A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by acts of corruption and fraud. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, and re-assigned. The terms "rubber room" and "ATR" mean that you or any person has been targeted for removal from your job. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
“She picked all the people she knew from the system,” one veteran educator said. “It’s so obvious to anybody in the system that it’s business as usual.”
The Regulatory Task Force on Academic Policy will be headed by Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Phil Weinberg, whom Fariña personally promoted from principal of the HS of Telecommunication Arts and Sciences in Brooklyn following her appointment by Mayor de Blasio last year.
“They go back years together,” a source said of Fariña and Weinberg (pictured above).
“He sees all the data as it comes in. He should be aware of allegations of fraud and mismanagement,” the veteran educator said. “It’s like the fox guarding the hen house.”
The only independent member of the task force will be an as-yet-unnamed “external auditor” whom the DOE said will have no contracts or other ties to the school system.
A Bronx high-school teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, blasted Fariña’s announcement as a desperate effort to appear on top of the spiraling crisis.
“I mean, did she have a choice? She’s getting killed. But ‘task force?’ Really? Come on! . . . It’s the biggest joke,” the source said.
The DOE said planning for the panel began several weeks ago.
But Fariña’s announcement came just two days after a front-page Post report in which Melissa Mejia, 18, admitted graduating from William Cullen Bryant HS in Queens despite getting failing grades in a required course and never taking the final exam.
Fariña refused to answer Post questions Tuesday about the rampant cheating in her schools.
Of the $5 million annual budget for the new panel, about $4 million will be spent hiring an unspecified number of new DOE employees. Those staffers will be assigned to sift through various educational statistics, searching for red flags that signal violations of DOE rules and regulations.
Each new hire will be responsible for overseeing about 35 of the city’s 1,100 schools, the DOE said.
Another $750,000 will go to accounting giant Ernst & Young, which will also review the data and report its findings to the task force. Last year, Ernst & Young scored a $5 million, three-year contract renewal to audit spending by the School Construction Authority, which Fariña chairs.
Additional reporting by Amber Sutherland
New York City Task Force Targets Cheating by Teachers and Principals
The New York City Department of Education said on Tuesday that it would establish a task force to root out cheating by teachers and administrators in city schools, responding to recent episodes and allegations of grade inflation, forged test answers and the passing of students who rarely attended class.
The task force, made up of administrators and auditors, will oversee staff monitoring school data for irregularities, and if they discover anything suspicious it will be reported to the city’s special commissioner of investigation. The group will also supply mandatory training in grading and graduation regulations to principals.