Atlanta teachers accused in cheating scandal told to resign or be fired
Atlanta Public School Superintendent Erroll Davis Jr. signed the letters.
July 15th, 2011
09:29 PM ET

Atlanta teachers accused in cheating scandal told to resign or be fired

The superintendent of the Atlanta Public School system has issued an ultimatum to 178 teachers implicated in one of the nation's largest school cheating scandals: resign or be fired.

Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis Jr. signed the letters, which were sent Thursday, to educators named in a report as either confessing to or being implicated in "testing improprieties," Atlanta Public School spokesman Keith Bromery said.

The letters gave teachers the opportunity to resign Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, Bromery said. If teachers don't
resign, the district plans to initiate termination proceedings.

Dozens of Atlanta public school educators falsified standardized tests or failed to address such misconduct in their schools, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said a week ago. He was unveiling the results of a state investigation that confirmed widespread cheating in city schools dating as far back as 2001.

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Filed under: Education • Georgia
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    When one remembers what Atlanta used to be, it is almost unbelievable to hear these comments about that city.
    The schools and their teachers' cheating are just details of a widely recurrent tragedy.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. HireMeAccenture.com

    The Atlanta school system never seems to amaze me. They're extremely lucky to have the option of resigning.

    Help Me Get Hired Please
    http://www.facebook.com/hiremeaccenture

    July 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Theophobia

    What happen to innocent, until proven guilty? Teachers are the target's of so many groups, the kids, the parents, state govermments, school boards and on top of lousy pay. To hell with educating the future generations. Just, another brick in the wall.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Innocent until proven guilty does not apply. This is not a criminal proceeding. If they want to fight it, they have a union.

      July 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mmmmm

    Oh please, an intimidation tatic he hopes to save the school board litigation costs and unemployment payments. I wouldn't quit. The school principles school board members and superintendent should be change out...

    July 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • APSteacher1

      All of those people being fired arent just teachers...there are quite a few administrators being removed! No intimidation, just reality! They have to go... Voluntarrily or involuntarily!
      Speaking from the inside....

      July 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    This is what happens when laws tie school funding to standardized test results.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Standardized tests are not the problem.
    Good students always do well on standardized tests.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GnatB

    Interesting...

    From what I understand, "Resign" probably looks better on their resume, but "fired' they collect unemployment. (Which I don't believe they get if they resign) I expect the school system/government would *far* prefer them to resign so they don't have to pay out unemployment

    That being said, of course I understand funding based on test scores. I'd hope that in most jobs ones compensation is based on how well the job gets done. A waiter that does a good job waiting deserves a bigger tip. If I do a good job on whatever I'm working on, I get a bigger bonus. Why should educators be any different? Just because they have a powerful union? Bah! If they do a good job educating, they should get paid more. If they do a bad job, they get should get paid less. How do you measure good vs. bad? Tests. That being said, I *would* argue that the difference in funding based on scores should go directly into the educators pockets, and not towards better facilities or whatnot.

    Now, maybe the tests do a poor job of measuring the quality of said teaching, I don't know. From what I remember they seemed like they covered the subjects fairly well.

    And sure, with education, some of the results are out of the educators hands. Parents and general culture play a role in how receptive the students are to being educated in the first place... But hey, isn't working with parents and CHANGING the culture part of the educators job?

    July 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ATLteacher

      Lets go with your waiter analogy. By default where will you make more money? A five star restaurant or the college burger hangout? It is the nicer restaurant. There is nothing the waiter can do about that. That is the way test results are in the inner-city schools compared with other places. Why do you think most of these stories are about inner-city schools? The other schools don’t have to cheat. Test results generaly are looked at comparing a group of students to another or an average. How about we compare how they did to how they did last year? That is not the method of evaluation.

      July 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nvrstraight

      Unfortunately the funding does not go towards the teacher. It goes towards buying books, buying computers, hiring para-educators, keeping the school psychologist on staff, maintaining the library etc. Funding towards schools has nothing to do with salary increases for teachers. Low test scores = less resources for students.

      July 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nvrstraight

      Unions have nothing to do with it. If you were to look up the amount of unions in your state, you would be astonished. There are some incidents with teachers unions doing harm. However, please look at teachers unions in doing good. They keep the amount of students down in a classroom. Would you like to send your child to a kindergarten classroom with 30 students in it or 20? They protect teachers from horrible accusations from parents. I agree that tenure must be abolished, but that is it. As far as culture in the classroom. It is the teachers responsibility to engage both the students and parents. What if the parents want to have nothing to do with the classroom? Should teachers then become social workers?

      July 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ATLteacher

      As a high school teacher, I have had years when 8 parents show up for Open House when I teach 130 students.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • GnatB

      I take it you've never actually gone to a 5 star restaurant? You drop a crumb on the table and somebody is there to swipe it away, and if they weren't they'd probably get fired. Whereas at the burger joint you have to signal the waiter to even get your check, and nobodies surprised.

      That being said, you make an argument in favor of non-percent based tipping, which is a growing trend because it DOES make more sense than % based, as it's payment based on performance of the actual waiter, as opposed to the quality of the food, which the waiter really isn't responsible for.

      And sorry, I reject your claim that a good teacher is doomed to failure simply because (s)he happens to work in the inner city. I suspect what we're seeing in Atlanta is cause and effect all rolled together. Teachers that would take the easy way out like this probably aren't particularly interested in doing the hard work of actually working on changing the culture/parents to help the students be more receptive to being educated. I'd argue the fact that they would cheat like this indicates they weren't good teachers in the first place.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • GnatB

      One could make the argument that if enough of the parents don't care, and the students education goes to crap as a result, then the better teachers would be smart enough to leave, and the parents would end up getting the education for their children that apparently they want for them. I'm under the impression there *is* some ability for parents that actually care about their childrens education to transfer from underperforming schools.

      If the students/parents/culture simply refuses to value an education, no amount of funding is really going to make much of a difference.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nvrstraight

      Well then I guess our student population is doomed.. Please try to step your way into a school system and have lack of parent support, many students with extreme needs, and teachers that need to teach to a test that is multiple choice. Then try to judge teachers to waiters. Unfortunately the many waiters I know, never went to college or earned a degree. GO FOR IT. Please place yourself in an inner city school. We need people like you.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ahanks1

      You need to read the actual story. The teachers and administrators involved actually took the standardized test answer sheets of the children in their classrooms and erased the wrong answers, put in the correct ones and collected their cash bonuses and praise for "teaching excellence." This isn't like waiters making more money by doing a better job, but more like waiters changing the tip amounts on the checks by erasing and writing in a highing amount! These were public school teachers and principals, every bonus they received was taxpayer money.

      July 16, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. ATLteacher

    People should not be so fast to judge these teachers. In reeality they may be fired now, or they could have been fired 5 years ago for refusing to go along. Anyone that has been in the district as an administrator for more than 5 or 6 years is a non-confrontational yes-man (or woman). That is the culture. It is unlike any other district I have worked in and this is my 3rd. I have been lucky not to have to make that choice. We can all say we wouldn't look the other way. The truth is APS pays about 15% more than any other district in the area, and if you are a single parent that is tough to give up. I'm not saying what they did was right. But there are levels of involvement here that are hard to put all in the same category.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • APSteacher1

      There really is no excuse.... If someone told them to kill an innocent child in order to keep their good paying job would they??? I mean that's an extreme example, but that's basically what they did! Kids couldn't get Special Education services because their test scores were too high!!!O_O I work in the district and who I serve always takes care and sustains me so I can't sympathize! Principals changing tests while making 6 figure salaries get no sympathy from society. What's done in the dark always comes to the light. I think it's about learning how to play the game without losing your morals and ethics...

      July 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ATLteacher

      I am not talking about the principals involved. I think they should all be fired. They abused their position and put the pressure on teachers to go along.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CVHS Michigan

    Teachers there tried hooking up with drunken students on spring break. This story is not surprising. Maybe the school board is playing damage control, but we need to start taking education seriously.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    Do we have minimum standards for teachers? I remember an English teacher I had in high school. He used incorrect grammar when he tried to explain grammar!

    July 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Theophobia

    It's enough people out of work already, what do they want 16% unemployment? Yall, makin it hard to find a good job.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. just a thought

    I was amazed how histoians linked the tea tax in the colonial days, that had so much influance in the revolutionary war, to NASCAR today. I wonder if they could follow the trail back to when cheating in class started. But is strange to me is how long cheating has been going on and nothing serios has been done about it.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pacific Rim

    @Ignorance: Good luck with that. Most inflammatory remarks online are made by bored, cowardly people who love getting people angry over stupid stuff. Don't play their game.

    July 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. just a thought

    I've always realized that law makers were akin to to Goofy's clan, but something seems bassackwards when they tie school funding to test scroes. But what can you expect they are only politicans, give them a break, they don't know any better.

    July 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Theophobia

    I just do what the boss tell me to do, then when he asj me, why did I do that? I tell him you told me to.

    July 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
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