Audit: 109 Atlanta Educators Suspected Of Cheating

ATLANTA, Ga. — Investigators say more than 100 educators should face scrutiny or punishment after they found evidence of them cheating for students on a statewide achievement test at 58 schools in Atlanta.

An investigative panel released a summary of its findings Monday to Atlanta Public Schools officials after months of probing allegations that teachers changed students' answers on standardized tests. It did not name the educators suspected of cheating, but many could face sanctions from the state -- from being put on probation to losing their teaching license permanently.

The review showed that most of the teachers -- 78 of the 109 listed -- worked at only a dozen schools. The report says that group of schools needs systemic changes because of "school-wide institutional issues."

The remaining educators and schools appear to have acted independently, investigative panel chairman Gary Price told the school board.

"We know that student achievement and measurable outcomes are critical," Price said. "But that has to be balanced by positive ethical behavior."

The Atlanta school board began the probe after the state ordered that 191 schools in Georgia be examined because of unusual numbers of erasures on 2009 tests. Atlanta had the most schools flagged in the report: 58, or more than two-thirds of the district's elementary and middle schools.

The investigative panel from Caveon Test Security and auditing company KPMG conducted more than 300 interviews with Atlanta school employees, parents and students.

The tests are given annually to first- through eighth-grade students to help determine whether schools meet benchmarks under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Schools that don't pass muster face sanctions from the state.

These are the 12 schools listed as having statistical evidence or qualified allegations of 2009 test irregularities and possible manipulation of test scores.

Gideons Elementary Usher Elementary Peyton Forest Elementary Perkerson Elementary Venetian Hills Elementary Scott Elementary Connally Elementary Dunbar Elementary Parks Middle F.L. Stanton Elementary Capitol View Elementary Blalock Elementary (closed in 2009)