Anna Simonton

Atlanta school cheating scandal: The untold story of corporate greed and criminalization of teachers

As teacher strikes in Denver and Los Angeles join a wave of recent labor actions bringing attention to the plight of the American public school system, we take a fresh look at one of the largest public school scandals in U.S. history. Public schools in Atlanta, Georgia, were thrown into chaos in 2015 when 11 former educators were convicted in 2015 of racketeering and other charges for allegedly facilitating a massive cheating operation on standardized tests. Prosecutors said the teachers were forced to modify incorrect answers and students were even allowed to fix their responses during exams. The case has fueled criticism of the education system’s reliance on standardized testing, and elicited calls of racism. Thirty-four of the 35 educators indicted in the scandal were African-American. We speak with Shani Robinson, one of the 11 convicted teachers, who has written a new book on the cheating scandal with journalist Anna Simonton. It’s titled “None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators.”

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Black Communities Destroyed By Publicly Funded Stadium Swindles Are Fighting Back In A New Era Of Redevelopment

Since the early twentieth century taxpayers have footed the bill for private development in the form of sports stadiums, arenas, and other mega-event facilities. 

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How Taxpayers Subsidize the Price of Tar Sands Expansion

Carolyn Marsh was in her living room watching television on a Wednesday night in August when she heard a loud boom from somewhere outside. Having lived in the industrial town of Whiting, Indiana––just south of Chicago––for nearly three decades, she wasn’t terribly shaken. “There’s a lot of noise constantly,” she explains.

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Cashing In On Carbon: How Taxpayer Dollars Greenwash Dirty Energy

The dirt roads of Penwell, Texas, criss cross overgrown lots littered with the detritus of a bygone oil boom that petered out in the 1940s. But as early as next summer, this ghost town 16 miles southwest of Odessa will become the site of a new coal power plant facility––funded in large part by taxpayers––that could play a major role in not only helping prolong the life of a dying coal industry, but in fueling an oil boom that’s just getting started in the Permian Basin region of West Texas.

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Protesters Ask: How Can You Shoot Yourself in the Head After Being Frisked and Handcuffed?

On Sunday, protesters narrowly avoided a clash with riot police in Durham, North Carolina, when they took to the streets on the two-month anniversary of the mysterious death of 17-year-old Jesus “Chuy” Huerta.

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Progressives Shaking Things Up in the South: Moral Monday Georgia and Truthful Tuesday South Carolina Commence

This past Monday on a dreary afternoon, more than 500 people gathered in front of the Golden Dome, Georgia’s state capitol building in downtown Atlanta. As they huddled under umbrellas, clutching signs, a booming voice assured them that while the rain may have dampened the turnout, their presence would not go unnoticed.

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How Wall Street Power Brokers Are Designing the Future of Public Education as a Money-Making Machine

Given that Arthur Rock has a net worth of $1 billion, lives in California and spends his time heaping money on tech startups (with the mantra, “Get in, get out,” as his guide), a local school board race in Atlanta, Ga. seems an unlikely candidate for his attention.

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How the FBI Manipulates Grand Juries to Intimidate Political Dissidents and Radicals

From the narrow windows of New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center, 24-year-old anarchist Jerry Koch can see the last place he stood as a free person.

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How Your Tax Dollars Fund Bad, Low-Wage Jobs and Help Fuel Inequality

The vacuous, cheerful expression of the Walmart smiley face has long been associated with the paradoxically dark reality of low-wage work. With the recent fast-food worker walkouts in New York, the golden arches may go down, too, in the annals of class-war symbology. But a report released Wednesday by the public policy organization Demos, reveals that there is one employer responsible for creating more low-wage jobs than Walmart and McDonald’s combined: Us.

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In America, Criminal Justice System Needs Redemption More Than the Prisoners

Stories involving Christian faith and prisoners usually go something like this: a person commits a terrible crime, goes to prison, finds Jesus, changes his or her ways for the better, the end.

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