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Teacher Cheating Scandal Shakes Atlanta

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Atlanta Public Schools are under investigation after having been accused of systemic cheating over 10 years that involves about 180 educators, including more than three dozen principals.

A report released Tuesday by the Georgia governor's offices alleges that there was widespread doctoring of state curriculum tests and that much of the academic progress the school system bragged about was bogus.

Furthermore, investigators say that Superintendent Beverly Hall either knew what was going on or, at the very least, should have been aware that many of Atlanta's educators were guilty of perpetrating fraud.

State investigators began looking into the results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in 2009, which showed suspicious score changes.

The report contends that improprieties were regularly covered up while wrong-doers were rewarded and whistle-blowers punished.  Far worse, the report finds that tens of thousands of students came out as the real victims because their abilities were wrongly appraised.

Besides the expected reprimands and firings, criminal charges could be brought against some higher-ups, since destroying government records and lying to investigators carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

As for Hall, she left her job a week ago and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, although she recently said others were to blame.  In 2009, she was named Superintendent of the Year for the nation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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