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







Prologueix
Chapter One Hook, Line, and Sinker
1(23)
Chapter Two Finding My Way
24(22)
Chapter Three The Pot Calling the Kettle Black
46(24)
Chapter Four Pushing the Envelope
70(24)
Chapter Five The Darker the Night
94(24)
Chapter Six Between a Rock and a Hard Place
118(24)
Chapter Seven Getting Cold
142(24)
Chapter Eight Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box
166(23)
Chapter Nine Speak of the Devil
189(24)
Epilogue213(7)
Acknowledgments220(2)
Notes222(24)
Index246


An insider's account of the infamous Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal which scapegoated black employees for problems caused by an education reform movement that is increasingly a proxy for corporate greed.

In March of 2013, thirty-five black educators in Atlanta Public Schools were charged with racketeering and conspiracy-the same charges used to bring down the American mafia-for allegedly changing students' answers on standardized tests. The youngest of the accused, Shani Robinson had taught for only three years and was a new mother when she was wrongfully convicted and faced up to 20 years in prison.

In None of the Above, Robinson and journalist Anna Simonton explore how racist policies and practices cheated generations of black children out of opportunities long before some teachers tampered with tests. Examining the corporate education reform movement, hyper-policing in black communities, cycles of displacement and gentrification, and widening racial and economic disparities in Atlanta, they reveal how the financially powerful have profited from privatization and the dismantling of public education. Against this backdrop, they cast the story of the cheating scandal in a new light, illuminating a deeply flawed investigation and a circus-like trial spun into a media sensation that defied justice.





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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