State education officials have suspended the license of a Clarksdale teacher who was found to be cheating on a statewide assessment.
“It is the unanimous decision of the hearing’s subcommittee to suspend, for a period of five-years, license number 160661, held by Tetra Winters.”
After three days of testimony, it was the determination of a state licensure commission that Tetra Winters, a fourth-grade teacher at Heidelberg Elementary in Clarksdale, violated state law when she helped students cheat on the 2013 administration of the MCT-2 assessment.
Winters is the second teacher from the school to officially be accused of cheating by the state Department of Education. The first voluntarily gave up her license earlier this year.
Raina Lee is a Special Assistant Attorney General who works with the state Department of Education. She says the commission’s decision was the right one.
"This is the best decision that will have an impact, I have no doubt, on all the children of the state of Mississippi," says Lee. "They sent a message, and it's clear. 'You do not cheat on tests."
MDE officials began looking into cheating in the Clarksdale School District last year, when students who scored well on assessments, showed up to school the following year not nearly as academically prepared.
Winters’ attorney, Preston Rideout, says they will be looking into an appeal to the board of education.
"No comment," says Rideout,"other than that we're disappointed and we will, of course, explore our appeal options, but it's too early to tell on that."
Winters will have 10 days to appeal the commission’s decision to the state Board of Education. Otherwise, she will be able to reapply for her license after five years.