1. Wow. These folks could go to jail? And they thought losing jobs was the only legal actions they would face.

    2. Paul Howard screws this up.

  5. saltycracker says:

    Just curious;
    How many we’re fired and how many are still employed ?
    Are public funds involved in any of their defense ?
    If convicted will the public system still be paying them millions in retirement, health or other benefits ?

  6. John Konop says:

    First any of the accused that got bonuses should have to pay them back ie fraud…….unless they can demonstrate it was not fraud…..

    Second, schools should be judged on graduation rates with students having skills for a job or acceptance into higher education schools….

    Third we should end this ranking of schools on high stakes testing scores, and replace it with an acceptable standard combined with proper tracking for students based on aptitude….

    Forth we need to get the business community and retires working with the school system helping with time, co-ops, internships…….

    Finally we need to combine resources with k-12, community and higher education, from cross utilizing buildings with classes, classes via Internet, create homeschool/public school option, vo-tech option starting in 9th grade……….

    • Harry says:

      All your suggestions are excellent. However, I’m not so optimistic. Are the political system and education system capable to adapt?

  7. Scott65 says:

    This is just so sad for these kids. I have never been in favor of standardized tests because this is what you end up with. This was the headline across the board…Huffington Post had it as the main headline. Its embarrassing to Atlanta and to Georgia that this happened. We need to rethink how we teach children in public schools, and teaching kids to pass a test isnt the way

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