Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

NYC Wants the Chancellor Fired. Now.

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza
Well, now it seems that there is an official "Hands Off" policy which forbids anyone from investigating either the NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio or NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza, exactly as we wrote in our prior post. This block seems to be state-wide.

NYC ALERT: Do Not Criticize Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza

This is alarming. Our tax dollars pay the salaries of these two ($$258,750 for Mayor De Blasio, and $ $345,000 goes to Chancellor Carranza every year). For photo opps just like the one at the top.

Richard Carranza spars with Rep. Grace Meng on Twitter: ‘No more politics’

What we have seen in the past few days is how broken the NYC public school community is. The Mayor needs to repair this, but we don't see any accountability by Carranza for causing any of it. That is unfortunate.
What I do not condone is belligerent, insulting and hysterical comments by anyone to anyone. So, if Carranza is not responding to parents calling him names and insulting him, I think he may have reason to ignore them. However we are looking at all of Carranza's actions, including hiring improper staff for high positions, allowing cheating and assaults of teachers and students without trying to put a stop to these events, and basically looking down at anyone who criticizes him. The total sum equals zero. He must go.

We urge the Mayor to fire Chancellor Carranza, and replace him immediately with a person who can heal the broken community of people in the New York City public school system, the biggest in the country. Please Bill, it's time.

Former NYC School Chancellors On Carranza Playing Race Card: ‘Put On Your Big Boy Pants’
January 29, 2020 at 11:15 pm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former city schools chancellors spoke out Wednesday about allegations by the current education czar that he’s been the subject of racial attacks as he tries to reform the school system.
Some told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer they’re stunned.
It has been a way of life since, well, pretty much forever — schools chancellors on the receiving end of the wrath of public school parents.
Cathie Black got skewered over proposed school closings. Carmen Farina was attacked over the Common Core English exam. So Richard Carranza is no exception, though he sure doesn’t seem to be weathering the storm as stoically as his predecessors.
“Just look at the abject racist things that are said about me: ‘Go back where I came from,’ ‘taco-eating Carranza,’ ‘fire Carranza Ai Yi Yi,’ with the exclamation points in Spanish. Absolutely, they’re racist,” Carranza said recently.
There have been nine full-time chancellors in the last 30 years. Six have been African-American and Latino. Kramer spoke to some of the former school bosses and they told her they were frankly stunned by Carranza’s attitude.
“Put on your big boy pants,” one former chancellor said.
“Playing the race card is [expletive], a cop out,” another said.
Carranza’s incendiary charges came in response to questions about why he walked out of a recent public meeting in Bayside, Queens, when emotional parents demanded answers about a number of disturbing incidents at their middle school, including a violent lunchtime brawl, a reported case of sexual harassment, and an alleged sexual assault in a bathroom.
“Walking out on the parents at the Queens school was dumb,” charged one of Carranza’s predecessors.
Carranza’s sulking over the ongoing criticism, his public pity party, had a predecessor offering advice.
“Don’t personalize things. You’re the chancellor of New York City schools. You should expect to be beat up. It’s New York City. You get paid to take it,” the former top educator said.
The chancellor’s ability to deal with public criticism and parent protest is expected to be challenged again Wednesday night. Sources told Kramer protests are scheduled before and during a meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy, which Carranza is expected to attend.
NY POST Editorial Board, January 29, 2020

Carranza’s Failure -  The callous chancellor must go

Karol Markowicz, NY POST, January 27, 2020
Coward! Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (c.) walking out of a town hall with parents outraged over violence in their children’s schools.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

City blocked investigations of de Blasio, Richard Carranza: whistleblowers

by Susan Edelman, NY POST, November 23, 2019

Hands off.
An explosive whistleblower complaint sent to three city councilmen claims the agency charged with investigating wrongdoing in city schools has blocked probes of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and their allies, The Post has learned.
The Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) for city schools is sitting on nine cases of waste, fraud and corruption involving the upper echelons of City Hall and the Department of Education, according to a type-written, four-page letter that catalogues the wrongdoing in detail.
One of cases cited involves first lady Chirlane McCray’s embattled $850 million mental health program, Thrive, which has a large school component.
The insider document blames Special Commissioner Anastasia Coleman, who was appointed in February 2018, after prevailing in a power struggle with former Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters, an aggressive prober of the mayor’s administration and city agencies.
“Under Coleman, SCI is continuing to hold or redirect investigations into City Hall, Chancellor Richard Carranza and de Blasio allies with business or that are connected to the DOE to protect de Blasio’s image while he runs for president,” says the anonymous Aug. 20 letter signed by “SCI Investigative Staff.”
De Blasio dropped out of the presidential campaign on Sept. 20.
Other mothballed cases included a probe of possible mayoral interference in an investigation of Orthodox Jewish yeshivas that get city funds but skimp on required secular education; contract spending on de Blasio’s aborted “Renewal” program for failing schools; and allegations about Carranza and his top aides.
“SCI investigators assigned to investigations involving executives at the DOE and City Hall, including the Mayor, have been directed to instead focus on matters not related to the mayoral administration, his allies, etc,” the letter says.

SCI agents, it adds, “have been denied support in conducting these investigations and their independence in pursuing leads . . . that point towards City Hall and top-level executives at the DOE.”

In response, SCI said that Coleman “is aware of the anonymous complaint as well as its recipients,” adding that the letter was forwarded “to the appropriate agency for review” — referring to the city Department of Investigation.

Coleman denied the accusation her office has protected the powerful. The statement says, “the Commissioner added, unequivocally, that SCI has not, and will never, slow-walk an investigation based on the subject or the subject matter of the complaint.”

Jane Meyer, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said, “Any Implication that  City Hall directed SCI  to slow walk Investigations is untrue and ridiculous. We respect the Special Commissioner of Investigation’s independent authority.”
Coleman was at the center of a battle between City Hall and former DOI chief Peters. In February 2018, Peters tried to seize control of SCI. He fired Coleman after she reportedly resisted his attempts to have more say over SCI investigations. That led de Blasio to issue an executive order giving only the mayor power to hire or fire SCI commissioners.
The mayor canned Peters, a former close friend and campaign treasurer, in October 2018, after a series of damning DOI probes of city agencies, including major problems at the Administration for Children’s Services following a toddler’s death.

In a letter after his ouster, Peters accused Hizzoner of axing him in retribution for past probes and to stem ongoing investigations. Peters said the mayor had screamed at him in a late-night call, accused him of trying to bring his administration “down,” and demanded he keep the January 2017 ACS report under wraps.
The recent incriminating missive was sent to City Council members Ritchie Torres, chairman of the oversight and investigations committee; Mark Treyger, chairman of the education committee, and Robert Holden, who has called for a federal RICO investigation of academic fraud in city schools.
Holden said he forwarded the letter to the Queens District Attorney’s office, which is overseeing a probe of grade-fixing at Maspeth High School.
Both Torres and Treyger told The Post the letter raised red flags they have already recognized.
“The letter confirms what we’ve long known: The SCI, as constituted, appears fundamentally ineffective at overseeing the DOE,” Torres said. “The overseer needs oversight of its own.”
He added: “It’s strange that the DOE — the behemoth of city government — is subject to the least amount of oversight.”
The DOE’s $34 billion budget makes up about a third of all city spending.
Treyger agreed: “The largest department in the city of New York deserves a robust watchdog that can effectively do its job.”
Torres and Treyger have met with Coleman and stressed the need for SCI to conduct pro-active, systemic investigations of the DOE, and offered to help with funding if needed.
Since then, the  SCI issued a review of the DOE’s training to combat student-to-student sexual harassment. In September, SCI issued a blistering report finding that the DOE paid nearly $9 million for 6,000 school-bus GPS units while up to 80 percent were never turned on. The bungling also prevented the city from obtaining Medicaid reimbursements for special-ed services.
But the SCI has punted on academic misconduct. The agency received 880 complaints of test-tampering and grade fraud in the past three years, but sent 823 to the DOE to investigate itself. The DOE won’t give the results.
Naftuli Moster, executive director of YAFFEDJ.C. Rice
On the yeshiva issue, frustration has plagued Naftuli Moster, executive director of YAFFED, an advocacy group that triggered the DOE’s investigation in July 2015. Still waiting for the probe’s completion, Moster has long suspected the mayor’s office made DOE drag its feet to pander to Orthodox Jewish leaders.
“Now it appears the investigation into possible mayoral interference is also being stonewalled,” Moster said. “We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Torres complained that SCI has ignored big issues.
“The NYCHA inspector general had a leading role in exposing the lead crisis in public housing.  By contrast, SCI had no role at all in exposing the lead in city schools,” Torres said.
“SCI is MIA.” 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

NYC ALERT: Do Not Criticize Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza

Chancellor Richard Carranza
The alerts currently being posted on the internet by parents is a serious matter. Richard Carranza, supposedly the "diversity king" of education who wants equality and fairness for all, does not want to be told he is not doing what he should be doing, namely putting the safety and welfare of students FIRST.

I want to give you all some examples of the widespread "protect Carranza" policy:

When I heard that the New York City Council was having a public meeting on special education programs in the City's public schools, I made 30 copies of my report on how teachers in ICT (Integrated co-teaching) classrooms do not always have a co-teacher or any teacher with a certificate to teach special education, and also other wrongdoing perpetrated by the NYC DOE and handed it personally to Jan Atwell, the proper person for submitting the documents to City Council, in the hearing room. On December 16, 2019 I asked Mark Treyger, chair of the Committee, why I never heard back from him, and he told me he knew nothing about my papers. Zero. I gave him my number, and told him to let me know if he had any questions. Until today, never heard back from him.

On December 16, 2019, I spoke at the New York State Assembly meeting on Mayoral control, chaired by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. Mr. Benedetto warned all speakers not to criticize the Mayor or the Chancellor, who showed up for 10 minutes, because he (Benedetto) did not want to hear any criticism. He said the hearing was not set up to listen to critics of the education department. Every speaker, almost, had a criticism of the way Mayoral control over the Department of Education has been less than good, but Benedetto did not listen to any of that. Then what was the purpose of the hearing, I asked. No one understood the political theater presented.

We know that teachers are being kicked, assaulted, and verbally abused in NYC everyday, by students who are never disciplined for any action they take.

Too Many Teachers Are Getting Hit, Kicked, and Punched by Students

I’m a Teacher Not a Boxer, and I’m Tired of Being Beat Up by My Students
When Educators Are Assaulted

Threatened and Attacked By Students: When Work Hurts

Dealing with Violent Behavior

What can a teacher do if a student hits them?

The Partnership of Bully Power and Media Can Convict a Teacher at 3020-a

Student Violence in public schools is a national problem, and the Carranza administration is turning their backs. This is the serious issue which has made parents so angry, because no one is safe right now in the NYC public schools.

Our suggestion when you, a teacher, are assaulted in school? Immediately file a police complaint, and then go to your principal or the hospital. Rules be damned. Principals are telling all employees to come to them first, and trust me on this, the coverup will begin. Then investigators will charge you, the teacher with the violence and/or not stopping the battery.

Watch the video below, and I am sure you will conclude just as we have, that Richard Carranza must go. His termination from the NYC Department of Education is necessary to re-establish the Mayor's good faith in the public education arena. Kids must come first, and politics must be erased from public education.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

 Outraged parents jeer DOE head Richard Carranza off the stage at Queens town hall meeting

Add caption

By Selim Algar, NY POST, January 28, 2020
It’s everybody’s fault but his.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza blamed everything from racism to vans full of agitators to privacy worries Tuesday for his abrupt departure from a chaotic community meeting in Queens earlier this month.

Carranza left the Jan.17 District 26 gathering after the two parents whose kids had been assaulted at MS 158 in Bayside demanded time to speak amidst a jeering crowd of more than 500.
“This is about some voices in the community don’t like me,” Carranza said at an unrelated press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday in Brooklyn.
Carranza claimed bigoted epithets posted to his Twitter account were evidence that critiques of his policies stem more from racial animus than legitimate dissent.
“Just look at some of the abject racist things that are said about me,” Carranza said, reciting tweets that explicitly derided his Mexican origins.
The meeting collapsed soon after Community Education Council 26, a volunteer parent group, read out a statement from a teachers union group that sounded the alarm on cratering classroom conditions.
While Carranza and Superintendent Danielle Giunta both addressed the issue, many in the crowd felt that there should have been more discussion of school discipline and safety before moving on to the next topic.
The father of a girl who was forcibly groped in class in December rose and asked to be heard despite not having turned in a question card and was soon joined by Katty Sterling, the irate mother of a girl who was beaten in a videotaped cafeteria assault that went viral.
Carranza, who previously ripped the two MS 158 parents for “grandstanding” at the meeting, again critiqued Sterling Tuesday and cast himself as a guardian of her daughter’s privacy rights.
The schools boss said she was “shouting out questions that have to do with the personal information of a student alleging they’ve been abused,” he said. “I’m an educator. I will not allow that to happen and violate that student’s rights. It was a set-up.”
The two parents were joined in denouncing Carranza at the meeting by several vocal members of an activist group that has been trailing him at meetings across the city and loudly demanding his resignation for alleged anti-Asian bias and other objections.
Carranza ripped the protesters who now routinely heckle him at public meetings and said they were “brought in vans to agitate” at the gathering despite not being from the district.
He also pinned the sudden adjournment of the meeting on CEC 26 president Adriana Aviles, who has repeatedly denied the claim. “She said, ‘I’m going to adjourn the meeting,’ and I walked out,” he said Tuesday.

But the CEC has a different recollection, insisting that Department of Education personnel and Carranza were the ones who chose to cut bait and bolt.

“Unfortunately the Chancellor chose to end the meeting abruptly due to what he felt were safety concerns,” the panel said in a statement soon after the meeting.
Aviles reiterated her stance Tuesday on Twitter after Carranza revived his claim.
“He knows what really happened,” she wrote. “It’s on him.”

Carranza reiterated that the disorderly end to the meeting had little productive value and that senior DOE personnel have since been diligently attending to the two parents’ concerns.

De Blasio stoutly backed his lieutenant Tuesday, arguing that Carranza’s polarizing agenda is causing rightful discomfort in certain sectors.
“If you haven’t made enemies, you haven’t done anything of consequence in public life,” de Blasio said. “So when you try to change things, yes, opposition comes with it.”
Asked how he was absorbing the tumult around his tenure, Carranza remained characteristically defiant.

“Bring it on,” he said. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

NYC Councilman Richard Holden Exposes Corruption and Fraud at the NYC Department of Education

New York City Councilman Robert Holden (pictured above) is exposing the massive grading fraud in New York City's public schools. The NY POST reported on Jan. 26, 2020 that Holden believes there is “an apparent pattern of conspiracy to cover up grade-fixing, cheating and other wrongdoing [which might] warrant an investigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which covers criminal enterprises."

We the general public certainly know from reading many websites, blogs and newspapers for at least the past decade that our public school kids in NYC are being robbed of a free and appropriate education. It's about time that our political leaders not only took notice of this fraud, but did something about it.

See my post on my website published in 2004:
Silencing Opposition: Education Policy Implementation Becomes a Matter of National Security
Teachers who speak up are fired at 3020-a, discontinued from probationary service, and/or taunted and harmed in many other ways, all because the NYC Department of Education believes in retaliation, mobbing, extortion, and bullying. It's all about the VIPs of the Department, in all agencies - Schools' District Superintendents, Office of Special Investigations, (OSI) Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), Office of Personnel Investigations (OPI), Administrative Trials Unit (ATU) and Teacher Performance Unit (TPU) - see here as well - 3020-a panels' Directors, General Counsel to the Chancellor, Office of Parent Engagement, and all the sub-agencies on the NYC DOE payroll - who must agree with the following secret policies:

1. If the school wrong-doing is jeopardized by anyone who may blow the whistle, charge the whistleblower with anything you want and you will be backed up with "proof", provided by staff at the Office of Legal Affairs;

2. Never admit that the Department did anything wrong;

3. Pin any scandal on your school's weakest link - i.e. a staff member who does not speak English well or at all, a  staff member or educator who has done something in his/her past which could look bad for him/her if exposed, a staff member or educator who has a medical condition or sick spouse/relative who must take time off, etc.;

4. Make up what you need if you have no facts, then arrange with administrators how you will be given immunization, witnesses to support your lies, documents which need to be back-dated.

I know the facts behind the list above because I have worked on cases which are based upon one or all of the above. My suggestion is that you NEVER go to any of the agencies or personnel cited above, except OPI which is the "problem Code" office. See this post:

The New York City Department of Education's "Problem Code" is an Unlawful Flag on an Employee's Fingerprints

If you file a complaint with OEO, OSI or SCI, you will be the one they investigate.

For instance,

David Suker is a fearless and outspoken teacher who was charged with 3020-a for allegedly lying about his home address in order to get his daughter into a school on Manhattan's Upper West Side. He was terminated at his 3020-a, which I did not work on (he had a NYSUT Attorney), but he asked me to help him with an Appeal, and I did. I knew that the Department had only 30 days to investigate his address - which, by the way, was not a lie) but they waited 10 years to charge him with a "crime" (see numbers 1 and 4 on the list above).. After winning the Appeal the City filed an Appeal with the First Department, and David ultimately won a settlement of $250,000. The Department's lack of proof lost the day for them, but boy, did they try.

Here is another couple of cases of retaliation:

At the 3020-a hearing offices, Arbitrator Philip Maier was appointed to hear the case of Alan Herz wherein Alan was charged with misconduct. Mr. Maier is an exceptional arbitrator, but the investigators did not submit a report substantiating the charges within the required time, and therefore could not use any of the report to support the charge. Mr. Maier dismissed the 3020-a charges at the pre-hearing. Then, all hell broke loose. The NYC Department of Education, represented by taxpayer funded the Corporation Counsel, sued both Philip Maier and Alan Herz for dismissing the charges. Both Mr. Maier and Mr. Herz discussed with me their disgust for the Department's absurd retaliation. The NYC DOE lost their case. Mr. Maier was fired from the 3020-a panels in New York City.

A  Guidance Counselor was charged with 3020-a for changing grades of graduating seniors at DeWitt Clinton High School, following a meeting with Principal Santiago Taveras who told her to look at a student's grades and "fix them", but she refused.  I assisted the GC at her 3020-a, and we won the case. Mr. Taveras was moved to a new position at the NYC DOE, higher up in the ladder of importance than he was previously:

Santiago ("Santi") Taveras is Demoted/Removed as Principal at DeWitt Clinton High School For Misconduct, But Gets a Higher Salary. Payoff?

Another example is the many people who have cited the NYC DOE for retaliation at PERB, won the case, and then receive a Notice which the DOE is supposed to post in his or her school and all other schools for 30 days. The DOE hides these Notices so that no one sees them. See Maguerite Bagarozzi's Notice here (received after she had a 3020-a, and paid a fine of $2000.00):

And then we also have the massive grading fraud in Maspeth High School:

Maspeth High School dean who allegedly helped kids cheat is removed
By Susan Edelman, NY POST, January 25, 2020

Danny Sepulveda
A Maspeth High School math teacher and dean who students say gave them answers on Regents exams and texted with them has been removed, The Post has learned.

Danny Sepulveda was escorted out of the Queens school in late December “due to an ongoing investigation,” the city Department of Education confirmed.
DOE officials said the investigation was “unrelated to academic fraud.”
But Sepulveda, 30, is one of several teachers who gave kids answers during Regents exams, according to statements given to investigators.
One student wrote last year that Sepulveda re-read the questions at the end of the exam: “But while he was reading it he was only saying the right answer choice, and this made me uncomfortable because it showed he didn’t believe in me to pass the exam.”
Another student wrote that during a math Regents exam in June 2018, Sepulveda and math teacher Chris Grunert “helped me and other kids in my room with answers.”
Grunert and others accused of academic misconduct have not been removed from the school.
In texts to a fellow teacher, Sepulveda defended the practice of giving kids answers, arguing it protects their futures.
“Having someone fail and not graduate HS because of a state exam that colleges never look at is more of a failure than anything else. I look at state tests as the anti-christ,” Sepulveda wrote.
He also wrote, “You don’t get it, man … It’s different here. It’s different because I’m not going to not even give these kids a shot at the real world because they didn’t pass HS. That’s ridiculous.”
During last week’s Regents exams, the DOE let Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir and two assistant principals — all under investigation — administer and proctor the tests.
The DOE said it sent “test monitors” to Maspeth as a precaution. “There were no reports of cheating,” a spokeswoman said.
In a letter to Councilman Robert Holden, who also raised concerns about the Regents exams, the DOE said it has “trained” Maspeth personnel. Among instructions, employees were told not to “give students any clues or answers.”

Sepulveda also texted frequently with students during the school day, insiders said.
Among multiple text exchanges turned over to investigators, a student repeatedly asks Sepulveda if he can come to his office.
“I won’t do anything stupid anymore, from here on out. Your’e always good to me and I don’t wanna make you look bad. I’m sorry,” the student says.
Sepulveda replies, “You know your’e my guy. Just let me be able to hype you up again.”
Academic fraud at Maspeth High School is one of the complaints that led to the feds now looking into allegations of systemic cheating at city schools.
From Betsy:
I suggest a good read for anyone interested in the corruption of the Department, formerly the Board of Education: the groundbreaking study of the NYC Board of Education by James Gill, titled "The Gill Commission Report" and his subsequent document "Investigating the Investigators"., both published in 1990. In 2009 I could not find them anywhere online, so I went to the Municipal Library at 31 Chambers Street, where the librarian, Paul, agreed to copy both reports for me for free on his private Xerox machine. Thanks to him, these reports are available on my website and blogs.

The NYC Department of Education is a cesspool of people out for revenge. Be vigilant.

By Susan Edelman, NY POST, January 25, 2020 

The feds have started looking into allegations of widespread academic fraud in New York City schools, a Queens lawmaker says.

City Councilman Robert Holden met this month with officials in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York after his call for a federal probe of “deep-rooted fraud” in the city Department of Education.
“I’m encouraged by my meeting with the US Attorney. His team is taking this seriously,” Holden told The Post.

FBI agents have already contacted several whistle-blowing teachers whose names he provided, Holden added.
A spokesman for US Attorney Richard Donoghue declined comment.

Holden sent a letter in November to Donoghue in Brooklyn and US Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan, saying “an apparent pattern of conspiracy to cover up” grade-fixing, cheating and other wrongdoing might warrant an investigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which covers criminal enterprises.
In Atlanta, eight educators were convicted under a RICO statute of manipulating student test scores and sentenced to prison in 2015.

Holden turned over records compiled by former and current faculty members at Maspeth High School in Queens, where teachers say administrators encouraged cheating on exams, enforced a “no-fail policy,” and retaliated against staffers who didn’t play ball.
Meanwhile, Holden and The Post received additional whistle blower-letters from anonymous “investigative staff” with the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools.

A similar letter sent last summer said SCI was sitting on cases alleging waste or misconduct by Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chancellor Richard Carranza and other “high-level executives,” to protect them. Special Commissioner Anastasia Coleman denied the accusation.

The new letter blasts Coleman for a “numbers game” — boosting stats with minor cases rather than focusing on more serious misconduct and systemic corruption, in an effort to make herself look good.

For instance, the letter says, SCI in 2019 launched a probe of a DOE employee “seen urinating in public a few blocks from a school.”
The case was assigned to “Team 1,” an elite unit that is supposed to probe sexual contact between staff and students.

The team was also burdened with cases in which administrators “merely forgot to check a box” in submitting a complaint.
“While SCI is doing more work, the quality of the cases being pursued is zero-to-none, and cases that are systematic in nature or that do show major fraud can’t be worked on because of a lack of resources or time,” the letter says.

It also complains that SCI lawyers “have taken up to 300 days or more” to review and close cases — leaving DOE employees in limbo even if accusations are unsubstantiated.
What’s more, SCI has started closing cases “in-house” rather than sending reports to the DOE, the Conflicts of Interest Board or other agencies, to cover up the delays — and avoid making them subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law.

Councilmen Mark Treyger, education committee chairman, and Ritchie Torres, investigations and oversight chairman, have said they plan to hold a hearing on SCI’s performance and effectiveness next month.
“It’s increasingly apparent that we need an investigation to investigate the investigators,” Holden said.

Coleman did not respond to the allegations. “SCI will not comment on pending matters or internal deliberations and office management,” the agency said in a statement.
De Blasio spokeswoman Jane Meyer said the city has not received notice of a federal investigation.

“We take allegations of cheating very seriously, and immediately after these allegations were brought to our attention this summer, we reported them to SCI,” Meyer said in a statement Sunday. “The DOE has not received notice of any federal investigation, but will cooperate fully with any investigation they undertake.”