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Sentence Issued to Atlanta School Workers in Test Score Cheating Case

It’s the time of year for children in New York state public schools between grades three and eight to take the ELA/Literacy and Mathematics Common Core tests. These exams have been the subject of scrutiny from parents and teachers alike, as they argue that the tests change the way children are taught. A recent case down in Atlanta, which resulted in prison sentences for a number of school staff members, shows just how controversial these tests can be.

In this particular case, 10 educators were convicted of racketeering a conspiracy to artificially inflate standardized test scores for certain students so that there would be the appearance of improvement in struggling Atlanta schools. This was in response to a call from Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, who placed strict standards on schools to improve their scores. In 2013, a grand jury indicted 35 different Atlanta Public Schools employees in the case, stating that those employees who participated received bonuses and more job security.

Most of the people indicted took plea deals and avoided going to trial, while two other defendants (including Hall) died before their cases could reach court. Eight of the 10 educators convicted received prison sentences with a maximum of seven years after they refused to accept sentencing deals that would have forced them to accept their responsibility and waive their rights to file appeals.

The sentences have been the subject of shock within the educational community, and some have questioned whether these educators — who had otherwise spotless criminal records — should have been sentenced so harshly.

We’re likely to see more developments related to standardized test scores and how parents, educators and students deal with them across the country. To learn more about this important issue, meet with a skilled New York attorney at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.

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