The Atlanta Public Schools test cheating scandal has been a cloud over the city for years, but perhaps the final blow fell on Friday when former Superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 other education professionals were indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury.
“We don’t condone cheating, but when you have high-stakes testing, which are one-shot deals that don’t tell you whether a child is going to fail or succeed, the whole setup in terms of No Child Left Behind was unfair to children, unfair to educators,” Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers said to MSNBC Monday.
The APS scandal is one of many that has engulfed the nation’s school districts since 2001 when NCLB was first signed into law in 2001.
Since NCLB mandated high-stakes testing in every state and tied it to federal funding, a wave of cheating scandals has swept the nation. Newspaper investigations have found evidence of cheating in more than 30 states, though the Atlanta case is considered the largest in U.S. history, implicating 178 teachers and principals — including 82 who confessed to cheating— and pulling in a majority of the schools in the 52,000-student district.
Hall, who retired in 2011, was charged with racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors recommended a $7.5 million bond for her and she could face up to 45 years in prison.