Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Former MCS Assistant Principal Indicted in Test-Taking Scheme

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Edward Stanton III
  • Edward Stanton III
Clarence Mumford, 58, a Memphian and former assistant principal at Humes Middle School, was indicted by federal prosecutors Tuesday as the alleged ringleader of a cheating scam involving imposters taking licensing tests for teachers in Memphis and Shelby County as well as Arkansas and Mississippi.

United States Attorney Ed Stanton III said "over 50 individuals" were involved in the cheating incidents between 1995 and 2010. He said the majority of them did not work in Memphis. The scheme began to unravel when a test proctor noticed the same person taking a test in a morning session and again in the afternoon.

According to the indictment, Mumford charged teachers and aspiring teachers approximately $1500 to $3000 per test to have a stand-in take their place using false identification made by Mumford. The test is written and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is called the PRAXIS series. Parts of the test are required to teach specific subjects in some states including Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Mumford, who is presently working as a guidance counselor in Hughes, Arkansas, had a first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and his unsecured bond was set at $10,000. He told a magistrate he is married and has a 34-year-old daughter and gets a pension from Memphis City Schools.

Stanton said the investigation is ongoing. Asked if the teachers involved could be criminally prosecuted, he said "we will hold them accountable."

"Mumford has created an atmosphere in which teachers who are not only unqualified but who have also gained credentials by fraud stand in front of our children every day," he said.

Stanton said the investigation started "on a small level" in West Tennessee two years ago and expanded to the other states. He did not identify any of the alleged cheaters and said it will be "an administrative call" whether or not they continue to teach. He did not know how many, if any, of them are currently working in classrooms. The indictment says Mumford conspired with five current and former MCS employees identified only by initials.

According to the indictment, "Mumford was an individual to whom teachers or individuals aspiring to be teachers who were, and/or believed they were unable to pass PRAXIS examinations could go to arrange for another individual to take PRAXIS examinations on behalf of each teacher or aspiring teacher. Teachers and aspiring teachers in schools in Memphis and Shelby County as well as in Arkansas and Mississippi made use of Mumford's services."

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