ATLANTA (AP) — A group of former Atlanta educators convicted in a test cheating scandal were locked up in jail Thursday as they await sentences that could send them to prison for years.
In one of the nation’s largest cheating scandals of its kind, the 11 defendants were convicted Wednesday of racketeering for their roles in a scheme to inflate students’ scores on standardized exams.
They include teachers, a principal and other administrators, who were accused of falsifying test results to collect bonuses or keep their jobs in the 50,000-student Atlanta public school system. A 12th defendant, a teacher, was acquitted of all charges by the jury.
The racketeering charges carry up to 20 years in prison. The convicted former educators are set to be sentenced later this month.
The teachers and administrators involved were feeding answers to students and erasing and changing answers on tests after they were turned in. State investigators found evidence of cheating in 44 schools. Teachers who tried to report it said they feared severe retaliation.
The convicted teachers were led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
“They are convicted felons as far as I’m concerned,” Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter said, later adding, “They have made their bed and they’re going to have to lie in it.”