Monday, September 30, 2019


When you are going to go up against an administration of a school, make sure you have the parents with you or it will be much tougher. There is an article in this week's Queens Chronicle where the parents are standing behind the administration at Maspeth High School, even with substantial evidence of grade fraud that has been reported by Sue Edelman in the NY Post and here and here. I fully understand parents supporting a school as they don't want their own children's diplomas devalued but the evidence here is very strong.

For anyone who may have forgotten the original NY Post piece:
At highly rated Maspeth High School in Queens, students know they can play hooky, skip course work, flunk tests — and still pass.

They call it the “Maspeth Minimum,” meaning everyone gets at least the minimum grade or score needed to pass or graduate, no matter what.

Whistleblowers call it fraud. The secret to the school’s 98% graduation and 90% Regents pass rate, they say, is simple: “Cheat!”

Four teachers told The Post that the 2,100-student high school — awarded a prestigious National Blue Ribbon in 2018 by the federal secretary of education — has an unwritten but iron-clad “no-fail policy,” even for kids who repeatedly don’t do the work or even show up.

“Teachers are not allowed to fail students,” a staffer said.

One recent Maspeth graduate posted on Instagram about taking Mandarin in 11th grade, writing, “there was no way I should of passed that class.”

But in the end, someone raised the student’s failing grade just high enough to earn a credit.

“At the time, I didn’t believe in the ‘maspeth minimum’ thing but I almost never showed up to class and vividly remember having multiple 0’s on quizzes I never took,” the student wrote. “My average was a 45 and then magically turned into a 65 when my report card came in.”

Mayor de Blasio knew about this halfway through the summer. From another NY Post Sue Edelman piece:
The stunning allegations surfaced on July 30, when (Councilman Robert) Holden first met a Maspeth teacher who brought him a binder full of evidence, including schedules with non-existent classes, records of no-show students who graduated, and statements by students who said they received passing grades or test scores they didn’t deserve.

Holden called the mayor’s office immediately. On Friday, Aug. 2, he met with Lydon Sleeper, the mayor’s intergovernmental affairs director, asking him to bring in the city’s Department of Investigation.

Holden then forwarded the evidence to DOI, which sent it to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, Anastasia Coleman.

The next week, four ex-Maspeth teachers came to Holden’s office to speak with investigators, but SCI said it had no one to send.

To update the story, the Queens Chronicle sent a reporter to the September meeting of the Maspeth HS PTA and parents were not at all upset with the school but instead blamed the whistle-blowers.
As allegations about widespread cheating at Maspeth High School swirl, the September meeting of the Parent Teacher Association saw support for the school last Wednesday.

One mother, whose son who is a junior, said, “I’ve never seen a school so well run,” to applause from other parents.

Another mother said, “I know that this school will succeed even though there was some negative press and will be investigated. And I’m sure that everything will be null and void.”

Her husband noted that their son has improved since coming to the school.

“Every teacher has put that extra effort in,” he said. “So please don’t believe what you hear.”

Accusations from former teachers who came forward to the New York Post include math teachers changing incorrect answers on Scantron exam forms, truant students passing classes and an assistant principal teaching a course where attendance is not required. Two official investigations into the allegations are underway.

Mayor de Blasio's office is also attacking Councilman Holden. Back to the Chronicle: 
Mayor de Blasio’s senior communications advisor, Wiley Norvell, criticized Holden on Twitter last Sunday, saying the councilman’s “conduct here is irresponsible. He is playing fast and loose with the facts.”

“When he learned of complaints, Holden didn’t do the ONE thing all City employees and elected officials are required to do — report these issues directly to the appropriate investigators,” Wiley tweeted.

He added that Holden initially refused to provide details, including the name of the school. The Mayor’s Office contacted the SCI and a few days later Holden disclosed the school in question, which the office passed on to the SCI, according to Wiley.

“Rather than let SCI do its work and investigate, Holden has been trying to score points in the press, repeatedly jeopardizing the investigation,” Wiley tweeted.

Holden shot back on Twitter, saying “Like grade fraud, incompetence is systemic in the @NYCMayor’s administration. @BilldeBlasio cares more about the press than the children affected by this corruption. As is evidenced by him sending his lapdogs to do his spinning.”

I am not sure how contacting the press jeopardizes an investigation. In my experience and I am certain with many others too, when it comes to the Department of Education if the press is not involved, incidents are swept under the rug.

At Jamaica High School in 2010, the DOE initially said there wasn't any transcript fixing when insiders reported it to the NY Post and provided substantial evidence to investigators. The DOE comment on Sue Edelman's October 31, 2010 article:
"Jamaica High School took the proper steps to review documentation and grant credit appropriately,” (a DOE Spokesperson) said. 

Then a week later after the story hit the paper the DOE was singing a different tune:
The DOE at first denied any wrongdoing but "took a closer look at the school’s data' after The Post’s report," said a spokesman.

It found that the school had recently erased some 1,100 credits to about 150 students for 606 “foreign transfer courses.”

Stay quiet at your own peril ladies and gentlemen.

I will be emailing support to Councilman Holden. If you want to also, his email is


Anonymous said...

Of course they are in Denial!!! It's just a matter of time they will realize their kids received inflated grades... Let's see how these fake grades carry the students academic performance on a College level. Though I hear from my colleagues that teach in 4 year CUNY College that they are getting students that CAN'T even write!!!! I can't even imagine how the students academic performance are in 2 year CUNY schools! I GUESS THE CYCLE JUST CONTINUES!! LMAO the richest country in the WORLD are DUMBING down our KIDS!! POLITICS AS USUALLY at the expense of our students education and OUR DAMM UNION sleeps with political stakeholders!!!! RADICAL CHANGE when will it happen??

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this shows why this grade fraud exists and will continue to do so. The public wants it. Sad times we're living in.

Anonymous said...

the UFT supports principals, especially NEW PRINCIPALS to retaliate against teachers so we lose our JOB and MIND!!! This organization is NO different from the court system THE LAWYERS AND JUDGES are colluding with each other,, Arbitration at Union level is a staged hearing PERFORMED BY A BUNCH OF CLOWNS who don't care about TEACHER CONTRACT!

oh and by the way..... SOCIAL PROMOTION is in full effect in all NYC schools, Suspensions are low because they are not reported DUH!!! Thank you Mr.Eterno for keeping us informed...Maspeth High School is just ONE of the many...Cheers to the UFT member that exposed them, cause GOD knows these educational stakeholders don't care about the education of our students in NYC.

Bronx ATR said...

I sent Councilman Holden a letter of thanks and support. Mulgrew should ask his Unity supporters in the Rank $ File to do the same and then the world as we know could end peacefully.

Anonymous said...

I worked at the Queens HS for teaching before I retired. Grade inflation at its were graduating with A+ (yes, ........A+) averages, and the best school system they could get into is CUNY......not even SUNY.

Not meaning to beat up CUNY, I'm a graduate myself, but an A+ average should get you a free ride to an Ivy League school.

Anonymous said...

If Bronx ATR or James gets a reply, let us know please.

Anonymous said...

I used to be shocked when I compared transcript averages with SAT scores; students with 90+ averages barely cracking 800 on the SAT. This would be an easy way for the DoE to investigate grade fraud.

Anonymous said...

My school is one of the best in brooklyn, based on grades and grad rate... Avg sat score 908.

James Eterno said...

To the guy who keeps sending the comments that have nothing to do with this issue: Please email me off the blog so we can discuss how to address your concerns. No hijacking posts. You are probably the reason I have to moderate the blog.