“APS is run like the mob,” one teacher told investigators, saying she cheated because she feared retaliation if she didn’t.Do you pity the underlings who were pressured by their own self-interest?
The cheating cut off struggling students from the extra help they would have received if they’d failed.Well, do you pity those employees, caving to the job-pressure they felt, or do you turn your back on them, as they betrayed a sacred duty to the children, whose interests had to be put first and were not?
At Venetian Hills, a group of teachers and administrators who dubbed themselves “the chosen ones” convened to change answers in the afternoons or during makeup testing days, investigators found. Principal Clarietta Davis, a testing coordinator told investigators, wore gloves while erasing to avoid leaving fingerprints on answer sheets.
At Gideons Elementary, teachers sneaked tests off campus and held a weekend “changing party” at a teacher’s home in Douglas County to fix answers.Disgusting betrayal... parties.
Cheating was “an open secret” at the school, the report said. The testing coordinator handed out answer-key transparencies to place over answer sheets so the job would go faster.
When investigators began questioning educators, now-retired principal Armstead Salters obstructed their efforts by telling teachers not to cooperate, the report said.
“If anyone asks you anything about this just tell them you don’t know,” the report said Salters said. He told teachers to “just stick to the story and it will all go away.”
Principal Gwendolyn Benton, who has since left, obstructed the investigation, too, the report said, when she threatened teachers by saying she would “sue them out the ass” if they “slandered” her to the GBI....
“In sum, a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation permeated the APS system from the highest ranks down,” the investigators wrote. “Cheating was allowed to proliferate until, in the words of one former APS principal, ‘it became intertwined in Atlanta Public Schools ... a part of what the culture is all about.’ ”And let's remember that the state compels children to go to school. Children are held captive for endless hours of their young lives, in part so that teachers will impart cultural values to them. And look what their values were!