Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Applying RICO to educators who falsify test scores

The WSJ covered the sentencing of certain Atlanta educators convicted of falsifying student test scores.  One wonders what would happen if this approach were applied to plagiarists?

From the WSJ:

In all, 35 people were indicted in March 2013. The group included Beverly Hall, the district’s nationally celebrated superintendent.
Since the indictments, 21 of those charged settled with plea agreements, and two defendants died of cancer, including Ms. Hall.Before her March 2 death, Ms. Hall repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Eleven of the remaining 12 educators were convicted on April 1 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, orRICO, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Several also were convicted on other felonies related to the cheating case.One was acquitted.
During the trial, which lasted more than five months, the prosecution argued that Ms. Hall oversaw the wide-ranging scheme, which occurred in 2009, to fix incorrect answers on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, falsely inflating the reputation of the urban school system.
The cheating scandal first came to light in 2009, when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution raised questions about changed answers on standardized tests at many Atlanta public schools.
A 2011 report from investigators appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue found that cheating on the tests was rife among teachers and administrators. The educators were responding to pressure from Ms. Hall’s administration to show improvement in scores or face discipline or less pay, the report found.
"Loser pays" in the Innovation Act looks tame by comparison.


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