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Atlanta officials could face jail time in standardized test cheating scandal

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 other Atlanta teachers and administrators were indicted Friday by a Fulton County grand jury for their role in that city’s massive test cheating scandal – charged with conspiring to manipulate test results to make the school system look better than it was.

According to press accounts, Hall could face up to 45 years in prison for racketeering and other charges for her involvement in what is alleged to have been a decade-long conspiracy. She and the others have until Tuesday to surrender to authorities.

Conclusive evidence of cheating was found in 58 Atlanta schools. Hall, who was once named national superintendent of the year, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

For in-depth coverage, see the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, whose reporting played a major role in breaking open the cheating scandal; coverage can also be found in USA Today, the New York Times, CNN, AP, and other national outlets.

From early on, the aggressive, high-profile investigation of cheating in Atlanta has been in sharp contrast with the handling of the probes here that resulted from the discovery in 2011 of widespread irregularities on the PSSA.

In Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, investigations of adult cheating on standardized tests continue into a second year, but District and state officials have released little information on the findings. No resolution is reported on the investigation of cheating at 53 District schools.

Any reactions to the news? Would you like to see a much more public investigation here? Are criminal charges appropriate for these kinds of acts?

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