APS: Cheating not caused by pressure


Atlanta Public Schools reacted to the state's findings that nearly 200 educators that include principals and teachers cheated on standardized testing.

Governor Nathan Deal said the cheating had to do with pressure to perform on standardized tests.

But that is something Atlanta Public Schools Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis said is not true.

"I don't know what makes people cheat," said Davis. "But, I want to make it clear. It is not pressure to perform."

Davis spoke in front of school board members and a packed auditorium of APS employees and parents.

Davis said he still has not had time to review the state's entire investigation and did not have the names of the educators listed. But he said swift action will be taken against educators who cheated.

"I believe our next step is not rocket science," said Davis. "It is clear, it will involve the removal, in a very short period of time for those who created or participated in, or should have halted this scandal. I believe people who cheat students should lose the right to be in front of students going forward."

Former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall could not be reached for comment by CBS Atlanta News in regards to the state's findings.

State investigators said they find it hard to believe Hall did not know there was some sort of cheating in the district.

"I said hey Dr. Hall must go, I said that two years ago," parent Chris Hampton said. Hampton believes Hall did know cheating was taking place and that she put thousands of children's educations in jeopardy.

"There is no excuse here, there is no excuse, whatsoever," said Hampton. "I am saying, why wasn't this done earlier? We are building a permanent underclass and no one seems to care, and no one seems no one gives a damn."

When allegations of cheating first surfaced in regards to the CRCT standardized tests, Hall fervently denied that any cheating took place. In February of 2010 Atlanta Public Schools launched an investigation that came up with no clear evidence of cheating. In September of that same year, former Gov. Sonny Perdue's office launched their own investigation and it is that investigation that has now named 178 educators as cheaters.

Publicly, Hall has never admitted or said she knew of cheating. In a video farewell address posted on Atlanta Public Schools web site in May, Hall for the first time acknowledged allegations of cheating.

"I am confident aggressive, swift action will be taken against anyone who believes so little in our students or system of support that they turned to dishonesty as the only option," Hall said.

APS officials told CBS Atlanta News they did not want to place any burden or blame on Hall.

"We want to address the present and makes sure it doesn't happen again," said Board Chair Brenda Muhammad. "This is not about blame, this is not about beating up Dr. Hall. Based on if you are talking about changing scores or answers we know that she could not have done that," Muhammad said.

Davis said they are reviewing the state's findings and will release more information about punishments on Thursday.

Copyright 2011 WGCL. All rights reserved.

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