Six more educators in test scandal may face sanctions by agency

Six more Georgia educators, including two from Fulton County, will find out Thursday what sanctions they may face in the wake of a statewide test cheating scandal.

Committee members for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission -- the agency charged with policing state teaching credentials -- will meet at 8:30 a.m. to make recommendations on cases that include the six. The full commission then meets at 1 p.m. to review those recommendations and vote on them.

Their expected action amounts to the second round in the penalty phase of the scandal, which started this summer after an audit by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement found evidence that four schools in four school systems turned in questionable results for state tests taken in summer 2008.

Those results were from fifth-grade math retests on the state's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, taken by students from DeKalb County's Atherton Elementary, Fulton County's Parklane Elementary, Glynn County's Burroughs-Molette Elementary and the city of Atlanta's Deerwood Academy.

The audit found evidence of an abnormal number of erasures at those schools on those retests, in which the wrong answer often was replaced by the right one. The state investigation followed an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in December about improbably steep gains at some schools on tests taken first in spring and then in summer.

State officials threw out the scores in July, the same month that the commission began to formally investigate school officials at those four schools.

While sanctions by the commission could range from a reprimand to loss of license, commission members in September punished the former principal and assistant principal of DeKalb's Atherton by banning them from the state's public schools for as much as two years.

That was the first round. Gary Walker, director of educator ethics for the commission, said investigations were now complete for Parklane's former principal Lee Adams and assistant principal Vicki Bulluck, who both still work in the Fulton school system but at different jobs. Walker said investigations had also been completed for four educators from Glynn County, whom that county has declined to name: two teachers, a clerical worker and a now-retired administrator.

Investigations involving Atlanta are ongoing. City schools spokesman Keith Bromery said the system has forwarded the names of five educators involved in the Deerwood Academy case. Bromery could not say whether those five included or were in addition to the school's principal and former assistant principal, who both had already been put under investigation by the commission.