The Big Cheat: Why Teachers Are Going to Prison While Charter School Operators Get Accolades

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No one likes a cheater.

So you’d think plenty of people would be pleased to hear that educators in Atlanta, on trial for cheating on standardized tests, were found guilty of those charges and sentenced “harshly,” according to the New York Times.

As CNN reports, of the 12 educators who went on trial for “inflating test scores of children from struggling schools,” 11 were convicted of racketeering—a crime normally associated with mob bosses—and other lesser crimes. Of those who have been sentenced so far (one sentencing has been postponed), eight have been given jail or prison time and three will serve at least seven years. Only those who admitted guilt and waived appeals were spared.

But even before the sentencing was finalized, there was widespread condemnation of the idea that prison terms were even in consideration. An “outrage” one commentator called it. “Racist,” declared another.
Posted by The NON-Conformist
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America Is Criminalizing Black Teachers: Atlanta’s Cheating Scandal and the Racist Underbelly of Education Reform

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Last week, an Atlanta jury convicted 11 teachers and school administrators of racketeering in a system-wide cheating scandal. Yes, you read that correctly. Teachers and administrators inflating student scores on standardized tests is now considered “organized crime” in this country, and is punishable by more 20 years in prison, in these cases.

I am an educator. I am a black woman who may someday mother a black child. I have taught other black mothers’ children. Much of my educational success in elementary school is directly attributable to high performance on standardized tests that caused my white teachers to notice me and intervene on my behalf to get me “tracked” into higher-achieving classrooms. I believe all children deserve access to a good, high-quality, public education.

Therefore, I don’t have to condone cheating in any form (and I don’t) to assert that what has happened in Atlanta to these teachers is a travesty. The pictures that emerged last week of handcuffed black schoolteachers being led out of Southern courtrooms in one of the country’s largest urban black school systems were absolutely heartbreaking.

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