The leader of a Georgia group that represents teachers and the Rev. Bernice King want leniency for the 11 former educators convicted last week for their roles in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating scandal.
The educators are facing up to 20 years in prison for conspiring to change student answers on state exams. Two jurors said in an exclusive interview Thursday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they believed the educators were pressured by APS administrators to cheat. The educators are scheduled to be sentenced Monday.
“While I agree that conspiring to change test scores is unethical and our laws clearly express that it is a crime, I don’t believe that 15-25 year prison sentences align with the crimes that were committed by the ‘APS 11,’ ” said King, CEO of the King Center, which was created to honor the work of her father, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said in a statement Thursday.
Bernice King said she hopes the educators are sentenced to probation or some form of punishment that does not require jail time.
Georgia Association of Educators president Sid Chapman echoed King’s comments in a separate statement Thursday.
“The Georgia Association of Educators does not condone cheating or unethical conduct in the education profession. We believe that sentencing of APS educators found guilty should reflect a punishment that is proportional to the crime,” Chapman said.