CRCT Investigation Report: Bethune Elementary School | Schools
Bethune Elementary School
220 Northside Drive
Principal: RoseMary Hamer
Testing Coordinator: Aretha Ragland
SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman
ATLANTA -- More than 23 percent of the classrooms at Bethune Elementary were flagged for cheating on the 2009 CRCT.
According to the Governor's Special Investigators' report released Tuesday, Bethune made Adequate Yearly Progress for years, but the number of students meeting and exceeding standards on the CRCT consistently dropped. One teacher attributed the resulting cheating to the "culture of pressure" principal RoseMary Hamer put on the faculty to reach targets.
Two teachers admitted that they cheated; Angela Gardner told investigators she rephrased questions that several students answered incorrectly, while special education teacher Holly Thomas said she would reread certain questions a number of times and that she had three "bright" students who would shout out the answers to test questions "a lot." (305-306)
Teacher Sandra Wilson was "shocked" upon learning that a certain special education student had 10 out of 11 erasures changed from wrong to right; she said the student "just shut down" during the test and probably didn't even finish it. (306)
Wilson also claimed that Hamer "hammered the teachers about test scores" and had financial incentive to improve student performance. The report says Wilson "felt there were well-qualified teachers at Bethune but their focus was not on the children." (307) She eventually resigned from the school and attributed harassment from Hamer as the reason.
Hamer refuted this by saying that "Wilson was at Bethune for one year and was not a great teacher." She admitted that teachers "probably" felt pressure to cheat but claimed that she was not aware of any of it. (308)
The investigation concluded that Hamer "created an atmosphere where teachers felt it was necessary to cheat," especially because Bethune failed to make AYP in 2010. (309) The Bethune Elementary website still lists Hamer as the school's principal.