While there's been a spike in cases of school standardized test cheating nationwide, a noted educator says Georgia stands as a role model when it comes to digging up the corruption.
FairTest, a nonprofit which works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing, documented more than 50 ways dozens of school systems have cheated to boost standardized test scores. The test cheating has occurred in 37 states and Washington, DC.
"As we've seen unfortunately in Atlanta, politicians' fixation on boosting test scores by any means necessary has forced many teachers and administrators to cross the ethical line and work to boost test scores by hook or by crook," says FairTest's public education director, Bob Schaeffer.
He says other major school districts implicated in cheating include Baltimore, Camden, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Newark. But Schaeffer says Atlanta is unique in the money and the man-hours spent probing the improbable jump in some schools' test score results from 2008-2009.
"Governors Perdue and Deal deserve immense credit for standing up to extraordinary political pressure to 'Look the other way and honor the Atlanta miracle,' and actually putting tbe resources in to find out what was really taking place," he says. That included investigators with real subpoena power.
Schaeffer also credits the media, especially the AJC, with doing a "phenomenal job" in making sure the suspicious test turnaround and subsequent internal probes didn't get swept under the rug.
Atlanta's CRCT cheating scandal has now led to the Fulton County indictment of 35 educators and test officials, including former superintendent Beverly Hall.
Georgia investigators also dug up test corruption in Dougherty County, where 49 educators were implicated.