In one of the biggest scandals of fraud in the United States, 11 educators of Atlanta public schools were convicted Wednesday on charges of organized crime following their participation in a scheme to inflate grades of students on standardized tests.
The defendants, including teachers, the principal and other administrators, were accused of falsifying the results of the tests to increase the score of 50,000 students in the Atlanta school system. A jury acquitted a Professor, who as twelfth accused.
Racketeering charges carry up to 20 years in prison. Most of the defendants will be sentenced April 8.
“This is a great story and absolutely the greatest development of American education law has always”, said the Professor of law of the University of Georgia, Ron Carlson.
“This has to be a message to educators across the country here and in general terms. Playing with the qualifications of the students is a very dangerous business.”
Teachers who were found guilty of conspiring to change the responses of standardized tests examiners, directors or managers of APS include.
The scandal was uncovered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after an investigation which revealed that some qualifications were statistically impossible.
The trial was extended for five months in which were summoned to testify about 160 witnesses.
According to prosecutors, accused teachers gave students answers for exams or changed them then.
In addition, teachers who tried to report what was happening faced reprisals, which created a culture of “fear and intimidation” in the district.
One of the accused in the fraud was then School Superintendent Beverly Hall, cancer victim died recently.