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Georgia Educators Get Prison Terms for Roles in 'Data-Driven' Cheating Scandal


Georgia Educators Get Prison Terms for Roles in 'Data-Driven' Cheating Scandal

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Offering a stark example of what one expert calls "an inevitable consequence of the overuse and misuse of standardized exams," an Atlanta judge handed down tough sentences on Tuesday to 10 educators involved in a massive test cheating scandal that shook the district in 2009.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:


I live in the Atlanta area and am sick to death of this story. It is notable that the only Georgia system to be singled out has been the majority black Atlanta Public School System and the only people convicted are black.

The most troublesome lie concerning this issue is the disingenuous wailing about how much the children in the APS schools have been harmed by this scandal. Strangely, no one can point to any actual harm to those students.

I contend that the overuse and over-administration of standardized testing is hurting these students much more than changing answers on the tests.

The prosecution of the Atlanta educators has been overzealous to put it mildly. For example, one teacher was arrested and charged simply because she reminded the students in her room to be careful to check their answers (she was exonerated).

I’m happy that only a couple of the defendants took the judge’s offer. Any time a court offers a deal which includes no appeal, there should be an appeal.



And also, it is all the evil unions fault!


Luckily I am not from the USA, and am not surprised that those convicted are black. The whole régime of testing and denigration of teachers and “failing” schools is a disgrace to the parts of the USA and elsewhere that they have been forced into, against sense, fairness, education, democratic values, just for profit.
I am a retired teacher from Australia, where some of these ideas are being implemented, to the detriment of the many victims of this anti-education push. Diane Ravitch’s book “Reign of Error” gives graphic examples of the failure of high stakes testing, even without the criminal prosecutions described in the Georgia story.


Racketeering conspiracy?

The Georgia definition of racketeering conspiracy is any conspiracy to commit a felony, as long as the conspiracy has one or more bosses or kingpins.

Do you realize the full import of this law? If BP indulges in wholesale safety violations and destroys the Gulf of Mexico, that’s equally racketeering conspiracy. If Wall Street conspires to have insiders trade stocks a fraction of a second before the outsiders get a chance, that’s felony racketeering conspiracy! If the Koch brothers leave enormous piles of petcoke sitting around in Chicago waiting for the wind to blow it off their property and kill someone else, that’s racketeering conspiracy! Why, there’s almost no end to the racketeering conspiracy taking place all over this great country of ours, and the perps are all marching off to their lengthy prison terms for racketeering conspiracy.


When do the CEOs of Nike Corp. here in Oregon get to pay their fair share of taxes to support our public schools?
When do the banksters go to jail for ruining the world economy and so many of the “little people’s” lives?


I hope that one day America will have guillotine session for these power hungry fools. The DA and the Judge should meet the people’s justice for pushing such an insane case, conviction, and sentence. If they are this blind to what justice is, I will not shed a tear for these maniacs. Fire the teacher, maybe fine them…I’ll even go with probation, but when they cannot find even ONE example of an exec, banker, or politician involved in RICO case it is because they are not looking. They are bullies and we need to stand up and put bullies in their places.

Same with the DA who was so indifferent about Aaron Swartz…they should all face the same justice they have doled out.


You hit it on the head. When the sheeple wake up and see, there is no justice, so what is the point of being nice to police or the powers that control them? Some sheeple will soon wake up and read the lovely story of the French Revolution and the guillotine.

Let them eat cake? My ass!


Years of prison for educators who cheated, not a day in jail for the banksters that rolled us off the cliff in 2007. Sounds like good old American justice to me.


You got that right my friend…I am just wondering when the sheeple are going to realize they out number them and they are not going to take being treated like animals an more…?


Will download it onto my reader tonight.


Excuse me,

Excuse me,

Bankers cheat all the time and none of the bankers that caused the 2008 meltdown went to jail. Why is that? What about the WMD lies told by Collin Powell, Condasleeza Rice and half of Wall Street private intell companies like Booze Allen Hamilton and SAIC??? They lied about WMD’s to steal oil from Iraq and cause billions in profits for the MICC. Why aren’t they in the dock instead of these educators?

They cheated and all Americans got sucked into fake wars on terror that made many of them homeless as their money won’t buy anything anymore.

Why didn’t Neil Bush go to jail when he floated himself a 100 million dollar loan and stiffed the depositors of Siverado Savings and Loan???

Why is that???


The judge failed to note that the testing scandal was a cloud with a silver lining for testing giant, CTB McGraw-Hill, which scored a multi million dollar contract with Georgia 11 months ago in the aftermath of the fiasco. Whatever happens, these vultures will swoop in and make profits, while low level functionaries become the fall guys.

A fair sentence for those engaging in the cheating would be dismissal and revocation of state licenses - but My suspicion is that this judge wanted to distract public attention from the corporate gang who found a windfall in this sorry business.


Is it really the judge’s responsibility to note that fact as part of the trial?

Here’s the most important line in that story (thanks for digging that up).

The new test will be more difficult, and the state is increasing the number of questions students must answer correctly to get what is considered a passing score.

In other words, not enough students were failing the old test to justify the closing of more schools.



As many here have noted, and I have to believe most Americans can plainly see, the mockery of justice the US legal system has become.

When W was governor of Texas, that state implemented the model for no child left behind. They made it appear successful by pruning many school districts of those students most vulnerable and in need of help.


Let us remember that it was reported in The Nation a few years back that the Bushes and the McGraws of McGraw Hill
have vacation compounds next door to each other. The testing craze started with George Bush Jr. McGraw Hill owned Princeton Testing Service. Since then it’s been test, test, test. They found a way to get a lot of public money into private hands, by mandating national testing in our schools. And these poor black educators are going to jail over this!


Meanwhile, Chatsworth and Buffy hide behind their walls of wealth and gated communities, basking in their private country day schools, and otherwise reveling in their privileged existence. Private schools are not burdened with either the cost of standardized testing (and the attendant test processing fees); nor are their teachers’ performance evaluations tied to test scores; and their students do not have to face test anxiety, fear, and potential humiliation. Can you imagine how the parents of Chats and Buff would react to their golden offspring being subjected to armed security guards walking the halls during testing periods (HISD in Houston, TX); students locked in classrooms while being closely monitored by their exhausted teachers and only allowed three-minute bathroom breaks (students) while being escorted by the security guards to the bathrooms and then timed; their wunderkind being forced to endure school lockdown during testing…which takes place two and three times a month? There would be lawsuits galore, which they would win.

When education is profit-driven, institutionalized racism and social disintegration are the inevitable outcomes. When schools are forced/mandated to incur an enormous outlay of their funding by purchasing standardized tests and the accompanying processing fees (million$$$ in school districts) and their performance is gauged by test scores (tied to federal funding), desperate measures to ensure those scores meet the state and federal “performance goals/test scores” will be taken. Teachers lose, students lose even more and all comes tumbling down.

My brother is a teacher who loves what he does, cares deeply about his students and their learning/academic achievement as well as their personal well-being, and does all he can to ensure their future success. He is worn down having to teach to the test and he anguishes over how stressed out and anxious his students are with the tests. Many are non-native English speaking living in poverty/homes where parents work two to three low wage jobs…if they are working at all…to make ends meet. The ongoing excessive prejudicial standardized testing these kids are forced to endure is cruel, inhumane, and unconscionable.

What happened to the teachers in Atlanta is a total miscarriage of justice. The presiding white judge could care less that he has again sent more Black folks to prison whose futures and those of their families he has ruined.


Wow. Cheating is very naughty, but when did it become a criminal offense? The average sentence for a pedophile is 11 years. Three of these people got 20 years. These sentences are clearly out of proportion in any reality, except a racist one. It gives us a whole new spin on the school-to-prison pipeline.