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CRCT Investigation Report: Fain Elementary School | Schools

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CRCT Investigation Report: Fain Elementary School
CRCT Investigation Report: Fain Elementary School

Fain Elementary School
101 Hemphill School Road NW
Principal: Dr. Marcus Stallworth
Testing Coordinator: Pamela Ringer
SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams

ATLANTA -- Nearly 40 percent of Fain Elementary School's classrooms were flagged for cheating on the CRCT in 2009 and previous years, according to a state report released this week.

Special investigators first appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue found that "Principal [Marcus] Stallworth and Testing Coordinator [Pamela] Ringer instructed teachers to assist students on the CRCT by using voice inflection, pointing out answers, using non-verbal communication to indicate when a student marked a wrong answer, re-wording questions, or by any other means necessary." The state report said, "In addition, Principal Stallworth and Ringer either participated in erasing and changing student answers or they failed to enforce proper testing protocols, giving teachers the opportunity to erase and change student answers."

Darius Dowell, who taught at Fain between 1997 and 2008, told investigators "If the scores were low, Principal Stallworth ordered the teacher to crawl under the table in front of all the other faculty. He routinely made statements like: 'It's my school and I will run it how I want. If you don't like it, leave." While Dowell said he wasn't directly aware of any cheating, he said one of his students who refused to take the CRCT still passed it.

Tasha Marks, who taught reading at Fain, told investigators "No more than 30 percent of her students could have passed based on how they performed prior to the test." Marks said she refused to cheat and thought "Stallworth retaliated against her."

Stallworth said he was the victim of retaliation. According to the report, APS fired him in December 2010 because "he screamed at teachers and demeaned them." But he thinks he was fired because a year earlier, he told state investigators he suspected cheating was going on within APS. "If you are not a puppet, you get gone," he said in the state report. "Puppeteering comes from the top." 

Both Stallworth and Ringer have denied any cheating. None of Fain's educators admitted to it, but in 18 of the 31 flagged classrooms, the chances of answers being changed without adult intervention were less than one in a million. In eight of the classrooms, the odds were less than one in a trillion.

Mesha L. Greene is now interim principal at Fain.

Read the full investigation here
Atlanta Public Schools CRCT Investigation