Albany With the state investigation into Criterion-Referenced Competency Test cheating in the Dougherty County School System entering its final days, Superintendent Joshua Murfree acknowledged for the first time Monday that some school administrators and teachers will likely lose their jobs.
“We are prepared; we’re not just sitting around waiting on the final report,” Murfree said. “We are on point and ready to take action, but we are also not going to just throw anyone under the bus.”
The Herald obtained a copy of Murfree’s initial blueprint for dealing with a crisis that, according to sources familiar with the investigation, could result in as many as 10 principals and 50 teachers either resigning or being fired.
The plan, entitled “The CRCT: The Proactive Stance For Achievement,” lists eight areas of focus: among them identifying the possibility of lost positions; preparing the community; holding news conferences to keep students, teachers, administrators and the community updated; and moving forward in the probe’s aftermath.
“We are moving forward right now,” Murfree said. “We have vision and a plan in place, and if replacements are necessary, we will hire competent replacement teachers and administrators. The welfare of our students and educators will be at the forefront.
“We’re suffering a hiccup right now, but we are still moving forward.”
Investigator and former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers said Tuesday that the team expects to receive the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s final summaries today.
“We’ll look at the summaries and then figure out where we are,” Bowers said. “Right now we are running a little behind, but we are certain to be completely finished by Thanksgiving.”
After the investigation’s findings are released in a report to Gov. Nathan Deal sometime in December, Bowers said what happens next in Dougherty County will “depend on the governor.”
According to sources, the school system is reportedly in the process if setting up an administrative tribunal which will determine the fate of the teachers, administrators and principals brought before it.
The investigation into the exams administered to first- through eighth-graders in Atlanta and Dougherty County began last August at the direction of then-Gov. Sonny Perdue. At issue was the number of erasures on the 2009 CRCTs in which wrong answers were corrected.
State officials were concerned that at some schools in Atlanta and Dougherty County there were unusually high numbers of corrections. The findings of state investigations into Atlanta’s schools were announced July 5.
Among other things, the governor’s report found cheating in 44 of the 56 Atlanta schools examined and said that 178 teachers and principals in the schools had been involved in the cheating or should have known it was going on.
Dougherty County had the state’s second-highest number of flagged schools with 14, more than half of the system’s 26 schools. The probe narrowed the focus to 11 elementary schools.
CRCT investigators, bolstered by 15 special agents from the GBI, began the DCSS investigation in early August and wrapped up the probe’s initial phase last month.