By Eric Stradford
AMWS, April 4, 2015 – Federal prosecutors will be taking a closer look at the case of 11 educators jailed for allegedly cheating on standardized tests. Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter's decision to imprison 11 African American educators just before Good Friday may have riled a community of 2.1 billion Christians and sparked an investigation into all things wrong in America.
Sources say the judge, also known as "Get a Life, Baxter" eeked out a win over judges from all across America. In 2011, Baxter’s alleged corruption earned him the prestigious Horse’s Ass of the Year Award. Unconfirmed reports on the Internet say Judge Baxter topped Family Court Judge William Adams who reportedly beat his handicapped child and other corrupt judges in Atlanta, including Judge Orinda D. Evans, Judge William S. Duffey, and Judge Thomas W. Thrash. Baxter’s actions this week perhaps exceeded past achievements as well as future aspirations.
Lawyers already looking into the presidentially defined “Gulf of Mistrust” may have discovered a significant kidney stone in the American justice system. Among the unlikely advocates for a federal investigation into high crimes are perhaps some recently elected republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Georgia Congressman Barry Laudermilk, a respected scholar on history, faith and family, is “seeing a coalescing of like-minded individuals seeking to change the culture in Washington.” The Georgia-based believer shares a common vision for America’s future, “dismissing the old my-way-or-the-highway approach towards conservative initiatives.” Leaders as such are looking to change course through influence, not just brute force.
If healing could be legislated it might quickly emerge as a legislative priority for elected officials committed to “a more perfect union” envisioned by framers of the U.S. Constitution. On the positive side of a ledger one might expect to be reminded of Christian values that helped to shape the republic. On the negative side, one might expect to be reminded of some senators who conspired against Julius Caesar or some Romans and Religious leaders who conspired against Christ.
The legal precedence set in the conviction of 11 Atlanta educators may present the best possibility for becoming the America folks like Jerry Baxter believes in. We’ll want to lay the foundation through some common understanding of RICO.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.
A more appropriate, though not necessarily confirmed example of a RICO Act violation might be a judge, within one of 12 economic regions of the United States, threatening the economic security of 11 U.S. citizens presuming that the tests they were accused of cheating on were fair in the first place. Keep in mind that economic security is a significant consideration in ensuring our national security. If educating American children is key to their economic security, then mis-educating them is a threat.
Judge Baxter’s overstep in first allowing RICO to define test-score-cheating is perhaps at the tip of an economic iceberg we conspiracy theorists refer to as the School To Prison Pipeline. Facebook friend John Sam scored Cheating in Atlanta Public Schools as the latest chapter in a homeland security horse & pony show. “The criminal minds of the Buckhead Business Coalition and Atlanta Chamber of Commerce were the ones responsible for forcing the increases in fake test scores,” said Sam.
According to Sam, their buddies created the (racketeering) manipulation of student achievement to bring businesses to Atlanta by any means possible. Increasing the test scoring was the leverage needed to encourage businesses to move to Atlanta, creating more building contracts increasing the money flow to BUCKHEAD business owners.
Sam observed that former Atlanta Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine did not testify nor were any charges brought against her. In his expression of free speech, Sam theorizes that Augustine is perhaps sitting quietly somewhere with her “Buckhead hush money.” Augustine denied having knowledge of test cheating in Atlanta, but the case followed her to Texas. A Dallas-area school board voted to sever ties with its new superintendent, who was among the untouchables in a test-cheating scandal in her previous district in Atlanta. The DeSoto, TX school board voted 3-2 to negotiate a $188,000 voluntary exit agreement with its recently hired Superintendent Kathy Augustine.
Conspiracy theorists in the murder of JFK are still scavenging cold case files that might point to a Defense Industrial Complex and a good test case for RICO. Today, evidence of a School to Prison Pipeline might be perceived as a crime where some citizens benefit and others loose time and money. Keep in mind that Black educators have complained about standardized testing since Carter Woodson. The 11 charged this week are among the first African Americans empowered to do something about what Woodson described as the “Miseducation of the Negro.”
No vision of America’s future can expect to prosper in an environment that economically threatens some while benefiting others. In Georgia, the law calls for communities to plan for an inclusive, equitable future for all. The benefits of comprehensive planning is that residents, the business community, and nonprofits all work together to develop a growth strategy. What leaders hope to lead is an attractive place for investment, conducting businesses and raising families.
Unfortunately, too many advocates of status quo view a common vision for the future as a threat to their economic security. Their understanding of laws such as PATRIOT ACT, RICO, and STAND YOUR GROUND undermines community and perpetuates CHAOS.