Atlanta cheating scandal moves to the courtroom

by Amanda Paulson,  The Christian Science Monitor

Prosecutors on Monday outlined the case against a dozen former principals, teachers, and administrators accused of orchestrating a massive cheating conspiracy in 2009 in Atlanta public schools, as the high-profile trial got under way.

Prosecutors had brought charges against 35 individuals in the case, one of the most sweeping and widespread cases of cheating to come to light in US public education. Most of those individuals have pleaded guilty and won’t go to trial. According to the charges, educators allegedly used a variety of schemes to inflate students’ test scores, including erasing incorrect answers, telling children to change their answers, and opening sealed exams ahead of time to coach students on the answers.

It’s a case that has received widespread attention both because of the nature of the charges and the fact that it seemed to have emanated from the very top – former Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall is one of the defendants, though her trial has been delayed while she deals with a health issue  – as well as the questions it raises about the possible negative incentives from the culture of high-stakes standardized testing.  Read the entire story.

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