Sunday, August 02, 2015
Academic Fraud In The New York City High Schools Continues Under Chancellor Carmen Farina.
When Carmen Farina took over as Chancellor, many educators hoped for better times led by the UFT leadership. In fact, there appeared to be a blossoming love affair between the Chancellor and UFT President, Michael Mulgrew. However, there were some dark clouds on the horizon. First, there was Farina's actions as Principal of PS 6 the resulted in the majority of the school's teachers to leave as reported by blogger Betsy Combier. Second, was her lack of action as Superintendent of Region 8 when the Cobble Hill cheating scandal broke as Phillip Noble reported. Finally, her failure to remove the Bloomberg era managers at the DOE and kept them largely intact in their policy making positions. Now it seems that the academic fraud that permeated the Bloomberg years is continuing under Chancellor Carmen Farina.
In today's New York Post, Susan Edelman has written an article about a student who admitted she didn't attend class, failed to make up work, or even bothered to take the final but yet the school, William Cullen Bryant, graduated her anyway. Yes, the very same school that brings you Principal Namita Dwarka. You can read the entire article Here. The DOE will pretend that this is an exception but we teachers know this academic fraud is commonplace throughout the system.
School administrators are under pressure to improve their graduation rates, reduce dropout rates, and increase credit accumulation. That means giving easy "credit recovery courses" that require little or no work, blended learning with little real instruction, pressure on teachers to pass undeserving students by threatening the teachers with bad observation reports, and ignoring attendance and seat time requirements under State regulations. Many principals require a 80% to 90% passing rate (scholarship) for a teacher's students, including no-shows and anything less results in the administration harassing the teacher with numerous observations, requests to document parent contact, and interrogating students about any dirt on the teacher that could be used for disciplinary action.
All this academic fraud was the trademark of the Bloomberg/Klein years and continued under Dennis Walcott as the racial/income student achievement gap kept widening while the bogus graduation rate rose. The DOE, despite assuring the State that the "credit recovery" would be rigorous, closed their collective eyes to the abuses throughout the school system. Moreover, they even tried to protect principals who were caught and exposed by dragging out investigations, hoping it would simply die and some did. Finally, the DOE's antagonism to staff whistle-blowers remains as entrenched as ever under the de Blasio/Farina administration as shown by the Richmond Hill investigation.
Regardless how one looks at it, academic fraud is widespread in the New York City schools and too many students are being graduated unprepared for the adult world. The latest statistics show that an astonishing 78% of high school graduates from the system must take remedial courses due to their lack of "college and career readiness" and despite assurances that things will change for the better, I just don't see it happening under this disappointing Chancellor.