As the Fulton County district attorney announced that 35 Atlanta Public Schools educators were indicted by a grand jury on Friday, he commended two parents who came forward to alert authorities.
Those teachers and administrators were accused of cheating on the 2009 CRCT, a standardized exam used to gauge how students perform. But Howard's investigation showed cheating was happening as far back as 2005.
"We believe that these two incidents and these two Atlanta families really express the crimes that have been committed against the children of the city of Atlanta," Howard said.
One of those victims, he said, was Juwanna Guffie, one of the students whose family noticed something wasn't right with her test scores. Guffie told investigators her teacher offered her the correct answers, but she wanted to take the test on her own.
"This happened when I was in the fifth grade," Guffie said. "And now I'm in the eighth, doing good, but I still need to deal with this for the rest of my life."
Another parent, Justina Collins, grew suspicious when her daughter scored one of the lowest scores on mid-year exams, but then passed the CRCT exam, even exceeding standards for her age group. Collins said her daughter is no longer in Atlanta Public Schools.
"I have a 15 year old now who is behind in achieving her goals of becoming what she wants to be when she graduates," Collins said. "It's been hard trying to help her catch up."
Erroll Davis, the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent, said the district has started requiring that all employees take mandatory ethics training every year, and opened up an anonymous hotline where anyone could report ethical violations.
"We've certainly improved the safeguards related to our test materials, and they have now, in fact, become a state standard," Davis said.
The 35 indicted educators span the ranks, from former superintendent Beverly Hall, all the way down to teachers.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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