In an unexpectedly harsh sentence after a polarizing six-year ordeal, eight of the 10 educators convicted of racketeering in one of the nation’s largest public school cheating scandals were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years Tuesday after they refused to take sentencing deals that were predicated on their acceptance of responsibility and a waiver of their right to appeal.Well, it is a violent crime when you violate a scantron form by changing the bubbles without the scantron's consent. Erasure tampering involves violent, back and forth, heavy erasure movements. No scantron can survive that.
Many here, amid widespread calls for leniency before the sentencing, were shocked at the severity of the sentences handed down by Judge Jerry W. Baxter, who had seemed to indicate on Monday that he wanted to avoid prison terms. But after the deals fell through, and while declaring the cheating scandal “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in this town,” he imposed sentences that appeared to be more harsh than those in similar cheating scandals elsewhere and that exceeded what criminals sometimes receive for violent crimes.
And yes, that kind of crime is definitely the "sickest thing that's ever happened" in Atlanta, worse than any murder, gang rape, robbery or anything else. Far worse. Ever.
Of course, maybe they didn't feel they should apologize because, y'know, they're teachers, not common criminals, who did nothing but operate within a flawed and obsessive educational system of standardized testing that your "community" instituted. Maybe the apology should come from every brain-dead politician and school board member who ever supported and instituted standardized testing, "teacher accountability," and incentivized performance based on test scores.Among those declining deals were three higher-level administrators: Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts and Tamara Cotman, all regional directors at Atlanta Public Schools. Judge Baxter sentenced each of them to seven years in prison.These sentences exceeded prosecutors’ recommendations. Also sentenced after refusing a deal were Angela Williamson, an elementary teacher, and Tabeeka Jordan, an assistant principal, who each received two years in prison. Three other defendants received one year in prison each: Dana Evans, a principal; Diane Buckner-Webb, a teacher; and Theresia Copeland, a testing coordinator.
Judge Baxter, who presided over the complex six-month trial, was angry that some of the defendants would not stand before the court and take responsibility for what they had done.“She didn’t need to apologize to me; she needed to apologize to this community and these children,” the judge said to lawyers for Ms. Buckner-Webb, who had questioned the prosecutors’ demand that she make such a statement. “I want the community to have the apology, and I want these children who were shortchanged and cheated to have the apology.”
But what do I know. Meanwhile, what I'm really upset about is this:
But the judge also ordered all of the educators released on bond from county jail, where they had been held since their April 1 conviction. Lawyers said that those ordered to prison would probably remain free unless their convictions were upheld in the appeals process, which could take months or years.Outrageous and unforgivable. The community is clearly not safe with these treacherous thugs in bow ties and pant suits roaming the streets while their durn appeals tie up the court for years and waste even more of our tax payer dollars. These criminals belong in prison. Or maybe even the death penalty.
No punishment is too harsh for cretins who think they can dare challenge or beat the Standardized Testing Industrial Complex.