Statement from Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, Regarding Sentencing of 11 APS Educators

4/9/2015

While I agree that conspiring to change test scores is unethical and our laws clearly express that it is a crime, I don’t believe that 15-25 year prison sentences align with the crimes that were committed by the “APS 11.” There are people who have committed far more egregious offenses that have severely harmed humanity who have not served such lengthy prison sentences.

 

Further, these educators were themselves the victims of a corrupt education system. The systemic issues that have plagued APS and other educational entities should be considered when weighing sentencing. Teachers are under tremendous pressure to meet standards and ensure that students pass tests, even to the extent that their jobs, their livelihoods may be threatened.

 

In addition, I believe that we have to find the balance between retribution and rehabilitation. This balance will create a more just and humane society. It would not lift humanity to have 11 educators subjected to an “eye for an eye” sentence. It is my hope, instead, that their sentences allow for the “APS 11” to be of benefit to society, while, at the same time, reconciling themselves with their offenses and enhancing their character.

 

With the aforementioned reasoning in mind, I join with many concerned citizens in petitioning Judge Baxter and DA Howard for a sentence of probation or alternative sentencing, as opposed to jail time, for the 11 Atlanta educators who were found guilty on April 1, 2015.