Atlanta Public Schools

APS Cheating Trial
5:35 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

APS Cheating Trial Appeals Could Still Take Years

Prosecutors Fani Willis and Clint Rucker speak during a news conference following sentencing for 10 of the 11 defendants convicted in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial. The appeals process for the eight defendants who didn't take plea deals could still take years.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This week's sentencing hearing in the APS cheating trial means defendants are just beginning the appeals process. Think of this as a fork in the road.

Fork one: file a motion for a new trial. Fork two: go straight to a court of appeals.

Each path could end up crossing the other down the line, but we'll set that aside for now. Whichever option defendants choose, lawyers will need a complete record of the trial.

“In this case it might take six months to a year to prepare this transcript," said Ed Garland, an Atlanta attorney not involved in the case.

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A Closer Look
3:50 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

What The Cheating Trial Verdict Means For School Board Members

Eleven former Atlanta Public Schools' educators are in jail after being convicted in the APS cheating trial.
Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

Six years ago, the Atlanta Board of Education won the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban School Boards of Education's 2009 Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

That was before the big fallout over the APS cheating scandal.

Now, 11 former Atlanta Public Schools' educators are in jail after being convicted in the APS cheating trial.  

What's the message to school boards?

As the cheating scandal was revealed, members of the Atlanta Board of Education publicly squabbled with each other.

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A Closer Look
3:49 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Suspicious Data Trends Exposed APS Test Cheating Scandal

Atlanta Public Schools test scores first drew suspicion in 2009.
Credit Judy Baxter / flickr.com/judybaxter

In 2009, reporters at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noticed some suspicious trends in Atlanta Public Schools' standardized test scores.  

From there, they went on to uncover widespread cheating that eventually led to the indictment of dozens of educators.  

Eleven former Atlanta Public Schools educators, who pled not guilty to multiple charges, were convicted Wednesday.

Former Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Heather Vogell  helped uncover the story and recounted the case with "A Closer Look" hosts Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer.

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A Closer Look
2:57 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

APS Trial Verdict Surprises Former Georgia Chief Justice

APS cheating trial verdict finds eleven former educators guilty of RICO charges.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Eleven former Atlanta Public Schools educators were found guilty on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges Wednesday, after months of testimony.

It was the longest jury trial in Georgia’s history.

Former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears talked about the significance of the verdicts and expressed her surprise at the RICO convictions on "A Closer Look" with Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer.

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A Closer Look
2:49 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Before APS Cheating Scandal, One Agency Sounded Alarm

Kathleen Mathers, the former executive director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, continues her third day of testimony in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.
Credit Kent Johnson / Associated Press

While the news of the verdicts in the APS cheating trial are making headlines, "A Closer Look" turned back to the state agency that sounded the alarm on cheating in Atlanta Schools system.

In 2009, Kathleen Mathers was the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. During the trial she showed the court specific schools that showed significant changes on the Criterion Reference Competency Test, or CRCT. Mathers testified that, after the school board's Blue Ribbon Commission failed to meet the state’s standard, the state began its own investigation.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:23 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Empty Schools Could Become Future Public Parks

A banana plant grows near the Kirkwood Urban Forest. Council member Julian Bond says he wants the city of Atlanta to turn unused school properties into public parks like this.
Credit Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Council member Julian Bond says he wants the city of Atlanta to turn unused school properties – to which the city holds the deeds – into public parks.

He says the city is growing quickly, but doesn’t have enough green space, and it's not clear how much land is sitting empty, so he says the first step is to catalog it.

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Atlanta Public Schools
1:43 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

APS Cheating Trial Day 2: Live Tweets, Part 1

Fulton Senior Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker questions witness Justina Collins during testimony Tuesday.
Kent Johnson Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rose Scott is covering the trial of the 12 former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of a conspiracy to raise school scores by changing the answers on student tests.  The trial enters its second day of testimony today.

Here are Rose's tweets from the morning of Tuesday, September 30.  They are arranged in chronological order.

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Atlanta Public Schools
5:48 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

No Air Conditioning? No Textbooks? No Problem, Says Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta school officials say the textbooks are expected to arrive some time during the first quarter of the school year.
Credit Image courtesy of acclaimclipart.com

Monday, August 4th, 2014 was the first day of school for many metro Atlanta students.

However, in some Atlanta schools lack of air conditioning and a lack of textbooks were an issue.

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Atlanta Public Schools
5:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

APS Could Create Agreement Between Charter and Traditional Schools

APS Charter School Task Force discusses developing an agreement between APS schools
Chris Ferguson/WABE

The Atlanta Public School Board could soon vote on whether to develop a compact between traditional and charter schools in the district. The recommendation comes from a charter school task force for the board, which met Wednesday.

Task force members say the compact will allow the district to help bridge the divide between charter and traditional schools.  School Board member Byron Amos chairs the task force.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:35 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Atlanta School Chief Ready To Focus on Future, Not the Past

APS superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen at Atlanta Press Club luncheon sponsored by Communities in Schools, an organization that works to prevent students from dropping out.
Credit Rose Scott / WABE

  The newly hired superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools says transition won’t be easy as APS tries to move on from the cheating scandal.

Speaking during at Atlanta Press Club luncheon, Dr. Meria Carstarphen today gave a glimpse into her vision for the district.  

WABE’s Rose Scott has more.

Standing before the APS board, business and philanthropic leaders and educational partners, Dr. Carstarphen says APS will undergo a culture change.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:31 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Atlanta Educators Videotaped Abusing Special Needs Students

Alger Coleman III was arrested and charged with child cruelty and battery.
Credit Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Erroll Davis says the abuse of two special needs students, at the hands of educators, is disgusting and disturbing.

It happened at Harper Archer Middle School.

WABE’s Rose Scott has more.

A special education teacher set-up a video recorder because she says her previous complaints were ignored.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:03 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Atlanta Schools Seek New Chapter with New Superintendent

Dr. Meria Carstarphen is officially introduced as the next superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM/Dan Raby

Monday, Atlanta school board chair Courtney English called it a special moment after the board approved the hiring of the district’s new superintendent.

Dr. Meria Carstarphen was the sole finalist for the job.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports, Carstarphen is acknowledging the challenges, but also pledging assurances as APS looks to turn the corner from the nation’s largest cheating scandal.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:10 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Judge Denies Motion in APS Cheating Case

Fulton County prosecutors used this an example of how scanners of standardized tests can detect erasure marks. Defense attorneys wanted items like this thrown out as evidence.
Credit Rose Scott / WABE News

There’s analysis of erasures on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test that’s tied to the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

Should that analysis be part of the evidence in the court trial against defendants including former Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall?

Defense lawyers today argued no. But, the Fulton County Superior Court Judge in the case denied the defense motion.

For Friday’s 5:44 segment with WABE’s Denis O’Hayer, WABE’s Rose Scott talked about arguments in court and the judge’s ruling.

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Developing
4:23 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Judge Postpones Beverly Hall's Trial Until August Due To Health Concerns

Dr. Beverly Hall
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

TWEETS FROM THE COURTROOM: After a hearing where he heard competing views of Dr. Beverly Hall's health, Judge Jerry Baxter ruled that he will delay the trial of Dr. Hall until August because of her health.

Dr. Hall's oncologist, Dr. Laura Weakland of Georgia Cancer Specialists, testified about Dr. Hall's health at the request of Judge Baxter.  Dr. Hall has been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, and her lawyers had requested a delay of her trial.

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Atlanta Public Schools
5:15 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Lawyer for Beverly Hall Reiterates Request for Trial Delay

Richard Deane, attorney for Beverly Hall, discussing the case with reporters this afternoon.
Josh Pate

Web Exclusive:

Today, reporters talked to one of the attorneys representing former Atlanta Schools Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall.

Hall is arguably the highest profile defendant in the Atlanta schools cheating court case.

In a motion filed yesterday, Hall’s attorneys had asked the trial be delayed by 6-8 months because of Hall’s treatment for Stage IV breast cancer.

Attorney Richard Deane talked about that motion today in a press conference.

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Atlanta Public Schools
7:42 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Dr. Carstarphen's Austin Report Card: A Talk with KUT Education Reporter Kate McGee

Kate McGee, education reporter for KUT, the NPR station in Austin, Texas
Credit KUT News

On March 27, 2014, Dr. Meria Carstarphen was named the sole finalist for the job of Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent.  

For the past five years, Carstarphen has headed the Austin Independent School District in Texas.  To find out how she did there, WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Kate McGee, an education reporter who covered Carstarphen for NPR station KUT in Austin.

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Atlanta Public Schools
5:49 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Likely New Atlanta Superintendent Talks Atlanta Cheating Scandal

If approved by the school board, Dr. Meria Carstarphen assumes a number of challenges including the most notable one, the cheating scandal.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

The lone finalist to become the next Atlanta Public Schools superintendent met with Governor Nathan Deal and then with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Friday.

If approved by the school board, Dr. Meria Carstarphen assumes a number of challenges including the most notable one.

That means rebounding from one of the darkest moments for APS.

Dr. Carstarphen was asked to reflect on what was called the nation’s largest cheating scandal.

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Atlanta Public Schools
9:50 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Lone Candidate for Atlanta Schools Superintendent, "We Are Going to Do This Together"

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has been named as the sole finalist for the superintendent job in Atlanta, Georgia.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

A lone finalist is likely the next superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools.

Thursday, district officials introduced Dr. Meria Carstarphen as their choice for the next school chief.

Dr. Carstarphen is currently the superintendent for the Austin Independent School District in Texas.

As she walked into the library of Hope Hill Elementary, Dr. Meria Carstarphen gave high fives to the students seated on the floor.

When she addressed the room, she talked about coming home to another part of the South.

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Breaking
6:56 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen Introduced As Lone APS Superintendent Finalist

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen (left, standing next to APS Board Chair Courtney English) is the finalist for the position of APS superintendent. She was introduced to the public and press late Thursday afternoon, March 27.
Rose Scott, WABE

Late this afternoon, the Atlanta Board of Education introduced the lone finalist for the position of Atlanta Public School superintendent at a press conference at Hope Hill Elementary School.

She is Dr. Meria Joel Carstaphen and is currently the superintendent of the Austin (Texas) Independent School District.  Dr. Carstaphen (pronounced car-STAR-fin) is a native of Selma, Alabama, who joined the Austin school system in 2009 as both its first African-American superintendent and its first female superintendent.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:30 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Amid Preparations For APS Trial, Dr. Hall's Lawyer Reveals She Has Cancer

In this file photo from earlier this year, Dr. Beverly Hall attends a hearing with attorney Richard
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The presiding judge in the case against Atlanta educators in the cheating scandal wants everyone to be ready when the trial begins.

Fulton County Superior Court judge Jerry Baxter made it clear today during a status hearing where some of the remaining defendants were in attendance.

Former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall was not in court today.  

WABE’s Rose Scott reports on the news revealed about the former school chief.

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Developing
11:39 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Dr. Beverly Hall Battling Stage IV Cancer

Dr. Beverly Hall
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

BREAKING -- WABE's Rose Scott has learned from a lawyer for Dr. Beverly Hall that his client is suffering from Stage IV cancer and is "gravely ill."

[Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Dr. Hall's lawyer had made this statement in court.  WABE regrets the error.]

Stage IV cancer is described by the National Cancer Institute as meaning that "the cancer has spread to distant tissues or organs."

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Atlanta Public Schools
4:38 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Atlanta School Board Stands Behind Superintendent's Principal Changes

Chairman Courtney English says the entire board stands behind the rationale for removing the school leaders.
Credit Atlanta Public Schools

The recent announcement that nearly a dozen Atlanta school principals would not return in the fall led to a packed house at this week’s APS school board meeting.

District officials say the decision was part of a routine annual assessment and review process by Superintendent Erroll Davis.

Now, WABE’s Rose Scott reports, the APS board is backing the school’s chief decision.

APS board chair Courtney English says decisions like this are never easy, but the consensus is NOT to oppose Superintendent Erroll Davis.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Former Atlanta School Chief's Attorney Responds to Newest Plea Deal

J. Tom Morgan escorts Dr. Beverly Hall to the Fulton County Sheriff's Department the day an indictment was handed up.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

One of the attorneys for former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall says despite a recent plea from another APS executive, Hall is looking forward to clearing her name.

WABE’s Rose Scott has this report.

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Atlanta Public Schools
9:18 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Former Atlanta Schools Executive Enters Plea, Will Testify For State

The district attorney's office says Few will testify against her former boss, APS superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall.
Credit WABE

On Monday, Millicent Few, the former human resources director of the Atlanta Public Schools, agreed to a plea deal with the Fulton County District attorney’s office.

"I  just want to sincerely apologize to the citizens of Atlanta and specifically the students and their parents for my role in this matter. It’s taken a toll on my family, my support network and myself. I just want to apologize to them and I look forward to hopefully moving on with my life.”  

Few has agreed to testify on behalf of the state in its case against former APS superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall.

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Atlanta Public Schools
4:14 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Atlanta Mayor and School Board Differ on Next Superintendent Salary

In this WABE file photo, at the Atlanta History Center at The Carter Breakfast.Mayor Kasim Reed talks about how to attract the best candidate for the school system.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM/Charles Edwards

What will it take to attract the next Atlanta Public Schools superintendent?

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed today stood by his idea to double the salary in order to attract what he calls the best in class.

Reed first talked about how to attract the best candidate in 2012.

In the first of two reports from WABE’s Michell Eloy and Rose Scott, new APS board chair Courtney English says the board doesn’t support the Mayor’s plan.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:28 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

New Atlanta Board Members Ready to Work

Newly elected and returning members of the Atlanta Board of Education are sworn into office.
Credit Scott C. King, APS

The Atlanta Public Schools will have a new superintendent, but the announcement won’t come until April.

The newly sworn in APS board will receive a list of finalists recommended by a search committee.

Selection of the next schools chief is the first major task for the board.

And as WABE’s Rose Scott reports, the newest board members say they’re ready to work.

In between the hugs, congratulations and photos being taken, the faces of the new members of the APS board were all smiles after being sworn in.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:22 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Six New Members join Atlanta Board of Education, English Voted Chairman

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Edmond Adams-seated-looks on as the nine member APS board is sworn in by Fulton County Senior Judge Melvin K. Westmoreland.
WABE 90.1 FM

It wasn't business as usual for the year's first Atlanta Board of Education meeting.

That's because there are six new members and as WABE's Rose Scott reports new leadership.

As the members walked in, the crowd cheered.

The first order of business was to swear in the new board.

But before the ceremony, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Edmond Adams delivered a mandate.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:02 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Former Educators Enter Into Plea Agreements, Will Testify For State

Starlette Mitchell with attorney Ruth McMullin.
WABE 90.1 FM/Scott

Today five former Atlanta Public Schools educators and one former secretary entered into a plea agreement with the state.

They were part of the original thirty-five indicted on charges related to test cheating in APS.

We have two reports on today’s court proceedings from WABE’s Michelle Wirth and Rose Scott.

62-year old Clarietta Davis is the former principal of Venetian Hills Elementary School.

During the state ordered investigation, some teachers at the school confessed to cheating, but Davis initially refused to answer any questions.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:26 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Attorney For Indicted Educator: Trying All at Once "Unconstitutional"

Earlier this year, Brian Steel argued on behalf of all the defendants to have the indictment thrown out.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

If all thirty-four defendants facing racketeering charges related to the Atlanta cheating scandal are tried at once, it will be history making and unconstitutional.

That’s according to an attorney representing one of the educators.

The remaining defendants include Dr. Luscious Brown, the former principal of Kennedy Middle School.

He’s charged with racketeering, making false statements and making false writings.

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Atlanta Public Schools
4:37 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Atlanta School District Releases North Atlanta High School Racial Discrimination Report

Atlanta Public School's Office of Internal Compliance released its investigative summary regarding accusations of institutional racism within North Atlanta High School.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

In a story first reported by WABE news, allegations of racial discrimination and improper grade changing were charged at North Atlanta High School.

Today, the Atlanta Public Schools released the findings of an internal investigation into those claims.

The 166 page report found no racial discrimination as defined by law.

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