Posted on February 25, 2014

Teens Defend ‘Fail Factory’ School in Error-Filled Letters

Susan Edelman, New York Post, February 23, 2014

These kids should learn write from wrong.

Earlier this month, The Post exposed a scheme at Manhattan’s Murry Bergtraum HS for Business Careers in which failing students could get full credit without attending class, but instead watch video lessons and take tests online. One social-studies teacher had a roster of 475 students in all grades and subjects.

Red-faced administrators encouraged a student letter-writing campaign to attack The Post and defend its “blended learning” program. Eighteen kids e-mailed to argue that their alma mater got a bad rap.

Almost every letter was filled with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.

A junior wrote: “What do you get of giving false accusations im one of the students that has blended learning I had a course of English and I passed and and it helped a lot you’re a reported your support to get truth information other than starting rumors . . .”

Another wrote: “To deeply criticize a program that has helped many students especially seniors to graduate I should not see no complaints.”

One student said the online system beats the classroom because “you can digest in the information at your own paste.”

“Us as New York City Students deserve respect and encouragement,” one letter read. “We are the future of New York City and for some students, The future of the country.”


Two blocks from City Hall, Murry Bergtraum, graded “F” by the Department of Education, had a dismal 51.2 percent graduation rate last year. Hundreds of students are over-age and behind schedule.

The “blended learning” program, started last year, helps them load up on credits quickly.

The DOE said 444 students are taking “one or two” such courses, but The Post found that some take up to eight at a time.


The school’s $52,332-a-year “community coordinator,” Kian Brown — also a private “branding” consultant — encouraged kids to write letters to The Post praising Principal Lottie Almonte and her program. Copies went to Chancellor Carmen Fariña.


[Editor’s Note: According to this website, Murry Bergtraum is 47 percent Hispanic, 40 percent black, and 2 percent white.]