NYC Education Department Forms Anti-Cheating Task Force; Chancellor Selecting Academic Integrity Panel
August 10, 2015
by Nia Hamm
NEW YORK – It’s been one week since the New York City Schools chancellor announced a new task force to monitor academic integrity in city schools in response to what’s believed to be a widening cheating scandal, but so far, only the chairman has been announced.
Chancellor Carmen Farina says the panel, with a $5 million budget, will provide oversight as well as training for teachers and administrators to help prevent cheating.
At the advocacy group Alliance for Quality Education, Executive Director Billy Easton agrees cheating is a problem, but he says how schools measure success is the larger issue.
“If everything in education has been reduced to – instead of it being about teaching and learning, it’s reduced to – the test score, it creates a perverse incentive for some individuals to break the rules,” he points out.
The six-person Regulatory Task Force on Academic Policy will include only one member from outside the Department of Education, which has prompted some criticism. But the department says the task force’s work will be reviewed by the auditing firm Ernst and Young.
The task force chairman is Phil Weinberg, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning.
The task force comes after a Brooklyn high school principal was fired last month over a grade-fixing scandal – and last week, a teacher in Queens admitted to passing a student whose grades indicated she should fail.
Evan Stone, co-CEO and co-founder of the teacher-led organization Educators for Excellence, says while teachers must uphold academic integrity, they are also under a lot of pressure to show results.
“And so, we want to see the influence that standardized testing has on the system decrease, so that teachers feel less pressure,” he states.
PHOTO: New York City’s new Dept. of Education task force to address allegations of cheating is already taking some heat for having only one member outside the department. Photo credit: Sam LeVan/freeimages.com.
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