State investigators find widespread cheating in Atlanta schools

Posted July 05, 2011, at 8:44 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Georgia investigators have found evidence of cheating at close to 80 percent of the Atlanta schools where they examined the 2009 administration of state tests.

The result was inflated test scores that led to thousands of children being denied the remedial education they were entitled to, state officials said Tuesday in announcing the results of the investigation. More than 80 educators have so far confessed to misconduct, and investigators said the cheating dated back to at least 2001.

The 48,000-student Atlanta district has been under a cloud for the past two years, ever since an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis found improbably high results on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. Georgia uses those tests to determine whether schools have made adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Based in part on what appeared to be Atlanta’s strong results on standardized tests, Superintendent Beverly Hall has been hailed as a model for urban superintendents. In 2009, she was honored by the American Association of School Administrators as superintendent of the year. But amid the investigations and instability on the school board, she announced she would not be seeking a contract extension, and left the district in June after 12 years.

Colorectal cancer screenings making a difference, CDC says

LOS ANGELES — Increased screening for colorectal cancer during the last decade has put a sharp dent in both the prevalence of the No. 2 cancer killer and in the number of deaths resulting from it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

As screening for the disease among those ages 50 to 75 increased from half to two-thirds of the eligible population, the prevalence rate fell from 52.3 cases per 100,000 in 2003 to 45.4 per 100,000 in 2007. The death rate fell from 19 per 100,000 to 16.7 per 100,000 during the same period, the agency reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Those declines represent 66,000 fewer cancers during the period and 32,000 fewer deaths, the agency found. There are still 22 million Americans in the eligible age group who are not being screened, according to the report.

The incidence of and deaths from colorectal cancer declined in every state except Mississippi, where the rates remained stable. Nationwide, the death rate declined by 3 percent per year while the prevalence dropped 3.4 percent per year.

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories — Prince William demonstrated his linguistic skills Tuesday, addressing adoring fans in Canada’s Northwest Territories in French, English and a few words in two tribal tongues.

William spoke briefly during the welcoming ceremony at the Somba K’e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife, the capital of the sparsely populated Northwest Territories, the latest stop on his nine-day Canadian tour with his wife, Kate.

The prince offered thank yous in two aboriginal tongues, Dene and Inuvialuktun, provoking loud cheering from the crowd. Dene is spoken throughout the territory, while Inuvialuktun is spoken by an Inuit tribe along the Arctic coast.

On Monday, Prince William enjoyed showed off his military helicopter training on Prince Edward Island with his first-ever water landing.

Yemen: 40 militants killed in airstrikes, clashes

SANAA, Yemen — At least 40 militants linked to al-Qaida have been killed in two days of airstrikes and clashes with government forces, Yemen’s state news agency said Tuesday.

The report by the SABA news agency said the government attacks began after militants tried to storm a military camp in the southern province of Abyan, where Islamist fighters have seized control of several towns.

The militant takeovers are part of widening chaos in Yemen since protests broke out in February calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is being treated in Saudi Arabia for wounds sustained in an attack on his palace last month.

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