Ga. test scandal teachers told quit or be fired
The Atlanta school system has been rocked by scandal. Cheating was allegedly rampant, and now those believed to be responsible are being held accountable.
Almost 200 Atlanta educators, teachers and principals, all implicated in the most far-reaching school cheating scandal in American history, have been given an ultimatum: Quit by Wednesday, or be fired.
But Armstead Salters says he's no cheat.
Salters told CBS News, "I always work hard for the children."
CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann report, however, that at Atlanta's Gideon Elementary, state investigators say they found plenty wrong; Cheating in almost every classroom, teachers erasing wrong answers on standardized tests and filling in the right ones, all allegedly on orders from their former principal, Armstead Salters.
Salters told CBS News, "I think in time you'll find out I didn't do anything wrong."
State investigators say in Atlanta's public schools, 178 principals and teachers - almost half of whom confessed - changed student answers to spike scores.
Students showed such dramatic progress that former superintendant Beverly Hall and other staffers were given awards, and big bonuses.
Now anyone implicated faces termination and, possibly, criminal charges, according to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
"When educators have failed to uphold their trust and students are harmed in the process, there will be consequences," Deal said.
Many of the affected students live in Atlanta's poorest neighborhoods. Year after year, Strassmann reports, some of them were promoted to the next grade based on phony test scores - even though they had mastered none of the basics.
"It is just so devastating that so many children have been affected by educators who just didn't do their jobs," said parent Joleen Neel.
Now some of those educators will lose those jobs. But some intend to fight the charges. The governor trusts the steps taken will bring this scandal to an end.
"We have dealt with it quickly," Deal said. "That we're going to deal with it in serious fashion. Hopefully we'll show to the rest of the country that we will not tolerate this in our school systems."
Strassmann added on "The Early Show" that felony charges could be on the way. A local prosecutor was to meet Monday with five teachers accused of taking part in a so-called "cheating party." The teachers allegedly went to a house and spent hours changing answers.
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