The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

March 30, 2013

Dozens indicted in cheating scandal

(Continued)

ATLANTA —

Howard would not directly answer a question about whether Hall led the conspiracy. He did say, however, “what we’re saying is that without her, this conspiracy could not have taken place. ... It would not have taken place if her actions had not made that possible.”

Most of the 178 educators named in the special investigators’ report in 2011 resigned, retired, did not have their contracts renewed or appealed their dismissals and lost. Twenty-one educators have been reinstated and three await hearings to appeal their dismissals, said Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Stephen Alford.

The tests were the key measure the state used to determine whether it met the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Schools with good test scores get extra federal dollars to spend in the classroom or on teacher bonuses.

Georgia last year was granted a waiver from the federal law, which allowed schools to count a host of measures in addition to standardized tests.

State schools Superintendent John Barge said last year he believes the state’s new accountability system will remove the pressure to cheat on standardized tests because it won’t be the sole way the state determines student growth. The pressure was part of what some educators in Atlanta Public Schools blamed for their cheating.

Alford, the schools spokesman, said the district was moving on from the scandal.

“This is a legal matter between the individuals implicated and the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, and we will allow the legal process to take its course,” he said before the indictment was announced. “Our focus is on providing a quality education to all of our students and supporting the 6,000 employees who come to work each day and make sound decisions about educating our students.”

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission is responsible for licensing teachers and has been going through the complaints against teachers, said commission executive secretary Kelly Henson.

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