The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that two of the teachers implicated in this summer's cheating scandal have been cleared of wrong-doing and allowed to return to work. The investigators working on the case have notified the Atlanta Public Schools District that Lori Dewberry, who works at Jackson Elementary, and Kiatonya Wormley of Miles Elementary may be reinstated at their jobs. APS spokesman Keith Bromery said that the district was informed that there was not enough evidence to charge either of the teachers.
Last July, an investigation found that cheating on standardized tests was rampant in APS with at least 44 schools and 178 teachers and administrators implicated including former Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, who had been previously honored with the title of the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year. When announcing the results of the inquiry, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal blamed intimidation and threats of retaliation for keeping the cheating concealed for so long. Deal promised that the consequences for those participating in either the cheating or the cover-up will include suspensions, terminations and even criminal charges.
Attorney General Mike Bowers commented on the reinstatement of the teachers, saying they don't undermine the rest of the case.
"We were trying to do justice, but to be just," Bowers said. "Where we are shown we have made a mistake, or read things incorrectly, we are open to revisions. But that cuts both ways."
Three additional educators were implicated after the report's July release, Bowers said
According to July's report, Wormley admitted to changing some answers on tests that had already been submitted, while Dewberry claimed not to have tempered with answer sheets, but said she might have used the inflections of her voice to guide her students to correct answers.
Special investigator Bob Wilson, who also worked on the case, said questions came up regarding these two teachers, but he couldn't recall what specific information led to the change in their status. But, he said, after reviewing the evidence investigators felt comfortable the two teachers should be removed from the list.
"We were thorough and careful to double-check everything. And this is the result — two people were removed from the list, and three added," he said.
Bromery said that as more teachers are cleared by the investigators, the district will be working to put them back in classrooms as soon as possible.