APS officials want erasure analysis thrown out

Updated:

ATLANTA,None - The lawyer for four high-ranking Atlanta Public Schools officials told Channel 2 Action News he will ask a judge to throw out an erasure analysis that is key to many of the allegations against his clients in the CRCT cheating scandal.

Attorney George Lawson represents SRT Executive Directors Tamara Cotman, Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams, Dr. Robin Hall and Michael Pitts. Lawson spoke exclusively to Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne about why he alleges the erasure analysis is flawed and should not be used against his clients.

Lawson told Winne regarding the 2009 and 2010 CRCT erasure analysis ordered by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, “it’s not sound, scientifically and statistically.”

Mike Bowers, one of the governor’s  special  investigators, counters that claim .  “I say he’s totally wrong ," Bowers said. " I think it is absolutely legitimate, solid. I don’t see any reason not to rely on it.”

Bowers said the erasure analysis was finished when then-Gov.  Sonny Perdue named him, Bob Wilson and Richard Hyde as  special  investigators. Bowers said they called in a top expert and worked hard to verify  that the erasure analysis is legitimate.

Lawson said the erasure analysis is critical to many of the allegations against his clients and others in the  special  investigators’ 800-page report on CRCT cheating at APS.

Bowers confirmed the erasure analysis’ key role in the CRCT cheating report. “It’s significant in many of the allegations against many of the people who either participated in the cheating, allowed it to go on or should have known it was going on and didn’t do anything about it,” said Bowers.

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Lawson told Winne he plans to file a lawsuit this week asking a judge to rule the erasure analysis inadmissible for his client’s APS hearings as they fight efforts to fire them. Lawson also intends to prevent the use of the erasure analysis by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to consider possible action against his clients’ educator certifications.

“The simple analysis of the erasures does not support cheating,” said Lawson.

All four have been placed on administrative leave with pay after the report was released because it alleges each of them knew or should have known about cheating.

Lawson denied that claim. “They never had any personal knowledge of anyone who cheated," he said. "They never threatened, coerced or forced anyone.”

Testing company CTB/McGraw-Hill conducted the erasure analysis and sent the following statement in response to Lawson’s allegations: “There is no validity to their claim and we fully stand behind our analysis. An independent investigator hired by the governor’s office reviewed our analysis and found no issues with our processes or procedures. Erasure analysis such as the one performed by CTB here is a standard tool employed in the testing industry.”