- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Public Schools test cheating trial continued Monday with more testimony about Deerwood Academy, where many students struggled on state exams.

Prosecutors on Monday were focused on former Deerwood assistant principal Tabeeka Jordan, one of 12 former APS educators who is on trial in the racketeering case. Former superintendent Beverly Hall is not on trial while she battles breast cancer.

Roxanne King testified Monday about her fifth-grade students at Deerwood, who she said were struggling. She testified that she didn’t see cheating at Deerwood, and that she didn’t cheat nor was she ever told to cheat.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (https://on-ajc.com/1vCZ6tI) that educator Tabitha Martin testified last week that it felt like staffers at low-performing schools had to participate in a “walk of shame” at a districtwide convocation. The earlier testimony indicated that schools that tested well were seated near the stage, but those that didn’t fare well were seated in bleachers.

Former teacher Margaret Merkerson testified that she felt terrible about cheating on statewide exams and wore plastic gloves while changing answers on her students’ tests. Merkerson said she changed Criterion-Referenced Competency Test answers in the summer of 2008 and the spring of 2009.

“I just didn’t like the feeling that I had,” Merkerson said.

During cross-examination, Jordan’s attorney said that Merkerson in prior interviews gave contradictory accounts of what happened at the school and whether she knew who directed the test-cheating.

Merkerson said she initially lied about her involvement in the cheating until officials from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation offered her immunity from prosecution if she told the truth.

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, https://www.ajc.com

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