Scandal Du Jour Rocks New York City Schools

By Stix, Nicholas | Insight on the News, January 31, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Scandal Du Jour Rocks New York City Schools

Stix, Nicholas, Insight on the News

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.

In early December, as many New Yorkers prepared for the imminent arrival of Santa, they were shocked to find out that many public-school principals and teachers had been naughty indeed. Desperate to raise students' performance on standardized tests, they deliberately led their pupils to cheat on those tests.

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 Dec. 13, 1999, New York 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, who did nothing.

With the help of WCBS-TV reporter Marcia Kramer, Moskowitz eventually got through to special commissioner Edward F. Stancik. The board of education's chief investigator, Stancik 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. (Under 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, others 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 merely was the scandal du jour. Literally. Only a few days later, Republican Gov. George Pataki's Moreland Commission on New York City Public Schools issued its report charging systemic attendance fraud. Titled "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, attending 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 of as much as $100 million per year.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Scandal Du Jour Rocks New York City Schools


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?