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11 Former Atlanta Public School Employees Found Guilty In Cheating Scandal

Eleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.

One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter ordered the 11 to jail immediately. He also told defense attorneys: "They have made their bed and they're going to have to lie in it and it starts today."

As we've reported, this case dates to a report produced by the state in 2011 that found a "school system fraught with unethical behavior that included teachers and principals changing wrong answers on students' answer sheets and an environment where cheating for better test scores was encouraged and whistleblowers were punished."

The report itself was prompted by a statistical analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that found some scores in the Atlanta school system were improbable.

Originally, 35 educators were indicted by a grand jury, but many of them took plea deals and only a dozen of them ended up standing trial.

Elliot, of WSB-TV, has been live tweeting the verdict. He reports:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.