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FBI investigation leads to mail fraud charges for Texas educators

The growing number of standardized tests has caused increase stress for students and educators alike, but recently filed criminal charges claim that one Texas school district did not handle the stress all that well. Five educators from one of the state's school districts are charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, among other allegations. A federal grand jury recently indicted all five of the educators.

The FBI launched an investigation in Dec. 2010 after learning of a possible cheating scheme going on at the school district. Prior to the FBI's involvement, the district was allegedly already aware of a possible scandal after it was discovered that the transcripts of nearly 80 students had been falsified. The district denied any type of wrongdoing at that time.

The purpose behind the alleged altered transcripts was to apparently boost the school district's standardized test scores. The FBI contends that administrators took a number of steps in order to ensure that scores met the federal standards set out by the No Child Left Behind law. It accused the indicted administrators and educators of denying enrollment to certain students, promoting or holding back students to influence test outcomes and of encouraging some students to enroll elsewhere outside of the district.

Four of those indicted had their bond set at $30,000, while one other had his set at $20,000. Earlier investigation into similar mail fraud allegations at the same Texas school district resulted in separate charges and convictions for two other educators, perhaps bringing to light the seriousness of the situation. Still, prior charges related to the same investigation do not establish guilt on behalf of any of the current defendants. All five are still presumed to be innocent with the right to defend themselves in such a manner that will achieve the best outcomes possible.

Source: khou.com, "5 educators charged in connection with Texas school cheating scandal", Aaron Martinez, April 27, 2016

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