Monday, September 9, 2013
Atlanta Educator Who Wrote “Go to Hell” Letter Acquitted of Witness Intimidation in Cheating Scandal
Back in May, we noted that prosecutors would have an upward climb to convict former Atlanta Public Schools (APS) administrators of participating in a scheme to cheat on standardized proficiency tests. The jury is (literally) in and has acquitted the first APS defendant. Tamara Cotman, a former APS area director with oversight of 21 schools, was acquitted Friday of influencing ten principals to not cooperate with state investigators. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was investigating sudden performance jumps and a pattern of erasures on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, which are used as benchmarks for the No Child Left Behind Act. Cotman was accused of influencing witnesses during a meeting in which she said principals could tell officials investigating the scandal to “go to hell.” Cotman’s acquittal is a setback in the prosecutions of 35 former APS administrators, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall, under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute.