School Leaders Allow Cheating ‘to Boost the Numbers’: Staffers

Susan Edelman, New York Post, July 3, 2016

Cheating is in the lesson plan at a Brooklyn high school, where grade-fixing is so blatant, even intellectually disabled students pass rigorous state tests, faculty members charge.

At Urban Action Academy in Canarsie, an 18-year-old girl with the reading skills of a kindergartner had a passing grade of 65 on the Regents US history exam, a whistleblower told The Post.

The girl scored a 73 on the algebra exam, despite calculation skills at the level of a second-grader.

Teachers suspect the student’s tests were taken by an educational aide.

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Urban Action Academy administrators promote a cheating culture, staffers say.

When the Regents Global History exam was given at the school on June 14, students stashed review materials in toilet stalls so they could sneak information during bathroom breaks.

Alert teachers tried to thwart the cheating. But Assistant Principal Jordan Barnett slammed their “discriminatory” treatment of students and ordered them to back off, teachers say.

Barnett suggested the teachers themselves would not have gotten anywhere if they didn’t cheat in school.

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Principal Steve Dorcely, who has no teaching experience except as a substitute, pressures faculty and aides to “do whatever you can” to pass students, staffers said.

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The 293-student Urban Action Academy posted a 61 percent graduation rate last year. But only 5 percent of its graduates were deemed college-ready.

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In one case, a boy “has not physically attended class this semester,” a social studies teacher noted, but got a passing 65 grade and full credit. He also was passed in English even though he “does not come to class.”

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During Regents week, Barnett summoned staff to a meeting and ordered them not to check restrooms during the exams.

“We cannot treat students like criminals,” she said, adding that teachers unwilling to “work with this demographic” should leave the school. The student body is 81 percent black and 11 percent Hispanic.

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Jordan Barnett and Steve Dorcely

Jordan Barnett and Steve Dorcely

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