The details of the indictment are stunning -- teachers and school administrators allegedly engaged in a vast conspiracy, all for the sake of making Atlanta's students appear to be thriving instead of flailing.
Nearly three dozen Atlanta Public Schools employees -- ranging all the way up from classroom teachers to central office administrators to former Superintendent Beverly Hall -- face stiff fines and jail time over allegations that they changed students' answer sheets on high-stakes statewide exams. The indictment has 65 counts, including racketeering, false statements and writings, and influencing witnesses.
Some of the most damning charges are laid at the feet of 66-year-old Hall, a former national Superintendent of the Year, who is alleged to have fostered a work environment where dishonesty was rewarded. While the legal system does its work, some observers question whether the high-stakes, high-pressure emphasis on testing in the nation's public schools helped create an environment where cheating was not only rampant but inevitable.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting the heck out of this new development, which is not surprising given that it was the newspaper's dogged "Cheating Our Children" investigative series that eventually led to this week's indictments of Hall and 34 other district employees. (You can read my posts on the AJ-C investigation, including the controversy it sparked in districts nationwide, here, here, and here.)