Gov. Deal:178 APS teachers and principals cheated - CBS46 News

Gov. Deal:178 APS teachers and principals cheated

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Gov. Nathan Deal released key findings Tuesday of an investigation into accusations that Atlanta Public Schools teachers and administrators manipulated standardized test results to make it appear that test scores were improving.

"We found cheating in 44 of the 56 schools we examined," said Deal.

178 teachers and principals were found to have cheated on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).

See the outline of the report

Of those, Deal said 38 of those are school principals.

Six of the 38 principals refused to answer investigators' questions, Deal said.

Deal said they are not releasing the full report at this time due to legal concerns.

"I think the overall conclusion was that testing and results and targets being reached became more important than actual learning on the part of children," Deal said.  

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, state schools Superintendent John Barge, interim Atlanta schools Superintendent Erroll Davis, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and Atlanta School Board Chairwoman Brenda Muhammad met with Gov. Nathan Deal before the scheduled announcement Tuesday morning for a meeting on the investigation. 

After the meeting, Muhammad emerged, calling the results "devastating."  

During the investigation, 82 educators confessed to wrongdoing, Deal said.

Students and APS employees told investigators that some teachers provided answers to questions and that others corrected wrong answers on tests.

Investigators conclude that former Superintendent Beverly Hall knew or should have known about the cheating. Hall's attorney, Richard Deane, said investigators have not shared their findings with him or his client.

After initial denials about cheating in the school system, Hall, who has since stepped down as superintendent of APS, appeared in a video where she acknowledged that cheating took place in 2009.

Last year, Atlanta school board members were deeply divided over how to handle the initial investigation into the cheating allegations. The infighting on the school board led to the school district's accrediting agency to place the district on probation.

In August, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed special investigators to look into the cheating allegations at dozens of Atlanta schools. Their findings could lead to criminal charges.

Deal said it's now up to prosecutors to determine if criminal charges will be filed.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed released this statement:

"Today is a dark day for the Atlanta Public School system. The State of Georgia's investigation into allegations of widespread cheating on the CRCT test confirms our worst fears.  There is no doubt that systemic cheating occurred on a widespread basis in the school system.

"Further, there is no question that a complete failure of leadership in the Atlanta Public School system hurt thousands of children who were promoted to the next grade without meeting basic academic standards.

"I am grateful to former Governor Sonny Perdue and Governor Nathan Deal for their leadership on this issue and for bringing the grave problems facing the Atlanta Public School system to light. The investigators followed the facts, regardless of where they led. I would also like to commend Atlanta's press corps, especially The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for its service to the public by providing comprehensive, investigative reporting on the test score discrepancies.

"I am confident that Interim Superintendent Errol Davis, former Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, and Board of Education Chairwoman Brenda Muhammad and Vice-Chairman Reuben McDaniel will take decisive action and lead the system in a manner that resolves the problems uncovered in the investigation and work to ensure that this never happens again.

"The Atlanta Public School system can and will recover from this painful chapter in its history.  The system has the support of teachers and educators who are principled and committed to serving the city's students. The system has the support of thousands of parents who are deeply invested in what happens in the classroom and the academic achievement of their children.  And Superintendent Davis, Chairwoman Muhammad and Vice-Chairman McDaniel have my full support and that of the entire City of Atlanta as they begin to move the school district forward."

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