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Feds Probe Atlanta Test Cheating Concerns

The spotlight continues to burn brightly on suspected cheating in the Atlanta public school system. Over the weekend, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reported that federal authorities are looking into whether fraud was committed when test scores were improperly boosted.

The district told the AJC it hasn't received any formal requests for information yet.

News of a potential federal investigation comes on the heels of an announcement last month by Gov. Sonny Perdue that he was appointing his own special investigators to look into the test-score cheating allegations in Atlanta and in Dougherty County, which includes Albany.

The paper's education columnist, Marueen Downey, writes that she's skeptical the pair of investigations will produce much, especially in the way of information from elementary school children about an exam they took 18 months ago.

I still wonder if either investigation will produce any significant results. The success of both probes depends on the willingness of employees at suspect schools to either confess or turn in their colleagues. And the latter could only happen if teachers or administrators witnessed cheating or were told about it later. It would not be enough to maintain that cheating must have happened because the test scores were too high.

A report released in August from an Atlanta schools-commissioned group found there was reason to look at serious disciplinary action against more than 100 Atlanta teachers and principals. The report found widespread testing irregularities in 12 schools, and Superintendent Beverly Hall removed those principals just before the school year started.

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