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Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 12:10 GMT
Papers criticise 'NYC exam scam'


New York newspapers say the cheating scandal uncovered at the city's schools is "disturbing".

"Those who can't teach, cheat," said the New York Post, under the headline "teachers embroiled in exam scam".

It said that as a result of the cheating - where teaching staff at 32 schools allegedly helped children with their tests - three schools had been hailed in newspapers for "dramatic turnarounds".

The paper also accused the board of education of ignoring suspicious activities, and "sweeping under the rug" previous reports of cheating at certain schools.

Top investigator Marlene Malamy let schools investigate themselves and msteriously lost files or key documents in many cases, it said. She then let any offenders off the hook with a warning letter.

The New York Times said the cheating, over five years, involved more students and more educators than any recent cheating case in American public schools.

It said they come at a time when educators are under unprecedented pressure to improve student performance.

It pointed out that two school districts in Brooklyn are experimenting with a performance-related pay pogramme, which gives rewards to teachers and principals in schools where test scores improve.

It says Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has expressed interest in expanding the programme, despite warnings that it might encourage cheating.

However, schools investigator Edward Stancik did not criticise the increased emphasis on test scores, it said. He simply demanded more aggressive policies for preventing cheating.

The newspaper also focused on personality clashes between Mr Stancik and Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, which have exploded in the past.

It says Mr Stancik has been accused of being "a clever manipulator of the news media, more interested in sex crimes and sexy headlines than in the fundamental work of education".

In October 1997, after Stancik released a scathing investigation on gangs, a furious Dr Crew accused him of sending "panic through the system" by "overplaying and dramatization" - and demanded his resignation.

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See also:
13 Sep 99 |  Education
Missed a lecture? Catch up online
04 Jun 98 |  Education
British students 'cheat less'
08 Dec 99 |  Americas
NYC schools hit by cheating scandal

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