Today I’m talking with Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton about their book, “None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators”.
In March of 2013, 35 educators in the 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 3 years and was a new mother when she was wrongfully convicted and faced up to 25 years in prison.
Critics framed the cheating scandal as one of the worst crimes to be perpetrated against students. In “None of the Above”, Shani Robinson and journalist Anna Simonton, look back to show how black children in Atlanta were being deprived long before some teachers allegedly changed the answers on their students’ tests.
Examining the corporate-led education reform movement, hyper-policing in black communities, cycles of displacement and gentrification, and widening racial and economic disparities in Atlanta, they show how the financially powerful have profited from privatization and the dismantling of public education.
Shani Robinson is an alumna of Tennessee State University and taught in Atlanta Public Schools for 3 years. She’s currently a supporter of social justice causes.
Anna Simonton is an independent journalist and an editor for Scalawag magazine. Her work has been published by The Nation, In These Times, and AlterNet, among others.
You can help Shani fight her case, and speak out about the real issues at the root of the scandal. Please visit the website, www.teacherontrial.com.