3 Former Atlanta Educators Get 7 Years for Cheating
5 more get sentences of up to 5 years
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2015 1:16 PM CDT
Former Atlanta schools administrator Tamara Cotman was sentenced to at least 7 years in prison.   (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent D. Johnson, Pool)

(Newser) – The judge warned the Atlanta educators busted for cheating that he was serious about sending them to prison unless they admitted their guilt. Today, he proved it, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here's the breakdown from the AJC and the AP:

  • Top 3: Three former administrators got 20-year terms, with a minimum of seven years to be served in prison. Plus a $25,000 fine.
  • Lesser 5: Five educators got sentences of up to five years, with a minimum of one year to be served in prison. Plus fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

  • 2 pleas: A former teacher and a former testing coordinator took Judge Jerry Baxter's advice, pleading guilty and waiving their right to appeal. One got a year of home confinement, the other six months of weekends in jail.
  • One to come: A former educator who was convicted but just had a baby will be sentenced in August.
  • Appeals: The eight who chose not to plead guilty have 30 days to appeal, and they can remain free on bond in the interim.
  • Unsympathetic judge: “Everyone starts crying about these educators. There were thousands of children harmed in this thing. This is not a victimless crime."
The judge had the leeway to impose so much prison time because the convictions fell under the anti-racketeering RICO law. The educators changed test scores or provided answers to boost scores and thus get raises and bonuses.
 

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