The trial of 12 former Atlanta Public Schools employees accused of cheating got under way Monday, and it’s expected to be a long one. As jury selection begins, potential jurors are bracing themselves for a three-month trial.
An outside tribunal is recommending four Dougherty County teachers be suspended for 60 days without pay. These are the first cases to be considered since a cheating scandal was uncovered at the southwest Georgia school district last December. Tommy Coleman, attorney for the school board, says they are accused of coaching students through the test.
Two principals of Atlanta schools say cheating couldn't have occurred there because state test monitors were present. The monitors were stationed at the schools, West Manor and White elementary schools, because they had been flagged in a state analysis of erasures on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in 2010. The two principals, Cheryl Twyman and Tamarah Larkin-Currie, were among 178 Atlanta Public Schools employees named in a state report into cheating on the 2009 CRCT.
Some Georgia schools have added security measures for a high-stakes test this month. Students statewide are taking the Criterion Referenced Competency Test. The state is sending test monitors into schools previously suspected in cheating scandals. Atlanta schools have the most serious charges and security.
Last year's standardized tests in Georgia showed an unusually high number of eraser marks, prompting allegations of widespread cheating in Georgia's public schools. More than 50 schools in Atlanta were flagged for cheating. Official investigations are under way, as parents and state officials try to figure out what happened.
Gov. Sonny Perdue is launching a special investigation into cheating allegations in two Georgia school districts. Perdue announced Wednesday that he is unhappy with what he called "woefully inadequate" internal probes by the Atlanta and Dougherty County school systems. The investigations followed a statewide review of all standardized tests taken by first- through eighth-graders in spring 2009 showing unusual numbers of erasures on tests.