• October 19, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Who gets an F at Maspeth HS?

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 9:45 am, Fri Sep 27, 2019.

We’re glad to know that not only the Department of Education’s Office of Investigations is looking into the allegations of grade-fixing at Maspeth High School, but that the Queens District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau also is. We need an outside entity, one with as solid a record of public service as the DA’s office, to examine this. As City Councilman Bob Holden, whose district includes the school, said, having a DOE office investigate the matter is a case of “the fox watching the hen house.”

Of course, the OSI should have been looking into MHS a while ago. The school claims a 99 percent on-time graduation rate, compared to 76 percent citywide. And it says all students earn a Regents diploma, even those in special education. Give us a break. It’s not like this is a Success Academy school run by Eva Moskowitz. There’s no way Maspeth High’s students are doing that much better than their peers.

They know they’re not. “There’s no way I should of [sic] passed that class,” one recent graduate said on Instagram about a course in Mandarin Chinese, according to the weekend report in the New York Post that made the allegations public. The student claimed he or she had a 45 average that “magically turned into a 65 when my report card came in.”

Several teachers told both Holden and the Post that they felt forced to pass even the worst students and would face retaliation from the school’s administration if they did not, the paper said. The administrators allegedly enforce what kids call “the Maspeth Minimum,” so that all students get the grades they need to pass or graduate whether they deserve them or not.

The administrators are of course innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, at least as far as any possible criminality. The standards for discipline by the DOE are different. We hope that if the charges are true, those responsible pay a heavy price.

Then again, this is the same DOE that wants to reduce standards at its best schools and, in just one example, is allowing students to take off Friday to rally for more rules to thwart climate change. However worthy the goal, shouldn’t they be in class instead? Is the Maspeth Minimum just the most egregious result of a broader careless attitude toward education?

Editor's note: A comment that had been posted on this editorial was removed due to potential legal concerns involving the poster and a person named in the comment.

Welcome to the discussion.