Philly educators face felony charges for alleged cheating

Top, from left: Evelyn Cortez, Jennifer Hughes, and Lorraine Vicente. Bottom, from left: Rita Wyszynski and Ary Sloane. Credit: AG's Office Top, from left: Evelyn Cortez, Jennifer Hughes and Lorraine Vicente. Bottom, from left: Rita Wyszynski and Ary Sloane. Credit: AG’s Office

Five teachers recently identified as allegedly participating in state assessment test cheating ring at an elementary school are now facing felony charges, the Attorney General’s Office announced.

Evelyn Cortez, the principal of Cayuga Elementary School in Hunting Park, and teachers Jennifer Hughes, Lorraine Vicente, Rita Wyszynski and Ary Sloane are charged with forging answers on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.

According to prosecutors, Cortez promoted cheating on the PSSAs at Cayuga “blatantly,” for instance allegedly instructing students over the school’s P.A. system to write answers on scrap paper so teachers could check the work and presumably revise it before filling in official answer cards.

Cortez is also alleged to have verbally advised students to correct answers while supervising their work.

The alleged cheating by Cortez and the others went on over five years, and includes changing student answers, giving students answers and improperly reviewing the questions before providing the PSSA tests.

Cortez allegedly reprimanded teachers who did not cooperate in the alleged cheating.

The case was referred to attorney general Kathleen Kane by the state Department of Education.

All five women face felony charges.

Cortez, 59, Vincente, 41, and Hughes, 59, are charged with corrupt organizations, perjury, tampering with public records or information and forgery.

Wyszynski, 65, and Sloane, 56, are charged with tampering with public records and forgery.

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