Imperiled DeKalb educators will “never stand alone.”

Here is the response from the Organization of DeKalb Educators to the removal of 24 DeKalb educators from classrooms and schools yesterday by the system because they were implicated in the CRCT cheating.

This note to members was signed by the ODE president, David Schutten. He also released this official statement to the media: ODE is in the process of gathering information.  While we do not condone cheating, we expect a fair process, and that our members’ rights will be honored. We need to be sure every stone is unturned to bring all facts to light. To our knowledge we haven’t seen any evidence of cheating in the DeKalb County School System.  All of this is predicated on the possibility there might be testing irregularities as there appears to be no direct evidence of cheating.  We are standing up for the rights of students to be in good learning environments and educators to be in good teaching environments.  Our ultimate goal is that good teachers are back in their classrooms and good educators back in their schools.

Here is Schutten’s message to ODE members:

As many of you have heard by now, 24 DeKalb educators were removed from the classroom and administrative offices due to allegations of CRCT cheating. Currently, these employees have been temporarily reassigned while the state investigates their certification.

While, neither the Organization of DeKalb Educators nor the Georgia Association of Educators condone cheating of any kind, we do stand committed to protecting the rights of all members.

Currently, there is no direct evidence of cheating. ODE is in the process of gathering information. Rest assured, ODE and GAE will be there to defend, counsel, and assist any member who needs us. We’ll be there.

Remember this: As an ODE member, you never stand alone. Never.

Our ultimate goal is to get good teachers back in the classroom and good educators back to their schools.

I promise to keep you informed of the latest developments as we find out more. If, at any point, you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

We stand by our members and for our members. That’s always been our promise to you. That will always be our promise to you

Here’s what we’re doing to help

For any members affected by this situation, we’re matching them with UniServ Directors skilled in member defense. ODE UniServ Directors are available to go with members to any meetings with the school system’s internal investigators.

We will be there to make sure that our members are treated fairly, equally, and with the respect they deserve as professional educators

While our UDs assist members, the GAE Legal Department is contacting the PSC to see what its next moves will be and how those moves will affect our members.

–From Maureen Downey

33 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Mom

January 28th, 2011
9:52 am

Question for David Schutten: How do you know there is no evidence of cheating? Have you seen the information turned over to the D.A.?


January 28th, 2011
10:02 am

Leaving ‘every stone unturned’ is what permitted this mess to proliferate.

Gung Ho Granny

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

Excuse me – no evidence of cheating? Then why all the erasures on the test sheets? Kids don’t move fast enough on those tests to keep erasing and re-answering and then going to the next question.


January 28th, 2011
10:49 am

Good…good…here we go with the smoke and mirrors etc. Im sure it will turn out to be the fault of somebody else.


January 28th, 2011
10:52 am

@David: Pretty simple solution to the “We have no knowledge…” Get ODE lawyers to request a copy of the investigation information Dekalb’s acting Superintendent gave the D.A. yesterday.

Actually though, short of hidden video evidence or unless someone admits to the deed or squeals on a colleague, how can cheating ever be proven????

Just an aside,….another kind of cheating has been going on in Dekalb since Hallford was the super. Summer school principals frequently changed students’ failing grades to passing . When teachers complained directly to the superintendent, they were ignored.

Inman Park Boy

January 28th, 2011
11:01 am

I find it execrable that one professional would support another professional charged with such ethical violations as we have seen in DeKalb and Atlanta systems. Shame!

Shelly D

January 28th, 2011
11:03 am

If the Georgia Association of Educators were really about education—wouldn’t they be doing more to rid us of bad apples rather than crassly exploiting the situation to advertise?

Instead, they are presenting parents and hard-pressed taxpayers with an almost surrealistic example of teacher union dysfunction worthy of that exposed in the documentary film “Waiting for Superman.”

How very typical and how very sad!


January 28th, 2011
11:19 am

“need to be sure every stone is unturned” WHAT? That makes no sense and these people are probably being paid 6 figures.

Nice catch Shar!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marna Moore, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Imperiled DeKalb educators will “never stand alone.” [...]

HS Public Teacher

January 28th, 2011
11:33 am

I do not understand the negative comments here….

All they say is that they want to protect individuals if they are innocent. This is a bad thing?


January 28th, 2011
1:17 pm

I reread the original story. It said Twenty-four DeKalb County educators have been reassigned to nonschool duties over irregularities in 2009 state testing that affected nine schools and possibly 1,400 students.

It did not indicate there was cheating. Other statments made by the school district did not accuse anyone of cheating. ODE was very clear that it did not condone cheating. I interpreted their statement to simply say they wanted to ensure their members are afforded the rights of due process.

To have an allegation like this against you can impact you the rest of your life. Let the investigation move forward then look at the results. If it is determined that any of these employees cheated, I would expect the school district to handle the situation accordingly.

Dunwoody Mom

January 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

Ernest, the school systems press release indicates a difference choice of words “inappropriate conduct”. If Ms. Tyson did not believe there was not at least some malfeasance, why did she turn over the information uncovered during the investgation to the District Attorney? She could have simply just allow the GPSC to handle any employee issues.


January 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

Dunwoody Mom, I’ll agree that the word choice makes this interesting. Expanding on the official Press Release, it says the employees have been refered to the GSPC based on concerns they may have been engaged in inapporpriate conduct during the administration of the 2009 CRCT.

I still submit that the school district is saying “we don’t know if the test results were compromised” and as a result is taking precaution by removing the employees, with pay. This adds an additional labor expense to the school district however protects the rights of due process for the employees.

If anyone else is interested in the school districts response, go to:

V. Powell

January 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

If you could see errasers on the answer sheet which mark would the computer pick-up?

Let’s look at the reasons that this isbeing pursued. Namely, to get focus that the minority schools are not up to the standards of home schooled, private schools or charter schools. This should help to get more funding funding. We do not have budget dollars for the public schools. Where will the funds for the before mentioned schools come from?

The companiy we pay to admidistor the test should put better controls in place and if there are lawsuits they should be made a part-of.

The iresponce to this over the past few years has been eye opening.

one second

January 28th, 2011
2:24 pm

GA law permits a principal to change a students overall grade; any admin in the state of GA can go in and change a students grade for a subject; but not state test.


January 28th, 2011
2:27 pm

Forget the teachers changing grades. When I was younger I would change my own grades.

@Inman Park Boy

January 28th, 2011
3:17 pm

I find it detestable that you think “one professional… support(ing) another professional” is such an abomination. By your own words these people have been charged not convicted. EVERYONE deserves a defense. Hope you never need a lawyer.

bootney farnsworth

January 28th, 2011
5:03 pm

nice assumptions the 24 are guilty as charged.
then there’s the other, more reasonable assumption – they’re being thrown under the bus

Top School

January 28th, 2011
6:25 pm

This is the very reason for having a system for reporting wrongdoing that allows due process.
The retaliation for reporting anything and the unfair process used to intimidate teachers.


January 28th, 2011
7:06 pm

A few points are in order here:

1. Georgia teachers and administrators are not covered employees working under a collective bargaining agreement. As such, they do not have a right to have anyone present during an internal investigation.

2. Failure to cooperate with an internal investigation could be construed as insubordination and subject the employee to discipline.

3. An investigation by law enforcement personnel in which you may be charged criminally is another matter.

It’s a sad state of affairs when we taxpayers have to get law enforcement involved in order to ensure that our public schools are run correctly.


January 28th, 2011
7:54 pm

I am at a loss trying to figure out just how any of these cheating allegations will be proved. If no one admits to changing answers and no one squeals on a colleague, how will there ever be indisputable evidence that it even occurred? It seems that the statistical probability of the number of erasures on the answer sheet is all they have….[except for the Atherton people who admitted and resigned]. No real evidence that the answers were changed by anyone other than the students who were taking the test. ????????


January 28th, 2011
8:14 pm

Excuse Me! The Cheating is obvious. Just sit down with any graduate of DCSS or APS etc,etc… and any educated person can tell the child has NOT been educated. Case Closed! Dr. Trotter is the only one speaking the truth. Urban education is a joke. The quicker we get rid of the Federal Ed Dept. the better we all will be. Its Welfare Education.

BassAckward Dekalb Administrators and Curriculum Leaders.

January 28th, 2011
8:17 pm

That’s just nonsense talk from the ODE. They can do nothing, and will not do a thing. All they do is take your money, show up to the board meetings, voice their concerns, and that’s it. They’re spineless! Leading their members to believe that they can affect change, and they cannot. They can only voice their concerns, and do so in a manner that doesn’t upset the board members and the superintendent, as they want to keep their access to the county teachers to keep collecting their dues. Leaches and predators!

BassAckward Dekalb Administrators and Curriculum Leaders.

January 28th, 2011
8:25 pm

APS has cheated their way into all the accolades they have received. The students pay dearly when they’re in college and cannot do basic entry Algebra/Calculus and/or writing. Many end up taking remedial courses. Beverly Hall knew something was amiss. They all knew. When the whistleblower was spilling the information 5years ago they had her(them) fired. These administrations and Georgia Department of Education do not want to hear the truth, that’s why teachers are stifled, and threatened, in the schools. All of this information is nothing new. They need to have a TRUE whistleblower access.

Name One

January 29th, 2011
12:29 am

The test scores were statistically IMPOSSIBLE. There is NO DOUBT that tests were changed. The question is WHO changed the test scores. It is implausible that any teacher would do so on his/her own without the implicit consent of their principal or AP.

Seriously, people. Go talk to a statistics professor or an AP math teacher. Tests were altered. The question is by whom.

Burroughston Broch

January 29th, 2011
1:06 am

ODE is putting on a brave face to save face and appear relevant. They state, “Currently there is no evidence of cheating?” What about those who have already confessed and been found guilty?

This mirrors the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Congressional Black Caucus and similar organizations struggling to prove their relevance against accumulating evidence to the contrary.

@ BassAckward Dekalb Administrators and Curriculum Leaders.

January 29th, 2011
10:18 am

@ BassAckward Dekalb Administrators and Curriculum Leaders.
January 28th, 2011

The reason the teacher organizations (GAE, ODE, PAGE, MACE) can’t effect change is because
1)the teacher membership is spread over too many different organizations and
2)the fact that most teachers in GA are spineless scaredy-cats!
If all of Georgia’s teachers would band together as one voice and take real action, we could together effect change.
I saw this in my prestigious St. Louis school system back in 1981. Missouri does not have collective bargaining rights and it is illegal for teachers to go on strike in MO. However, back in 1981 I walked the line (strike) with my colleagues – ALL of us. It took only one day. We shut down the schools and ever since, the BOE has entered into win-win bargaining with the local NEA. Not one of us received so much as a reprimand in our file, and no police were involved.
We need to consolidate our efforts and choose ONE teacher organization. Then we need to show the school systems who REALLY runs the schools – teachers! United we stand, divided – we ar falling! :(
Take note – this was NOT a union, but a teacher organization with bite!
Politics are ruining Georgia’s school systems and nothing will change unless teachers stand upright and let their voices be heard as ONE!!!

Name One

January 29th, 2011
11:52 am

David Schutten is a board member of eduKALB, who endorsed gene Walker for the Board of Education.

This Gene Walker:
“Parole board member on trial for sexual harassment”
State parole board member Gene Walker is on trial for allegedly sexually harassing an assistant then having her transferred because he didn’t like her physique.
A similar lawsuit against Walker when he was a state senator was settled out of court. This lawsuit, which seeks at least $1 million, will be decided by a Fulton County jury.
“State paid $190,000 to settle earlier sex harassment suit”
The sexual harassment lawsuit pending against state parole board member Gene Walker isn’t the first time he’s been named in such a case. The Associated Press has learned that the state quietly paid $190,000 a dozen years ago to settle the first lawsuit in which Walker was accused of sexually harassing a secretary.
The payment has never been identified as such in a state budget or audit, but following inquiries by The AP, the Legislative Fiscal Office and the state auditor confirmed the money was paid through a budget category labeled “other operating funds” of the state Senate in 1993.
The earlier lawsuit was filed when Walker was a powerful state senator. The state paid to settle allegations that he and two legislative colleagues sexually harassed a secretary in the state Senate.
An even bigger payout potentially is at stake in the current lawsuit against Walker, which was filed by a former parole board secretary. Plaintiff’s lawyers have told the state’s risk managers they believe their claim is worth $1 million to $3 million in damages.
Walker, who helps decide when murderers, sex offenders, and other felons are released from prison, declined a request for an interview. He referred questions through a parole board spokeswoman to his state-paid attorney, Bruce Edenfield.

Name Two

January 29th, 2011
2:13 pm

Very insteresting comments about Gene Walker. David does loves Gene Walker, as he does put politics and the interests of the employees sometime over what is best for the students in DeKalb County. Gene wants all the employees in DeKalb County to be paid fairly. He is a big supportor of all the employees in DeKalb County and he wants all employees in DeKalb County to have due process, despite if they are a teacher, or a custodian. Gene Walker will vote the way these groups want his to vote. That is why he has their support.

Name One

January 29th, 2011
6:45 pm

Gene supports a tax increase because he has 5 or 6 relatives working for the school system, including his son in the hugely bloated school police dept.

Of course Walker never disclosed that during his two campaigns for BOE.

Gene also promised the Lakeside PTA their attendance lines wouldn’t change, even though he is one of nine votes, and had absolutely no authority to do so.

But hey, David Schutten supports Gene Walker, so Walker’s got that going for him.

Top School

January 29th, 2011
7:44 pm

Retribution typically manifests itself in unfair performance evaluations…transfers…etc.

They need to investigate more than just the past year…
As far as I am concerned …

No test score …APS or Dekalb…under the administration of these corrupt entities…
NO Test Score…ABOVE AVERAGE- AVERAGE or BELOW…is worth anything. All the testing under these ADMINISTRATORS…FAILED.

START OVER…with the correct leadership.
This means ALL TESTING IS INVALID…I would say for the last 10 years under these two systems.


January 29th, 2011
9:13 pm

The teachers who recieved bad evaluations cheated. They needed evidence of good teaching.


January 30th, 2011
11:07 pm

When Dr Lewis was in trouble, DCSS gave him $100,000 for legal fees to defend himself. No details could be released because the case was under investigation. DCSS spent $2.4 million during the Lewis investigation in legal fees Was this to protect some unspecified person, itself, BOE members, administration people, who?

Teachers. No legal defense money. Lots of details on the investigation.
This whole thing smells. No one has asked if there is some common connection between the 24 and a higher up in the DCSS administration.

The 24 are innocent until proven guilty. DCSS should give them legal defense money like they gave Dr Lewis.

I suspect that this was a deal between SACS and DCSS to give SACS cover to clear DCSS and pronounce it to be well run. The same with the redistricting. You can’t cure cancer with iodine. The system is rotten to the core and needs radical surgery..