Teachers to be questioned in CRCT probe - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teachers to be questioned in CRCT probe

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  State investigators are preparing to interview Dougherty County teachers as the CRCT tampering investigation continues.

In advance, the school superintendent and the School Board's attorney are talking with teachers, preparing them for the interviews. Board members still insist the investigation is unfair. Dr. Joshua Murfree and Attorney Pete Donaldson plan to meet with two schools a week until they meet with all 14 schools where teachers might be questioned by state investigators. State investigators say they're prepared to question hundreds of school workers starting as early as next week.

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over classrooms in Dougherty County, as teachers and other workers wait to be called before state investigators as the CRCT tampering investigation continues. Board members have sensed anxiety from teachers.

"No matter what it puts you on the defensive and our teachers don't need to be worried they don't need to take their eye off teaching each day, they don't need to be in a stew," said School Board Member Emily Jean McAfee.

Twice a week, Dr. Murfree and attorney Pete Donaldson have been meeting with teachers, talking about what's to come.

"Telling the faculty that they should completely cooperate, tell these investigators who are just doing their job to give complete and honest answers we have nothing to hide and not to be defensive in the process," said School Attorney Pete Donaldson.

The school system's own review found no cheating, but state investigators say that's because school leaders devoted their energy to denying there was a problem rather than getting to the bottom of it. Investigators say the nosedive of 13 points eight schools took on this year's tests with state monitors in the classroom raised suspicions, but school leaders stand firm.

"People have to be able to change their minds when they're doing something, we make mistakes and we think about oh that would have been the right answer let me go back and look at my protocol sheet," said Dougherty County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree.

State investigators got most of the information they requested from the school system last week, and told school leaders they'll be interviewing teachers soon, but those investigators won't be permitted to interrupt classes.

"I do not interrupt instruction, we can not disrupt instruction because that's the basis of everything that we're doing," said Murfree.

Instead interviews will be done before the school day or after classes have concluded for the day.

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfee has asked state investigators to come up with a schedule of how and when they'll talk with school personnel. He says while the Atlanta school are facing federal investigators as well that's not been mentioned in Dougherty County's case.

The state ordered 35 systems to investigate problems. Only Dougherty County's and Atlanta's internal investigations were rejected. If you want to report information about possible test tampering, you can call a state hotline at (404)962-3849.

©2010 WALB News. All rights reserved.   Feedback

Powered by Frankly