Governor calls for Dougherty test investigation -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Governor calls for Dougherty test investigation

Supt. Dr. Joshua Murfree Supt. Dr. Joshua Murfree
Gov. Perdue Gov. Perdue
School Board Chairman David Maschke School Board Chairman David Maschke

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The Dougherty County School system is now the target of an state investigation into cheating allegations on C.R.C.T's. Governor Sonny Perdue says the system's internal probe was "Woefully inadequate."

Now he will appoint a special investigator to do what the system failed twice to do; Find out who tampered with standardized tests.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement said they found unbelievable numbers of erasures on those 2009 tests from Dougherty County schools, and ordered the school system to look into it.

Today the Governor said the school system failed in their investigation, and he is going to have his own state investigator complete it. Dougherty County School officials say they are being ambushed, and the process is not fair.

After watching the Governor's speech to the state board of education, Dougherty County School Board Chairman David Maschke promised his full cooperation to the special investigator, but said they were not being given a chance.

 "Frankly the Dougherty County School System has been ambushed yet again, with this process,"  Maschke said.

The Governor said Dougherty County failed to investigate the cheating allegations properly, and that he is naming a special investigator for the students of Dougherty County.

 "They have been cheated by adults who made it look like they are farther along educationally than they really were. For those children we must do everything in our power to rectify this situation," Perdue said.

Dougherty County school officials say the state would not give them access to the test data they needed.

"What we have contended is the erasure audit did not help us identify cheating. It did not help us prove cheating, so that we could remove the problem," Dougherty County School Spokesperson R. D. Harter said.

The Governor said Dougherty County must provide the names of teachers and staff interviewed in the investigation, but school officials would not do that.

 "We're not going to throw our staff members under the bus to satisfy the state in an unfair investigation," Maschke said.

Dougherty County school officials acknowledged that cheating did occur during their 2009 testing. "Absolutely. We have 16,000 students," Maschke said. "We have 14 to 15 hundred students. There are going to be a few bad apples. Do I think it was systemwide, systematic cheating? Not at all."

The Governor says he will appoint his special investigator in the next few days, to find out who and how much cheating did go on in the Dougherty County testing. 

Dougherty County School officials say they welcome the special investigator, and just hope that his investigation will be open and transparent. And that he will provide the facts and data that they feel will vindicate them.

The Governor said this investigation will be swift, completed by this fall, and he said criminal charges are possible.


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