Atlanta’s Cheater Teachers Head to Jail

Apr 1, 2015

Atlanta’s cheater teachers head to jail today, following the dirty dozen’s conviction of felony racketeering charges under the federal government’s RICO law. 

That statute, originally intended to snag organized crime figures, drug dealers, and similar offenders, was used against the educators because of their role in a widespread test score cheating enterprise that artificially boosted Atlanta’s failing school system, while simultaneously enriching the gamers as well.

Prosecutors say at least 44 separate public schools were affected by the “organized and systemic misconduct” of nearly 180 high-ranking school employees, including 38 principals.

The controversial case was first exposed in 2009, and took half a year to adjudicate once it finally made it to trial in 2013. By then, some major players were already dead, and dozens of others had pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their damning testimony.

That left twelve holdout teachers and administrators willing to further gamble that they’d be acquitted for deliberately altering thousands of students’ poor test scores and falsifying school performance records.

But it was a bet they just lost.

Jurors took eight full days of deliberations to pronounce 11 of the 12 defendants guilty, the majority of whom were then directed by the judge to be taken in handcuffs to holding cells, pending their sentencing.

Each in the crew of cheater teachers can face decades behind prison bars for the various misdeeds they’ve been convicted of, which, prosecutors successfully argued, have hopelessly tarnished the city’s academic reputation as well as the integrity of the nation’s testing system overall.

Their sentencing trials are scheduled to begin in earnest next week.



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