Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Sheepshead Bay High School teacher is speaking out about feeling pressured to “teach to the test,” saying that administrators from the soon-to-be Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay threatened she raise the test scores of two failing students so they could graduate.

Erica Bloom, a 36-year-old geometry teacher who is, according to comments made about her on the Rate My Teachers website, mostly well-liked by her students, told the New York Post that she would receive a “3020” — a disciplinary warning in Department of Education (DOE)-speak — if she didn’t inflate the students’ geometry Regents exam scores from a failing 55 to a passing 65. The warning, she explained would “mean the removal of my license. So I lose my job, my insurance, my pension — everything, after 14 years.”

Bloom says new school Principal John O’Mahoney had insisted that all students take the Regents — and that their scores should count for 10 percent of their final grades.

One of the students notched a 53 on the test. The other failed to show up.

“A guidance counselor [for one student] came in and asked me to change his grade,” she said.

He was followed by the assistant principal “who came in and kept asking, ‘Why are you failing him?’ ”

Another asked about the second student.

“I was pressured by everybody,” she said.

She then went to O’Mahoney’s office but he refused to intervene. “He didn’t say a thing,” she said.

Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the DOE, said O’Mahoney did nothing wrong. “The principal acted properly,” she told the Post. “This was not an issue of changing grades.”

The two students graduated this past Friday.

 

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  • Dan

    Teachers have quotas. 

    • KB

      They absolutely do. This happens ALL the time. 

  • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

    “This was not an issue of changing grades.”

    Ah the DOE…

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    Well, our kids can get passing grades in geometry without passing, and we can teach them political correctness (censoring Huck Finn, etc), and teach plenty of multi-culturalism. 

         That’ll prepare them well for a life of depending financially on the government that furthers these policies in the first place. Then these kids can vote for the party that pushes these policies, keep them in office, and it’s a never-ending cycle.

  • Kon

    Aren’t the Regents Exams weighted based on grade distribution?

  • ShadowLock

    Wait, so one child passed by not showing up?

    That…….. is fuckin retarded. 

  • a good neighbor

    how often do we use geometry in our day to day life? never!

    • Kon

      I’m an engineer. I use it.everyday.

    • Arthur Borko

      I dunno? How many times do you need to slide a key into a lock to open the door to your house?

    • KB

      While it may not be essential in everyone’s lives, and perhaps we should reconsider whether or not every student should take geometry, that has nothing to do with the issue in this story. I don’t care if the course is Basket Weaving 101, you should not be given a grade you did not earn. 

    • JustinKey

      Geometry also builds abstract conceptualization in a child’s mind. While the practical application of it may not be useful to everybody, the longterm effects will have a direct impact on most everything else, but not in a measurable way. 

  • Missi

    If one student didn’t show up, how can she inflate the grade from 55 to 65? Where did this student get 55 from?? something is not kosher with your article

    • KB

      There is an error in this article. I read the story elsewhere and it seems that the child had a 55 in the class, but a 0 on the Regents because he did not show up. The school wanted her to inflate the class grade, not the exam grade.