City Councilman Robert Holden is on the right track in asking the feds to probe the “deep-seated fraud” at the city Department of Education.
Year after year after year, the DOE produces grade-fixing, test-fixing and other “worthless diploma” scandals. A few school administrators get fired, but the same scams continue at other schools.
It looks like a clear “pattern of conspiracy,” Holden wrote to US Attorneys Richard Donoghue and Geoffrey Berman. His letter notes that he raised the issue months ago with Chancellor Richard Carranza: Far too many schools pass nearly all their students in math and English, even as few of the children show basic proficiency on state exams.
But Carranza, he notes, “has completely ignored my concerns.”
Since then, Holden has helped uncover the secret to Maspeth HS’s nearly 100 percent graduation rate: an unwritten no-fail policy that included blessing outright cheating.
In fact, these scams go back decades. Past scandals prompted then-Chancellor Carmen Fariña to set up a “Regulatory Task Force on Academic Policy” in 2015 to supposedly crack down — but the fraud continues, suggesting the task force’s true purpose was to let “credit recovery” fraud continue.
Bottom line: Most city kids aren’t getting the “sound, basic education” that courts have ruled the state Constitution requires. But it’s not, as past lawsuits have suggested, about the money: It’s about the DOE’s top-to-bottom complicity in hiding its failure.
Rather than face the truth, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently suggested, “There’s something wrong” with the National Assessment of Education Progress tests (the gold standard of US exams!) because they show no progress in city schools. In other words, he’d rather the fraud continue, so he can claim success.
Federal prosecutors spent years getting the goods on the city Housing Authority’s systematic coverup of its failures. Holden’s entirely right to ask for a similar exposé of the school system.
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