Principal Sharron Smalls, of Jane Addams H.S. in the South Bronx, is being investigated by the Ed Dept. in a course credit scandal
Students at an F-rated South Bronx high school got chemistry credits for taking cosmetology courses and geography credits for tourism classes, the Daily News has learned.
City Department of Education officials are investigating Sharron Smalls, the principal of Jane Addams High School, in a massive course credit scandal that may have jeopardized graduation for half of the current senior class.
“It’s criminal what’s been going on at this school,” said math instructor Stephen Tavano, 58, who has taught at Jane Addams for 19 years. “Our students are being cheated out of an education.”
Since 2008 Jane Addams administrators have given hundreds of students credit for courses they never took, teachers and staff said.
A school-issued “Dual Credited Course Table” obtained by the Daily News used course codes to show teachers how to award bogus credits to nearly all of the 720 student body.
Beauty classes passed for studying the periodic tables, said furious teachers who insisted that the school hasn’t even had a chemistry instructor since 2009.
Kids in tourism classes — which covered topics like managing the front desk at a hotel — were also credited as having taken geography, where students learn to map countries around the world.
“They did it all so the kids would graduate without taking the required courses,” a guidance counselor told The News. “Kids are supposed to come first, but here they don’t come first.”
Teachers said the bogus credits were handed to 189 seniors who graduated in 2009, 237 grads in 2010 and 161 seniors in 2011 — all to make the school look better to Education Department brass.
“The irony is that even with all that cheating we still got an F on our latest progress report,” said a teacher who didn’t give her name. In 2011, just 45% of Jane Addams students graduated on time.
The credit shortage came to light after new teachers refused to participate in the “Dual Credits” program.
On Tuesday, a group of teachers warned
the school’s nearly 200 current seniors that
because of the credit fudging, only half of them had enough math coursework to graduate on time. Education officials say they are investigating the allegations.
Angelica Taveras, 17, one of the seniors lacking math credits, used Facebook to assemble her classmates to confront the principal on Wednesday.
“I’ve been studying to get into college but now I found out that I might not even graduate,” said Taveras, who has a 76 average and dreams of working in the medical field.
“It’s not fair,” she added.
Smalls earns $140,074 a year, has been principal since 2007 and has worked for the Department of Education since 1992. When confronted, she told the kids she understood their concerns, but dodged questions about the credit shortage, Taveras said.
When contacted on Wednesday, Smalls refused to comment on the allegations and referred questions to the DoE press office.
Agency spokeswoman Margie Feinberg declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.