Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Educational Malfeasance at John Dewey HS in Brooklyn- Letter from a Teacher

I recently came across some of your publications while looking for NYC educators who might be interested in a cause some teachers are pursuing at our school, John Dewey High School. The current principal, Kathleen Elvin, has engaged in a number of activities which have been severely detrimental the education of our students as well as the pride we all once took as educators. One of the many issues on which a few of us have been brave enough to challenge her is a credit recovery program. We have put in an enormous amount  of time and work into documenting her and her administrators illegal efforts to grant students diplomas even though they have come nowhere close to meeting state education standards. Some of their deeds have included creating classes that never actually met and giving all of its students passing grades, assigning teachers courses that cover over a dozen different subject areas for which they are not legally licensed to teach, and handing student packets of rudimentary work that they completed over the course of a few hours in order to receive credit for a full semester class. Teachers who have been assigned these classes have been predominantly non-tenured and therefore unable to say no.

We reported this to the Department of Education’s Office of Special Investigations in February of 2014 and provided them a continuous flow of evidence in order to strengthen our case and assist in their investigation. Then last December, OSI told us that they no longer required anymore evidence. We immediately realized that they were probably going to do nothing at all to properly address this issue. Someone in a supervisory position probably told them to let it die. We have now seen hundreds of students, most of them black and Latino, receive diplomas over the last three years who rarely attended class and were in no way near having legitimately earned the proper number of credits required for a high school diploma. We know that initiatives that would have required spending more money and time could have had very positive results although not quite as impressive as the fraudulent results our administration fabricated. However, they would have been legitimate.

Juan Gonzalez recently wrote two articles in which he exposed this malfeasance to the public, yet we still believe that Chancellor FariƱa simply intends to let the issue die. I am acting on my own in writing to you, but a few of us are preparing a letter to the mayor and chancellor expressing our outrage. We plan to forward it to any organizations inside and outside of New York City who would listen and possibly apply a little bit of pressure. Maybe you could suggest some of these organizations.

Please excuse me for writing to you anonymously.  I’m sure that someone with your background can understand why I would want to do so at this point. We have already attached our names to various initiatives and we will do so again of this initiative shows promise.

Below are links to that Juan Gonzalez article.

Thank you in advance for any advice you might be able to offer.


Philip Nobile said...

Farina is guilty of cheating herself, which is why she sticks with Elvin. See "The Carmen Farina Nobody Knows" on and rubberroom reporter.

Believing in John Dewey High School's Future! said...

Farina and the DOE have fired Kathleen Elvin. After 15 months of watching the Office of Special Investigations drag their feet on the issue, teachers went to the media. Therefore, it was media exposure that finally got the DOE to do its job. The Assistant Principal of Guidance and Programming, Andrew Kenney, will also face disciplinary charges. John Dewey High School is free and ready to work with its new principal!

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