Report: Sam Olens says he’d look at prosecuting APS cheaters

Interesting note on ATLaw, the legal blog run by Ed Bean and the Fulton County Daily Report:

Attorney General Sam Olens told a meeting of the Atlanta Press Club today that he will consider using his office to “take the appropriate action” if local district attorneys choose not to bring charges stemming from the state’s investigation into altered test scores and cheating in Atlanta public schools.

Here’s the specific quote from Olens, via my AJC colleague Willoughby Mariano:

“Many of the individuals have been granted immunity in that report. So neither the D.A.’s nor me would have had opportunity, by the immunity granted, to try and go up higher on the food chain.

“With regard to issues where [a] district attorney chooses not to take such action, I would encourage you to request that that district attorney transfer the file over to our office and we would then take the appropriate action.

“But once again, under Georgia law, I am limited until the district attorney says, ‘I’m recused or I don’t want to touch this issue, I’m sending it to your office.’”

At that point, said Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for Olens, the attorney general could refer to the case to a district attorney in another jurisdiction for prosecution, or assign a member of his staff to the case.

You have to wonder if this might be one instance where a statewide grand jury might be worthwhile.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

67 comments Add your comment

td

August 4th, 2011
1:03 pm

Wise move Sam. You are starting to position yourself nicely to make a run for the Governors office either in 2 or 6 years from now.

Top School

August 4th, 2011
1:10 pm

He will need to start his investigation on the NORTHSIDE of Atlanta- JACKSON ELEMENTARY and have the “Courage to Dissent”

http://hlpronline.com/2011/08/exploring-the-root-causes-of-atlanta-public-schools-cheating-scandal/

There is more going on in Atlanta Public Schools than just cheating on Test SCORES.
Those educated have the proper research to back up what they know.

http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

Tommy Maddox

August 4th, 2011
1:17 pm

Go get ‘em Sam.

King'Kong'Quisha

August 4th, 2011
1:19 pm

“…metro Atlanta prosecutors would first have to let him know that they’re not interested in pursuing charges.”

What are the chances the Fulton County DA would ever charge his fellow bro’s and bro’ettes? Somewhere between slim and none. Sam Olens may as well start ramping up his prosecutions right now.

JM

August 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

I know law breakers need to be brought to justice, but I absolutely hate spending more tax dollars on this horrible situation. Maybe several convictions are needed to keep this from happening again.

reality

August 4th, 2011
1:31 pm

You can’t take low IQ students and expect them to compete with brighter students from the Northside, Alpharetta or East Cobb.

Demographics is key.

td

August 4th, 2011
1:31 pm

JM

August 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

I would think the teachers that cooperated with the investigation would not be prosecuted but would rather just loose their jobs and never be allowed to teach again. Now the Administrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and made an example out of.

Wilma

August 4th, 2011
1:34 pm

It’s always been only the threat of criminal action that moved this probe forward. Without Sonny Purdue and his team, the stonewall would still be continuing. As soon as the perps thought they were only dealing with due process in the APS, they thought they could just hang on.

A Conservative Voice

August 4th, 2011
1:35 pm

First to be prosecuted should be BH – Everyone knows Fulton County’s not gonna do it. I want her to be making license plates very soon.

KILJOY

August 4th, 2011
1:35 pm

Wow, what happened to the republican talking point: LOCAL CONTROL?

Cobb Citizen

August 4th, 2011
1:38 pm

Sam, make sure you do not over-reach yourself. You seem like a seasoned leader, but I would caution you against getting pulled into family feuds.

Beverly Hall

August 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

I think you will find that I was an excellent administrator doing a great job. If there was cheating…this is news to me. I think this entire investigation is racist!

Typical Democrat Sucker

August 4th, 2011
1:46 pm

I think this entire investigation is just a ploy to destroy the Black man!

Other Issues

August 4th, 2011
1:51 pm

Recently, APS has discovered budgetary issues and are looking to layoff teachers in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps someone should look into the high salaries given to retirees that come back into the system to do pointless work allowed because of the system’s “buddy” network and hiring practices.

Doris M

August 4th, 2011
1:51 pm

If crimes have been committed (and I think there have been), then the individuals involved need to be prosecuted. Destroying evidence, lying, cheating and other acts are reasons for criminal charges. All the administrators involved should be charged especially Beverly Hall and her direct reports.

Clifford J Smith

August 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

Come now Ms Hall you are to bright of a woman to do the” I know nothing route”, and I have been wondering how long it would be befor the race card would be played.

Beverly Fraud

August 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

Is it my fault my hand picked Deputy Superintendent, 4 Executive Directors, and 38 principals all hid their cheating from me? I’m certainly not responsible for them hiding it, am I?

maggotmegan

August 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

Sam is going to whip all of the cheaters with axe handles like good ole Lester Maddox. We don’t have no cheat’n up chere in Gainessssvuh. Damn, a flea just bit me. Gotta go.

Honest Teacher's Husband

August 4th, 2011
1:54 pm

KILJOY, all this mess is the result of LOCAL (OUT OF) CONTROL. I’m a loyal dem, yes, but I’m not about to bash any republican AG who’s trying to do the right thing and clean up this embarassment. Do what you need to do Sam…!

The Snark

August 4th, 2011
1:56 pm

Did I miss something? The state attorney general has exactly zero legal authority to prosecute cheating by local school officials.

wasn't me!

August 4th, 2011
2:03 pm

maggotmegan, you crack me up.

DannyX

August 4th, 2011
2:04 pm

Announcing that you will prosecute before the local decision is made is pure grandstanding.

Amazing, we already seem to have three people running for Governor even though the election is more than 3 years away…..Kasim Reed, Sam Olens and of course Deal.

This has to be the earliest start ever.

c johns

August 4th, 2011
2:05 pm

Grow up. The citizens of Georgia are not responsible for the the stupid idiotic corrupt actions of the City of Atlanta government officials. These people could screw up a one car funeral. They are stupid and you cannot cure stupid!

TheLoneWatchman

August 4th, 2011
2:09 pm

If there are any resources left AFTER the AG prosecutes the copper theft network, the APS sweetheart contractors, & the EMPLOYERS of illegals, only then should should he consider wasting my tax money going after the erasure kingpins.

KILJOY

August 4th, 2011
2:10 pm

Ok, @Honest, I’ll bite. New republican talking point: Local Control As Long As We Like It! This is no different than OJ or Casey, you can’t define the process based on rather you get the result you want.

john

August 4th, 2011
2:16 pm

Why not prosecute Gena Evans who covered up an investigation of her boyfriend.

Wilma

August 4th, 2011
2:17 pm

Whle cheating may not be a crime, altering government documents, fraud and conspiricy are crimes. Why else do you think the Bower’s commission could offer immunity?

Concerned parent!!

August 4th, 2011
2:18 pm

Top school you’re right. Cheating is happening across the board not just on the Southside. I know this for sure. My son went to a Northside middle were teachers gave the answers .Cheating is wrong no matter how you sum it up. Northside schools needs to checked.

Tired

August 4th, 2011
2:28 pm

It always going back to race. Will that ever not be an issue. Eveyone wants to be equal but when people get caught breaking the law, its racist.

Zion

August 4th, 2011
2:33 pm

While I think there should be punishment for cheating. I also think those in charge of applying pressure to the teachers owe them something. When you think of all that it takes to become a teacher and what it takes to remain a teacher in the APS school system. Having someone who has authority over you threaten your job if you don’t cheat (sounds like harassment) and to have a system that will terminate you when little Johnny can’t read on the same level as his counterparts. Then to have their lively hood taken away and not just you can’t teach in Atlanta, you can’t teach anywhere ever again, Sounds like a class action in the making to me. After all they are not child molesters. I don’t know BH hope you haven’t spent all of your bonus :)

Double Zero Eight

August 4th, 2011
2:33 pm

Sam needs to look into why state sperintendent Dr. Cox failed to do
her job before she left abruptly! One of her duties was to ensure the
validity of the test scores. Sam also needs to ascertain why the numerous
tips to the state regarding cheating on a statewide basis, were never
thoroughly investigated.

Sam also needs to look into the extensive documentation
that Bowers and Wilson have regarding cheating in prior years.
Has the statute expired for prosecuting prior years? Are the tests
still available for 2008? If so, why not run an erasure analysis on
2008?

Is Sam content with making the 2009 cheaters the “scapegoats”
and sweeping the rest “under the rug”?

When will the other 120 volumes be made public? Sam insisted
that the investigation should be made public since the taxpayers
paid for it?

Bob

August 4th, 2011
2:35 pm

Sooner or later, contracts will be structured so that top administrators will be held personally and financially responsible for scandals like this that happen under their watch. The only reason this happened was because of the money…federal/state for the schools and bonuses for the administrators.

DannyX

August 4th, 2011
2:35 pm

Why would this be about race?

The white dominated chamber of commerce worked side by side with APS trying shove everything under the rug and avoid any prosecutions with their phony Blue Ribbon Commission.

Tamara Cotman

August 4th, 2011
2:37 pm

Whitey’s always trying to keep us African Americans down. So what if I cheated. I’m due reparations!

td

August 4th, 2011
2:53 pm

DannyX

August 4th, 2011
2:35 pm
Why would this be about race?

The white dominated chamber of commerce worked side by side with APS trying shove everything under the rug and avoid any prosecutions with their phony Blue Ribbon Commission

While I agree with you that this should not be about race, how would the state prosecute the ACoC? They had no first hand knowledge of cheating. If they did then I say send their butts to jail too.

Disgusted

August 4th, 2011
3:04 pm

Isn’t it time to move past race. I notice the comments here have people pretending to be people they are not. Making stereotypical comments posing as someone of another race just proves how big of a hypocrite you really are. E-V-O-L-V-E.

BigBro

August 4th, 2011
3:05 pm

STOP IT! This is not about Race and not about Politcal Parties and not about any one program (NCLB). Its about people in positions of responsibility and authority acting in an unethical and disgraceful manner. Cheating is wrong, you and I know it, they new it too. They should be prosecuted. Cheating knows no politics or race and you know that too.

Tamara Cotman

August 4th, 2011
3:09 pm

Disgusted:

But it’s so much F-U-N in this era of political correctness to point out the blatent failure of EEOC, etc. Either one is capable of responsibilty or not. Clearly in the case of APS, those in charge are/were not competent.

findog

August 4th, 2011
3:18 pm

Apparently they were saving that driver’s ed money for the legal cost of prosecuting teachers, principals, administrators, and bus drivers

vietnamvetexteacher

August 4th, 2011
3:26 pm

Let he/she without sin cast the first stone. See Bowers and cheating on his wife while he was AG. Not to mention what he did with/to the Gay female in his office.See one of the most corrupt men Congress Deal. Would these people pass muster. I hope it is not about race, though it might be. Where were those of you who want the law enforced then? There more serious crimes to be taken up in the courts. No! If you cheat and it is proven: DO THE CRIME DO THE TIME. SEE BOWERS,DEAL.

p

August 4th, 2011
3:27 pm

You should all research how targets were set at each APS school every year before you comment on this page. Schools were not compared to other schools, targets were set based on the previous years test scores at that school. For example, the 2009 targets for third grade were created using the 2008 third grade scores.

GaPatriot

August 4th, 2011
3:33 pm

Dwight Brown and his Board of Swindlers have committed more serious crimes and embezzled many millions from Cobb EMC members. Olens was Commission Chair when this mess started and the members span 4 counties. So, why has he sat on his hands and not pursued indictments and left this to foot dragging soon retiring District Attorney of Cobb, Pat Head?

Perhaps those hands have been accepting donations from Dwight Brown? Get off them Sam and let EMC members vote for new board members, indict them all and send them to where they belong – prison.

brick

August 4th, 2011
3:35 pm

As a retired educator I know the pressure teachers are put under to reach a predetermined goal for the system. The real facts are some of the kids in a class would make that goal if a teacher wasn’t even in the classroom, the majority will pass if given learning opportunities, but the others are not going to pass regardless of what a teacher or group of teachers do. Teachers spend all these manhours and resources trying to get these kids to pass because it has been mandated by someone who has never stepped foot in a classroom with 30+ kids and at least 7 of them are there because our state laws say they have to be there and to get the free lunches. But teachers are expected to somehow motivate these kids because their jobs depend on them passing, what about the other 22-25 kids in the class? Well they get cheated because they are getting robbed of their teacher. At some point, the people making the attendance laws need to realize everyone isn’t going to be a Dr, lawyer or accountant and that some of the kids end up doing bluecollar or service work and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Not to sound soft on crime, but

August 4th, 2011
3:39 pm

If you take the taxpayer money to try and convict the teachers and admins who cheated, it’s gonna take years to work these cases through the courts and cost tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. While it sends a clear message that cheating will not be tolerated, at the end of the day, it does nothing for the school system or students.

If you fire the people involved and strip them of their credentials to teach, it costs nothing and really does the same thing. I would assume most of these people have no prior criminal record.

I witnessed a home-invasion robbery and watched the police arrest the perps. They were sentenced to 11 months in prison, with credit for time served. These were guys with lots of priors. A first time offender convicted of test tampering (I suppose the crime is tampering with government records), is MAYBE going to get 1 year of probation.

So us taxpayers get to spend millions so the cheaters can lose their job and get probation. We are the ones who are getting the raw deal, not them.

godoggo

August 4th, 2011
3:42 pm

Aaaaaaaaaaaaamen Brick ! Great comment.

godoggo

August 4th, 2011
3:44 pm

Not to sound soft on crime, but : Another good comment…….The ATTORNEYS WIN…..I wonder how many “billable hours” they’ll have…..and then settle each case with a slap on the wrist : o just sayin?

Talented10th

August 4th, 2011
3:57 pm

With all of the racist comments (and mockery of names of the commenters = King’Kong’Quisha (?) , you could never mistake this site for the likes of the New York Times online…southern ignornace and racism run amuck on this site….tsk, tsk, tsk. I can’t believe the editors of ajc.com let this foolishness be published for the sake of freedom of speech. You’re not doing Atlanta or Georgia any favors by posting trash for all the world to see what’s bred down here….

SpaceyG on Twitter

August 4th, 2011
4:39 pm

I’m sorry, but someone’s gotta say it. There is some genuine Crackerstan creativity going on in this thread. I LOL’d at least once. Maybe twice.

intowner

August 4th, 2011
5:22 pm

td:
The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce was very much so up to their pretty little white eyeballs in the cheating.
They allowed the Chair of the ABOE to sit on the Blue Ribbon committee – huge conflict of interest, and then the second in command of the ACoC was the rocket scientist who said to APS / Hall that they should “finesse” the cooked Blue Ribbon report by the Governor.
Finesse is the word used in the GBI report.

Hang ‘em high, starting in Buckhead and roll down to Central Office in downtown…

Oh, and they’re very competent downtown at APS Central Office – capable of making sure their contract scandles get nowhere, how many +$100k jobs have they created with no accountability, have the ACoC pissing in each other’s pockets… they’re competent alright, just in nothing good for the rest of the community.

Last Man Laying Down

August 4th, 2011
5:32 pm

Of course. Get in the paper, rattle your sword and retreat because you have no authority. Looks like a shoe-in to succeed Gov. Deal.