‘The Great Gypsy’ on Hempstead School Reading List, Official Blames Administration for 30 Errors

Zoe Mintz, International Business Times, July 10, 2013

summer reading list for a Long Island school district has some unusual recommendations for its students. “The Great Gypsy” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and authors, George Ornell and Emily Bonte, to name a few.

In a list for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, the Hempstead Public Schools summer reading list has more than 30 mistakes, Newsday reports. Misspellings include authors’ names and book titles.

Roger Tilles, a member of the New York State Department of Education’s Board of Regents, blames the school’s administration.

“It indicates again that a stable administration is absolutely essential for kids to get the kind of education they need,” he said in a statement. {snip}

Hempstead Public Schools has been one of Long Island’s worst-performing school systems, Newsday reports. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the district held a 38 percent graduation rate–the lowest in Long Island’s 124 public school districts.

Earlier this month, the school board announced it would be rehiring Hempstead school district Superintendent Susan Johnson. Her salary, which would peak at $265,000 by 2016, has stirred controversy.


Hempstead has had a long history of administrative problems. In 2005, Johnson was fired while the district owed $6 million in unpaid bills to suppliers. Other Hempstead school administrators have been convicted of larceny, accused of financial scandals and allegations of corruption, the New York Times reports.


In April, Johnson said she’s committed to revitalizing the ailing school district. “The district is returning to basics,” she said. “It’s every job title in this district working together to make this dream come true.”

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson

[Editor’s Note: A video report related to this story is available here.]

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  • tech

    The other day when I read this story in the news, I immediately knew which type of “person” made those embarrassing errors.

    • dukem1

      I’d say it’s even worse. Doubtful she’s the one who prepared the list…what’s worse is she’s the boss – the supervisor – of whoever did.
      So the message her employees get is that it is not important to do a good job..Just because you’re an educationist doesn’t mean you should be able to spell, or proofread, or give a flyin’ heck about the quality of your efforts.
      265k per year!

      I read this to my wife and she asked, “Isn’t that one of the highest taxed areas?”
      Oooohhh yeah.
      What a dismal, worthless, world the Ms. Johnsons create, wherever they are.

  • JackKrak

    “The Great Gypsy”???

    Come on, people – they got two out of three of the words right! That’s a 66% success rate – for a district that’s graduating 38% of its students, that’s pretty damned good!

  • je suis paganisme

    Forget “The Great Gatsby”!
    “Tender is the Nigga” is much better!

    • Let’s not forget “The Torments of Spring”, “Over the River and Into the Woods”, Out of Reason” and “Cat Down the Drain” by Ernest Herringbone!

      • jane johnson

        “The Old Man and the Cracker”,
        “The Scum Also Rises”

      • je suis paganisme

        I wonder if she recommended any books about that Roman emporer, Negro, the one that supposedly fiddled while Rome burned?

  • ncpride

    Wow. On my daughter’s summer reading list is Beowulf. Glad the staff didn’t tell her to read Beowoof.

    • The__Bobster

      Be A Wolf? The alternative to all those damn vampire movies?

      • ncpride

        Ha! I like yours better.

  • APaige

    The old adage: ‘You can’t teach what you don’t know’, meet the new common adage: “black people are stupid.’ Or “those who can do, those you can’t teach, and those who can’t teach become black educational administrators.”

  • WR_the_realist

    A quarter million dollar salary for a black administer of a black school that could not have good academic performance of its students if God ran it. That is why this country is spinning into bankruptcy. It is not surprising that that reading list had so many errors in it. I probably have more books in my bathroom than the average black administrator or teacher in that school has in his home.

    • MBlanc46

      Or has ever read, except perhaps for educational theory textbooks.

  • sbuffalonative

    When a black person is put in a high profile job, it’s done for show not because of their abilities.

  • Luca

    The seeds of affirmative action, planted 40 years ago, are now bearing fruit.

  • The__Bobster

    “The Great Gypsy”? Ah, the recent remake with the cRap soundtrack.

  • The__Bobster

    She looks like the next Arlene Ackerman.

    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Arlene Ackerman is out as Philadelphia schools
    superintendent just two weeks before the new school year begins.

    Her attorney, Robert Nix, confirmed this morning to KYW Newsradio that Ackerman’s
    reign as head of the Philadelphia school system is over, after working out a
    separation agreement that will give her her full salary for the remainder of her
    original five-year contract.

    Ackerman has been under pressure for much of her tenure in Philadelphia, over several issues: racial violence at South Philadelphia High School, a no-bid contract awarded to
    a minority firm, and the whopping budget deficit.

    The School Reform Commission issued a statement that Ackerman will be paid $905,000, comprised of $500,000 from the SRC and $405,000 from “anonymous
    private contributions.”

  • MBlanc46

    It’s almost unbearably painful to me that a place with a name like Hempstead, Long Island, should be fuxated. Boston, yes. New York City, of course. Philadelphia, Baltimore, okay. Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, certainly. Even Omaha. But Hempstead? No.

  • IstvanIN

    Too many of the books were racial books by assorted blacks and hispanics.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    “Her salary, which would peak at $265,000 by 2016, has stirred controversy.”

    Remember, this is what you’re being taxed to death to fund.

    • Xerxes22

      Republicans would still rather blame the teacher’s unions. Even though this women is not part of any teacher.s union.

  • After this plan crashes and burns, the explanation will be that the district didn’t force enough money down the rathole. Paying Johnson a king’s ransom won’t help; if an Afritard had been put in charge of building Cape Canaveral, it would still be nothing but sawgrass, palmetto and sand dunes.


    Funny, that picture is exactly like what I imagined this “Superintendent” Susan Johnson to look like. And what a wonderful reading list, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gypsy” and a “George Ornell” book too. Oh man, this is too funny. Did they write down this reading list while it was being “recommended” to them over the phone by Ms.Rachel “the Queen of mumble herself” Jeantel or what? ( Oooew yeah, I recmen sum um Gorge Ornnmnelllmummmble nowhatummsayn, and sum like Eff. Skot um,,, white,,,, kill yur,,, neigbur type,, um cracka, FiktsJurallt book, callt,, A, um Grayt Gympmumbley,, No, no ugh, I mean,, The, Grayt um,, Gypsmmubbley. )

    Speaking of Rachel Jeantel, has anyone seen her new TV interview where she apparently grew some long and beautifully straight hair practically over night? Well, if there’s one thing you can say about Trayvon Martin it’s this. He sure knew how to pick’em, cause she is quite the looker, huh fellas?

  • Paleoconn

    I wonder if Willyum Shaykspeer is on the list? That guy is so overrated anyway.

  • I delivered pizza for 18 months after my release from federal prison, and I saw the insides of many middle-class black living rooms while doing this work. No books. Always a giant TV, always a massive stereo system, but never any books. At the public library before I got DSL at home, I never saw blacks there for books, or even reading magazines; it was only for computer access that they went. The typical black guy who will put a goofy set of spinner wheels on his car, a noisier exhaust and a big plastic spoiler that looks like a baby stroller handle can’t be bothered to read about how to get more performance out of the engine.

    • jane johnson

      You’re right about the library being like a free cybercafe, and the ONLY items I’ve ever seen them check out are DVDs; NEVER books.

  • redfeathers

    Part of my family lives in a very nice town dangerously close to Hempstead. My niece and nephew have been brainwashed in the white, liberal Garden City Public Schools so they think I’m the crazy aunt who goes around locking the doors! Obviously Hempstead is mostly black and hispanic (of the mexican and central american variety).