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. All but one was black. 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. She and her coauthor, 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.
Stretching all the way back to Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation in public schools, to examining the corporate-led education reform movement, the policing of black and brown citizens, and widening racial and economic disparities in Atlanta, Robinson and Simonton reveal how real estate moguls and financiers were lining their pockets with the education dollars that should have been going to the classroom.