Graded for a class not taken?

May 19, 2010 4:06:11 PM PDT
A teacher says the report cards show she gave students grades for English classes.

The problem: she never taught English.

Mildred Taylor, the teacher at Manhattan middle school, says that exposing alleged fraud in student grades is a matter of conscience.

"It's academic fraud for one thing," she said. "I don't want my name on anyone's report cards giving grades for a class I didn't teach."

The school is part of a suspension center for students accused of wrongdoing at their regular schools. But apparently, there is no certified English teacher.

Taylor says the principal, Brenda Hollomon, wanted her to teach English, which she resisted because she is not certified to teach the very important course.

She says they settled on Taylor teaching humanities.

"No curriculum, nothing. Just told me to teach it. So I had to look it up to see exactly what it was, and found out it had to do with the Greeks and the Romans, so that's what I did," Taylor said.

The Department of Education says Taylor holds a so-called common branch license, qualifying her to teach several courses, including English.

School documents show that Taylor was assigned to teach English at the beginning of the school year, but that was changed to reflect the humanities class.

She issued grades to students based on her humanities instruction, and later, she was in for a shock.

"A student came in with the report card, thanking me for the 80 that he got in English, and then he said, 'Oh my God, but you didn't teach English.' So I asked him to let me see it and he showed it to me. I was appalled," Taylor said.

Taylor was able to gain several other report cards from her students.

The grades for the non-existent English class were the same scores she had given them for humanities.

Taylor does not directly accuse the principal of physically changing the report cards since she did not witness the offense, but she says the principal approves report cards and is responsible for any false information.

"I guess because she really couldn't get an English teacher, but I wasn't going to sign off on something that I didn't teach," Taylor explained.

The Department of Education tells Eyewitness News that more recent report cards, issued May 12th, do not include grades for English, but the DOE does not explain the allegation that English is not being taught here, saying only that the matter is under investigation.