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FBI probes allegations of ‘deep-rooted’ academic fraud - in NYC schools

Posted: Jan 26th, 2020 - 5:03 am

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.

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 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.

“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

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LINK/URL: FBI probes allegations of ‘deep-rooted’ academic fraud

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