A Conyers resident who is one of the 35 administrators, educators and employees indicted last week in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal is due to turn herself in to the Fulton County jail.
Attorney Gerald Griggs said his client, APS teacher Angela Williamson, planned to turn herself in Monday, according an Associated Press report. The defendants have until Tuesday to turn themselves in.
Williamson taught fifth grade at Dobbs Elementary School and administered the 2009 Criteron Reference Competency Test to her students. An APS tribunal last year recommended reinstating Williamson after she was accused of cheating.
At that time, Griggs pointed out the CRCT instruction manual told teachers to ask students to review their answers. "A lot of teachers did the same as Ms. Williamson. They did what they were instructed to do through Atlanta Public Schools," he said to CBS Atlanta last year.
Williamson told CBS Atlanta at the time that the allegations of cheating were false. "It has taken a toll where it has impacted me emotionally, physically and financially."
Fulton County prosecutors allege teachers gave students the right answers, indicated when they had given the wrong answers or changed the answers on the CRCT, which was used to determine progress for the federal No Child Left Behind act.
There are 65 counts and 35 defendants named in the indictment, which alleges that cheating occured in 58 APS schools. The charges included racketeering, or conspiring to make the school system's performance to look better than it was, and false statements and writings, influencing a witness, and theft by taking.
A former Newton County assistant principal, Christopher Waller, was also indicted. Waller was employed as principal for Parks Middle School and, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, one of the key players in the scandal. He, along with former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, was indicted by a grand jury on charges that they conspired to cheat on standardized tests in order to receive cash bonuses. According to prosecutors, Hall received a $78,000 bonus that year for improving test schools in the Atlanta Public School System.
The accusations began in 2009, when 44 of the 56 Atlanta Public Schools investigated by the state were found to have teachers who erased incorrect answers on state standardized tests. According to the investigation by Governor Nathan Deal's office, the cheating was a result of educators attempting to meet their targets in a "data-driven environment."