Two APS teachers named in cheating report cleared and back to work

Two APS teachers named in the devastating state CRCT cheating report have been cleared, which I have to imagine will allow them to sleep better at night.

The clearing of Kiatonya Wormley of Miles Elementary and Lori Dewberry of Jackson Elementary and their return to work reminds us that everyone named in the state cheating investigation has to have a chance to respond to the charges.

The two teachers were among 180 educators implicated in the report, including five high-ranking administrators. If the cheating allegations are upheld, the educators could lose their license to teach and some may also face criminal charges and termination.

According to the AJC:

The reversal doesn’t mean the report’s remaining findings are flawed, said former state Attorney General Mike Bowers, one the special investigators who worked on the probe.

“We were trying to do justice, but to be just,” Bowers said. “Where we are shown we have made a mistake, or read things incorrectly, we are open to revisions. But that cuts both ways.”

Three additional educators were implicated after the report’s July release, Bowers said.

Special investigator Bob Wilson, who also worked on the case, said questions came up regarding these two teachers, but he couldn’t recall what specific information led to the change in their status. But, he said, after reviewing the evidence investigators felt comfortable the two teachers should be removed from the list.

Michael McGonigle, legal services director for the Georgia Association of Educators, said APS made the right decision by reinstating the teachers. He maintains the report has inaccuracies. “The report paints in these broad strokes,” he said. “And now we have two confirmed cases where, upon review, the report was unsubstantiated, legally speaking.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

23 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

September 28th, 2011
10:12 pm

This is the point that I made to Erroll Davis and the school board when I spoke on July 7, 2011. Some teachers are indeed innocent. Therefore, every vestige of due process needs to be adhered to. Congratulations to Ms. Wormley and Ms. Dewberry.

You can view my speech before the school board. It is in the MACE Live TV section of the MACE Website.

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

I also wrote about this in my personal blog.

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

Top School

September 28th, 2011
10:13 pm

NO COMMENT necessary.

Smith parent

September 28th, 2011
10:36 pm

Two out of 180 that’s almost statistically insignificant. I can only imagine from what I have been reading, that most teachers were forced into compromising their integrity. Hopefully more teachers will be cleared.

Unfortunately the real culprits, Augustine and Hall will be cleared, as they have access to noted defense attorneys.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

September 29th, 2011
4:09 am

Dr. John Trotter:

Well-said, per usual, Dr. John.

Smith parent:

With few notable exceptions, among them John P. (Jack) Batson in Augusta, we have the best legal system money can buy, don’t we?

We have too many prostituting shysters (and charlatans for that matter), but too few professionals doing their duty out of a strong sense of its moral, ethical and pragmatic value.

Ernest

September 29th, 2011
7:17 am

I agree with Dr. Trotter in making the same statements, all that were accused are entitled to due process. If you look back at the blogs when this initially was reported, many wanted to throw the book at all of the accused, without giving them a chance to be heard. I believe that in an anxious attempt to identify educators that were involved in cheating, innocent ones were inadvertently caught in the net.

I hope there remains diligence in reporting both those that are cleared along with those determined to be guilty. Let’s also hope those that are cleared can get their reputations back.

Ernest

September 29th, 2011
7:18 am

Did my comment get caught in the filter???

Dunwoody Mom

September 29th, 2011
7:22 am

This is the reason I was disturbed to read that Mr. Davis suspended all teachers named in the scandal. Not only was he passing judgement before all the facts were known, he left many students without teachers. Not a good situation either way. This was one move of Erroll Davis’ that I disagreed with.

Ernest

September 29th, 2011
7:45 am

I agree with Dr. Trotter, all employees are entitled to due process. As a recall reading blogs from when this was originally reported, many were happy to see the accused suspended before giving them an opportunity to be heard. I read some of the report and came away wondering if the standard for the accusation had been reached in some of the cases.

I hope their is just as much diligence in reporting about those that were cleared as we do for those educators found of wrongdoing. I also hope those that are cleared can get their reputations back.

RJ

September 29th, 2011
8:28 am

I’m happy to hear that they were able to return to the classroom. I’ve always said that not everyone is guilty. I’m sure there will be more, but the reality is that the majority cheated. I will be happy to get through this process and move forward. There is much to be done in APS.

Another Math Teacher

September 29th, 2011
8:47 am

Dr. John Trotter :

“Some teachers are indeed innocent.”

Not to comment on these two teachers specifically, but remember, not having enough to convict someone of wrong doing does not mean innocent.

Reinstated Teacher

September 29th, 2011
10:03 am

Whew!! That was close!!

APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater!

September 29th, 2011
11:46 am

@ Smith parent – “two out of 180”

To you and others, I offer the slogan: “Free the Atlanta 178”

Let’s hope that the top level administrators who forced this upon us are prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Thank you very much,
Fighting in theTrenches

Remember the Children

September 29th, 2011
11:56 am

@ Smith Parent, “I can only imagine from what I have been reading, that most teachers were forced into compromising their integrity. ”

That is certainly what they would like you to believe. If it can be compromised, it isn’t really integrity.

Beverly Fraud

September 29th, 2011
12:06 pm

Just because Bev and Kat bought $3,000,000 worth of shares in the ACME eraser company back in 2005, doesn’t mean there was a plan to cheat.

APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater!

September 29th, 2011
12:21 pm

@ Beverly Fraud -

I applaud you for your apt analysis. Hopefully, the coming litigation will totally expose their miscreant deeds.

Thank you very much,
Fighting in the Trenches

Remember the Children

September 29th, 2011
1:54 pm

@ Smith parent. “Two out of 180 that’s almost statistically unimportant …Hopefully more teachers will be cleared.”

I guess you didn’t read the article above closely. “Three additional educators were implicated after the report’s July release, Bowers said.”

Also, if you’ve been reading the entries by “APS 4th grade teacher & a Proud Cheater!” for the last few blogs, it’s quite apparent that many teachers weren’t caught who should have been.

Remember the Children

September 29th, 2011
3:16 pm

The following entry sure sounds like “APS 4th Grade Teacher & Proud of it!,” except it isn’t as high-minded. It’s from the Aug. 31 blog thread, “NCLB: Conspiracy.”

“Guilty APS Teacher and PROUD OF IT!” September 1st, 2011, 5:01 pm. I cheated last year by pointing to correct answers as I walked throughout the room. I will continue to help struggling students choose the right answers until I am no longer evaluated based on my children’s scores. Low scores mean I get placed on a professional development plan with targets. We have no other choice and I do not feel as though I have committed a crime.

It’s easy to say find another job. Oh yea, where? Especially one that pays a decent salary, offers health benefits and has hours that allow for a family life. Besides teaching is what I spent 7 years (Master’s plus 30) of my life preparing for, because it is what I truly wanted to do.”

Remember the Children

September 29th, 2011
3:26 pm

I meant, of course, “APS 4th Grade Teacher & a Proud Cheater!”

@Remember the Childrenb

September 29th, 2011
5:24 pm

You’re really have a forensic spin about your pursuits. I do hope the keystone cop reference didn’t go to your head; it was meant only in jest.

To narrow the field for you I teach in SRT-4, on the North side at a school viewed positively by many for years. Parents have clamored to have their children in my classroom.

My standard for care and learning has always been what I would want for my child. I can assure you that my child has always been in a setting that is intellectually stimulating, and child-centered. I would accept nothing less, and it’s what all children deserve.

I can only imagine, considering your attention to detail, that you would be pleased to have your child in my classroom.

Remember the Children

September 29th, 2011
7:15 pm

@ APS 4th grade Teacher & a Proud Cheater! Not pleased if you erase her NCRC scores or indicate the correct answers to her so she gets promoted without knowing the subject matter.

Whether or not you teach on the North side or in a Title I school in Southwest Atlanta where 80% of the children qualify for reduced lunches, you have been justifying behavior by educators that is indefensible: cheating on the CRCT so that unprepared students get promoted anyway.

The consequences are terrible for the students, and also the taxpayers who must find $1 million-plus in the budget to pay for 1) students’ remediation, 2) the salaries until trial of the teachers indicted of cheating, and 3) repayment of federal funds to APS from 2001-2010. Your smug self-righteousness is really galling to me and I’m sure many other citizens of Atlanta.

mountain man

September 30th, 2011
4:26 pm

So these two teachers were in the group that were urged to quit before it was proven whether they cheated or not?

AKA

October 3rd, 2011
3:35 pm

Hope Hall and Augustine get their just criminal rewards as not only did they cheat the children of Atlanta, they changed the culture of APS to a cruel corrupt work environment by employing pure thugs and gangsters to mistreat masses of good employees for an entire decade. Every year was worst than the last just as the citizens of Newark, New Jersey warned it would be.

Capitalizing on Davis' Haste and Improving My District in the Meantime

October 5th, 2011
3:10 pm

@Dunwoody Mom, You are absolutely correct about the hasty decisions made by King Erroll Davis. He should have waited on a formal internal investigation and due process. In the meantime, I have allowed for 7 of Atlanta’s Principals on Administrative Leave to do volunteer work in my school district supporting some of the novice principals. They are unbelievably knowledgeable and well-trained. These experts should not be at home. I suggest that more superintendents from neighboring counties follow my lead and take advantage of the King’s mistake. I have read the report three times and each time it gets more and more comical! It is full of speculation. We taxpayers have been tricked once again by the powers that be! I live within the city and I am just down right annoyed to learn that there are mistakes in this national report that has ruined the lives of educators and painted a scarring picture of what our future holds.