by: Richard Elliot Updated:ATLANTA —
An Atlanta Public School teacher accused in the district’s massive cheating scandal fought for her job Wednesday.
A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent testified that the teacher admitted she helped her students cheat on the CRCT exam, but that teacher testified she did no such thing.
Woodson Elementary School’s Ashlyn Strozier is one of the educators caught up in the CRCT cheating scandal. When she was given notice that APS wanted to terminate her, she asked for a tribunal hearing.
At that hearing, GBI agent Eve Rogers said that during an interview, Strozier admitted to helping her students cheat by giving them signals when they had wrong answers and by rearranging desks to make cheating easier.
"They basically paired up students beside one another so they could cheat off each others' papers," Rogers testified. "Basically (they put) your lower achieving students next to your higher achieving students."
Rogers also testified that Strozier was very forthcoming and truthful in their interview.
"She was very honest," said Rogers. "It wasn't like I had to sit there and pull teeth. It was like, 'Hey, I'm here to tell you the truth.'"
But Strozier testified that she never admitted to agents that she helped her students cheat. She said she did rearrange the desks in her classroom, but that was to help students learn, not cheat. She also told the tribunal that she wasn't very prepared when the GBI showed up at her school to interrogate her.
"I was in my classroom, my second-grade classroom teaching math when I was asked to come downstairs to meet with the GBI," Strozier testified. "I'm not a criminal. I wasn't used to being interrogated. I didn't know I was going to be interviewed that day, so I was not prepared."