Atlanta Public Schools Denies Trying To Obstruct Probe

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    By Special to the Daily World
    (AP) — Attorneys for the Atlanta Public Schools district sent state investigators a defiant letter that denies obstructing the state’s criminal investigation into test-tampering.

    The three-page letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution objected to accusations that school officials have long systematically retaliated against employees who reported cheating on state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

    The letter said the district “will continue to cooperate with you in the special investigation, has not obstructed your investigation, and will not condone obstruction.”

    The letter is the latest sign of the ongoing tensions between Atlanta school officials and the three state investigators appointed by the governor last year to probe whether widespread test-cheating took place in city schools.

    The transfer of  Regional Supervisor Tamara Cotman to the APS system’s English as a second language department marked an abrupt shift for the district, which allowed Cotman to continue in her supervisory post.  She allegedly told principlals to refuse to cooperate with the investigation and handed them notes pre-printed with the phrase “go to hell.”

    Fulton Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall has ordered that the investigation of Cotman continue and ordered a temporary restraining order against the APS.  School board members on Monday, Feb. 21, instructed their lawyers to seek to settle the dispute by entering into legal “consent decree” agreements with state investigators.  They proposed that the school system would agree to stop its Cotman investigation and cooperate fully with investigators, who would in turn drop their request for a restraining order.

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