Arrests made in CRCT cheating. Are more to come?

The former principal at Atherton Elementary and the assistant principal have been arrested for their involvement in the CRCT cheating scandal.

The arrests come about a week after a state audit showed answers had been changed on last summer’s fifth-grade CRCT retests at four elementary schools.

Atherton Elementary in DeKalb County was one of the schools cited in the audit. The other schools were: Atlanta’s Deerwood Academy, Parklane Elementary in Fulton County and Burroughs-Molette Elementary in Glynn County.

James Berry, the former Atherton principal, resigned after the audit was released. The assistant principal, Doretha Alexander, was reassigned.

The DeKalb District Attorney’s Office looked into allegations of cheating saying state law makes it a felony to tamper with state documents.

Will more arrests follow in DeKalb and other communities? Will the arrests do anything to curb cheating?

NOTE: Search district-by-district 2009 CRCT results here.

121 comments Add your comment

jim d

June 19th, 2009
11:48 am

now let the the whinning begin!!

David S

June 19th, 2009
12:21 pm

Just don’t expect any arrests of those REALLY reponsible. And certainly don’t expect any arrests of the people in both Washington and in our own state who continue to perpetuate the FRAUD that government run education is actually providing a good education to anyone.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:28 pm

Arrested!? That’s a little much – take away their licensure, fire them, put the school on the Needs Improvement List… then move on. I think Crawford was reaching with this move and wanted to make an example out of them. They deserve punishment… but being arrested for cheating on a 5th graders test?! Give me a break. If that’s the case, Dekalb County juvenile detention should be close to bursting at the seems with cheaters.

Classroom Teacher

June 19th, 2009
12:29 pm

Wow! I didn’t really think nothing much would happen. Obviously since they were arrested it should show, as jim d stated before, that we don’t need new laws passed to get rid of these clowns.

shaggy

June 19th, 2009
12:30 pm

Arrest them all, make the kids take the test all over again.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:30 pm

Of course I meant “seams” not “seems”… fingers are moving a little to swiftly due to the cappacino I had earlier! Caffeine ROCKS!

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:33 pm

@Shaggy – the kids have already passed on through the 6th grade. They didn’t do this… those clowns did. Hopefully they received the help they needed in whatever middle school they landed in. They shouldn’t have to take it again.

GaNative

June 19th, 2009
12:37 pm

Crawford had nothing to do with the arrests. It’s out of his hands. They were arrested for falsefying federal documents. The feds got em.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:42 pm

GANative – wrong. Those tests are NOT property of the federal government… CRCT is a STATE test.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:43 pm

Why are my comments not showing up?

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:44 pm

Wrong GaNative – those tests are STATE mandated… not federal.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
12:46 pm

Wrong GaNative – those tests are STATE mandated… they are not federal documents!

GaNative

June 19th, 2009
12:49 pm

Ok, but the reason behind the cheating is to manipulate funds from the federal government. That’s where the money comes from.

GaNative

June 19th, 2009
12:50 pm

From ajc: The arrests follow an audit last week that found a high number of eraser marks on tests from four Georgia schools, including Atherton. State officials have said the higher scores helped the schools meet federal standards.

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
12:54 pm

The reason behind cheating is not necessarily to manipulate funds. He wanted to make AYP, the funds recieved if any are a result. You only recieve funds for significant gains, not sure that is what he was going after, think he just wanted to meet goals

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
12:55 pm

Federal standards just means he met goals established by NCLB, but Whatever is correct, it is a state mandated test.

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
12:59 pm

You receive federal funds based on number of free and reduced lunch numbers (economically disadvantaged subgroup) which is title 1 money. AYP scores don’t affect this money, unless you fail to spend it correctly. If you do make significant gains, you do get award money (I have seen amounts from $1000 and much higher awarded to schools depending on the type of gain made), and they can give it as monetary awards to staff or spend on school, their choice). Schools do want to keep their title 1 distinguised school title also. That is an honor.

GaNative

June 19th, 2009
12:59 pm

It’s all a big mess. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Which is better, let them all fail and have the whole school system lose accrediation like Clayton did and not go to jail, or to use the eraser and go to jail?

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
1:00 pm

What do you guys think the article means by “more arrests to come??”

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
1:01 pm

I refuse to believe that Crawford Lewis wasn’t the driving force behind the arrests. Granted he can’t MAKE the DA file charges, but he can darn sure recommend it – he’s their boss! He doesn’t like for anyone to make a fool out of him… other than what he does himself.

Knowing this principal, he wanted to make AYP. He didn’t want anyone to hold Atherton up and say they couldn’t cut it. He went about it totally the wrong way (obviously) and he deserved to be FIRED and his license revoked. He (and the AP) shouldn’t be able to get another job in a school system. Let ‘em fry burgers. Cheaters never prosper, but they don’t deserve jail.

Logical consequences

June 19th, 2009
1:04 pm

Maybe if DeKalb had dealt with problems like bullying and other behavior problems, if they followed state law when it came to teacher grievances, discipline wouldn’t be out of control, students would know they would be held accountable, and they might have actually learned something, and then no one would have been desperate enough to cheat.

If this DA wants to really make a difference instead of just making a publicity stunt, he’ll offer a deal and let these two low level administrators testify to just how widespread it is, and how high up it is condoned.

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
1:04 pm

If they fail, they fail and there are processes for that, such as state taking over the school if it happens several years in a row, and all new administrators, teachers, etc. brought in, etc or really working to make sure the best teachers and administrators are in place, but definitely firing and taking certification away from those who cheat. DCSS hasn’t made AYP as a system in years, what are the consequences for that? What is the state doing about it? Same leaders are in place.

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
1:08 pm

Logical, you make a lot of sense. Grievances are a big issue, they are refusing to hear them. On the website, it says hearings are held within 10 days, if pursued. “IF PURSUED”, that means they can choose to sweep it under the rug. I think AYP should also be based on the gains individual students make. For example, if a student moves from 780 to 790 (passing is 800), then it should count. It is very hard to move them when they are very low, but a kid and a teacher who work hard improvements for them should count.

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
1:13 pm

Thank you Whatever. You are right, Dr. Lewis wants to save his own neck. I am sure he hopes the state (our state superintendent) sees that how he responded to this matter and how other school systems did not.

Also, did you know that they can go to another state and teach. I have seen other DCSS administrators do that very same thing.

GaNative

June 19th, 2009
1:13 pm

To me, “more arrests to come” means they are going after those responsible at the other schools that were found guilty of the same process.

R U Sure

June 19th, 2009
1:19 pm

Shaggy, the students should not have to take it again. They took it once and failed (that is frustrating), then they went to summer school and had to take it again. They were all 6th graders this year and probably did not get help they needed, because they did not have a score that reflected they needed help, and were cheated again. They each need to be tracked to see if they passed this year as 6th graders, I bet they probably did not, but I can’t assume anything, because we have to believe boys and girls can turn things around with good teachers. Not sure what schools they went to. If they failed again, we have to give them lots of support until they graduate. We owe it to them.

Interesting

June 19th, 2009
1:29 pm

How about doing an audit on all of the schools in Georgia? I would not be surprise if more cheating is found. Thanks to the pressure regarding the bias high-stake testing, this sounds like some moves of desperation. How about doing audits on all of the schools in Georgia on how a lot of them are “wasting” state and federal dollars on “foolishness” that has nothing to do with educating students. What is the hold up on the other districts that are involved such as APS? Are they working on
their “cover-ups”?

Rhonda

June 19th, 2009
1:47 pm

This has been going on for decades, ever since the schools started using high stakes testing. But it erupted with No Child Left Behind, the AIDS of Education. In the 1990s a poor achieiving elementary on the far southwest side cheated its way out of its Title 1 grant! The scores were suddenly too high for it to qualify as a Title 1 school. I know this happened because I edited the grant! The next year they sent monitors and the scores went back down. A middle school principal near Grant Park would suspend her low achieving students right before test day. Then when they took the make-up, the principal knew what the questions were. One year the security became compromised and some tests disappeared. She blamed the counselor. He was not even at the school at the time it happened. But she was a stupid,incompetent, racist and the counselor had a Ph.D—way more education than she did. (She had used her connections to get her job.) She did not like him because he spoke his mind and was brighter than she was. Other schools like to blame Special Education and say that they cheat. But they don’t. Special ed. just knows how to give the kids the 504 accommodations they need and how to teach.

THE PROBLEM IS THE TESTS AND THE REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS WHO GAVE US NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. REMEMBER THIS IN THE NEXT ELECTION. PUT SOME GOOD MODERATE/LIBERAL DEMOCRATS IN THE MANSION AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SO THE SCHOOLS CAN GO BACK TO TEACHING. GEORGIA IS THE MOST ADVANCED STATE IN THE SOUTH. IT DESERVES A QUALITY GOVERNMENT THAT SERVES THE PEOPLE AND GOOD SCHOOLS.

Seen it all

June 19th, 2009
2:08 pm

I know that the arrests are silly in a sense and are simply an attempt to make an example out of someone. But in a way, I AM GLAD SOMEBODY WENT TO JAIL. I am tired of seeing administrators, teachers, and other staff members do what they want in our schools and get away with it. In my career, I have seen students verbally and emotionally abused by teachers and staff members, physically assaulted by teachers and staff members, administrators and staff members falsify documents and reports, teachers actually break the rules of standardized test administration,etc. I have know of administrators and staff members who spent school and county funds at will, with no real instructional benefit to the students or school. This is just the tip of the iceberg. And nothing happened to these outrageous offenders. Most are still in education, working somewhere for big bucks, while REAL teachers and instructional leaders can’t find work.

Look at that PSC santion database on the AJC. Sickening. Listen people- to be sanctioned by the PSC, you have to be committing OUTRAGEOUS acts of depravity. You know things like committing criminal acts on your students, caught on camera. But heck in some places, even that is excused away and covered up.

We need to start holding our schools accountable. It is the actions of these gross offenders which explain why our children perform so poorly in school. Instead of trying to teach the children, our school personnel would rather cheat on a test and erase the students answers.

I said it before- If you lie, you will cheat. If you cheat, you will steal. If you steal, you will kill. They are already lying, cheating, and stealing. Now they are killing our children intellectually and spiritually. I have seen so many young people whose spirit and desire to learn was crushed by horrid teachers and administrators.

Our children and communities deserve better.

Susan

June 19th, 2009
2:11 pm

Did student teaching @ Atherton as UGA intern Spring 1975. Dekalb was great system…then of course, as usual, minorities demanding “rights” take over & destroy schools, neighborhoods. This is end result when inferior race takes over.

ScienceTeacher671

June 19th, 2009
2:18 pm

Susan, “inferior race”?? I hope you aren’t working in public education now, but maybe the “segregation academies” are more your speed anyway?

Reality2

June 19th, 2009
2:23 pm

Student teaching in ‘75… So, Susan should be just about out of classrooms by now – IF she stayed in education. Thank goodness.

Surprised!

June 19th, 2009
2:32 pm

Wow, Susan! I can not believe your racist comment. I am glad you are not working at Atherton or I hope any other school teaching minority children. I would hate to have you educate my child or any other students. I would rather have a cheating principal than a racist like you in the field of education. You are truly more harmful.

Educator

June 19th, 2009
2:41 pm

SUSAN, What an ignorant comment to make! I am a much more recent graduate of the University of Georgia. I am certain that they would be embarrassed to know that they actually awarded someone so very ignorant – any kind of degree.
THANK GOD YOU ARE WAY TOO OLD TO STILL BE IN THE CLASSROOM!!!

Educated Black Child

June 19th, 2009
2:42 pm

That comment was very RACIST. I am a product of Dekalb County and I grew up on the South Side of town, But one thing I do know is I got an education, It may not have been a good as the North Side, But I took matters in my own hands, and for the record not one time during my school career did we destroy schools and take over. I can’t help that Teacher don’t want to teach students on the south side of town they rather go up north, but by doing this they have passed over the opportunity of helping out these students.
Students can’t help the hand that they are delt,and that was this situation, there are not enough teachers out here who care about educating a child. All they want to do is go work and go home, Not knowing that there is more to educating a child. So Susan Dekalb County is still a great county, if you took your head out your ASS you could see that most counties go through these changes and if people like you would contribute time and eduaction to these students maybe they would pass.

Surprised!

June 19th, 2009
2:42 pm

As an educator, I am sorry that these administrators at all four schools felt the need to falsify documents. However, I am glad because the time has long passed for us to discuss the undue pressure placed on educators. It is not only a matter of teaching the standards, but a host of factors that contribute to students meeting standards. Every parent of a child that fails is equally as responsible. When are parents going to accept responsibility for their child’s education. Teachers can only do so much…especially when kids are significantly below grade level.

high school teacher

June 19th, 2009
2:44 pm

I think it’s a sad state of affairs when administrators cheat on the CRCT. The multiple problems that this highlights…

WOW !!!!!

June 19th, 2009
2:45 pm

Susan’s comment is a perfect example of ignorance at it’s best. Most of us were taught that if you do not have something intelligent to say – keep your mouth shut so no one know that you are ignorant.

I am not at all convinced that the principals were the only ones who knew about this cheating. I also believe that it is probably a lot more wide-spread than we would like to admit.

Peppermint Candy

June 19th, 2009
2:50 pm

I am a teacher. Mr. Barry did no more than teachers a pressured to do by principals. We are often forced to change grades because parents threaten to call Crawford Lewis. Principal do not want to look bad, they are very weak, and will not stand up to Crawford Lewis. As sad as it may sound and look, Mr. Berry did what he had to do to keep his job. His friend Mr. Lewis did not support him. What Mr. Barry fail to thing about was, the student were going to pass anyway. All parents were going to request that their children be passed on to the next grade if they failed. Can’t you see that former President George W. Bush made education a joke. The CRCT is also a joke. It is not recognized outside the state of GA. Let me not mention, principals and their staff have been know to make threatening statements to teachers about the schools not making AYP.

dlove

June 19th, 2009
3:11 pm

MACE was right about the cheating on tests. MACE had it right from the start.

Where were GAE and PAGE?

June 19th, 2009
3:16 pm

MACE has always had it right from the get go when it came to cheating on these tests. What’s more, they were publicly willing to say so. Where have GAE and PAGE been, and have they been willing to take the same public stand that MACE did?

Turd Ferguson

June 19th, 2009
3:23 pm

Arrest them all and toss their butts in jail, where they BELONG!!

Turd Ferguson

June 19th, 2009
3:38 pm

Susan 2:11 Pm comment…Precisely!!

Sing or Sing Sing?

June 19th, 2009
3:38 pm

Is the DA making a splash, or does he really want to know? Is the DA willing to cut a deal for the greater good to find out how high does this go up and if this is isolated or systemic?

Are the administrators going to be given a chance to sing, or just sent to Sing Sing as scapegoats?

Just Observing

June 19th, 2009
3:46 pm

Perhaps “Dr” Berry was just trying to be “Premier”!

You people who blame the test – that’s absurd. That’s like blaming the insurance company when someone kills someone for the money. Is no one culpable for their own actions anymore?

Get the idiot out of the system – an NO – Dr. Lewis had nothing to do with getting him arrested – Dr. Lewis defended him and insinuated that anyone who questioned the “miracle” scores was racist… Dr. Lewis should go too…

Haley

June 19th, 2009
3:46 pm

One word: OVERKILL.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
3:47 pm

@ Turd: for what crime?? IMO, this is not a crime! It’s a damn shame, morally wrong, and just plain stupid… but not a crime. They cheated on a 5th grade test! Being arrested for this is just covering a field of manure with garbage… they both stink! I don’t want my tax dollars to be spent arresting a principal & his flunky for using an eraser.

Whatever

June 19th, 2009
3:48 pm

@ Turd: never mind. Your second post confirmed what I already thought!

Dr. John Trotter

June 19th, 2009
4:34 pm

I have found that DeKalb County (and it is not the only system, but perhaps the worst) will go to great ends to cover up wrong doing. In late April, they went to the end of trying to try “ban” me from being on any property in the DeKalb County Schools — as if they can arbitrarily do this with egregious trumped-up lies because they do not like my message to them: They are engaging in corruptiom. They seem to have the philosophy of killing the messenger if they disagree with the message. They even had their joke of a legal counsel, Josey Alexander, to threaten me with arrest for “ïllegal pickets.” For real! Lol. Of course, MACE kept picketing and drawing attention to “systematic cheating” in DeKalb. Channel 11 (Keith Whitney) even covered one of the many pickets which we staged AFTER Josey Alexander’s preposterous threat about “ïllegal pickets.” (Has she ever heard of Category One Free Speech Forums? What about Content Regulations which, by the way, are patently illegal? What about Ronald Ramsey? Where did these lawyers go to law school? Were they asleep in the classes when Constitutional Law was taught?) Yes, Ronald Ramsey summarily and illegally shut down a grievance hearing when a Clarkston High School teacher was about to testify, along with other teacher-witnesses, that there is systematic cheating taking place in the area of grading at DeKalb’s Clarkston High School. Why don’t the State’s investigators start at Clarkston High School if they REALLY want to uncover what is apparently taking place in a widespread manner thoughout the State of Georgia — and especially in the more urban areas? Where is that joke of an educator Mark Elgart? No standards have been violated, Mark Elgart? Or, Little Markie, were you only interested in Clayton County because your little friend Ericka Davis called upon you for help? I challenge Mark Elgart to a public debate about the hypocrisy of how SACS’s so-called “standards” are applied. It is hit or miss. They are applied in the most capricious and arbitrary ways. What about a debate, Mark? Are you still afraid? Still want people to treat you like you are a demi-god? In my book, you and Crawford Lewis and Beverly Hall are three of the biggest educational hypocrites in Georgia. Hey, Mark Elgart, I am calling you out. Are you afraid? My name is John Trotter. You know how to contact me.

anna

June 19th, 2009
4:59 pm

Does anyone know if the 2 administrators were members of ODE or PAGE? That may be why we haven’t heard from these 2 organizations. It is ridiculous the conflict of interest that exists. GO MACE!