Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trial of the Century

Standardized Test Cheating Trial Open in Atlanta:

The criminal trial of a dozen public school educators opened here Monday with prosecutors alleging that the teachers and administrators had engaged in a “widespread, cleverly disguised” conspiracy to cheat on standardized test scores in an effort to protect their jobs and win favor and bonuses from administrators.

It was a near-guarantee that the trial, which is expected to last three months or more, will generate more unpleasantness for these former colleagues at Atlanta public schools. The urban school district has already suffered one of the most devastating standardized-testing scandals of recent years. A state investigation in 2011 found that 178 principals and teachers in the city school district were involved in cheating on standardized tests. Dozens of former employees of the school district have either been fired or have resigned, and 21 educators have pleaded guilty to crimes like obstruction and making false statements.
Remember, this was the "crime of the century" that resulted at one point in more than 25% of the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) agents in the state working on the case. Apparently, other criminal activity had dried up and vanished that summer of 2011.
In a lengthy opening statement, peppered with both slangy Southernisms and pointed indignation, Fani Willis, an assistant district attorney in Fulton County, argued that the dozen educators in the courtroom, as well as Dr. Hall, had violated Georgia’s RICO statute, by using the “legitimate enterprise” of the school system to carry out the illegitimate act of cheating.

Whistleblowers who raised concerns about cheating were punished within the school system, Ms. Willis said. She also described cheating parties, in which educators erased wrong answers and replaced them with correct ones.

At some of them, she said, educators “ate fish and grits — I can’t make this up.”
That's not a little racist. And yes, you read that right, they used the RICO Act (normally reserved for organized crime, terrorism, drug cartels, and so on) and racketeering statutes to prosecute elementary school teachers for alleged erasure tampering (thugs, all of them).

I also love how Fulton DA Paul Howard is supposedly hanging his "legacy" on the outcome of this crime of the century prosecution.
The outcome of the trial is likely to define the legacy of District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., who has served as Fulton County’s top prosecutor since 1997. The district attorney’s official website describes Mr. Howard as “a visionary and trailblazer whose innovative ideas have left an indelible mark on the local justice system and on the community at large.”
LOL. See also: Ray Lewis, Brian Nichols, Asset Forfeiture Malfeasance, thousands of felony cases never prosecuted, ad nauseum.

What a circus. Make sure you stay tuned for every detail. And if you can't stay home watching it on t.v. all day, check back here and I'll have summaries over the next few months (not).

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