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Growing Long Island Cheating Scandal Now Includes ACT

Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 08:21 AM

In the news on Thursday, Jenny Anderson reports in The New York Times that the Long Island cheating scandal now includes at least 35 students in five high schools. It also appears to include cheating on the ACT, as well as on the SAT.

According to John Byrne, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney’s office, the ACT test appeared to be “plagued by the same security vulnerabilities as the SAT.”

The ACT, which tests what students know, rather than only their ability to analyze, is growing in popularity with students and with colleges.

The investigation is ongoing, Mr. Byrne said.

“Additional arrests will include both those who paid others to take the test for them and those who created fake IDs and were paid to take the test for others.”

In more positive news, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that an anti-truancy program is so popular that the city is going to expand the number of students who are assigned mentors to help them get up and get to school.

But Gotham Schools reports on a change in personnel in District 17 that is the kind of bureaucratic development that can drive city school parents and staff members crazy:

During one week in October, District 17′s superintendent held “early engagement conversations” at three schools the department is considering closing.

At each school — Middle School 587 on Oct. 11, Public School 22 on Oct. 12, and P.S. 161 on Oct. 13 — the superintendent, Rhonda Hurdle Taylor, heard community members explain why their schools should get another chance.

Then she resigned, and Buffie Simmons took her place.

Parents are concerned that Ms. Simmons, who is new to the district, does not know the issues or people well enough to help those schools avert closing by the Department of Education.

And supporters at P.S. 161 the Crown rallied on Wednesday, asking the Education Department for more time for the school to turn itself around.

Finally, Beth Fertig of WNYC has a compelling broadcast report and a post on SchoolBook about the continuance of self-contained classes for special education students, even as the city is supposed to be pushing toward full inclusion next year.

What do you think: Is inclusion the best approach for special education students?

On Thursday, here are some of the education-related events going on around the city:

At 3:30 p.m., City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, East Harlem community-based organizations, students and other elected officials will release a platform for a group called the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force. According to a news release from Ms. Mark-Viverito, the platform "calls for collective action by government, nonprofits and the community to reduce neighborhood violence." The news conference is scheduled to take place at the James Weldon Johnson Community Center, Lexington Avenue and 115th Street.

At 11 a.m., NPR radio’s "On Point" will devote an hour to the China Conundrum article that appeared in the Education Life supplement in The Times this past weekend. The reporters from the Chronicle of Higher Education will be on, as well as Delaware’s Scott Stevens, who was featured in the article, and guests from the University of Virginia and Iowa State.

On the Learning Network, a question for students: Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled? It is a reaction to the article in The Times Magazine on Sunday about one woman's home schooling experience in the 1970s.

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