None of the Above : The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators
by Robinson, Shani; Simonton, Anna

Chapter One Hook, Line, and Sinker
Chapter Two Finding My Way
Chapter Three The Pot Calling the Kettle Black
Chapter Four Pushing the Envelope
Chapter Five The Darker the Night
Chapter Six Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Chapter Seven Getting Cold
Chapter Eight Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box
Chapter Nine Speak of the Devil

Describes the racist policies that worked against black children for decades and ultimately led to 35 black public-school educators in Atlanta being charged with racketeering and conspiracy for allegedly changing students' test grades in 2013.

Shani Robinson, an alumna of Tennessee State University, is an advocate for troubled youth and their families. She taught in the Atlanta Public Schools system for three years.

Anna Simonton is an independent journalist based in Atlanta and is an editor for Scalawag magazine. Her work has been published by the Nation, In These Times, and AlterNet, among others.

This collaboration of former Atlanta public school teacher Robinson and journalist Simonton is powerful, offering a bird's-eye view into the now notorious 2013 cheating scandal. Atlanta teachers have been under pressure in underperforming schools to make sure their students' scores keep rising, the context within which Robinson, a still-new African American teacher, was wrongfully indicted for erasing answers on her student's exams. Robinson was the youngest of 35 teachers so charged, and what she and Simonton offer is a story larger than the struggles of one city and its public schools as they address the nationwide rise of corporate interests in public education. As they track this injection of for-profit entities into the public sector, they observe the diversion of funds away from low-income communities and into gentrification and increased wealth for financial elites through questionable tax schemes. What grips the reader most is Robinson's personal experience, especially her and other black teachers' trial under the RICO act, ordinarily reserved for racketeers. A vivid and dramatic look at the consequences of the corporatization of public education. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A former teacher convicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal makes a strong case that students have been cheated by corporate profiteers and racist policies that undermine public education.Writing with journalist Simonton, Robinson offers a personal story of false accusations and a trial gone wrong within a larger story of political machinations and student performance as pawns in a racist game. The narratives don't quite mesh, as the personal one becomes detailed past the point of repetition and the larger one could justify a longer book of its own. However, both stories will leave readers feeling Robinson's outrage. She casts herself as a bit player who unfairly found herself cast as a public enemy, facing jail time for a crime that she convincingly claims she didn't commit. The author was a neophyte who would receive no bonus for higher test scores, and by the time she was charged in a racketeering conspiracy to defraud the school system, she had already left teaching for social work. So what did she do? According to her, it all came down to a forgettable 20 minutes when she was asked to erase "stray marks" from some of her students' tests, which might interfere with computer scoring. She was not asked to change any answers, though someone else might have, since the teachers later wondered how some students could have scored much higher than their class performances would have indicated. The investigation cast a wide net, and Robinson was charged based on the testimony of others who agreed to a plea bargain, including the supervisor who asked her to erase the marks. She was urged to take a similar deal and refused because she insists she had done nothing wrong. She is now appealing. The author relates her story at length amid decades of context on the privatizing of both public schools and prisons, the connections between real estate and public education, the racism underlying urban renewal, and the other factors that have left t h e Atlanta schools where they are. Robinson claims she didn't do it, and her book leaves no reason to doubt her. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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