A federal investigation has been launched to examine 250,000 grade school exams with heavy erase marks. The "improved" scores, which evaluate children in grades 1 to 8 to ensure that schools are meeting federal standards under the No Child Left Behind policy, have spurred suspicion into Georgia's school system.
NPR reports on motivations behind the apparent modification of scores:
"Good scores mean high praise and cash bonuses. Failure to meet standards could mean losing hundreds of thousands in federal dollars, and could cost teachers and administrators their jobs."
A "blue ribbon commission", initiated by school officials, found that there was "no coordinated effort to manipulate"; however, the process has been heavily criticized by Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who views the commission as "damage control."
Gov. Sonny Purdue calls the probe into only 12 of the alleged 50 schools, "woefully inadequate," and has commenced his own investigation.
"This is about seeking out a small group of people who have failed to hold up the high ideals that most Georgia teachers live by. And what has happened here has stunted the growing and learning process for thousands of children."
While one parent interviewed wonders, "have we created a cheating culture?", the NPR report reasons that "there can be a kind of desperation that leads to cheating." Regardless of the motivation, these investigations plan to expose Atlanta as a deterrent to school's nationwide.