Test Score Scandal Leaves Atlanta Schools in Shame

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State investigators say nearly 200 educators in Atlanta fixed answers on standardized tests used to assess school performance and meet federal benchmarks.

An 800-page report lists at least 178 teachers and principles working in 44 Atlanta Public Schools who cheated on standardized tests. Eighty-two of the teaches confessed.

Many parents in Atlanta are furious and disappointed.

"It is an embarrassment to all teachers, all administrators," Atlanta parent David Garr said.

The offenses include teachers changing incorrect test answers -- sometimes done during weekends at "erasure parties" -- and teachers pointing out the correct answers to students during test times.

"We were told that we needed to get the scores by any means necessary, and we were told that our jobs were on the line," former Atlanta Public Schools teacher Sidney Fells said.

According to the report, Parks Middle School is the worst offender. In just one year, the student pass rate jumped from 1 percent to 46 percent.

"This is one of the greatest tragedies to affect this city in modern history," Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond said.

The former superintendent Beverly Hall is accused of encouraging the cheating. It's reported that she was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for improved tests scores.

"Testing and results and targets being reached became more important than actual learning on the part of children," Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said.

The cheaters could face felony charges for falsifying public documents. All of them have been terminated.

"These people will not be put in front of children again," Interim Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis said.

With school set to start back in August, the district must now work to repair its damaged reputation.

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