Educator rejects plea deal, will stand trial in teacher exam scandal

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — 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 this morning, Coleman Garrett, a lawyer for Clarence Mumford Sr., told a federal judge that his client is not changing his plea and is not taking a 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.

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