APS reinstates a dozen teachers caught up in cheating scandal

The AJC learned today that Atlanta Public Schools is reinstating 12 teachers, who were “cleared” on charges they cheated on state exams.

The language in the APS letters to the teachers is not a resounding proclamation of  their innocence — “APS has now concluded that investigation and has determined that there is insufficient evidence to establish that you engaged in, or failed to report, any wrong-doing.”

But the teachers are being offered jobs for next year.

According to the AJC:

The educators, whose names have not yet been released, were put on paid leave in July after being named in a 400-plus page cheating investigation. Since reviewing the cases, the district concluded there was not enough evidence to prove the educators cheated or knew about cheating.

“APS has now concluded that investigation and has determined that there is insufficient evidence to establish that you engaged in, or failed to report, any wrong-doing with respect to the administration of standardized tests,” said a letter to the educators. “Therefore, you will be offered an employment contract for the 2012-2013 school year.”

In July, a state cheating investigation found evidence of cheating at 44 schools and accused some 180 educators of cheating, knowing about cheating or failing in to properly give secure standardized tests. In the year since, the district has been working to review the cases and get guilty educators off the payroll. APS Superintendent Erroll Davis said this spring he expected some teachers would be cleared.

As of today, about 30 educators remain on the payroll and face termination.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

45 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

June 21st, 2012
3:01 pm

Don’t seem to be ‘clearing’ too many administrators do they? Is that because it was SYSTEMIC and started from the TOP?

carlosgvv

June 21st, 2012
3:35 pm

The Atlanta Public School system publicly fired a few teachers. Now, they want to quietly reinstate the majority who were charged with wrong doing. That is precisely what I expected them to do.

Loose Noose

June 21st, 2012
3:47 pm

The noose intended for these educators was not tied tight enough. This public lynching of black educators in the 21st century is shameful. The report is indicative of Jim Crow being alive and well in the state of Georgia. They were all guilty until proven innocent. Who would want any of these educators to stand before their children at this point? Shame on the public for pouncing so harshly on these educators. Shameful, shameful, shameful. They should all sue. They are still ruined before the nation!

bootney farnsworth

June 21st, 2012
4:05 pm

this is exactly why I’m encouraging the GPC 282 to challenge their release.
the state can’t get out of its own way

Mountain Man

June 21st, 2012
4:14 pm

So these we part of those that were encouraged to resign? Are they not glad they decided not to resign?

drew (former teacher)

June 21st, 2012
4:40 pm

“Insufficient evidence” is as good as “innocent” for these teachers. They hit the education lottery! Almost a full year of paid leave. . . name cleared . . .and now you have another month or so to rest up before getting back in the game. And don’t forget to lawyer-up and get some more of that APS cheese!

I guess it ain’t cheating unless you’re “convicted”, right?

Now APS can start preparing for the inevitible lawsuit(s). Just how

William Casey

June 21st, 2012
4:49 pm

I would like to know what the “insufficient” evidence was before commenting.

Teaching is worse in FL

June 21st, 2012
5:02 pm

I am disgusted by cheating as much as anyone, but isn’t it possible that SOME of these teachers were ACTUALLY innocent?

Loose Noose

June 21st, 2012
5:13 pm

I read the report in its entirety. It is poorly written, full of assumptions and innuendo. It cannot be used in a court of law because there is not enough basis in fact. What a waste of public dollars. What was this fiasco really about? Jobs? Money? Power? APS takeover? Whatever the true motivation, these educators should sue for millions. I visited Chicago a month ago and the educators caught up in that report are all being talked about there as “cheaters”. It appears that all agencies, the Professional Standards Commission, the Dept of Education and GOSA should be hit with lawsuits for their cosigning to this modern day lynching.

justbrowsing

June 21st, 2012
5:16 pm

@Teaching is worse in FL- I agree. The unfortunate part is that many administrators who changed answers are unwilling to own up to their part leaving some teachers out there to look as if they had cheated. It is not fair to practically throw away someone’s career by labeling them a cheat because of the antics of a few rogue administrators.

mountain man

June 21st, 2012
5:23 pm

APS made the decision to charge these teachers and remove them from the classroom without first examining the evidence to see if the allegations could be proven. They wasted all that money and now have to reinstate them. They could have concentrated on firing and prosecuting the administrators (including Beverly Hall) rather than looking for sacrificial lambs to make themselves look good.

Quit or be fired?

June 21st, 2012
5:29 pm

I guess bullying was not such a good idea on Error Davis’ part. All of these educators should have been allowed to work all year. Taxpayer dollars are constantly wasted by this system. Now all of the remaining educators can launch lawsuits with claims of this bogus report being flawed. I see the APS district being tied up with appeals and more appeals in the very near future. PUT THEM BACK TO WORK AND STOP WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS!!!!!

Digger

June 21st, 2012
5:38 pm

Battle tested in the hood. Deny, deny, deny.

Admitted to Cheating

June 21st, 2012
5:41 pm

Those who admitted to cheating should have been fired. All others, placed on probation and reassigned. You cannot accuse people of wrong doing and carry out your accusations without evidence. You cannot accuse someone for “knowing or should have known” about cheating without evidence. It will not stand up in a court of law because you cannot prove what someone knows. This is basic law 101. No judge will allow that kind of testimony in court-hearsay either. APS is going to face multiple lawsuits for failing to adhere to basic civil rights of these educators. This saga has consumed all of us for way too long. It is time for closure!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Howard Finkelstein

June 21st, 2012
6:17 pm

No surprise here. Citizens of Atlanta, the schools systems of prior years werent good enough SO, enjoy YOUR school system.

In other thoughts, these kids are being setup to fail and will go from these failing schools strait to prison and citizens of Atlanta…these are your children.

Enjoy!

Sarah

June 21st, 2012
6:39 pm

So Maureen… The educators should not be allowed back? Is that what you are saying? Why can’t you and your newspaper admit that some people are actually innocent?

Solutions

June 21st, 2012
6:56 pm

The go along to get along philosophy still exists at APS! The schools are de facto prisons that keep the young off the streets, but does little to educate them (the few that can be educated). I recall the stories of a decade ago about how the city schools all over the country were rapidly raising standardized test scores, and I was encouraged. Too bad it was all a fraud perpetrated by the administrators and teachers. Of course the outlier was the low scores on the SAT scored by the city students, but the excuse was that the test was biased against minorities. The SAT was telling an accurate story, but got dismissed by the very crooks perpetuating the school testing fraud scam.

APS Parent

June 21st, 2012
7:14 pm

i have a friend that was implicated. Essentially, he was almost fired because someone said they saw him in the room where erasing was being done. This was the only evidence. Ultimately, he had acutally tried to be a whistle blower even before the state investigation. There are lots like this. I don’t think its race but an attempt to get dr. hall who has to be guilty.

Sad.....

June 21st, 2012
7:17 pm

The state should have found another way to get dr. Hall instead of this tactic. I hope it all works out for all those innocent and believe me, there are innocent teachers in this.

Tabitha

June 21st, 2012
8:46 pm

The notion that the motivation for prosecuting the APS cheating scandal was somehow racist is beneath contempt.

Really??

June 21st, 2012
9:03 pm

@Loose Noose-you do realize that some of the teachers implicated, and some removed, were white, right? Not everything is about race, sometimes it’s about evidence, or the lack thereof.

Brandy

June 21st, 2012
9:19 pm

Unless they investigate whether or not cheating occured on the GHSGT in APS, as well, the entire investigation is a sham. Does anyone truly believe that cheating could have occurred so pervasively at so many elementary and middle schools and NOT have also occurred at the high schools? Are we really that naive?

Maureen Downey

June 21st, 2012
9:37 pm

@Sarah, I have no doubt that some of the implicated educators are innocent and they should be reinstated. Maureen

crankee_yankee

June 21st, 2012
10:13 pm

I hope someone learns from this debacle that our justice system is based on the assumption of one’s being innocent until proven guilty. The fact this has dragged on for this long tells me there was little evidence to begin with for many of the accused.

Ron F.

June 21st, 2012
10:43 pm

“I guess it ain’t cheating unless you’re “convicted”, right?”

Absolutely correct, Drew. Quite a few were removed based on rumors and suspicion. The blame should be placed on APS for not checking the evidence beforehand so that they didn’t end up paying so many while on leave. Innocent until PROVEN guilty can be a bitter pill, but would it be fair to fire them without evidence and rish a lawsuit?

Ron F.

June 21st, 2012
10:44 pm

@ mountainman 5:23- well put and exactly what should have happened. Instead they went after the one who would be easiest to get. I doubt we’ll ever see this go up the chain of command any further than it has.

Loose Noose

June 22nd, 2012
7:38 am

@ really, I absolutely know without a shadow of a doubt that race had a lot to do with this. One white ILS out of 178 educators does not appear to be a balanced investigation. Zero schools in north atlanta had erasures? Ridiculous. Two white principals were given the benefit of the doubt and “did not know” about cheating in their schools. The other white teacher involved was assigned back to her school in August. You do the math. SHAMEFUL! They all need to sue so that the injustices that are still very prevalent in the south can stop. Stop hiding your head in the sand and face the ugly truth about this so called scandal. This was about removing highly paid educators from their posts, making sure that they can never get jobs elsewhere, and replacing them with their white counterparts. Check out the new and improved Atlanta Public Schools employee roster. How can there be a RIF when educators from outside the district were hired and over 200 educators facing layoffs. This is the real scandal that will soon be revealed by all of the pending lawsuits. Stay tuned…..

Good Mother

June 22nd, 2012
12:22 pm

Loose Noose, that race card you are playing is really, really, really, tired.
Give it a rest, will ya?
If you and othres like you keep playing the race card, when there really IS racism, no one will pay attention..you know — like the boy who cried wolf?
OF COURSE the educators who were accused of cheating are BLACK.
NEWSFLASH — Atlanta is a BLACK city. THey have black teachers. Get it?

Good Mother

June 22nd, 2012
12:27 pm

And on another note, Loose Noose…You said “Zero schools in north atlanta had erasures? ”

That’s because there was no reason to erase the answers. The answers were already correct. Get it?

Northern APS schools have many children with middle-class, educated, two-parent familes. Middle class plus education, plus two parents equals…good students who score well on tests because they are educated.

It’s not a conspiracy, Loose Noose. If you want black children to learn, preach from your pulpits about the value of parents being educated…about the value of parents being older and financially stable BEFORE they have children …

Entitlement Society

June 22nd, 2012
12:58 pm

@ Loose Noose – it’s people with your attitude that bring others like you down. Stop passing blame and accept accountability for the failure of your area. Sue? Really? What does that accomplish besides further highlight your lack of drive to buckle down and achieve things the right way, the same way those parents, teachers, and students do in North Fulton do. Perhaps South Fulton should use North Fulton as role models instead of always demonizing them, but now that would require actually working towards something…

Entitlement Society

June 22nd, 2012
1:08 pm

@ Loose Noose – since you’re so put out by North Fulton, here’s a little stat to make South Fulton feel better:

http://www.co.fulton.ga.us/locations-map

Check out the locations of all of the Parks & Community Centers in Fulton County. Anyone else see anything skewed???

Beverly Fraud

June 22nd, 2012
4:53 pm

What this system needs is HEALING. I’m sure Loose Noose would agree that, as a symbolic gesture, APS should start with naming a school after Beverly Hall, for all she did to SELFLESSLY promote the best interests of children, especially African-American children.

SWAT born and raised

June 22nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Entitlement Society, I am a life-long resident of southwest Fulton County, and I never knew that about the parks and centers. Interesting. Hmmm (I have my own theory on that, but still wonder how has that “skew” not been addressed before).

Ed Johnson

June 23rd, 2012
11:10 am

@Loose Noose: “Zero [APS] schools in north atlanta had erasures? Ridiculous.”

Yes, North Atlanta schools had erasures that changed wrong answers to right answers. But that’s not the issue. This issue is the number of wrong-to-right erasures per student per classroom for a given grade and subject tested that exceeded normal circumstances on a state-wide bases.

On the one hand, few North Atlanta classrooms exceeded that normalcy. On the other hand, a great many South Atlanta classrooms did exceed that normalcy, in the extreme – so extreme as to reasonably say it was a “Black on Black” crime.

So if you really want to make it about “race,” to Good Mother’s point (yikes!), start with the “Black” superintendent Beverly Hall who set up conditions for a culture of “Black on Black” crime to grow and spread throughout APS.

You can check details, here…
http://www.edjohnsoninseat9.com/uploads/EdJohnsonInSeat9/CRCT2009_WTR_Erasures_APS_System_Behavior_20100405.pdf

Sarah

June 23rd, 2012
12:52 pm

@Good Mother: I suppose you are saying that there are no Black families that fit your definition on the South side?

RCB

June 23rd, 2012
7:45 pm

@Sarah
Obviously not ENOUGH families like that on the southside.

JAR

June 23rd, 2012
11:21 pm

@Good Mother, you are a racist and don’t even know it.

@Loose Noose

June 24th, 2012
3:43 am

Your talk of frivolous lawsuits is another reason why school systems are so broke. This cheating scandal is very serious and everyone who was 10 feet near the schools during the cheating should be and was questioned. I think it is excessive of APS threaten the employment of so many that were not proven guilty, but under the national media spotlight and ensuring the best interests of the children APS had to take this very seriously. I think that the teachers implicated were almost all black was because they worked at the schools where the staff was predominately black. I am sure if the staff was a rainbow mix that they all would have received the same treatment. Take that up with APS and how they allocate their staff. Now the teachers who have no evidence against them can remain employed so no job loss there. You mentioned tarnished reputations. I agree, if I were a parent and heard of teacher “x” was involved I would be cautious so I feel it is the teacher’s responsibility to request from APS a transfer to another school. Also APS did renew their contracts, so they are innocent according to the law whether or not the parent thinks so. I think these teachers rights were protected and I do not think it is right to sue. Loose Noose, I do understand your anger and feeling of un justice, but hard steps had to be taken.

BTW North Atlanta HS had zero cheating because of a competent testing coordinator, great organization, documentation of everything, and a staff who follows the rules. I bet any of the wrong to right answers were changed by the students themselves when they recheck their work.

Good Mother

June 24th, 2012
11:46 am

To Sarah — I am sure there are black families with two-parent homes, who are middle-class and are educated — and their children perform well in school. There just aren’t as many of them on the South side as there are black children whose “fathers ” abandoned them and their teenaged mothers creating a class of undereducated, single mothers living on public assistance with her children.

So people can wail against white people and say education is not fair for blacks. The truth is parents do make a difference before the child ever enters school. It’s not impossible to educate poor, black children whose fathers abandoned them, but it is a great deal harder and the outcomes are dismal.

The facts are that Hispanic and black children are much more likely that whites and Asians to be born to a very young, single poor mother.

The fix is simple. WAIT to have children until A. you are a mature adult. B. you are educated.C. You are financially able to support them….OR

don’t have children at all.

I can’t afford to feed and maintain my own children PLUS the American citizens on public assistance PLUS all the illegal aliens.

Instead of pointing your finger at white people — point it at the BLACK MEN who abandon their own children and the women who bore them.

southside teacher

June 25th, 2012
5:46 pm

If you read the entire report when it was released, you would understand why some teachers did not simply roll over. In multiple cases, teachers were named as cheaters/suspected cheaters on the basis of a statement by a single witness. Is that really the standard of evidence we want used? If so, please think back to Senator McCarthy’s HUAC hearings and you will understand a little better. I would have fought termination too.

Good Mother

June 25th, 2012
6:18 pm

southside teacher, Jerry sandusky was convicted on “only” witnesses. He is and was always guilty….those tests didn’t change themselves…
and who do you think changed the scores ?
The fact is, there was lots and lots of cheating but the “standard” to convict was too hard to meet.
It DOES NOT mean these teachers were innocent.
remember…there are a lot of Catholic priests out there who are still not convicted. It does NOT mean they are innocent. There are Nazis who were never convited either.
People get away with crimes. It doesn’t make them innocent.

Sarah

June 25th, 2012
11:51 pm

Exactly @Southside Teacher

Sarah

June 26th, 2012
7:41 pm

@Good Mother… You are so ignorant. In the cases of these teachers there was NO evidence… Just the erasure report…. the level of evidence used in the PSC and Tribunals are a probable cause…. So, let’s use some common sense… If the teachers could not be found guilty on a preponderance of evidence… Which is the lowest level needed…. Be fair and just recognize that they are innocent.

Good Mother

June 27th, 2012
1:14 pm

Dear Sarah, an erasure report IS evidence. Those tests didn’t change themselves…
You just don’t want to accept the fact, Sarah, that teachers cheat, lie and steal as well as anyone else.

Sarah

June 30th, 2012
8:33 am

@GoodMother: Exactly… That is not considered evidence. It doesn’t show who was responsible… Read and research…