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A Dozen Former Educators Stand Trial in Atlanta Schools Cheating Case

In opening arguments in the Atlanta school district cheating case, prosecutors said that a dozen former educators lied and cheated to meet high academic targets set by former superintendent Beverly Hall and earn pay bonuses and other job perks.

Their actions, prosecutors argued, were part of a widespread conspiracy to make students' performance on state content tests look better than it actually was. Defense attorneys argued that their clients did not condone or participate in cheating and that jurors would hear from multiple witnesses to vouch for their character.

The first witnesses were expected to be called today after prosecutors and defense attorneys presented opening arguments on Monday. The trial comes nearly 18 months after a Fulton County grand jury indicted 35 former teachers and administrators in Atlanta, including Hall, on a range of conspiracy and racketeering charges stemming from one of the highest-profile cases of cheating in public schools.

Hall, whose trial has been delayed indefinitely while she undergoes treatments for cancer, is a former national superintendent of the year.

The trial for the 12 former educators is expected to last several months.

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