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Former Atlanta educators get jail time for their roles in test cheating scheme

Former Atlanta educators get jail time for their roles in test cheating scheme

Nine of 10 defendants will serve time behind bars for being part of a conspiracy to inflate students' standardized test scores. 

Nine of 10 former Atlanta public school educators have been sentenced to jail time for their roles in a conspiracy to inflate student scores on standardized tests.

The Associated Press reports that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter imposed prison sentences ranging from one to seven years on seven of those convicted. A former teacher received one year of home confinement, and a former testing coordinator was ordered to serve weekends in jail for six months. The final defendant will be sentenced at a later date.

Earlier this month, a jury found 11 of 12 teachers, principals and administrators guilty of conspiring to change student answers on standardized tests. The criminal charges came after an investigation found that as far back as 2005, educators in Atlanta schools system provided answers to students or changed answers on tests after they were turned in. Cheating took place in 44 schools, and nearly 180 educators were involved.

In 2013, 35 educators were indicted on charges that included racketeering, making false statements and theft. Many pleaded guilty, and some of those testified at the subsequent trial. The jury acquitted one of the 12 former educators who went to trial and convicted the other 11 on a racketeering charge.

Former Superintendent Beverly Hall was among those indicted, but she did not stand trial because of illness. She died last month from complications of breast cancer.

MORE: In sentencing the defendants, Judge Baxter said the focus should not be on the harm to lifelong educators who held positions of power, but on the lives of students who were powerless, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

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