A former Atlanta, Georgia public school teacher has pleaded guilty and admitted she encouraged students to change incorrect answers on a standard test, giving prosecutors their first conviction in one of the nation's largest test-cheating scandals, the Reuters website reports today (November 22, 2013).
Former teacher Lisa Terry -- one of 35 educators indicted this year in the Atlanta cheating case -- was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation after she pleaded guilty on November 20 to a misdemeanor count of obstruction, prosecutors said.
"The truth is finally out," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said in a statement. "There was, in fact, cheating going on in the Atlanta Public School system."
Terry -- who has 19 years of teaching experience -- said in an apology letter that she cheated "out of fear" that she would receive a poor job-performance evaluation or be fired if her fourth grade students' test scores did not improve. A total of 35 Atlanta educators -- including teachers, principals, and the superintendent of schools -- have been indicted in a scheme to raise students' standardized test scores, in order to receive higher bonuses.