Scandal At Bronx High School May Put Graduation In Jeopardy For Hundreds Of Students

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are disturbing allegations of class credit “padding” at a struggling high school in the Bronx.

The principal is under investigation and students who thought they would be graduating, may not have enough credits, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Students at Jane Addams High School in the South Bronx are angry.

“This is not how it’s supposed to go. She’s supposed to be doing her job. This is on her,” senior Klarice Williamson said. “Everybody here is scared. Why do we have to put back our goals because she didn’t do something directly?”

Principal Sharron Smalls is at the center of accusations of course credit “double dipping.”

The United Federation of Teachers rep, Steve Tavano, said he is certain the allegations are true.

“It’s a tragedy. It’s very unfortunate that many of our students may be at risk for graduating,” Tavano said.

The union said it worked like this: the principal allegedly gave students who passed a cosmetology class additional credits for passing chemistry. Others who passed a tourism management class got additional credit for passing geography.

“They have been given credit for certain subjects that they did not earn,” Tavano said.

Almost 100 students learned this week they make lack enough science and math credits to graduate.

“I probably won’t graduate because they didn’t give me the right amount of classes,” Mariaelena Blair told CBS 2’s Jay Dow.

“You’re supposed to guide the kids in the right direction! Don’t give ‘em courses that they didn’t take, and you give ’em credit for it. That’s not right!” parent Josephine Bello said.

It is clear many of the staff members at Addams hold the principal in very low regard. Every year teachers are asked to fill out something called a “learning environment survey.” This year Principal Smalls got some of the lowest marks of any administrator in the Bronx. Smalls declined to speak on camera.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Smalls remains on the job while the Department of Education investigates.

The DOE released the following statement:

“We are investigating a series of anonymous allegations recently made about the Principal and staff. Sadly, this is a school that for years has performed far below citywide averages on critical academic measures, which is why we are considering phasing it out and providing students with better options. In the meantime, our support staff are working with the school to look at transcripts and schedules to ensure students are getting the proper courses to graduate.”

“I just have no idea at this point if all or any of it is true,” Bloomberg told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

It’s another black eye at a school that has performed so poorly the city may shut it down. Jane Addams High received an F-rating last year from the DOE.

The union claims the credit “double dipping” began in 2008, shortly after Smalls became principal.

What do you think? Let us know below…

  • t ton

    It doesn’t seem as anyone was in charge of that school for the past three years. How could they misguide all these cxhildren? Why did the students allow it? or did they?
    Were they just lazy and didn’t take the ” hard classes ”
    We had guidance counselors that told you what you needed to take to graduate. They also told you what to take to prepare for college. Has this changed? if not, then the students signed up for the easy classes and didn’t do as suggested by the counselor.? Or, did they fail and were not able to make up the credits and now it’s the principles fault.

    Schools live on Federal funding and the district gets less when registered students come to school and are rated by the graduation rate. This one, obviously had poor leadership for sometime. These kids must be niave or just don’t care.They couldn’t see the plan for their future dying?

    The Bronx may have issues that the rurals areas don’t and that may be some of the problem. But, to get an F on a schools report card is an injustice to the students. It seems most will be staying in the bronx for a while.

  • billynortheast

    before NCLB and before the 1990s — teachers taught with little or no instructional technique. students were expected to learn and memorize the material. students were expected to stand for the pledge and respect their teachers. if students did not show up for school, they were signed out.
    when all this was happened the US was the dominant superpower in the world, and no one was criticizing this educational system that produced Americans like gates, jobs, bloomberg, buffet — today the ed system is dominated by politicians and publishing companies and our nation is in a sharp and steady decline….
    stop the special interest publishing companies — get the politicians out of education — stop the college for every student ridiculous nonsense — bring back voc ed — start teaching students about work ethic– make them earn a place in college and maybe we will have a decent future in about 100 years

  • Pearl

    There are many creative ways administrators have been coerced into, by the failing Bloomberg’s mayoral control regime. It is about numbers and graduation is a political football. What does it matter that many of our NYC graduating students cannot manage college? It is not about the kids, no matter how many times the mayor’s DOE repeats the “children first” ad nauseum. Each person within the DOE is accountable for our children. However, in time, the failings of our schools will be exposed but it will be after permanent damage seeps through. All in the system are expected to look away as educational fraud occurs. The DOE has supported tyrannical and unethical administrators, as it continues to hire more investigators and lawyers within an EDUCATIONAL ENTERPRISE. Don’t the children deserve some of that budget?

  • Michael Ortega

    I starting to notice a lot of people that can’t even read or write Having a HS diploma.



  • Mrs.Oshenstein

    Mrs Small is not in charge of the school. Once a school is consider a failure the State Department replace the leadership with their people to monitor the curriculum and test scores. The high schools students of this school an other high schools need to take more interest in the policy making and the operation of the school system instead of criticizing the leadership of the school.

  • dmmd

    I thought that when Mayor Blumberg took over the education system there would be some improvement. But now it looks like it is fudging as usual.
    Perhaps poor students should be taught a skill such as carpentry, plumbing etc rather than burden them with courses they do not want or are incapable to handle (politically incorrect to say it even if true).
    Who appointed the principal? Where does the buck stop for such a horrible education system?

    • sueinmi

      You are 100% right. When the NEA got their claws (via federal funding) into the school systems nation wide, we created this myth that our children are completely stupid. I live in the midwest. Where are the agriculture/machinery questions on an ACT or SAT? The tests are created by egg-heads for students to fail. Students doing carpentry/plumbing are not “poor”, however. They have a certain aptitude and forcing them to do something they can’t, while ignoring what they CAN do is crazy. Just wondering why an “F” rated school was allowed, by the state of NY, to remain open for another school year without intervention?

  • None Of Your Business

    Does anyone running the City school system have any functioning brain cells? Oh, excuse me! That was a stupid question to ask. I fear it may indicate I don’t have any functioning brain cells.

  • DanTe

    This school is a joke. Even if you don’t show up for classes they still pass you.

    • DanTe

      You’re the joke. Too pathetic to have your own name. Must imitate your betters in order to be taken seriously.

      Have you tried suicide? I hear it’s good for conditions like yours. Go ahead, try it. Can always try something else if that doesn’t work.

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