City officials comment on CRCT report findings

The official report for the Dougherty County School System 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) cheating scandal has now been released from the governor's office.

Inside documentation reveal that 49 individuals were indirectly or directly involved in the misconduct surrounding the 2009 CRCT's. Of those 49 people, 3 principals are being charged with cheating and a total of 18 educators have confessed.

"If I were to confess, I would resign," said Dougherty County School Board Chair Rev. James Bush

Confessions were obtained in 8 out of the 11 schools investigated. The 2009 CRCT report shows evidence obtained from students who say teachers either assisted them during test taking or fed them questions to study. One of the biggest revelations came from the 2009 Erasure Analysis. It provided text showing that teachers went back and changed students test scores.

"The superintendant has made it clear to the press and to the public and to me that if someone cheated he doesn't want them working for us," said Dougherty County School System Attorney Tommy Coleman.

The school board now plans to move forward with provisions to make right of the wrongs committed in 2009. They intend to go over the report and take into consideration its contents. All of the confessions, witness testimonies, flagged classrooms, emails and right to wrong erasures will all be taken into account when the teachers go before the tribunal for judgment.

As a reason for why the cheating occurred, the report states that teachers felt pressure to meet the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) standards. In testimonials many said they feared facing the community and being perceived as a failure.

Officials say what's done is done and now those educators will face their fate.

"I've had some indications from some lawyers that their clients may resign. If they do the board will accept that information, I trust," Tommy Coleman said.

The tribunal will recommend to the board a suggestion and from there the board will either vote for or against it.

Fox 31 News spoke with Dougherty County Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree who says his top concern right now is making sure the students who were affected by the cheating are receiving help. "Those students deserve the best education possible and they didn't receive it in this situation" said Murfree. Murfree also says he wants the process to be fair and everyone treated on a case by case situation and that the school system will use legal advise on many of the cases for how to move forward. Dr. Murfree says he does not want any teacher or administrator who admitted to cheating, teaching in the Dougherty County School System. That includes those who admitted their wrongdoing. When asked about teachers who felt pressured by administrators to cheat Murfree says "they should have come directly to me and I would have handled the situation". Murfree says he will work closely with all authorities involved to make sure the situation is taken care of in the proper way. He's ready to replace all 49 people implicated if necessary because he says "Dougherty County students deserve the best and they can't afford to have teachers and administrators who would cheat. We have some of the best teachers in the state and I want to weed out any bad apples so that this school system can continue to move forward".

To see a copy of the full report follow the following links.

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