Atlanta Cheating Scandal Reverberates
The criminal indictments last week of retired Atlanta schools Superintendent Beverly L. Hall and 34 other educators for their alleged roles in a far-reaching cheating scandal could have widespread fallout and potentially undermine efforts in other school districts to improve the academic achievement of poor and minority students, according to education leaders.
Ms. Hall, a one-time national superintendent of the year, and her former school system colleagues were named in a 65-count indictment by a Fulton County, Ga., grand jury that alleges the educators engaged in a broad conspiracy to make student performance in the Atlanta district look better than it actually was. The indictment, which includes racketeering charges, alleges that Ms. Hall and the others cheated on state exams, hid the cheating, and retaliated against whistleblowers who tried to expose it. Many of those who were charged, including Ms. Hall, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses that were based on the fraudulent scores.
“The wider repercussions of the Atlanta case are very troubling,” said Daniel A. Domenech, a former superintendent of the Fairfax County, Va., schools and the executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, based in Alexandria, Va. “The problem is that any school systems that have accomplished great turnarounds of schools are going to become suspect, and people will assume that there must have...
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