NY Daily News has an article about how certain schools are under investigation for cheating on state exams
State officials are investigating a Queens principal accused of ordering teachers to help students cheat on April’s high-stakes English exams, the Daily News has learned.
Principal Rushell White allegedly told teachers at Junior High School 226 to give students the test questions beforehand – and to let them have extra time, according to four teachers interviewed by The News.
“It’s unfair to the students,” said one instructor who asked to remain anonymous because he fears retribution.
The teachers said that White encouraged instructors at the C-rated school to skirt testing protocols in order to boost kids’ exam scores, which are used to decide whether students are promoted to the next grade. Also,if a school does particularly well on the tests, its principal may get a bonus.
Two teachers said that White urged them to share some test questions with sixth graders at a meeting before the exam.
“She told a room full of teachers to give kids the questions ahead of time,” one shocked instructor told The News, adding, “I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t cheat.”
But other teachers at the meeting may have taken White’s advice to share questions from the listening portion of the exam ahead of time, the instructor said.
White also extended the amount of time allotted for the exams from 90 minutes to nearly two hours in some classrooms, said two teachers who gave kids the extra time.
“If you have an extra twenty minutes, you can go over the test to check your answers. It’s easier to do well,” said one of the teachers.
White, who earns $123,834 and has worked in the Department of Education since 1998, didn’t return multiple calls for comment on this story.
State Education officials said they received an anonymous allegation detailing the charges these teachers have made against White, and they are investigating the claims.
“We take all complaints seriously, and we will follow up on the allegations here,” state Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman said.
The state’s annual math and reading tests have encountered more controversy than usual this year.
Last month, state education officials yanked a question about a talking pineapple from the test because it didn’t make sense.
Other bunk questions and scoring problems are still being discovered in the tests, prompting top city and state education officials to call for improvements next year.