Educator rejects plea deal in teacher testing case

January 25, 2013 - 3:31 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — In a surprising legal move, a longtime Memphis educator is going to trial on charges that he led a three-state organization that helped teachers cheat on qualification tests.

At a hearing Friday morning, Coleman Garrett, a lawyer for Clarence Mumford Sr., told a federal judge that his client is not taking a plea deal offered by prosecutors.

Mumford earlier pleaded not guilty to more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges.

Authorities say teachers paid Mumford to send someone else to take the tests in their place in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee over a 15-year period. The teachers allegedly used the passing test scores to get school jobs.

U.S. District Court Judge John Fowlkes set a trial date of March 25.