In an update to the earlier CRCT investigation story, the AJC is now reporting that Mike Bowers and Bob Wilson were appointed special assistant district attorneys in Fulton County today, signaling that criminal prosecutions are coming.
Both former prosecutors, Bowers and Wilson were appointed by the governor in August to jump-start the probe into CRCT cheating by Atlanta and Dougherty County schools. A frustrated Sonny Perdue felt that the two systems did not do a thorough job in their own internal investigations into why their classrooms led the state in the number of wrong to right erasures on the 2009 CRCT.
Both districts had rates that far exceeded the Georgia average and had multiple classrooms flagged by a state audit. The questions that remain unresolved: Who cheated, how and was it systematic?
Hopefully, a grand jury will get some answers.
Bowers and Wilson, appointed in August by Gov. Sonny Perdue to be special investigators, have “presented my office with clear-cut, direct, eye-witnessed evidence” that student tests were improperly altered by Atlanta Public School employees, Howard said. “It is now our duty to determine the extent of this wrongdoing and decide in which cases criminal prosecution may be appropriate.”
When asked about the extent of the cheating scandal, Howard said, “If it was just one person, I don’t think we’d be doing this today.”
Howard said he may impanel a special investigative grand jury to help with the probe. This would also allow prosecutors to seek formal charges.
“It signifies they’re looking to indict people,” said Atlanta criminal defense attorney Jerry Froelich, who is not involved in the investigation. “It’s a sign that they feel they’ve gotten to the stage where they think they have enough evidence to bring charges.”
–By Maureen Downey, AJC Get Schooled blog