The Department of Education released a long-awaited report on a cheating scandal at one of the city's top high schools on Friday afternoon a report that said that the school's officials didn't stop, investigate or report student cheating. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
When the principal and senior administrators at Stuyvesant High School learned last year that 50 or more students were about to cheat on standardized tests, they decided to allow the cheating to happen in a ill-conceived attempt to catch the students in action.
Their sloppy sting operation and incomplete, botched investigation likely allowed more cheating to occur and would have allowed many of the cheaters to get away with it. At least, that's what Department of Education investigators determined in a report they completed 10 months ago but only released Friday afternoon.
Investigators wrote that the principal, "Mr. Teitel showed an extreme lack of judgment when he orchestrated a plan designed, not to address or thwart this cheating, but to create circumstances under which it could continue."
Rules require educators to report cheating to both the city and the state, but officials only learned about the scandal after reporters began calling with questions. That was a full week after the principal's sting operation caught a student text messaging answers to 70 other students.
The longtime principal, Stanley Teitel, quietly retired shortly after the incident.
The assistant principal in charge of testing, Randy Damesek, is still at Stuyvesant, even though 10 months ago, the report said she should be fired. The Department of Education said it will start that process now. She makes $111,000 a year.
Instead of reporting the student caught cheating and officially punishing him, investigators say the principal and assistant principal attempted to force him to transfer to a new school by concocting false reports that he was having trouble getting to Stuyvesant, or that he was concerned for his safety there.
Ultimately, the 56-page report showed how easy cheating was at the elite school, where dozens of teachers said they had no clear sense of how to supervise high-stakes exams or investigate and report students who cheat.