Report: Atlanta Superintendent Knew About Cheating - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Report: Atlanta Superintendent Knew About Cheating

ATLANTA (AP) - Former Atlanta schools Superintendent Beverly Hall knew about cheating allegations on standardized tests but either ignored them or tried to hide them, according to a state investigation.

An 800-page report released Tuesday to The Associated Press by Gov. Nathan Deal's office through an open records request shows several educators reported cheating in their schools. But the report says Hall, who won the national Superintendent of the Year award in 2009, and other administrators ignored those reports and sometimes retaliated against the whistleblowers.

The yearlong investigation shows educators at nearly four dozen Atlanta elementary and middle schools cheated on standardized tests by helping students or changing the answers once exams were handed in.

The investigators also found a "culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation" in the school district over the cheating allegations, which led to educators lying about the cheating or destroying documents to cover it up, according to the report. School officials had "warnings" as early as 2005 that there was cheating on standardized tests, but those signals were ignored, according to the report.

At one elementary school, four educators gathered at a colleague's home in Douglas County one weekend to have a "changing party" using answer sheets provided by a school official, the report states.

Teachers who admitted to investigators they cheated said they were under immense pressure to raise test scores, the investigators wrote. One elementary school principal forced a teacher to crawl under a table during a faculty meeting because that teacher's test scores were low, according to the report.

"Dr. Hall and her administration emphasized test results and public praise to the exclusion of integrity and ethics," the report states. "Dr. Hall either knew or should have known cheating and other misconduct was occurring in the APS system." Hall's attorney, Richard Deane, denied the report's allegations.

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