ALBANY, Ga. — Just more than a week into the probe of alleged Criterion-Referenced Competency Test cheating within the Dougherty County School system in 2009, Gov. Nathan Deal’s lead investigator said the probe has taken an added pathway for information.
“We’ve been meeting with parents and students at their request, and we’ve been getting information from the kids that we want to check out,” Richard Hyde said Wednesday. “This is different because it’s not something we did in the Atlanta investigation. Every investigation is different and we go where the evidence leads us.”
Hyde would not reveal the number of parents and students he and his team have interviewed, but did say they have already talked to several and that similar interviews were in the works.
Hyde has a team of 12 Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents, all of whom worked on the Atlanta school district investigation, in town conducting interviews. He said early rounds of interviews have resulted in “several teacher confessions.”
“The investigation is going very well,” Hyde said. “We’re less than two weeks into this and we are way ahead of where we were in Atlanta. The people we have talked to are concerned and have been very cooperative. We’ve also had a number of people come forward because they want to do the right thing. That speaks well of the people of Dougherty County.”
Phase One of the investigation is still on track to be completed in several weeks. Then the investigators will concentrate on Phase Two, which will delve deeper into specific areas of concern.
“This mess is going to take awhile to untangle,” Hyde said. “But our agents on the streets are making great progress.”
In the aftermath of the Atlanta investigation, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Tuesday that a Fulton County Grand Jury has issued a “sweeping” subpoena indicating a criminal investigation has begun into test tampering in the Atlanta Public School System.
According to the AJC, the subpoena seeks information dating back to 1999 on teacher transfers, demotions and bonuses paid to employees for improved test scores. The paper added the subpoena also seeks copies of complaints from parents, teachers or students of possible CRCT improprieties.