Thursday, January 09, 2014

New York’s Biggest Crime Syndicate: The Public Schools?

By Nicholas Stix
January 31, 2000
Insight on the News

[The following article appeared in a different form, under the title, “Scandal Du Jour Rocks New York City Schools.”]

Another day, another scandal. That’s life in the New York City public schools, which are responsible for the education of 1.1 million children.

The drama that is playing out in New York is playing out in cities across America. It’s all about money, about control, about power.

The constant cheating just got to be too much for Stacey Moskowitz, a reading teacher at Community Elementary School 90, in the South Bronx. In an op-ed essay in the December 13, 1999 Daily News, Moskowitz wrote, “In an atmosphere of intimidation, the principal [Richard Wallin] and other top administrators had demanded that teachers raise scores on standardized tests by giving children the answers.”

Bearing “cheat sheets” and other evidence of criminal misconduct, in December 1997, Moskowitz had reported what she knew to New York City Board of Education investigators.

The investigators did nothing.

With the help of WCBS-TV reporter, Marcia Kramer, Moskowitz eventually got through to special commissioner Edward F. Stancik. Stancik, the Board of Education’s chief investigator, is independent of schools chancellor Rudy Crew. In December 1999, after 17 months of digging, Stancik released his report on cheating, which resulted in the suspension of 52 teachers and administrators at 32 different schools. The report, “Cheating the Children: Educator Misconduct on Standardized Tests,” revealed the most far-reaching scandal of its type in New York City history. (As per a 1976 state law, it is a crime for a school employee to help a student cheat.)

Stancik wrote, “Some [test] proctors directed students to use scrap paper and then corrected wrong choices, other gave answers outright—and even wrote on a child’s exam. Still others prompted students to check and change answers. Finally, even before the exam was administered, certain classes were prepared by teachers using actual questions from the test.

But that was merely the scandal du jour. Literally. Only a few days later, Republican Governor George Pataki’s Moreland Commission on New York City Public Schools, issued its report charging systemic attendance fraud. Entitled “Presumed Present: An Investigation into the Board of Education Attendance and Enrollment Systems,” the report showed that thousands of students were being marked present—and even issued grades—who were in fact attending private schools, other New York City public schools, abroad, in jail, or even dead. Since the state funds the public schools based on attendance figures, the attendance fraud bilked taxpayers out of as much as $100 million per year.

The teachers union responded to the revelations with anger. An indignant Karen Crowe, spokeswoman for Chancellor Rudy Crew, denounced the report as “pure politics.” The officials all ignored “Presumed Present’s” no-nonsense conclusion. “The affirmative acts required to record a student absent or late, and the issuance of class schedules and report cards, some with passing grades for phantom students, go well beyond mere mistakes or negligence. Some of these acts constitute not just violations of state and local rules and regulations but violations of federal and state criminal statutes as well.”

It is a fluke that the attendance fraud came to light at all. When a civil rights group sued the State of New York, charging that it was educationally shortchanging New York City—and thus minority—children, the State thoroughly investigated the charges. It turns out that the city’s public schools have been getting more money than they are legally entitled to.

Poor and working-class parents have long known how bad the city’s public schools are, and sought to free their children from them. Conversely, educrats and teachers union officials have fought tooth-and-nail against school vouchers and charter schools. And while claiming to speak on behalf of black and Hispanic children, civil rights groups have studiously ignored black and Hispanic parents, over 80 percent of whom strongly support vouchers and charter schools.

Like so many Fagins, educators and activists alike use public school children to pick taxpayers’ pockets.

In the course of an ineffectual, four-year tenure, Chancellor Crew grew as arrogant as the monopolistic system over which he presided. When in light of the school scandals, Councilman Stephen Fiala (R, Staten Island) called for Crew’s resignation, Crew, who is about six feet tall, mocked the 5’6” Fiala to TV reporters, chuckling, “He’s too short to talk to me about that.... He can call for my resignation ‘til he’s taller.”

Eight days later, on December 23, the Board of Education did just that, firing Crew by a 4-3 vote.

New York needs an independent auditor’s office, whose investigators could appear without warning at each school district office to pore over its books. It may also need an independent testing authority. The arrest and prosecution of those caught engaging in attendance and test fraud wouldn’t hurt, either. More fundamentally, the city needs a universal school voucher program, along with the aggressive implementation of the state’s 1998 charter school law, both of which Chancellor Crew tenaciously fought.


Anonymous said...

A group of persons conspiring to break the law by definition is a racketeering conspiracy.

Giving the answers to the test to the students and doing so as part of a group of teachers doing so is racketeering.

countenance said...

Rudy Crew.

There's a name from the past St. Louisans will recognize.

The St. Louis City Public Schools wanted him really bad for Superintendent in 2004, but Miami got him instead.

Right now, he seems to be leading something called Medgar Evers College in New York.

Anonymous said...

The PDK Herald/Crier Project said...

NYC; didn't the great voting people of NYC, the fully enfranchised public, just elect Deblasio, a liberal, a democrat an apostate to his own gene pool/race into the Mayorship there?

When California re-elected Jerry Brown weren't they asking Jerry to finish Cali. off?

Isn't Deblasio going to finish off NYC the way Jerry is finishing off Cali.?

The good people of NYC are few and becoming fewer. I would speculate for the simple reason of "what's the sense"? "Let's get out while we can". "She's sinking and there are only so many lifeboats".

From Sweden to Australia from North America to Russia the white race and our gene pool/cultures are under siege.

Can we save ourselves? How can we save ourselves?

What will our posterity look like in 2114? Will there be any whites at all?

Good grief Charlie Brown, we are going down. Thank you.