Tuesday, July 13, 2021

COUNCILMAN HOLDEN CALLS FOR STATE AND FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS ON GRADE FRAUD IN NYC SCHOOLS

This is from the Queens Chronicle:

Councilman Bob Holden isn’t surprised that the city’s Department of Education is moving to fire the principal at Maspeth High School — only that is has taken this long.

And now he wants the federal investigators brought in to examine a problem he says goes way beyond Maspeth.The DOE has filed internal charges against Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, who has been principal since the school opened in 2011, following investigations that allege the school awarded students improper credits as well as testing misconduct wherein staff allegedly assisted students on Regents exams.

“Following DOE’s investigation into Principal Abdul-Mutakabbir’s unacceptable behavior, DOE served him with disciplinary charges and removed him from payroll while we seek to terminate his employment pursuant to state law,” said DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon in an email to the Chronicle on Thursday. “Our schools must have the highest standards of academic integrity, and we are working quickly to bring in new, qualified leadership to Maspeth High School.”

Holden, in an email from his office on Friday afternoon, was somewhat less than impressed.

“It’s good to finally see the principal removed, two years after I helped the Maspeth High School whistleblowers stand up to the corruption and intimidation and break the story,” Holden said. “They came to my office because they had nowhere else to turn. It has taken far too long, because neither the administration nor the DOE was in any hurry to investigate.”

Holden said he personally brought the matter to the attention of the administration as well as former Chancellor Richard Carranza “directly and there was no action taken.

“Grade fraud is a systemic problem throughout the city school system and we need state and federal agencies to investigate, including the U.S. Attorney, New York State and U.S. Departments of Education and the FBI. Our educators and our students deserve better.”

Mayor de Blasio’s office as of this posting had not responded to an email sent Friday afternoon requesting comment.

Why do people try to complain here anonymously and not blow the whistle on what Holden and many here call a systemic issue?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grade fraud is systemic and a result of mayoral control. As long as there is mayoral control, there will be overwhelming political incentives for grade fraud and graduation rate fraud.

Anonymous said...

The city and the mayor care nothing about standards and learning. They only care about graduation rates. You want fraud look at a high school in Flushing that has an 82% graduation rate. The highest it has been in decades!!! Why are people crying Learning Loss during the pandemic? If graduation rates are going up, HOW IS THERE LEARNING LOSS??? Let's see what happens when students are required to pass Regents Exams again. Many of the students in my College Freshman class can barely write a sentence or a paragraph, yet they miraculously graduated HS.
The fraud will only stop when teachers are no longer bullied for having low passing rates.
My husband, a hs teacher, had to provide written explanations about every single student he failed. It is no longer acceptable to provide a grade book with all O's. Many teachers will just pass students so they can avoid the harassment and additional paperwork.

waitingforsupport said...

Because they are:
1. Terrified of retaliation;
2. Don't care because "parents don't care and it's not my problem"
3. Their collegues won't stand with them

Anonymous said...

@6:46, all of that is true, but there's also the issue of who to report it to. They wouldn't even give the Councilman the time of day. Will teachers be implicated if they were coerced into passing students? Perhaps this Principal was very brazen in his approach, and that was his downfall, but there are some savvy Principals who are a lot more subtle in their approach where a teacher could be left holding the bag. Like the poster above wrote "written explanations about every single student he failed'. Or not giving tenure to teachers with "low scholarship" even if the failures are due to excessive absences.

I'll bet Councilman Holden is going to be getting a lot more calls and letters.

Anonymous said...

If a student fails, I am supposed to write a three page dossier explaining why the student failed. This includes the strengths and weaknesses of the student, the topics I have taught, the assignments missed, modified assignments, extra credit assignments, all the parent outreach, goals for the student, guidance counselor outreach, and I don't remember what else. This was all before CoVid, too.

Coercion used to be subtle.

JR said...

I emailed Holden, and was ignored.

Bronx ATR said...

There has been a long and winding history leading to what we have today. In the 1990s, we were told never to blame the student or parents for the failure of the students - to look elsewhere. Constant meetings and yearly paradigm shifts of nonsense (who hid the cheese?) got nowhere. The real change started with stopping students from being held back because it hurt their self image and then led to targeting schools, and thus principals, APs, and teachers, for failing grades with closure, staff demotions ( including the ATR pool) and de facto termination. Higher grad rates tout success for everyone - parents and students included and most noticeably the person in charge of the schools - Mayor Bill deBlasio and his predecessor before him, Mike Bloomberg. Then came an end to personal student accountability for anything, including crime, via an end to suspensions. Fighting this sham makes no sense for anyone, except politicians and society. No one will sacrifice themselves for the rewards of vilification, targeting and the financial and emotional devastation that accompanies it. There has to be a general and loud scream from the UFT, the CSA, parent groups, the media and society to end mayoral control and his Department of Education and a return to the Board of Education. It's not happening. As packs of illiterate and ignorant teenagers play guerrilla warfare and worse on the sidewalks of NYC and everyone shakes their heads at the devastation and cry to the heavens, ‘Why?!’ - understand in part why and understand that all of us will suffer in one way or another - some much more than others. Remember that the next time you see Bill deBlasio and Mike Mulgrew’s smiling faces touting the increased graduation rates and the incredible successes of our school system.

David Suker said...

I’m an ATR at Pelham Lab HS in the Lehman HS building, where the social studies department discussed and agreed to passing any student with a 50% average or above for the Spring semester. I didn’t partake because they didn’t trust me with grading students, but I sat in, via Zoom, on the the department meetings.

The fact is, they don’t care. No one wants to investigate this because it’s too widespread. I busted a student at Bx. Science 2 years ago for cheating on the Regents via his iPhone. He was linked to numerous other students in an online forum, and although I managed to get that incident into an article in the Post, the investigation went nowhere. The Wall Street Journal talked to me, but I’m guessing if the cheating was as widespread as I thought it must be they’d have to scrap the test entirely. They know the kids are ahead of them on this and it’s mostly benefiting the advanced kids.

By the way, I was written up for supposedly sharing a photo of the kid with the phone on his lap with the Post. His face was blurred by the Post and in my defense I stated that the photo was a stock photo that the Post used without my knowledge. I still got a letter in my file.

Thanks Bx. Science for all coverages you gave me though for sitting in the auditorium doing nothing and watching over kids in “study hall.” What a joke this system is even at the highest level of academic performance! 😂

No one cares. I have two years left and I’m going to be old school all the way!

Anonymous said...

Namita Dwarka....times about up! Plenty of (ex) teachers gonna squeeeeel.

waitingforsupport said...

Agree@11:10pm
I reported what happened at my school to investigators, the DOE, UFT and eventually Ben Chapman. I can't prove it but I believe someone in the union informed the admin about my complaints. Anywho. It would have been easier if my colleagues joined in. A few joined me when they started to be targeted. It's hard to stand up to a bully.

Anonymous said...

All of you are correct. You should see the sheets of NX trackers we had to fill out in my high school in Flushing, Queens. It was not enough for us to provide gradebooks with all failing grades and include the attendance that shows the student did not attend class.

I was personally informed by my AP that my passing rate was "too low," and that she expected more from me. I responded, "More from me?? Don't you mean more from my Seniors??" I did my job and held every class meeting and even offered students extra help after school that I was not paid for. I complied and completed all NX forms and documented all of my outreach, but I refused to pass any student that did not earn the grade. Let the other teachers who passed students that did not attend a single class nor complete a stitch of work.

Anonymous said...

With inflation surging at 5.4% a year we need to form a legitimate union that will negotiate on our behalf for fair wage increases and not bullshit contracts.

David Suker said...

Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Just read this about deBlasio and his Department of Education. Sickening. Mayoral control and his Department of Education has to go! Bring back the Board of Ed.
https://nypost.com/2021/07/14/city-hall-overrides-stringers-school-bus-company-bailout-veto/?utm_campaign=iphone_nyp&utm_source=message_app

Anonymous said...

On the job two decades and this type of news comes out every mayoral election season.

People get ‘outraged’ and ‘changes will occur’. Also, city hall will ‘look into it.’ Bla bla bla.

This is like how they say they will investigate who is selling fireworks. Politicians just don’t care.

Here is the bright side. We get six figures to ‘work’ 180 days a year. I have two other side jobs and make a nice life for myself and my family.

My wife does ‘real work’ and would love the time off we get.

The doe is a racket. Teach the ones who want to learn. There are some out there.

To those who don’t want to learn, not my problem. They hand in some garbage work? Cool. Pass them.

Do some fake ‘outreach.’ Also, tell the APs the kids are ‘making progress’ bla bla bla.

Use some buzz words, make small talk with the kids, say good morning to colleagues, learn everyone’s names and enjoy your life.

When you break it down, our worries aren’t too bad in life.

I’ve worked real jobs in college summers(warehouse work, fed ex, hoke depot, sanitation and they all suck).

The worst part of this job is it doesn’t allow me to play golf until July.

You cannot fight battles in life or the doe that you can’t win. This is one of them.

Do you want to die on this hill of failing or passing kids who don’t care what their report card grades are? Not me!

Life in the doe is a lot more tolerable if you play the game. Your mental health improves and you don’t get harassed as much.

I’ll leave you with this statement and that is what I just said is the norm of a fair amount of doe people.

Look at those who have retired. The ones who played the game are living the good life. The ones who died on a hill are struggling bc their health suffered.

Don’t let the doe burn you mentally.

Drip on? said...

There's more than one school in Flushing that pressurizes it's staff to the crushing point. An NX grade requires an accompanying dissertation justifying the NX. It's coersive intimidation at it's best. But the grading fiasco is merely a small part of the atmosphere of tyranny and terror that the principal has enforced for decades.
It's clear in reading the comments here that many teachers are experiencing the pains of a delinquent administration and city government that cares little about student education and all about their job and political career.

Anonymous said...

Played the game for my last ten years. Was treated like royalty by AP. Taught who wanted to learn and basically did what 5:46 wrote about in dealing with those who don’t want to learn. Retired now. Tier IV hang in! Tier VI, I don’t know what to tell you…..other than if you’re miserable, get out.

Anonymous said...

An interesting read with comments...

https://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/okqto8/baltimore_city_schools_41_of_high_school_students/

Anonymous said...

Is the 2021-2022 Per Session Payroll Calendar posted anywhere?

Anonymous said...

218 is a smart person. I am tier 4 and have a decade plus to go. I’m not in love with the job, but can get to age 55 and then go and do some work I will really enjoy.

If you are tier 6 and don’t ‘love’ this job, you need to leave.

My kids know not to enter the profession and I tell people in college not to do it. However, they don’t listen.

For me, it’s been a decent life. Do what you can do.

Anonymous said...

I hear a lot about Tier 6 and I must be missing something. The worst part is that you have to contribute for the duration of your employment and have to wait until 63 to retire.

Final average salary is from your top 5, instead of 3 years. Health benefits after 15 years (same as Tier 5).

You receive full retirement at 25/55 (Tier 4), and 30/57 (Tier 5). But in Tier 6 there are no special requirements. Does this mean you will receive full benefits at age 63 after vesting?

Am I missing something about Tier 6? Are the deductions more severe?