Many people, including myself, have wondered for many years why the UFT hired him in the first place.
On May 3, 2000, the New York Times reported his cheating and threats of students at PS 113:
"9 Educators Accused of Encouraging Students to CheatA seventh-grade teacher was accused of leaving a sheet of answers to a citywide math test near a pencil sharpener, then urging the class to sharpen their pencils and leaving the room. More than half the students marked the answers correctly.
A fourth-grade teacher was accused of sneaking a peek at the state English test, discovering that the essay question concerned Cubist art, and giving her students a lecture on Cubism on the eve of the test.
They were among nine educators -- seven teachers, one paraprofessional and one librarian -- at eight schools in New York City accused of encouraging students to cheat on standardized tests, in a report issued yesterday by the special investigator for schools, Edward F. Stancik.
What made yesterday's report particularly striking was that it was issued four months after Mr. Stancik, to great fanfare, issued a similar report that suggested that cheating on standardized tests was almost epidemic throughout the city's public schools. That investigation, which covered five years, implicated 52 educators at 32 schools, made headlines as far away as Scandinavia and hastened the ouster of Chancellor Rudy Crew just two weeks later.
Half the new cases occurred after the first Stancik report, and after the Board of Education took steps to strengthen security.
The new report ranges from dramatic accounts of teachers' erasing wrong answers and aggressively luring students to cheat, to more ambiguous instances, such as a teacher who changed the tone of her voice while reading a passage out loud during a test. Mr. Stancik contended that the modulation in the teacher's voice was a cue for her students to take notes highlighting important points they would need to write an essay.
Mr. Stancik said there were more than 100 allegations, mainly by parents and teachers, about cheating on standardized tests administered from the spring of 1999 to March 2000. He said the allegations were substantiated in eight schools scattered through every borough but Staten Island, and on three tests: a city English test, a state English test and a city math test.
The number of tests affected and the geographic diversity, he said, suggests that cheating is more widespread than just in the small number of cases detected.
Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, who criticized the last report as flimsy, said yesterday that this latest report was more restrained and documented, and that if the charges were upheld, ''there should be serious consequences.''
The eight schools affected are about 1 percent of the city's 675 elementary and 197 middle schools. No high schools were implicated.
The report raised several gray areas between legitimate test preparation and flagrant cheating. For instance, Joohi Chun, the fourth-grade teacher at Public School 150 in Queens, who was accused of giving children an unfair advantage by modulating her voice, said in her defense that she was reading with expression to keep the material interesting. Her students told investigators they had not been coached to listen to her tone of voice.
Steven Hodas, executive vice president of the Princeton Review, a national company that prepares students to take standardized tests, said that although he was not familiar with this particular case, reading with expression is a natural way to help students understand material.
Ms. Chun was scrutinized after teachers scoring her class's exams noticed that her students took especially thorough notes. Ms. Chun told investigators that she had worked intensively on note-taking, teaching children to use bullets to mark short phrases or words.
Harold O. Levy, interim chancellor, said yesterday that he had ordered intensified monitoring tomorrow when elementary and middle schools administer a citywide math test. He also invited Mr. Stancik to send his investigators to the schools during testing.
Ms. Weingarten said she was heartened that in six of the nine cases, educators were turned in by their own colleagues, suggesting, she said, that most teachers have no tolerance for cheating.
Paul Egan, a teacher at I.S. 113 in the Bronx's District 11, was the teacher who allegedly left the answers to 11 questions near the pencil sharpener. Nineteen of his 32 students got answers right. After the exam, Mr. Egan told students: ''Don't tell anyone that I helped you or you'll be the ones that will get into trouble,'' Mr. Stancik said. Nonetheless, he was reported by one girl and her mother.
Jane Nevis, a teacher at P.S. 7 in Queens District 24, not only gave her students a lesson on Cubism, but said that they should remember the words ''motivation'' and ''inspiration,'' Mr. Stancik said. Both words were important to the essay the children had to write the next day. Before being given copies of the state exam, teachers were required to sign an agreement promising to keep the contents secret.
Mr. Stancik urged the dismissal of seven of the nine educators: Paul Egan, Paul Zomchek, Alice McNally, Jane Nevis, Virgilio Rivera, Fritz Alexandre and John Paizis. He recommended counseling for Luz Rodriguez, a paraprofessional, and Ms. Chun, because, he said, their intent to cheat was less clear cut.
The affected schools are P.S. 92 in Brooklyn and P.S. 161 in Manhattan, both in the Chancellor's district for failing schools; P.S. 40 and P.S. 163 in Manhattan, I.S. 113 in the Bronx, P.S. 191 in Brooklyn and P.S. 7 and P.S. 150 in Queens.
The cheating allegations involved the state's fourth-grade English test and the city's Performance Assessment in Mathematics and Performance Assessment Language tests."
Mention of 113 in the Bronx reminds me of PS 113, also in the Bronx. Do you know who I heard was Principal of PS 113? None other than Marcel Kshensky, who was sued by my friend and teacher George Lawson, and then Kshensky was moved to a new role as Hearing Officer for grievances:
"And there are others suing the NYC BOE for re-assigning the "rubber room". George Lawson sued Marcel Kshensky, the Principal of 113, where George worked. What did the NYC BOE do then? Move Mr. Kshensky to the Administrative Trials Unit, where he does Grievances!!!!"
David Pakter, a NYC Teacher and Whistleblower of the NYC Board of Education's Corrupt Practices, Sues in Federal Court
David Pakter changed my life in 2003 when we met at a TV show where we were speaking on camera, and he started talking about the "rubber room" he was sitting in at 25 Chapel Street, Brooklyn. He invited me to visit, and I did.
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials