On Wednesday, 11 educators accused for racketeering in the Atlanta public school cheating scandal were convicted, among which is a pregnant woman who will be out on bound until the sentencing.
The charges against the defendants carry up to 20 years of imprisonment. Among the accused include Atlanta public school teachers, testing coordinators and administrators.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. said, “Our entire effort in this case was simply to get our community to stop and take a look at our educational system.
“I think because of the decision of this jury today that people will stop. I think people will stop, and they will make an assessment of our educational system,” he added, according to the New York Times.
In 2013, the accused were indicted after being subjected to years of questioning regarding the questionable rise among scores of students on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.
A subsequent investigation ordered by Gov. Sonny Perdue revealed that 44 schools were responsible for cheating, and that there was “organized and systematic misconduct” in the district. Almost 180 members of school staff were charged with wrongfully increasing test scores.
The strategy helped employees earn more bonuses and bettered the reputation of Beverly Hall in charge of the school district since 1999.
Dr. Hall emphasized that she was blameless. “I can’t accept that there’s a culture of cheating,” she said in an interview.
“What these 178 are accused of is horrific, but we have over 3,000 teachers.”
According to BBC, she was awarded Superintendent of the Year in 2009 by the American Association of School Administrators.
However, she and 34 other district educators were indicted by a Fulton County grand jury for their involvement in racketeering and cheating. While 21 of these took plea deals, two of the accused had passed away before the trial dates.
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