Hall’s attorney: no direct evidence superintendent involved in - CBS46 News

Hall’s attorney: no direct evidence superintendent involved in cheating

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The attorney for former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall said Wednesday evening there is no direct evidence that his client knew widespread cheating took place on standardized student tests.

Attorney Richard Deane issued the statement, one day after a state investigation concluded Dr. Hall knew about cheating on CRCT tests but either ignored it or tried to hide it.

In his statement to CBS Atlanta, Deane said the 800 page report was only made available to him Wednesday morning but said "one very important fact is obvious.  There is no direct evidence in the entire 410-page narrative report or in the accompanying 400 pages of exhibits to show that Dr. Hall knew in 2009 that widespread cheating on the CRCT was occurring or had occurred. 

The report released by Governor Nathan Deal's office shows several educators reported cheating in their schools. But the report says Hall and other administrators ignored those reports and sometimes retaliated against the whistleblowers.

In his statement, attorney Deane said "Apparently, not one of the 82 persons who allegedly "confessed" to cheating told the Investigators that Dr. Hall at any time instructed, encouraged, or condoned cheating. The Report's conclusion that Dr. Hall actually knew of any such cheating is based entirely on supposition.  The further conclusion that Dr. Hall "should have known" rests on negative inferences from selective, circumstantial evidence."

The yearlong investigation shows educators at nearly four dozen Atlanta elementary and middle schools cheated on standardized tests by helping students or changing the answers once exams were handed in.  Then-Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered the probe.

The statement adds, "We reaffirm Dr. Hall's position that she most definitely did not know of any widespread cheating on the CRCT in 2009 or any other year.  The certification Dr. Hall issued in connection with the 2009 CRCT was based on her honest belief that test protocols and security procedures had been followed and that those involved had acted appropriately. Although the Investigators accuse Dr. Hall of failing to cooperate fully with their efforts, they do not cite anything that Dr. Hall herself did in that regard, nor do they cite evidence to show that any so-called "obstruction" resulted from any direction on her part.  We deny that Dr. Hall has engaged in any intentional wrongdoing whatsoever."

The investigators found the cheating dated as far back as 2001 but became rampant beginning in 2005 as then-Superintendent Hall placed more emphasis on test scores. She quickly drew national attention for improving a district where more than three-fourths of students live at or below the poverty line, even winning the national Superintendent of the Year award in 2009 for the rising test scores.

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