Following last week’s release of an 800-page Georgia report outlining one of the nation’s biggest cheating scandals in public schools, Atlanta’s interim public school superintendent is promising reform and the removal of the teachers and administrators involved.
Erroll Davis Jr. has removed four area superintendents and two principals this week. One former Atlanta deputy superintendent who is now located in a Texas school district, has agreed to go on paid leave.
The report listed these persons by name in its detailed account of the widespread systematic cheating committed by students, teachers and administrators on Georgia’s annual standardized testing of elementary and middle schoolers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, investigators focused on testing in 2009 and allege administrators tampered with tests and intimidated teachers. Teachers were found guilty of providing students with the answers and fixing the tests themselves. Cheating was found in 44 of 56 schools in Atlanta. Eighty-two of 178 teachers and administrators implicated have already confessed.
Similar instances of cheating have also been found in school systems in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington DC, and have increased since the 2002 No Child Left Behind federal law was implemented. The law “sanctions schools that fall short of state-set goals.”
Davis says he hopes to take some of the focus off testing and place more importance on academic progress made throughout the year. But the implicated teachers and administrators must still be removed.
“You’re either going to have high integrity, or you’re not,” he told Wall Street Journal. “And if you’re not, I don’t want you in this institution.”