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PSA clears some DCSS teachers in CRCT scandal

(CRCT Graphic)

(CRCT Graphic)

ALBANY — The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) has issued rulings in regard to 11 teachers and a former principal with the Dougherty County School System _ most of them concerned CRCT decisions in regard to DCSS employees caught up in the 2009 CRCT cheating scandal.

Six teachers, Debra Warren, Debora Anderson, Trina Faulkner and Elica Davis, all of Alice Coachman Elementary, Katrice Kegler of Jackson Heights Elementary and Betty Phelps of Sherwood Acres Elementary had their records cleared by the PSC decision. All but Phelps, who resigned resigned in 2011, remain as teachers within the DCSS.

The PSC also issued a reprimand to former Monroe High Principal Valerie Thomas, who remains employed by the DCSS as a parent coordinator.

The commission also suspended the certifications of former teachers — Patricia Alexander, Robert Bowman while Ebony Dawson received a reprimand — who are no longer with the system.

A state investigation into the CRCT exams administered to first- through eighth-graders in Atlanta and Dougherty County began in August 2010 at the direction of then-Gov. Sonny Perdue. At issue was an unusually high number of erasures on 2009 exams in which wrong answers were corrected.

State officials were concerned that at some of the schools there were too many of those corrections and eventually focused on Atlanta and Dougherty County.

The findings of state investigations into Atlanta’s school districts were announced in July of 2011. 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.

A preliminary probe in February of 2011 flagged the 56 Atlanta schools. Dougherty County had the state’s second-highest number flagged with 14 of the system’s then 16 elementary schools falling under suspicion . In all, 49 DCSS principals, administrators and teachers were named in the governor’s report.

The probe led to massive resignations, firings and reassignments at the DCSS.

The school system eventually turned over all 49 case files to the PSA, which has reached decisions on many of the cases, leaving more than 25 yet to be decided.