NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The wagons are being circled at the city’s Department of Education as an investigation into allegations of grade-fixing drags toward graduation day.
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is now being protected from questions by a security guard.
“John Dewey High School has had a practice of giving credit for subjects where credit was not earned,” said Michael Klimetz.
Klimetz, an award-winning science teacher at the Brooklyn school, is speaking out about what he and other teachers call academic fraud.
“This was just a quick and easy method for them to keep these students on track, to get them credits by hell or high water,” Klimetz said.
City education department investigators began looking into what some call “Easy Pass” last year after teachers like Klimetz told school officials they couldn’t pass students who hadn’t completed courses that many teachers weren’t even trained to teach, Langford reported.
Klimetz, in an email dated January 2014, wrote to a school official “I’m sure you can appreciate the ugly reality that I am not empowered to grade these projects.”
“I was assigned a number of students seeking to remediate courses in a variety of subjects — history, mathematics, even English, and I’m only certified in science,” Klimetz said.
“I think they’ve been cheated out of an education,” said retiring social studies teacher Wade Goria.
Goria said education department investigators who he spoke with last year didn’t want to see all the evidence he said the staff offered.
“They took a very small number but refused to accept a very large pile of documents which very clearly outlined the fraud going on at John Dewey,” he said.
On Wednesday, an education department security guard pushed CBS2’s Marcia Kramer as she attempted to question Farina about the scandal.
“(Kramer: They’re graduating, nothing’s been done and there’s still…) There’s a long process and you’ll read the reports,” Farina said.
Farina has been questioned several times about the status of the investigation, but this may be the first time a security guard has been deployed to push reporters away.
Graduation at John Dewey High School starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.