Perdue appoints prosecutor to probe school districts

ATLANTA – Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday said he will appoint a special investigator with subpoena powers to probe “testing irregularities” during the administration of the CRCT in 2009 at public schools in Atlanta and Dougherty County.

“This is about seeking out a small group of people who have failed to hold up the high ideals most Georgia teachers live by,” Perdue said in a statement to the State Board of Education. “And what has happened here has stunted the growing and learning process for thousands of children. They have been cheated by adults who made it look like they were farther along educationally than they really were. For those children, we must do everything in our power to rectify this situation.”

According to state officials, 35 school systems statewide had the chance to conduct internal investigations into irregularities.

“While most districts complied with the charge from (the State Board of Education), both Dougherty County and Atlanta Public Schools responded with internal investigations that were woefully inadequate – both in scope and in depth,” Perdue said. “Where the state asked these local systems to cooperate fully to determine what happened during the 2009 administration of the CRCT, their efforts frankly fell short of the target.

“In APS, audits flagged 58 schools where test results were widely irregular … where results of an erasure analysis were all but statistically impossible,” Perdue said. “In 43 of those 58 schools, the situation was so severe that 25 percent of all classes had wrong-to-right changes exceeding three standard deviations.”

Perdue has the support of top state school officials.

“The State Board of Education and the Department of Education have demonstrated a commitment to these investigations since the first actions were taken in June 2009 and will continue this work,” State Board of Education Chair Wanda Barrs and State Schools Superintendent Brad Bryant said in a joint statement. “We fully accept the Governor’s charge to take every means possible to ensure that any actions by adults do not negatively impact the education of Georgia’s students.”

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