Ex-Philly Teacher Cleared of Most Charges in Cheating Trial

Michael Coard, lawyer for Ary Sloane, called it a “stunning victory for justice.”

Philadelphia School District Building

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Ary Sloane, a former Philadelphia School District teacher accused of illegally changing answers to improve test scores, was found not guilty of most charges on Thursday in Common Pleas court. Her attorney, Michael Coard, called it a “stunning victory for justice” and a “stunning defeat for the attorney general.”

Sloane was found not guilty of tampering with public records and forgery, but received a guilty verdict on conspiracy charges.

“Guilty of conspiracy,” Coard wrote in a text to Philadelphia magazine. “To do what? We’ll fight to get that inconsistent — and illegal — verdict reversed prior to the 5/9 sentencing. And we’ll win!”

Sloane was accused, along with the principal and four other teachers, of changing test answers to improve student scores at Cayuga Elementary School in North Philadelphia. The Inquirer first reported on an alleged culture of cheating at Cayuga in 2012, when teachers told the paper that principal Evelyn Cortez encouraged cheating to get test scores up.

Cortez and teacher Jennifer Hughes pleaded guilty last month. Cortez pleaded guilty to perjury, tampering with public records, and criminal conspiracy. She will be sentenced on April 29th. Hughes pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy, and was sentenced to three years of probation.

Other defendants have yet to go on trial.

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