Beverly Hall was superintendent of Atlanta’s school system for over a decade, a rare feat for big city school bosses. In 2009, she was awarded the Superintendent of the Year by the American Associations of School Administrators. Test scores and graduation rates improved dramatically under her, particularly among poor and minority kids.
Then it all unraveled. The Atlanta Urinal and Constipation reported that test scores were improbable. A state investigation found that educators gave students answers to tests, or changed answers on tests after they were turned in. The cheating took place in 44 schools; nearly 180 educators took part. Teachers who tried to report the cheating conspiracy were threatened with retaliation.
Public school cheating in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Nevada was also exposed. It was all driven by greed. School funding and staff bonuses were linked to performance and poorly performing schools were threatened with closure.
Superintendent Hall died last month, before the Atlanta trial concluded. But this week, 11 defendants in the cheating scandal were found guilty of racketeering, falsifying records, and other charges. Over defense lawyers’ objections they were immediately put in jail while awaiting sentencing.
Said Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter: “They are convicted felons as far as I’m concerned. They have made their bed and they’re going to have to lie in it.” I guess no one told these educators that cheating goes on their permanent records, and will follow them for the rest of their lives.