APS (Atlanta public schools) embroiled in cheating scandal

July 11, 2011

Erroll Davis, the Atlanta public schools interim superintendent, speaks at a meeting in Atlanta in 2005. (Ric Feld/AP)

The report implicated 38 principals and 140 teachers.

Atlanta public schools Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis called the findings “sobering,” and told parents he is as angry as they are, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The more than 800 page report explains that “a culture of fear” and “data-driven environment” under former APS superintendent Beverly Hall led principals and teachers to achieve high test results “at any cost.”

The report also says that Hall and her senior staff “knew or should have known” about the widespread test cheating. Hall, who stepped down in June amid the accusations and after a power struggle with the board, maintains she was unaware of the cheating but apologized for measures she may have “failed to take.”

The APS board will look at each of the 178 educators named in the investigation this week, and Davis says the educators will be fired or face criminal prosecution. Some who named others educators have been granted early immunity for their cooperation, but will lose their teaching certification in Georgia. 

Davis presented an action plan during the Thursday meeting of the APS board, which includes the use of anonymous surveys, a recommendation that test coordinators are trained by outside agencies, and a yearly, mandatory ethics training class for educators. Davis’s contract was extended to June 2012 to address the scandal.

“I do not accept a focus on performance causes people to cheat,” Davis told reporters this week. “What motivates people to cheat ... is a climate that allows cheating to occur without consequences.”

Cheating on the 2009 CRCT was originally noticed by the Georgia Office of Student Achievement, when too many incorrect answers were erased and changed to the right answers.

Read Davis’s full response to the scandal in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal here.

Read the full report here

See a map of schools flagged.

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