Grade changing scandal

7 On Your Side
March 18, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
Imagine your 4th grader brings home a failing report card. But after inspecting it, you find out that a number of grades have been lowered. To make matters worse, parents say their child's teacher told them the changes made were ordered by the school's administration.

Wendy Chang isn't just a parent, she's a public school teacher.

"This is unethical. It's just completely unethical," Wendy said.

She's come forward, she says, to blow the whistle on her own child's school administrators, after allegedly finding a dozen of her 9 year old daughter's grades mysteriously lowered on her latest 4th grade report card.

"I'm very disheartened," Wendy said.

On report cards, level 3 exceeds standards. A level 2, merely meets standards.

"If you slide your finger down the column you can feel the white out and alot of 2's look funny," Wendy said.

Angelina Chang attends P.S. 55 in Staten Island. Her mom showed us what she says is the altered report card by holding it up to the light. She says each dark spot shows a level changed.

The Department of Education said that isn't the proper way to edit a grade. And as a teacher herself, Wendy knows the protocol.

"Whenever you change something like a report card, you are supposed to circle it in red and initial it," Wendy said.

On the back of the report card lies another mystery. Two sets of teacher's comments?one label covers up the first that was initially written. The new one reads that Wendy's daughter "isn't meeting grade level standards and is in jeopardy of being held over."

Four other parents from the same class, who didn't want their faces shown, got the same "held back" warning.

"The teacher did change the grades. But she said that she was forced to by the administrator," Wendy said.

The parents say the teacher told them, since their kids recently failed a practice standardized test, the teacher was instructed to show they were also failing the curriculum.

"If they failed the test and had all 3's and 4's on the report card, it doesn't jibe and then the school looks bad," Wendy said.

Last week, we went to the school looking for answers. Hours after leaving, the NYC Department of Education announced:

"The allegation is being investigated by the Office of Special Investigations of the Department of Education. Because of this, we cannot elaborate without compromising the investigation."

All the parents want is for the grades to be changed back.

"I really do think that they have affected these children in ways that they have no idea," Wendy said.

7 On Your Side reached out to the teacher involved, but she had no comment.

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