April 15, 2015
A Prick in a Robe
A Fulton County superior court judge handed down severe prison sentences to 10 former school administrators, principals and elementary school teachers for their role in a citywide test cheating scandal at the Atlanta Public Schools.
The educators and one other teacher were convicted April 1 for inflating test scores in 2009...
The case was brought by county prosecutors in what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — which backs the vendetta — called a “novel use” of state racketeering laws normally reserved for organized crime activities such as such as prostitution, counterfeiting or illegal drugs and weapons trafficking.
To the gasps of courtroom onlookers on Tuesday morning, Judge Jerry Baxter announced maximum 20-year sentences for three former school administrators — Tamara Cotman, 44; Sharon Davis-Williams, 59; and Michael Pitts, 59 — that include seven years in prison, 13 years on probation, fines of $25,000 each and 2,000 hours of community service.…
Judge Baxter was visibly enraged by the public sympathy for the educators whose families and friends packed the courtroom Monday to demand leniency. When spectators reacted with horror to his sentencing, the judge angrily blurted,
“Everyone starts crying about these educators. There were thousands of children harmed in this thing. This is not a victimless crime … When you are passed and you can’t read, you are passed and passed on, there are victims that are in the jail that I have sentenced, kids…”
After prosecutors sought to blackmail the educators with promises of lighter sentences if they accepted guilt and waived the right to appeal their convictions, Baxter reacted angrily, saying, “I’ve got a fair sentence in mind and it involves going to jail. Everybody.”
All involved are black except the judge, who is a vicious, ignorant bully who disgraces his race and his robe.
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at April 15, 2015 12:13 PM
Par for the course in Georgia. I live in Bartow county Georgia, where the district attorney refused to do anything to a principal who failed to report suspected child abuse on more than one occasion, despite a consent order detailing just that. Also, I was familiar with a case in same Georgia county where a cold blooded murderer did just five years and he is to this day very proud of it and will remind you of it if you give him an opportunity. Admittedly, the unarmed guy he killed had an American flag sewed on the seat of his jeans which was raised in court, and was allegedly smoking a joint with the killers "supposed girl friend" when the girl'sso called "boyfriend" showed up and blew him away with a concealed weapon without out so much as a Hiddy Do. so the charge was reduced to manslaughter an a five year sentence -or at least that's what he served. I never cease to be amazed and sickened by our legal system. I recently had to do jury duty, but that is another story, but just reinforces my comments above. Thanks, for letting me vent. It is actually much worse than this.
P.S. My wife a special Ed teacher, of almost 40 years, was in an I.E.P. Meeting about a comatose student in her class with breathing tube and accompanying nurse. The only way you could tell this student was alive was if you pinched her there would be an involuntary muscle reaction. Anyway, religion was very much involved and the parents were questioning her testing - imagine how to even formulate a test? Well, another teacher stepped up to the plate and claimed she could, "hold her hand and tell by the slightest bit of pressure what she was answering". Everyone seemed pleased with this answer and the teacher with the extra sensory abilities has done well to say the least.
I live in ATL. The story's a bit more complicated than that snippet allows. Been following this for some time. Bottom line: Lower level administrators and teachers were bullied into changing (erasing & re-entering) standardized test scores (you know, filling in circles in pencil so a computer can read it) so higher-ups could report improvements, get promotions and more money—i.e., bonuses, but also resources in a starved public school system. Threatened with firing and blackballing, etc. NOT just grade-inflation.
Yes, the judge was a bully. Trying to coax dfs to give up their appeal rights for a lesser sentence & moralizing from the bench—grandstanding for the press & public.
All-in-all a real clusterfuck. No good guys.