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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Atlanta’s cheated students

Ten years later after the Atlanta cheating scandal broke, “educators continue to fight to clear their names and the district attempts to give extra support to some of the students who were impacted,” reports Corey Mitchell in Education Week.

The Atlanta Promise Academy, an effort hatched to find dropouts who were harmed by the cheating and offer them GED classes or job training has failed to get off the ground. In the two years since Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the plan, he has not been able to secure private or public financing to get it rolling. And the district’s main attempt to repair the damage to students impacted by the cheating—a $7.5 million program for those who are still in school—hasn’t fared much better. In a new report from Georgia State University, researchers found that tutoring and other support services may have come too little, too late. The program—which didn’t launch until six years after most of the cheating occurred—has thus far had little or no effect on grades, attendance, or the number of classes the students passed, the report by economist Tim Sass found. And participation in Target 2021 has had no statistically significant impact on the chances of the students graduating from high school, the report found.

Because bonuses and raises were linked to improving test scores, prosecutors filed racketeering charges against 35 Atlanta educators, including Superintendent Beverly Hall, who allegedly conspired to change students’ answers.

“It was a case about stealing an opportunity for education,” said (Fulton County District Attorney Paul) Howard, whose three children graduated from Atlanta’s public schools.

Hall, who died in 2015, did not stand trial due to her failing health, writes Mitchell. “Of the 11 former educators convicted on state racketeering charges, many are still appealing their convictions, hoping to clear their records, if not their names.”

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