The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reportedly begun a probe into allegations of widespread academic fraud in New York City’s public schools.
“City Councilman Robert Holden met this month with officials in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York after his call for a federal probe of ‘deep-rooted fraud’ in the city [sic] Department of Education,” according to the New York Post.
Holden said he felt “encouraged” following his meeting with U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue and praised his team for taking the matter seriously.
Holden also noted FBI agents had contacted several whistle-blowing teachers whose names he provided.
In September, the Post reported teachers at Maspeth High School in Queens said students knew they could skip classes, flunk tests, and still pass because of its unwritten “no-fail” policy.
That meant teachers were reportedly not allowed to fail their students, even if they did not show up to class on a consistent basis.
“They call it the ‘Maspeth Minimum,’ meaning everyone gets at least the minimum grade or score needed to pass or graduate, no matter what,” the article stated.
“We implement a classical liberal arts and sciences, college preparatory curriculum that will train our students to become critical thinkers and life-long learners with strong character,” the school’s website read.
Records compiled by Maspeth’s current and former faculty members reportedly showed that the school’s administrators also encouraged cheating on exams and retaliated against staff members if they did not comply.
“You are called in about kids who are failing. The message is, ‘Make sure you pass them,'” one teacher claimed, adding, “You know you have to change the grade.”
Despite their failing grades, students reportedly got credits toward graduation.
“According to the latest state data available, 99% of all Maspeth students graduated in four years in 2018. The city’s overall average is now 76%,” according to the Post.
Maspeth was also named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“It’s a facade,” one teacher reportedly said of the honor.