A little known loophole in New York City’s Department of Education may allow students to graduate high school while barely attending class.
According to DOE policy, teachers may make attendance contribute to a student’s overall grade, but “it cannot be the only reason for a failing grade or not being promoted or graduating.”
As long as students “meet class expectations,” students must receive credit and cannot be held accountable for the class time they missed.
The policy has created a loophole that some New York City schools are taking advantage of to get higher test scores, according to the New York Post.
Maspeth High School, which was awarded the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award in 2018 for its high graduation rates and test scores, is currently under investigation by the Queens District Attorney’s office and the DOE.
Maspeth High School Principal Reflects on National Blue Ribbon School Achievement – “We are proof that a school with a culture that prioritizes student needs & organizational success will always excel.” — Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, https://t.co/smYS5OxiZJ pic.twitter.com/ZNicDTIvgz
— Maspeth High School (@MaspethHS) November 18, 2018
According to concerned teachers at Maspeth, the school exploits the permissive attendance policy set by the DOE by giving packets of worksheets to students who miss an excessive amount of school.
The worksheets don’t even need to be completed accurately.
One student told the New York Post that he filled out the sheet with “nonsense” and still passed.
“If students hand in anything, whether it’s correct or not, you have to pass them,” a whistleblower said, highlighting the low standards that teachers claim have been set at the school.
The alleged “no-fail policy” is referred to as the “Maspeth Minimum.”
Despite the allegations reported by the New York Post, the school’s snapshot shows that 89 percent of teachers said they trust the principal and 90 percent of teachers, students and teachers who participated responded positively toward “effective school leadership.”
“We take any allegation of academic misconduct very seriously, and there are strict protocols in place to ensure complaints are reported, investigated and addressed,” a Department of Education spokesperson told Spectrum News NY1 in response to the claims.
Although the low standards for passing grades at Maspeth are concerning, teachers from other schools claim that it is a city-wide issue.
A teacher who previously worked at DeWitt Clinton High School told the New York Post he had to obey similar expectations there.
“If the student comes in at the end of the year in June and asks for makeup work, we have to provide it — even if they never attended,” he said.
“They could skip class most of the year and not deserve a grade, but as a result of attending one week and doing work sheets, they could get credit for an entire year’s class,” a teacher from Forest Hills said.
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