« Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan Decries School Funding "Injustices" in Philly and Nation | Main | Education Week's Leaders To Learn From Honors Stellar District Leaders »

Atlanta Educators Threatened Students Against Reporting Cheating, Jury Told

By guest blogger Madeline Will 

As the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial continued into its 10th week, new testimony revealed disturbing ways students were involved in what prosecutors have said was a widespread culture of cheating.

According to an Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter, some elementary school teachers threatened students to keep them from "snitching" about the cheating.

Also, former Dobbs Elementary School teaching coach Lori Revere-Paulk testified that some 4th grade teachers at Dobbs would tell their students things like, "you all just dumb. You can't learn anything." 

Still, according to testimony, those students would score well on state tests—despite other test results suggesting they would not. 

According to the AJC, three former Dobbs educators—principal Dana Evans, 4th grade teacher Angela Williamson, and special education teacher Dessa Curb—are among the dozen educators currently standing trial for their alleged roles in correcting students' wrong answers on state standardized tests. 

Evans has denied participating in, allowing, or knowing of cheating (despite state investigators saying she should have known about it), but accepted responsibility for the cheating at Dobbs, according to the AJC.

"We commend her for accepting responsibility—she is one of the few in (Atlanta Public Schools) to do so," state investigators wrote.

Earlier this week, testimony revealed that former regional executive director Michael Pitts did not say that he had known about possible cheating when interviewed by a blue ribbon commission. 

When cheating was first suspected by the state, an independent blue ribbon commission interviewed educators in the district (later, special investigators and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were appointed by the governor). Over the course of the trial, many former educators have testified that they told Pitts about potential cheating before the cheating was ever publicly suspected.

But an associate with the firm who conducted the interviews testified that Pitts never said he had been warned about cheating, according to the AJC

Prosecutors plan to rest their case sometime in January, and the AJC is posting regular updates of the long-running trial.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments