Allegations of Academic Fraud at Manhattan School

Credit for a course not taken?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A school scandal in Washington Heights A local principal is accused of giving students credit for a course they never took. Pei-sze Cheng has more on tonight's investigation. (Published Thursday, May 20, 2010)

    A New York City schoolteacher claims there has not been an English teacher at her middle school since September and says the principal is completely aware of this.

    Mildred Taylor, a teacher at Manhattan Middle School in Washington Heights, said she was hired to teach social studies and humanities, but that her principal, Brenda Hollomon, assigned her to teach an English class.

    “I grieved it and my union said I didn't have to teach it,” said Taylor.  “So they changed it to humanities. And I started teaching social studies and humanities."

    Since September, Taylor has assumed those two roles, but about a month ago, she noticed a big discrepancy.

    “A student came in with a copy of his report card thanking me for giving him an 80 in English,” said Taylor.  “And I thought the kid was joking because I do not teach English.  So I said, ‘let me see that.’ My name was there and he did have a grade of 80 that I did not give him.”

    According to Taylor’s grading records for her humanities class.  The record shows one student received a 65 for the class.  But when we looked at a copy of the same student's report card, there is no mention of a humanities class.  What we did find was an English course, with Taylor listed as the instructor, and a grade of 65.

    “English and humanities have nothing in common,” insisted Taylor.  "We didn't have an English teacher for a whole year and we still don't have an English teacher."

    News 4 New York contacted the school’s principal but she declined to comment, referring us to the New York City Department of Education instead.  Officials there say Taylor has a common branch license which allows her to teach English.  But Taylor says she is not certified in English and therefore not qualified.

    For the third quarter, she is refusing to submit grades for a class she never taught and blames the principal for allowing this to happen.

    "We put the grades in,” said Taylor.  “It is her job to check everything and make sure everything is correct before printing."

    The Department of Education confirms third quarter grades for these students are incomplete but would only say that they are investigating allegations of grade tampering.