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The supposed transformation of Atlanta Public Schools overseen by former Superintendent Beverly Hall resulted from a criminal enterprise that victimized thousands of struggling students for years, authorities alleged Friday.
Capping a series of investigations that spanned four years, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Hall and 34 others on charges that they conspired to cheat on federally mandated standardized tests from at least 2005 to 2010. Further, the grand jury charged, Hall, several top aides, principals and teachers engaged in the scheme for their own financial gain. And with investigators closing in, the jury said, Hall and others lied to cover up their crimes.
Hall inculcated an atmosphere that encouraged using any means necessary to achieve test-score targets, the indictment said, and then �publicly misrepresented the academic performance of schools throughout APS.� Pressuring subordinates to produce targeted scores, the indictment said, �created an environment where achieving the desired end result was more important than the students� education.�
�This is nothing but pervasive and rank thuggery,� said Richard Hyde, one of the special investigators appointed in 2010 by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue to delve into what has become the largest academic cheating scandal in U.S. history.
The indictment served as a resounding refutation of Hall�s assertions that Atlanta had found the secret formula that had long eluded educators elsewhere: how to get strong performances from poor, mostly minority students in decaying urban schools. For her efforts, Hall was named the national superintendent of the year in 2009.
The teachers chopping down the students and the school officials cheating the system for a couple dollars, makes home school look like a GREAT alternative�
Now Hall, 66, faces as much as 45 years in prison. Grand jurors recommended that a judge set her bond at $7.5 million. Authorities gave all the defendants until Tuesday to surrender.
Along with Hall, the grand jury indicted four other former top administrators: Millicent Few, who ran the district�s human resources division, and area supervisors Sharon Davis-Williams, Tamara Cotman and Michael Pitts.
B-b-but wait it gets worse!
Beyond the criminal acts it alleged, the indictment revealed the human toll exacted by years of test-score manipulation, first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008.
When a teacher at C.W. Hill Elementary complained about cheating by a colleague in 2005, Hall suspended the accused educator for 20 days. As for the whistle-blower, Hall fired her.
Hall repeatedly ignored or disregarded reports of cheating or other questions about test scores. In 2006, Howard said, Atlanta resident Justina Collins was concerned when her daughter received the lowest score on a benchmark examination in her third-grade reading class � but then, somehow, exceeded reading standards on the CRCT.
Collins managed to get an appointment with Hall, who told her there was no evidence her daughter needed help. She had, after all, done well on the CRCT. �Your daughter is the kind of person who tests well,� Collins said she was told.
Now in the ninth grade, her daughter reads at a fifth-grade level.
Read more at http://bossip.com/750999/ho-sit-down-atlanta-public-school-superintendent-beverly-hall-and-34-others-indicted-in-largest-academic-cheating-scandal-in-u-s-history-43081/#fGkFFSDrWaMpXqWa.99