Retired Atlanta Educators say They Were Given Okay to Cheat

hcsp.jpgTwo retired educators testified Tuesday they erased answers at Deerwood Academy in 2008 and 2009 with the blessing of then-Assistant Principal Tabeeka Jordan.

Tabeeka Jordan listens to testimony during an APS tribunal on Tuesday.

Jordan appeared before a tribunal of retired educators to fight efforts by Atlanta Public Schools to fire her. Jordan was suspended from August 2009 until June 2010 and since has been on medical leave awaiting a resolution of cheating charges, according to a state report.
APS is trying to fire Jordan and about 80 educators implicated in the cheating scandal. Jordan’s hearing will resume at 10 a.m. May 30.
At Tuesday’s hearing, former Deerwood employees Lavonia Ferrell and Margaret Merkerson testified they changed answers on state exams in summer 2008 and spring 2009. Jordan walked in and out of the conference room while the cheating was taking place, they said.
Jordan’s attorney said she did not know the two were erasing answers. Part of their duty was to bubble in student information on the front of test sheets, according to testimony.
Ferrell, a retired testing coordinator, said Jordan told her Deerwood needed to meet state academic goals. Jordan put check marks on answer sheets to cue Ferrell which ones needed to be changed, she testified.
“There was a massive amount of pressure on schools and principals in APS,” Ferrell said. “I care for Ms. Jordan and [then-Principal Lisa Smith]. I think they are outstanding educators. They basically went by the rules. I thought I was helping at that time. But I regret doing that.”
Jordan’s attorney, George Lawson, said the longtime educator did not know about cheating or direct anyone to cheat. He said he doubts the existence of check marks on the answer sheets, and said comments about needing to meet testing goals were misinterpreted.
“She didn’t know anything, and no one told her anything about cheating,” he said.
Source: | Jaime Sarrio