US teachers jailed for their role in exam cheating

Mostly we are used to hearing cases of students cheating in Exams but a court in the US has sentenced 8 former Atlanta school teachers to jail for between one and seven years for cheating in exams.

The teachers were found guilty of conspiring to cheat in exams in one of the largest-ever scandals to hit the US.

While sentencing the teachers the judge termed their offense as the “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in Atlanta.”

Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter gave three of the  educators convicted in the scandal 20-year sentences, with seven years to be served in prison and the rest on probation.

Five educators received five-year sentences, with two ordered to serve two years in prison and three to serve one year.

“There were thousands of children that were harmed in this thing,” said judge Baxter said during a rancorous hearing according to reports.

Two convicted educators, who apologized in court under agreements with prosecutors, received lighter punishments.

One must serve six months of weekends in jail and five years of probation. The other avoided jail and was sentenced to five years probation, with one year of an evening home curfew.

The former Atlanta state school teachers who were convicted in the scandal had hoped the improvement in students’ results would impress the supervisors and in turn help them secure performance bonuses or preserve their jobs.

According to reports the teachers claimed they were forced to commit the offenses  after feeling pressured from former Superintendent Beverly Hall, who passed away in March  from breast cancer.

Cheating was rampant throughout the Atlanta school district in 2009, state investigators found, prompting schools nationwide to enact measures guarding against cheating.

The teachers also erased wrong answers as part of the cheating by the educators under pressure to meet test targets, according to prosecutors.