Probe of Dougherty County schools to continue

ATLANTA – State investigators will continue their probe of “testing irregularities” during the administration of the CRCT in 2009 at public schools in Dougherty County, Gov. Nathan Deal said Thursday.

Last August, former Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed former state Attorney General Mike Bowers and former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson to serve as special investigators to investigate irregularities in both Dougherty County and Atlanta city schools.

Deal on Tuesday released findings of the probe of Atlanta Public Schools’ CRCT exams in 2009. The results show a widespread culture of corruption, and officials acknowledge warning signs of cheating appeared as early as December 2005 – warnings that were apparently ignored.

“After completing the Atlanta Public Schools report, we had hoped that we were at a stopping point,” Deal said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I received word Thursday that the investigators’ review of their preliminary results in Dougherty County has raised grave concerns.

“We owe it to the children of Dougherty County to get answers, and our commitment to equal protection under the law requires us to treat all jurisdictions equally,” Deal said. “In other words, the state simply cannot single out Atlanta if strong evidence suggests similar patterns elsewhere.”

State officials earlier this week indicated the probe of Dougherty County was dropped.

“After reviewing the preliminary results of the investigation in Dougherty County on Wednesday and today, contrary to my initial impression, I do not believe the investigation should be terminated,” Bowers said in a Thursday message to Deal’s office. “Given those preliminary results, it is my recommendation that we complete the investigation in Dougherty. We will do this expeditiously with as little intrusion into the school system as is possible.”

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