Cover Up Continues; New York State Assistant Commissioner David Abrams Now Protecting Thomas Shoeck

Written By: Robert Cox

Yesterday I received a reply to my email last week asking why the New York State Department of Assessment has shown so little interest in my allegations of significant improprieties regarding my son’s 2007 Chemistry Regents Exam. Setting the many, many other issues I wish here to focus for a moment on just one.

I have alleged that I have in my possession two different versions of my son’s answer sheet. The school district has denied this to state officials despite the fact that I presented both versions of the answer sheets to the school board and administration of the district in executive session in September 2008. The district is lying not just to me but to the Assistant Commissioner of Education for New York State.

In response to my claim that I have two different versions of my son’s answer sheet, Mr. Abrams writes:

I spoke with Mr. Conetta earlier today and he assured me that the information you requested has been shared with you. He also informed us that there was never a second answer sheet generated in the school.

I say there IS a second answer sheet. The district says there is not a second answer sheet. Is this not a matter easily resolved? And yes, I did get the NYSED letter of 8-25-08…16 months after it was sent! Gee, thanks.

Abrams writes:

we do not see sufficient evidence of impropriety to support additional investigation

My reply:

Mr. Abrams,

The reason you do not “see sufficient evidence of impropriety” is because you have not seen the two different versions of my son’s answer sheet and that is the point of my email last week. I have sought for 18 months to present the evidence to someone from your office. What I do not understand is why your office is not even willing to LOOK at these documents.

I have in front of me right now 2 different versions of the answer sheets from my son’s 2007 Chemistry Regents Test. If need be I am willing to drive to Albany next week and present them to your or your designee for inspection. As will be instantly clear, there is absolutely no doubt that there are two versions of the answer sheet.

Robert Cox

As I have stated repeatedly, the district — and now the state — have piled lie upon lie upon lie. My claim can EASILY be verified. The state refuses.


With the Assistant Commissioner and a member of the New York State Board of Regents now aware of the issue and actively supporting the coverup into what has transpired over the past three years, the time has come to make good on my promise to fully expose the conduct of the officials involved including publishing transcripts from my son’s hearing which took place between July 2007 and February 2008. I am now going to do everything in my power to expose the rotten corruption in the New York State Education Department just as I have begun to do here with the City School District of New Rochelle.

For starters, I have searched through my emails to state officials over the past 18 months and did my best to put them in order. As will be clear, I have reported significant wrongdoing to the state. Rather than investigate my allegations — easily verified — the state utterly ignores my allegations. All they are willing to do is “re-rate” my son’s exam to determine whether one of my dozen complaints is valid — that one of the eleven raw score points not counted in determining his final grade on the test was the result of the district incorrectly grading question 65 on the test (the state later agreed that question 65 was graded incorrectly). This “solution” of re-rating my son’s test was not my idea. After my wife called the State Assessment Office, Thomas Schoeck spoke with New Rochelle High School Principal Don Conetta. It would appear that Conetta convinced Mr. Schoeck not to take my allegation seriously and offered to simply “re-rate” the test to address the “Question 65 issue”. Schoeck that informed my wife that his office would not do any investigation but would “re-rate” the test as suggested by Conetta.

The state’s responses from there all revolve around a request that did not originate from me and conveniently confines itself solely to the question of what my son’s actual score should have been on the test not WHY it was wrong or WHY there are two different versions of the answer sheet or HOW such “errors” could possibly occurred if state protocol for grading Regent exams were followed. All of this ignored and instead the state focuses only on Don Conetta asked them to focus on — and even then the state found two errors in grading the test and then the school district refused for 16 months to give me a copy of the state’s response to Conetta’s (not my) request to re-rate the exam.

These people are committing crimes. They belong in jail and certainly should not be certified as teachers or administrators in New York State. Yet the state will not take even 2 minutes to meet with me and review the documents in my possession. I now intend to make good on my promise of June 2008 to Mr. Schoeck that will use every skill I have in writing, blogging, search engine optimization and media relations to expose the despicable behavior of the band of criminals running our state education system.

Here we go…


APPENDIX: Emails to state officials from June 2008 to December 2009


June 11 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Dear Mr. Schoeck,

You spoke to my wife, Dr. Maria Cox, the other day. As she mentioned, she runs the assessment program at Columbia University’s Teachers College and is well-versed in issues related to testing and assessment. We have encountered what we believe is a very serious and (hopefully) unusual situation and we want to know what New York State can do about it give the truculence of the District in responding to our concerns.

I have good reason to believe that one of my son’s teachers purposely reported a falsified test score for my son on the June 2007 Chemistry Regents Exam. Further, that this was possible because the District did not follow guidelines for grading the test were not followed. This is part of a broader pattern of problems with the District with regards to our son which I will explain further.

We only became aware of the problem a few weeks ago when a tutor who is working with my son to retake the exam this coming August asked us to get him a copy of our son’s test so he could use that a benchmark for preparing our son to take the exam again this summer (note: he is retaking the exam as part of a stipulation agreement which resolved an Impartial Hearing Complaint we filed in May 2007 for our son).

Of course, we want the test re-rated by someone outside the school district, I want the correct test score reported to the state, my son’s transcript changed to reflect his actual score and I want the teacher and the District appropriately disciplined.

Here is the context for our concern:

My son, William Owen Cox, is a student at New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, NY in Westchester County. Upon entering the school district in the middle of third grade Owen (he goes by his middle name) was under a 504 plan. In 7th grade was referred to the CSE and subsequently classified learning disabled for ADHD (inattentive type). Since 7th grade there have been repeated failures by the District providing my son the services and accommodations called for in the IEP developed by the District. My initial attempts to resolve these matters amicably were met with resistance and belligerence by teachers and school officials. In 9th grade it became necessary to file an Impartial Hearing Request which ultimately resulted in a resolution through a stipulation agreement. It was a matter of weeks before the District began to ignore the terms of that agreement. The District then sought to declassify our son in what we believe was meant as retaliation for filing the Impartial Hearing Request (and “winning”). No one at the CSE meeting supported the position of the Director of Special Education (ironically, my wife works for the District and reports directly to the Director) and the committee would not agree to declassify my son. After hours of debate (the Director against everyone else at the table), the Director offered a compromise whereby our son would be classified but that we would agree “now” that he would be declassified 2/3rds of the way through the coming school year with the provision that he would get all the same services for another year after the declassification date. In an attempt to get half a loaf we agreed to the compromise. The Director then turned around and secretly declassified out son by filling a false report with the Board of Education.

In 10th grade there were additional failures by the District to provide my son with his accommodations and services. Despite my best efforts the District continued to fail to provide the services and support to which my son was entitled resulting in yet another Impartial Hearing which ended in yet another stipulation agreement.

The most significant failure of the District during my son’s 10th grade, was the failure of my son’s Chemistry Honors teacher to provide him accommodations including preferential seating, copies of class notes and extended time for in-class assignments. For reasons known only to herself, my son’s Chemistry Honors teacher refused repeated requests by the parents to give Owen his accommodations. Meetings were then convened with the department head for science, the principal of the high school and the Assistant Superintendent of the District. Despite this the teacher continued to resist providing my son his accommodations (after one meeting she did provide copies of class notes for three weeks). The predictable result was that my son did very poorly in her class ending the year with an average of below 65 – a failing grade. By way of contrast, my son has a 135 IQ, a GPA over 90 in the 14 other classes he has taken at New Rochelle High School and recently scored a 1490 on his SATs. In every class where Owen has been given his accommodations has excelled with grades in the nineties, high-nineties, even one-hundreds. In 10th grade he had two teachers who simply refused to provide his accommodations. The District moved Owen out of the math class where he was not receiving his accommodations and his graded increased two full letter grades. He remained in the Chemistry class and continued to struggle. In 8th grade Owen was in the advanced biology class. In 9th grade Owen was recommended for Honors classes in every subject by every teacher. He was also recommended by his 9th grade science teacher for the Science Olympic team, a significant honor.

Unable to get the chemistry teacher to provide Owen his accommodations, parents sought to have Owen withdraw from the class in March of 2007. The school refused to allow this without noting on his transcript that he “withdrew failing” because he had an average slightly below a 65 (I believe it was a 63.5). When the District refused and parents had exhausted its options appealing the matter up to the Superintendent, parents filed an Impartial Hearing Request which triggered a Resolution Meeting in mid-June of 2007. In attempting to negotiate a settlement, parents argued that the grades Owen had received were meaningless since he had not been given the accommodations and support to which he was entitled. Given this any grade he was given was random and therefore, since the District was at fault, Owen should not be punished in any way, parents proposed that Owen be given a grade which was the average of all his other courses for 9th and 10th grade so that the Chemistry grade had no impact on his overall GPA and class rank. The officials from the high school proposed that Owen receive the failing grade he had been given by the teacher. At an impasse, the Director of Special Education proposed a compromise with regard to Owen’s grade in Chemistry as part of a broader agreement. If Owen were to get a grade on the Chemistry Regents Exam the following week that pushed him over a 65 for the year (the Regents Exam counts for 20% of the final grade) that the District would agree that he could retake the Regents Exam in August and that whatever he got on that test would become his final grade for the year with the caveat that his transcript would no longer indicate he had taken the Chemistry Honors course but rather the Chemistry Regents course.

Parents were unwilling to sign a resolution agreement with such a contingency. As a solution, parents agreed to hold off notifying the Impartial Hearing Officer that we were unable to reach resolution until after Owen took the Chemistry Regents exam. The resolution agreement ended with the understanding that the teacher would grade Owen’s Chemistry Regents Exam the same day as the test and then immediately inform the Science department head of Owen’s score who would, in turn, advise the parents and the head of Special Education. At the point, assuming Owen got a score on the Regents exam high enough to push him over 65 for the year, both sides could then proceed to sign the Resolution Agreement without any contingency. Unfortunately, Owen received a 67 on the Regents Exam which gave him an average for the year of about 64.3, or a failing grade so that the deal was no longer on the table. However, the science department head decided to unilaterally “round up” Owen’s grade for the year to give him a 65 which put the deal back on the table As it turned out, even though Owen was given a 65 for the year, the District failed to meet any of the other conditions of the Resolution Agreement, the deal fell apart and parents took the District to Impartial Hearing, a process that ultimately lasted a total of 9 months which resulted in a new Stipulation Agreement signed in February 2008.

I have explained all this to provide a context for information which I received several days ago. Under the February 2008 Stipulation Agreement, the District agreed that Owen would take the Chemistry Regents Exam in August 2008 and that whatever grade he received would become his grade for his 10th grade Chemistry course, again with the caveat that the course listed on the transcript would be Chemistry Regents not Chemistry Honors. In order to begin preparing for the exam Owen met with a private tutor in Chemistry last week. The tutor wanted to use Owen’s answers on the June 2007 Chemistry Regents exam to establish a baseline for Owen. It was at this point that we became aware of significant “errors” in Owen’s score which undercounted his raw score by 11 points. Owen earned a 75 on the June 2007 Chemistry Regents not a 67 as reported by the teacher and by the District. The teacher gave Owen a raw score of 17 on Part C when he actually had an 18. She also added up his raw score as 52 for Part A, B-1, B-2 and C when his scores added up to be 62. Owen’s raw score should have been a 63 which translates into a 75.

Having had to sit through hours of testimony in which teachers and administrations in the City School District of New Rochelle repeatedly perjured themselves (under the Stipulation Agreement parents agreed not to make a referral to the District Attorney’s office in White Plains) I have no doubt that the District will now attempt to claim that these “errors” were perfectly innocent.

I do not believe this was an innocent mistake. I believe that the teacher was angry about the proposed resolution agreement and sought to sabotage that agreement by reporting a grade calculated in such a way as to fail my son while giving her plausible deniability in the event she was caught. To that point, it just so happens that a grade of 67 on the Regents was the highest possible grade Owen could receive and still end the year with an average below a 65. Based on the previous discussions about Owen withdrawing from the course, the teacher had every reason to believe that ANY grade below a 65 result in Owen failing the course thus rendering the resolution agreement inoperative. I would point out that as 50 of the 85 points on the Regents exam are multiple choice which are graded using a scanner there are only 35 points available for the type of manipulation involved here. In other words, the teacher improperly deducted 11 out of 35 points or more than 30% of the points available to her for manipulation.

In the best case scenario for the District, they have a woman teaching Chemistry Honors incapable of doing basic math – or is just plain sloppy and did not follow protocol

I am writing today because I want to know what your office does with a report such as the one I have filed above. As is standard operating procedure for the District, they have ignored letters to the Superintended and emails to the head of the science department with regard to this matter. In my experience, the District will take no action until such time as some outside agency compels them to do so. In this case that appears to be your department.

Robert Cox
Maria Cox
New Rochelle, NY


June 24 Email from Thomas Schoeck to Robert Cox

Mr. Cox ~

Thank you for your extensive e-mail of September 11 in which
you relayed your concerns about the ways in which your son
Owen’s disability status is being handled by his school, New
Rochelle High School. My apologies for the delayed reaction
on my part. Regents week is upon us, and I was finally able
to reach out to Mr. Conetta, high school principal at New Rochelle,
just this morning.

I explained to Mr. Conetta that we had received your report of the
issues that you believe have arisen in connection with the Regents
Examination in Chemistry taken by your son in June 2007, in addition
to problems perceived with the way in which instructional accommodations
have been made available to Owen.

Primarily for Mr. Conetta’s benefit, I am pasting in below the section of your
e-mail to me that raises this topic:

“I have good reason to believe that one of my son’s teachers purposely
reported a falsified test score for my son on the June 2007 Chemistry
Regents Exam. Further, that this was possible because the District
did not follow guidelines for grading the test were not followed.
This is part of a broader pattern of problems with the District with
regards to our son which I will explain further.”

“It was at this point that we became aware of significant “errors” in
Owen’s score which undercounted his raw score by 11 points.
Owen earned a 75 on the June 2007 Chemistry Regents not a 67 as
reported by the teacher and by the District. The teacher gave Owen
a raw score of 17 on Part C when he actually had an 18. She also
added up his raw score as 52 for Part A, B-1, B-2 and C when his
scores added up to be 62. Owen’s raw score should have been
a 63 which translates into a 75.”

The Office of State Assessment takes very seriously any report of
errors or improprieties in the administration and scoring of State
examinations, so I was glad to hear from Mr. Conetta that the score
calculation error you pointed out to me in your e-mail had been brought
to his attention perhaps two months ago.

I have asked Mr. Conetta to “reply to all” in response to this e-mail
in order to explain what the school found and how the situation was
resolved. If you and Mr. Conetta agree that it was *not* resolved,
you may ask Mr. Conetta to consider a third-party re-scoring after
he consults with me on how to accomplish that.

I must advise you to contact my colleagues in the Special Education
Policy Unit with any ongoing concerns you might have with the
provision of classroom accommodations by the faculty or staff at
his school, or with the resolution of any grievances you may have
had. These are well beyond the scope of my office, so I am essentially
not even conversant n the appeals process that would be available to
you. This division of VESID may be reached at

Thank you for bringing these matters t our attention.
Best ~
Tom Schoeck

Thomas J. Schoeck, Ed.D., Bureau Chief
Test Administration and Communications
Office of State Assessment
Room 775 EBA
New York State Education Department
Albany, NY 12234
Voice: 518-473-8045 or 474-5902
Fax: 518-474-1989


June 24 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Schoeck,

Thank you for taking the time to look into the matter and reply.

While I too wish to hear Mr. Conetta’s response, I also wish to be clear that I do not consider Mr. Conetta a reliable source of information. I am sure Mr. Conetta would not want me to review here his sworn and false testimony in my son’s Impartial Hearing where he was called as a witness, a copy of which I would be more than happy to provide if the District wishes me to do so. Given his track record of violating my son’s due process rights and the false statements he has made under oath, it does not surprise me that he has sought to mislead you in this case as it appears from your email.

To wit, you wrote, “I was glad to hear from Mr. Conetta that the score calculation error you pointed out to me in your e-mail had been brought to his attention perhaps two months ago.”

I have no idea why this would make you “glad”. If true, Mr. Conetta has had two months to respond to this information had yet failed to reply to the parents or notify your office of significant testing irregularities. Apparently, Mr. Conetta does not take this sort of thing quite as seriously as you or I. The fact is that Mr. Conetta did hear about this matter but it was ONE month ago because I notified the District. If there is some suggestion here that Mr. Conetta learned of the problem on his own or that the school was somehow proactive in this matter. That would be entirely false. If I know Mr. Conetta he is also seeking to discredit the accusations I have made in this case by making false and misleading statements about me, or my wife or my son. This is standard operating procedure in the City School District of New Rochelle.

I want to be careful about language here, especially the term “calculation error”. The use of this language can be used to presuppose the outcome of an investigation. It raises a red flag because the District has a history of respond to parent concerns with “investigations” that presuppose the conclusion. They limit the investigation to simply questioning the bad actor in a particular situation (in this case my son’s Chemistry teacher), then, when they get the answer they want they present that as dispositive and presumptuously declare the matter “closed”. In other words, they routinely respond to parents concerns about a teacher with a “whitewash”.

In this case there are TWO unrelated incorrect calculations – adding up the number of correct answers in one section, adding up the total of all of the sections. I believe they were WILLFUL and therefore NOT “errors”. I fully expected the District to attempt to pass of these incorrect calculations as “innocent mistakes”. The fact is the result of those errors was to drop my son’s score below a 65 average. The effect of that was to moot a proposed resolution to my son’s Impartial Hearing Request which the teacher who graded the test opposed. In fact, I have emails to this effect. These are just too many “coincidences”, and too bad a track record, to make the “innocent mistake” explanation plausible. I do not consider the test score to have been calculated in error, therefore I do not accept any characterization of the issue beyond what we know for sure – that my son’s test score was not correctly calculated and reported. Avoiding this type of miscalculation is one of the reasons why there are strict guidelines for the scoring of Regents exams. That my son had 11 raw score points not counted strongly suggests that the state guidelines were not followed.

Let me address the other part of your statement about notification. I notified the District, in a letter to the Superintendent, of the issue in a letter which I hand-delivered LAST MONTH. Unless Mr. Conetta is suggesting that he became aware of the issue in some other way then he would have been made aware of the issue as a result of my letter. If he is asserting that the District learned of the problem with my son’s test prior to my notification he would need to explain what would have motivated the District to go back to a year ago to review the scoring of my son’s test something which, again, would seem implausible.

I would remind you that the reason my wife called you a few days ago is specifically due to the FAILURE of the District to respond in any way to my letter to the Superintendent last month.

Let me anticipate another District tactic. I expect at some point to hear words to the effect, “we deal with many issues here at the District/High School and your report is just one of many so if we don’t recall every detail of the matter it is all just an innocent misunderstanding”. The District had two lawyers working on the other side of my son’s case for NINE MONTHS including two lawyers present for 14 full day hearings as well as prepping witnesses, discovery, preparing motions, etc. I estimate the District spent over $100,000 defending in my son’s Impartial Hearing. Issues related to my son’s situation have been raised to the Superintendent’s office on multiple occasions and the teachers union (my wife is a teacher in the District). This District is VERY aware of my son’s family and they know full well that I will use all available resources to protect my son’s rights which have been badly abused by the District over the past several years.

With that said, I look forward to reading Mr. Conetta’s email. It is always interesting to see how creative he can be in responding to matters like this.

Robert Cox


June 24 Email from Don Conetta to Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Schoeck,

On June 4, 2008 ( not two months ago) our Science Department Chairperson, Joyce Kent, shared an email from Mr. Cox regarding Owen’s Chem regents grade. I asked Mrs. Kent to verify the score and address Mr. Cox’s concern that the grade was calculated in error. Mrs. Kent promptly reviewed the exam and found in fact that the score was miscalculated through an error in addition. The correct score is a 75 which will be reflected on Owen’s transcript. I assure you there was absolutely no intent to deprive Owen of the correct score.

To my knowledge the correct grade was verified with Mr. Cox and apologies provided. I will add my apology for the error at this time. I trust that this brings to closure the Chem regents concern raised by Mr. Cox. If I may be of further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Don Conetta


June 24 Email from Thomas Schoeck to Don Conetta

Mr. Conetta ~
Thank you for this summary.
Tom Schoeck


June 24 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Ms. Schoeck,

More baloney. This statement is ENTIRELY FALSE:

“the correct grade was verified with Mr. Cox and apologies provided. I will add my apology for the error at this time. I trust that this brings to closure the Chem regents concern raised by Mr. Cox. If I may be of further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

This is yet another attempted whitewash. I’ve heard nothing from the District and even if I had heard this from the District it does not address my concerns in anyway.

I want a formal investigation done by the State.

Robert Cox


June 30 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Schoeck,

It is my understanding, based on a phone call discussion you had with my wife, that you considered the matter I reported to you as closed. I find that to be very disturbing. It is certainly not something I will accept. Let me give you a little advice. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that I am someone who accepts the “brush off” when it comes to matters concerning my family. Quite a few people have made that mistake with regards to my son’s case much to their regret. I don’t know you and would hate to see you included in their number so I am going to respectfully request that you reconsider your actions in this case.

If the information provided below does not motivate you then perhaps the fact that I am a published writer will, If you Google a bit for me you will find that I am published in newspapers such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Congressional Quarterly, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Also, that I am an Op-Ed writer for the Examiner newspaper chain. Finally, that I run an organization of bloggers and in the capacity have ready access to the media. I also work with producers for cable news channels and talk radio programs. It is my intention to ultimately take matters regarding my son public. I fully intend to feature Mr. Conetta in my reporting about this matter. An account of my exchanges with you will also be part of my reporting on this case. You can expect a very bright line to shine on your actions with regard to my son so consider whether you want your current decision to be your final decision as it will receive public scrutiny.

Just to make sure you understand how this works let me explains. If you Google your own name you will not find much there and what is there has a very low Google Page Rank (

I run web sites that have high Google Page Ranks and have friends and colleagues who run even larger sites which link what I write. So, whatever I write about you will quickly become the top search results for you in Google. As most researchers use the Internet as part of screening an applicant, that 65% of Internet users rely on Google for searches and that Google users generally click on only the top 3 search results it means that most of what people will know about you will be what I write about you in this case. Again, people have made the mistake of giving me the brush off in the past only to find negative information about themselves permanently stored in the Google archives. I am not going to put in there myself but it will end up there.

With that said, let me tell you that I have a Regents Chemistry Test in my hand that clearly shows TWO distinct incorrect scores recorded on the test not one as Ms. Kent claims in her letter. One is the tally for Section 3, the other is the tally for all of the sections which compounds the problem with Section 3 by using that incorrect figure as the basis for the incorrect total raw score calculation. It appears to me that a single person graded the entire exam. The handwriting on the exam is perfectly clear and legible. I want you to understand this first and then read a letter sent to me over the weekend (attached).


As you can see this document makes claims that are contradictory to both the physical document in my possession and even the claims the school principal made to you. You might also note another trick for which the District is quite well-known, the back dating of documents. The letter is dated June 12, 2008 but the email was sent June 27. You will also notice the grades don’t match. You will also notice that Ms. Kent claims that the cause for the “error” in scoring my son’s test was some sort of transcription error or confusion over a “5” or a “6”. I am looking at a copy of the test now and the numbers on the tally sheet are clearly written and entirely legible. Ms. Kent describes the process by which Regents exams are supposed to be graded and then asserts, without evidence and despite facts to the contrary, that protocol was followed in grading my son’s exam. She would have people believe that despite all the checks built into the Regents Rating protocol, multiple simple addition errors were not caught. Baloney. No one could look at the actual exam and reconcile the fact of the document with what she now claims. When you understand the context in which that exam was being graded (as I explained previously) it leads to only one plausible conclusion.

Mr. Conetta likewise had made claims which are DEMONSTRABLY false.

It is my intention to place version of these document online along with any and all correspondence including yours in order to highlight (with specific evidence) why these statements are unequivocally untrue. I intend to provide specific evidence that shows the ways in which the claims made by Kent and Conetta are false. I expect this will raise questions as to the thoroughness of your “investigation”.

As it stands right now, I will also be reporting your actions as follows:

You have a report from a New York State resident that a teacher willfully “mis-graded” a Regents test. You state that you take such things “seriously”. Yet the extent of your “investigation” is to simply ask the people involved if they really did this bad thing they are accused of doing. When they say “no” you terminate your “investigation”. At no point do you obtain a copy of the exam in question. You do not speak directly to those accused. You do not ask for any documentation from them to support their claims about who graded the test and how. You do not expect the location where they claim to have graded the test. You do not interview the teachers that supposedly graded the test. To the best of my knowledge you have not spoken to anyone other than Mr. Conetta, a man with a documented history of lying under oath.

My wife tells me that you said your only concern is that the correct score be recorded on my son’s transcript and since Mr. Conetta has told you that the correct score IS on the transcript that’s good enough for you. However, Conetta’s email and the letter from Ms. Kent show the District cannot even agree on what that score is. So how can the “correct” score be on my son’s transcript. The fact is they are BOTH lying. I checked my son’s transcript at the end of last week and learned that the score has not been changed at all. There is also another issue which perhaps only concerns you indirectly but my son’s transcript says he took a course from a teacher he has never even met and that the course was a “Regents” course not the Chemistry Honors could that my son actually took. It would seem to me that falsifying transcripts for Regents courses, required to earn a Regents diploma would also be something that might concern you.

At this point I can only conclude that your truly remarkable exchange with Mr. Conetta and your decision to close an investigation you never began is all part of the same education bureaucracy song-and-dance so well-known to so many parents in New York State. I say remarkable because the timing of your exchange which “resolves” the matter takes place within a space of 2 minutes; almost as if you had pre-arranged the emails to create the appearance that your “resolution” of the “investigation” was not pre-arranged and that the emails were just for show.

I hope you will reconsider your decision to brush me off but have very low expectations based on my past experience with education officials in New York State.

Robert Cox


July 9 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Schoeck,

This email is to inform you that despite Mr. Conetta’s statement here, my son’s Regents Exam score as reported by the District is STILL wrong. For someone who said he takes these sort of things seriously you seem remarkably disinterested in this matter. There is no way to reconcile the letter from the Science Department, the Exam, my son’s transcript and Mr. Conetta’s email to you. Even after the District told you the grade was corrected I have documents showing the grade was NOT corrected – merely changed to a different incorrect score.

Had you bothered to actually investigate my claims you might have done as I did and obtained a copy of my son’s official transcript. I obtained an official copy on July 2, 2008. That transcript now states that my son received a 74 on the Regents Exam instead of a 67 as it has stated for the past year. As Mr. Conetta correctly states in his email my son actually got a 75.

I also have a letter from the Chairperson of the Science Department in which she provides an utterly nonsensical explanation for the mis-grading of my son’s exam. She claims the “error” was the result of confusion between a “5” and a “6” on the tally sheet and that the “error” had to do with converting the raw score to the scaled score. Anyone looking at the exam can see there was no “conversion error”. The raw score and the bottom of the tally sheet was CORRECTLY converted (a “52” = a “67”). The problem is that the raw score was not tallied correctly and that one of the scores (Section C) was not tallied correctly from the answer sheet so that first the Section C score would have to be fixed and then sections tallied together. My son’s raw score was a “63” not a “52”. The Chairperson ignores the incorrect grade for Section C altogether which is why both the raw score and scaled score for the exam are both still wrong.

I also have very good reason to believe that the version of the exam I received in May was tampered with at some point after the rating day in June 2007 and can provide documentation to support this as well.

At what point do you think the New York State Office of Assessment might consider the possibility that the District is not telling the truth about what happened with my son’s 2007 Chemistry Regents Exam? At what point do you think you might actually INVESTIGATE my claim?

If, as the District claims, my son was not singled out is it not obvious that the alternative is that the District failed to follow State guidelines for ALL of the 2007 Chemistry Regents Exams? How else to explain the multiple errors on my son’s test?

Robert Cox


July 10 Email from Don Conetta to Robert Cox

Mr. Cox,

My response to your claim, correctly so, that the Chem. regents was incorrectly graded was an acknowledgment that there was an error. I was aware that the grade was not a 67 but rather a grade in the 70s. Your claim that the grade was a 75 I assumed was correct, therefore I repeated that in my email of June 24.
Upon review of the exam again by Mrs. Kent she verified the correct score as 74. Since there continues to exist a dispute in the grade, I invite you to come to school to review the exam with Mrs. Kent and hopefully arrive at an agreeable solution and bring closure to this particular concern.
Please contact my office so that I might arrange a time convenient to both of you.

Don Conetta


July 10 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Conetta,

Do you really believe that I would continue to insist that my son’s score is wrong when I am not absolutely positive?

I have made a number of claims Mr. Conetta, all true and all supported the school’s own documents.

In this case, I am looking at a copy of the exam. Obviously, you have never bothered to look at the exam. Are you really THAT lazy?

Part C results read as follows:


See how many times you can add up those results and get a total of 17. The answer is none.

There is no “dispute” about my son’s score. He got 18 points on Section C. The only “dispute” is whether the 11 raw score points were removed from my son’s score out of malice or incompetence.

Instead of relying on people who apparently cannot do basic addition, why don’t you take 2 minutes out of your day to add up the points on Part C of the exam yourself. If you get something other than 18 points let me know. Until then, please stop embarrassing yourself by relying on people who are demonstrably incompetent. If this is any indication of the intelligence of the people in your Science department is no wonder my son struggled to learn Chemistry.

If you actually take the time to inform yourself by looking at the actual exam, you will see that the tally sheet says my son got 17 points not 18. If you add back the 10 points deducted because the tally was done incorrectly and the 1 point that was not counted in Section C you will get a raw score of 63 which scales to a 75. Being that this is pretty basic stuff and yet this is now my tenth communication with the District about it, you might think at some point someone over there would be able to count to 18. Quite amazing really to think that you people call yourself “educators”.

Oh, and by the way, if you care to compare the exam with the explanation for the “error” provided by your Science Chairperson you might even find that he explanation has no correlation with what is actually on the tally sheet for the exam.

Once it dawns on you that your teachers cannot add, please fix my son’s grade. Then fix my son’s final grade. The Regents test counts for 20% of the grade in Ms. Raniolo’s class and therefor the final grade for the class is now wrong. You could also look at the first three marking periods and you will notice that NO adjustment was made for late penalties per your instructions to Mr. Raniolo at the Resolution Meeting in June 2007 which would give my son about 2 points per marking period. Combined, my son’s score for the class should be a 70. You could then also look at the class itself My son took Chemistry Honors but the transcript says he took “Chemistry Acad”, a different, lower level course.

Once you get all the squared away then perhaps we can discuss why I have TWO DIFFERENT TALLY SHEETS for my son’s 2007 Chemistry Regents Exam – both with different handwriting, one with raters initials, one without. Strangely both tally sheets have my son’s signature on them which creates the rather odd impression that someone over there cut and paste documents together. Gee, how could that be since we all know what an honest group of people work for the District!?

I know you could care less but FYI, my son is now spending about 4 hours a day preparing for a Chemistry Regents Exam in August in order to get a “D” grade off his transcript when, in fact, he actually got a “C” despite the best efforts of his teacher to deny him even the most basic accommodations called for in his IEP. While a “C” is not great, and hardly fair given the denial of his rights as a disabled student, it is nonetheless an outlier on his transcript which is almost entirely A’ and B’s Given that the course he took was a higher level course, he can better explain a “C” in Chemistry Honors to colleges.

But why should you care that my son is spending his summer cramming for a Chem exam for a class he already passed a year ago to remove a grade that he did not actually get. Far more important to cover for the bad behavior of your teachers, right?

God bless the educational bureaucracy!

Robert Cox

PS, you make me sick.


July 11 Email from Don Conetta to Robert Cox

Mr. Cox,

Despite your ongoing personal and professional insults we continue to be committed to arriving at a fair and equitable solution to your concern regarding the Chem Regents exam.
The discrepancy in the grade is due to the disagreement over the scoring of question #65. The question was given no credit, a 0 by the scorer and I have confirmed that a 0 is the appropriate score for that response in our opinion. In that case the total points for that section of the exam would be 17, and thus the final grade a 74.
I understand that you disagree with that determination, therefore I will be sending the original exam to the appropriate state assessment review office for their scoring. When we have a response from the state New Rochelle High School will consider the score reported to us by the state office as the official recorded grade for the exam.

Don Conetta


October 31 Email from Robert Cox to Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Schoeck,

Funny how back in June I was told that Question 65 on my son’s June 2007 Regent’s exam would be re-rated by your office. As I recall that was something you and Mr. Connetta cooked up. How long exactly does it take for your office to re-rate a single question on a test?

Meanwhile, I still have TWO copies of my son’s Regent’s Exam, scored by different people, with different scores for certain answers, the exact same tallies for each section and the same “errors” in tabulating the sections – and the same lack of interest from your office as to the apparent mishandling to Regent’s exams. You have received a report of fraud on a state exam and strangely not even once asked me to see the two versions of my son’s exams.

Having read through the state’s web site, it appears that you believe whoever wrote the state policy on the handling of Regent’s exams – special handling instructions, storage in vaults, double-blind scoring, etc. – took the whole “state test” thing way too seriously. Apparently, you have so little interest in a documented case of fraud that you cannot even be bothered to follow through on the one thing you did agree to do (re-rate question 65) let alone send an investigator to meet with me.

Considering Googling yourself around Chrismastime and see how you like what you find.

Robert Cox
New Rochelle, NY


March 11 Email from Robert Cox to Saul Cohen

Mr. Cohen,

We have not met. I am a parent from New Rochelle. Among other things
I run a local news web site called Talk of the Sound.

You will have to excuse me but until a recent news story mentioning
your re-election to the New York State Board of Regent I was unaware
that a New Rochelle resident held such an important position. I had
pretty much given up going through official channels but figure I will
take one more shot here.

The short version is that last May my son was preparing to retake the
NYS Chemistry Regents. He was retaking the test because he had failed
the course after scoring a 67 on the exam. His tutor asked to see a
copy of his original exam in order to prepare him for the August 2008
exam. What we received back from the school was two different
versions of the test answer sheet. The answer sheets were clearly
marked by different people, both contained the exact same score (67).
The raw score on both tests was the same (52).

The problem — other than there were two different versions of the
answer sheet – is that raw score totals were added up incorrectly.
Further, one of the questions was marked correct on one exam and
incorrect on another so that one of the raw scores was incorrect.
Depending on which answer sheet you use, my son had his raw score
total improperly reduced by 10 or 11 raw score points. He should have
had a 74 or 75 on the exam. This would have given him a passing grade
in the class and since it was an honors class his score would have
been adjusted up 10% in calculating this grade point average for

The impact of all of this is that two years after taking the class he
had to work with a tutor, attending night classes and spend over 100
hours last summer preparing to retake the exam. He did and scored a 90.

I reported this to the District which has sought to sweep the matter
under the rug. I reported this to the New York State Assessment
office which refused to take any action — even to ask to view the two
different versions of the exam. I then sought to raise the issue at a
school board meeting and was repeatedly prevented from speaking. The
board finally agreed to meet in executive session last September.
They listened to my request for an independent investigation, said
nothing and has never responded since.

As this test is ostensibly your test, I am bringing it to your
attention and hoping that you might be willing to look at the two
answer sheets to see more clearly the many ways in which these answer
sheets indicated various improprieties.

If you agree that something untoward has happen I can then explain to
you WHY someone at New Rochelle High School would have cheated in
order to LOWER a student’s test scores. In either case, the
guidelines for the handling of Regents exams and test scores is
detailed and requires various sign-offs from school officials. It
should be quite clear from the answer sheets in my possession that
many of the guidelines were not followed and so the sign-offs were
improper. In looking into this matter, I am told that the as a matter
of routine, teachers at the high school treat the Regents Exams in a
cavalier manner.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert Cox.


March 19 Email from Saul Cohen to Robert Cox

Dear Mr. Cox,

In response to your letter I met with David Abrams, Director of Assessment
for the New York State Dept. of Education. Mr. Abrams showed me the file
relating to your son Owen’s case. The file includes your
6-11-08 letter to Mr. T. Schoeck of the NYSED testing office, as well as the
8-25-08 letter from Meg Overocker, NYSED Examination Specialist to the
Principal of New Rochelle High School.

Mr. Abrams assured me that they did not ignore your complaint, but did
indeed review the test scores, as reported in the 8-25-08. He stated that
Mr. Schoeck had informed you that the Department review had been completed,
with raw scores of 62 and converted scores of 74. He also informed me that
use of two different answer sheets by the school is prohibited by his
office, and that the school admitted that there had been a problem with the
scoring. However, NYSED’s policy is that the school has the option to
accept of reject NYSED’s review.

When I asked him what recourse a parent had under this policy, he
recommended that you take up the matter with the School Superintendent, Dr.
Richard Organisciak. He added that you could call him directly if you
wished further clarification.

I personally feel that the policy of leaving the decision of leaving the
decision to the school district, while generally appropriate, does not
protect the student should the should the district fail to follow NYSED’s
regulations on testing or to respond to a legitimate complaint. This is a
policy the needs to be revisited, and I shall request such a review when the
new State Education Commissioner takes office.

Thank you for alerting me to the problem. I appreciate your frustrations,
and wish Owen the best in his future studies.

Saul B. Cohen


March 19 Email from to Robert Cox Saul Cohen

Mr. Cohen,

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I greatly appreciate your effort.

I certainly share your view that the current policy should be reviewed as the current policy permits a clear conflict of interest. I hope when the time comes you will mention to the Board of Regents that the current policy permitted the Superintendent to effectively as a judge in a case to which he was a party. In any U.S. court system and by any bar association ethics code – the Superintendent, a lawyer, would have been required to recuse himself. The Superintendent was, through his office, a party to a legal agreement with me — a resolution agreement reached between me and the District following an impartial hearing for my son. That agreement was reached after a 9 month long impartial hearing. The impartial hearing went forward after a resolution agreement fell apart due to issues surrounding what I only later learned was an improperly handled and graded exam. To date, I am reliably informed the District has spent over $100,000 in defending themselves in my son’s case. The behavior of the Superintendent is hardly a surprise as I have documented numerous incidents of his making false statements to the press and during public board meetings.

The issue in my son’s case is not simply a “scoring error”. I have good reason to believe that my son’s score was INTENTIONALLY LOWERED as retribution against my son in order to cause him to score below a 65 for the entire course. It may seem odd that a teacher would cheat to lower a score but in this case her action was driven by her objection to a pending resolution agreement reached between myself and the school district to in response to my request for impartial hearing that the teacher had failed to provide my son certain accommodations. At the meeting where the resolution agreement was hammered out, the teacher strenuously objected to the terms of the agreement, to the point that the high school principal told her to “shut up” in the meeting.

What you did not hear from Mr. Abrams is that anyone in his office, as part of their “investigation” asked to see copies of the two exam answer sheets. I have not shown them to the District either. So, how does anyone at the Assessment office know that there are two answer sheets. From their perspective, I have made an undocumented allegation which they have, apparently, accepted at face value. It is no “admission” for the District to agree that there “a problem with the scoring” as that is self-evident from the one version of they test they admit to having. It is also non-responsive to my inquiry for Mr. Abrams to say the “use of two different answer sheets by the school is prohibited by his office”. That too is self-evident. What I am looking for is an outside investigation that concludes what appears rather obvious, that the school district fabricated a Regent’s exam answer sheet, that they fabricated my son’s signature and oath, did not follow the state guidelines regarding scoring exams, tallying exams, document custody, that they signed false statements regarding document custody, and violated numerous other state guidelines in the handling of Regent’s exams. I have reviewed the state’s guidelines and found a dozen different violations as evidence by the two documents in my possession. In investigating this matter, I learned that my son’s case is only unique in that his test score was LOWERED. I have been reliable informed that, as a matter of routine, the district does not follow state guidelines for the handling of Regent’s exams for English, Science and Math.

As for a letter in August, I have no idea what Mr. Abrams is talking about. I do not recall seeing any letter from Meg Overocker — I have never even heard that name before. I have no report from 8-25-08. And do not recall any communication in this regard from the District. As far as I know, to this day, no action was taken by the NYSED Assessment office and, if there was, it was certainly not acted upon by the District. In June, I was informed by the District that they had added back 10 points to the exam and considered the matter of the 11th point moot because my son was scheduled to retake the exam in August. Of course that makes no sense because by that line of logic the 10 points they added back were also moot. I can assure that my son did not consider the matter moot because the issue was not simply the score but the impact that score at the time it was assigned to my son; he had to spend over 100 hours in tutoring, night school and self-directed study preparing for that exam. Had the test been graded correctly the original resolution agreement would have been in place, there would have been no impartial hearing and my son would not have been retaking the exam at all. Where does he go to get those 100 hours back?

The good news is that my son’s hard work paid off. He earned a 90 for the exam and, per my agreement with the District, they changed his grade for the entire course to a 90. As a result, his average was greatly improved, there was no “black mark” on his transcript and we are optimistic that he will be accepted at the college of his choice (Notre Dame).

The sad fact is, Mr. Cohen, that the New Rochelle School System is corrupt. I have 2,000 pages of testimony in my son’s case which make this clear. Mr. Schoeck, in particular, would be well advised to read the testimony of Mr. Conetta, the principal of New Rochelle High School with whom he dealt. Mr. Conetta is a liar and a scoundrel. For many years, New Rochelle High School has well more than 60 serious violent and disruptive incidents a year and a SVI Index of far greater than .5. I have a copy of police files which show over 80 incidents reported to the NRPD in one 11 month period. Considering that the school’s policy is to never call the police, that is quite a number. The school should clearly be on the list of persistently dangerous schools as should the Isaac Young Middle School. The District Attorney’s office is well aware that the high school is not filing required reports with their office. This one principal is hardly alone. Another principal in New Rochelle recently testified in a federal corruption trial in which he admitted that while employed by the district he falsely represented himself as the President of a company which was set up to defraud the City of Mount Vernon and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in DC. He also denied being paid to serve in this capacity but could not explain a check made out to him from the company which he had cashed. Another principal recently lied to an investigator from the Westchester County Health Department and signed a report containing his false statements. I have been reliably informed that there is good reason to question the massive “improvement” in standardized test scores which have miraculously occurred in his school over the past two years.

I have experienced first hand the corrupt nature of the New Rochelle school system. While there are many excellent teachers and good people in the system, they all know to keep their heads down and shut up. It is extremely frustrating. However, I have the quiet confidence of a person who knows that the day or reckoning for the district is coming. I have personally dedicated myself to working tirelessly to expose the corruption and play as large a role as possible in making sure that those involved are forced to resign or sentenced to prison. Based on discussions with people in law enforcement, I am confident that the corruption which exists in New Rochelle will be readily apparent.

Sorry to be so long-winded here. No reply is necessary at this point. I have largely given up on official channels and will rely on the media to achieve my goals. When the day comes that school district employees are being led out of the schools in hand-cuffs I hope you will think of me and retrieve this email.

Robert Cox


November 20 Email from to Robert Cox to Saul Cohen

Mr. Cohen,

So sorry to trouble you again about this matter. However, I have repeatedly requested that the New Rochelle school district provide me a copy of the letter sent from Ms. Overrocker to the principal at New Rochelle High School. I still do not have a copy of the letter.

A few weeks ago I went before the board during their public comment period and asked several questions about the letter and specifically why I was not informed of the letter, why the letter was not shared with the rest of the school board prior to my meeting with the board in executive session in September 2008 and why, now that I know of the letter, the district has, so far, refused to provide me a copy of the letter. As you know a parent is entitled to access any record in their child’s file.

After I addressed the board I gave them a written copy of my questions about the letter as part of much longer list of dozens of other questions I have asked the board over the past year to which I have never received a reply. Another board meeting came and went without a reply so I sent an email to the Board President who informed me that the board had decided not to respond to my questions for various reasons none of which strike me as valid in this case.

I met privately with one board member this week who informed me confidentially that the board was informed by Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak that no such letter existed and clearly implied that I was lying. This is hardly the first time that he has claimed documents in his possession do not exist or made these sort of defamatory comments about me.

I am writing now because I wish to read aloud this email exchange below and make copies available to the board at their next meeting on Tuesday December 2nd in the hope that this will clarify the issue in the minds of the board members and result in them directing Mr. Organisciak to turn over the letter.

Do you have any objection to my making this email public?

Thank you

Robert Cox


December 3 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to Richard Organisciak, cc’d to New Rochelle School Board, Saul Cohen, David Abrams, Meg Overocker, Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Organisciak,

Consider this email my notice to the district. The District withheld material information from me regarding my son’s Chemistry Regents exam which goes to heart of the Stipulation Agreement I signed in 2008. I have offered you repeated opportunities to cure the breach and yet you have responded by piling one lie on top of another. I no longer consider myself bound by the Stipulation Agreement.

For the past 16 months you have lied to me and, as I understand it, to school board members regarding the response of the state to my complaint filed in June 2008. This is just a small subset of lies from a far large set by you and other school officials.

I hope you will enjoy reading the exchange of emails between Mr. Cohen and myself contained in the article linked here:

New York State Regent Confirms Existence of Letter Withheld by New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Organisciak for Past 16 Months

This will be just the first of many such articles over the coming months. I hope that by the end, the people of New Rochelle will come to know you as I do.

Have a nice day!

Robert Cox


December 3 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to Sara Richmond, cc’d to Richard Organisciak, New Rochelle School Board, Saul Cohen, David Abrams, Meg Overocker, Thomas Schoeck

Dear Ms. Richmond and fellow board members,

By now I trust you have all had a chance to read my email exchange with Regent Cohen and are starting to wrap your heads around the reality that all along it has been I who has been telling the truth and Mr. Organisciak who has been lying. Further, that this is not just a question of a withheld letter but the failure of the district to inform a parent of the results of a state investigation into improprieties regarding a state exam and then lying about it for more than a year. An investigation into why there are two different versions of my son’s answer sheet, why the tally sheet is incorrect, why the raw score was reduced by 10 or 11 points and so on. By my count there are at least a dozen violations of state protocol for the handling of State Regents exams in this case.

At this point I would like for the board to schedule my wife and I for an executive session at the earliest opportunity so I might answer any questions you still have and discuss how we move forward from here. I will be particularly interested to revisit my request for an independent investigation into the mishandling of my son’s Chemistry Regents Exam and the consequence for my son, my wife and me that flow from that incident which include being put through nine months of an impartial hearing that was unnecessary, retaliation against my son and wife, my being defamed repeatedly by school officials and in particular the grief my son was put through, especially in having to spent his summer last year preparing for an exam he need not have taken.

By my estimates, the district has now spent over a quarter-million dollars on lawyers attempting to suppress the story I published last night which began with one teacher refusing to provide my son classroom accommodations such as preferential seating and extended time on in-class assignments that would have cost the district nothing to provide and which they are required to provide, by law.

Please confirm that we can schedule an executive session in the coming days. I will expect to receive a copy of the 8-25-09 letter from Ms. Overrocker to Mr. Conetta prior to that meeting.

Have a nice day.

Robert Cox

PS, I would appreciate someone on this email making arrangements for Mr. Abrams and Mr. Cohen to attend the meeting.


December 7 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to Sara Richmond, cc’d to Richard Organisciak, New Rochelle School Board, Saul Cohen, David Abrams, Meg Overocker, Thomas Schoeck

Dear Ms. Richmond,

Confronted with a letter from a member of the New York State Board of Regents that shows I have been lied to for a year, the Board of Education now tosses me a bone and you wonder if that will suffice. I trust you will be not be surprised to learn, my answer is “no”, it does not suffice.

In fact, the document you sent today raises more questions than it answers.

The document clearly indicates that what you sent is a cover letter and that there were additional documents enclosed in the letter. This is what I understand the the word “enclosures” to mean at the bottom of the NYSED letter to Mr. Conetta. In other words, even now, the district continues to withhold portions of the NYSED reply and you ask whether this resolves the issue of the production of letter. The only way to resolve the issue of the NYSED reply would be to produce the entire reply.

This is the first time I have seen this letter. I can now see that the letter is not a reply to my request for a full investigation by the Department of Assessment as I had hoped but a a reply to a very narrow request by Mr. Conetta as to whether a particular question was graded correctly. I now know I still do not have a reply to my request for a broader investigation to the many allegations of improprieties I have made. I also do not have a copy of the request sent by Mr. Conetta. As remains the case I want every document in my son’s file.

You are apparently unaware of a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). A parent or eligible student is entitled to education records maintained by the school. You might to read about as it is the law which the District has violated over and over again in refusing to turn over the letter you sent to day and which you continue to violate by not turning over the enclosures which came with the letter. Given this you may not be surprised to know that I do not consider the district today admitting that they have been lying for a year and still continue to lie a “resolution” of the issue.

I can see no legitimate reason for your request for a “hard copy” of my email exchange with Regent Cohen. In any case, there is no such thing as a “hard copy” of an email. Regardless, my purpose in reading and then publishing the exchange was to force the district to admit that the letter they have repeatedly denied exists does, in fact, exist. With that accomplished, the exchange with Regent Cohen is entirely beside the point as far as I am concerned. I have published the exchange. You can see what it says. Based on the reaction of board members when I read Mr. Cohen’s reply to me last Tuesday night it was quite clear many board members are well-familiar with Mr. Cohen. Recall I asked if the board knew of Mr. Cohen, several board members nodded their heads and Ms. Reddington said aloud “of course”. Given this I find your request for a “hard copy” very odd indeed. You have it within your power to pick up the telephone and simply ask Mr. Cohen to forward you the email. I would think that doubters on the board, misguided as they might be, would find receiving the letter from him far more convincing than receiving it from me. In either case, you know full well that the letter you sent me comports with the Cohen email in every detail therefore I find your request for a “hard copy” disingenuous at best and more likely yet another attempt to muddy the water.

If remain stumped as to how to contact Mr. Cohen, let me assist you in that regard with the following information.

Mr. Saul B Cohen
14 North Chatsworth Avenue, Apt. 3E
Larchmont, NY 10538 | Phone: (914) 834-0615

I am generally willing to chalk up most attempts at deception by the District to the bad behavior of the administration and the lawyers at Kehl, Katzive & Simon who are the hatchet men (and women) for the District. Even now, I would like to believe that a KKS lawyer wrote the letter you sent today and to that extent it was “ghostwritten” for you. How else to explain the cleverly worded and entirely misleading claim that “based on the information you provided” the Board of Education was able to locate the letter from Meg Overocker. The sentence which precedes this claim says you have “reviewed the emails you sent us last week”. Your letter is designed to suggest that it was only after I provided you a copy of the email exchange with Regent Cohen that you were able to “locate” the letter. In other words, it is my fault that the district repeatedly denied the existence of the letter!

This is precisely why I requested an INDEPENDENT investigation into the improprieties with my son’s test and refused to turn over copies of the answer sheet. I know from past experience that your lawyers will use the two answer sheets to concoct some story that in the end tries to blame my son for his teacher’s actions or some such nonsense.

The language is also a classic lawyer’s trick. One the one hand it is meant to suggest that it is my fault that the letter was not provided to me because I did not give the district enough information and that once I provided the information you were able to “locate” the letter. On the other hand, the letter does not say that the “information you provided” is the information contained in the email and could include ANY information I provided prior to last week and so if additional information comes to light you can always shift gears and claim that you used information provided prior to the publication of the Regent Cohen email.

It is my understanding that you and the entire board know that Mr. Organisciak wrote to me on November 3, 2008 providing a sanitized version of the information contained in the letter. Clearly he knew of the letter because he references it in his November 3rd letter. I have repeatedly identified the letter including over the past two months the exact date of the letter. Like all high school students, my son had a file at New Rochelle High School. The letter was sent to the NRHS Principal. In attempting to “locate” the file, did anyone bother to look in his file?

The District has known of this letter since the day it was received. I would also note that every letter like this that I have ever seen from the District is stamped “Received” with the date received stamped on it. Why is that not the case here? Let me suggest that this letter was buried from the beginning and never filed with my son’s NRHS file. And please tell Mr. Organisciak not to bother spinning back the date on the stamp, manufacturing a version of the letter with a time stamp and then turning that over. This sort of thing gets tiresome after a while.

I do not see how you can expect the matter to be resolved when the District conspires to withhold documents and continues to pile lie upon lie. I certainly do not consider the matter closed at all. Until then, you might try John 8:32.

Let’s try this again:

1. I want to inspect all files and folders and any other documents for my son covered under FERPA including the enclosures to the 8-25 letter and the letter to which it responds.

2. I have requested to appear before the board in Executive Session after the next board meeting. I think given the pattern of lies and deceit this is the least you can do. Further, I wish to appear before the board only without Mr. Organisciak, the clerk or any other employees of the district or lawyers working for the district as I intend to discuss their bad behavior.

After I received all of the documents and had a chance to discuss the numerous false statements made to me and about me over the past several years will I even consider answering a question about whether the matter is resolved.


Robert Cox


December 7 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to David Abrams, cc’d to New Rochelle School Board, Richard Organisciak, Saul Cohen, Meg Overocker, Thomas Schoeck

Mr. Abrams,

I would like you to help me understand why your office has shown so little interest in my long-standing allegations of improprieties regarding my son’s 2007 Chemistry Regents Examination including my claim to have two different versions of my son’s answer sheet. I believe that my son’s teacher purposely lowered his score to cause him to fail in order to derail a deal that had been made by her boss, Don Conetta, the principal at New Rochelle High School and Yvette Goorevitch, Director of Special Education and then offered to me in order to resolve a pending Impartial Hearing request. In order to cover this up, the District has piled lie upon lie until finally their lies caught up with them. The New Rochelle Board of Education now knows that Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak repeatedly lied to them when he told them to ignore my requests for copies of the 8-25-08 letter from your office. As you should have seen from a previous email, the BoE President has now “found” a copy of the letter and provide me a copy of the “cover letter” only.

I was led to believe by someone in your office that the official reply to my complaint was contained in the 8-25-08 letter. Today, for the first time, I read the letter. I can see that there are enclosures still missing but from that I have seen it appears that your office confined your “investigation” into re-rating my son’s test. I tell your office that I have two copies of my son’s answer sheet, a clear violation of your protocol, and you tell me that he got question 65 correct (as I had stated) but got question 78 wrong so “no harm, no foul”.

Well, there has been a very big harm to me and my family.

My request for a FULL investigation by your office from June 2008 still stands. After 18 months of misdirection, am I not still entitled to a reply?

Robert Cox


December 15 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to Sara Richomnd, cc’d to New Rochelle School Board, Richard Organisciak, Saul Cohen, David Abrams, Meg Overocker, Thomas Schoeck

Ms. Richmond,

I have had no reply to my request to address the board in executive session.

Likewise, I have had no reply to my request for a copy of the enclosures that were attached to the 8/25 NYSED “cover letter” you sent to me on December 7, 2009.

Especially in light of the circumstances, I believe I am entitled to the courtesy of a reply.

Robert Cox


December 15 2009 Email from Sara Richomnd to Robert Cox, cc’d to New Rochelle School Board, Richard Organisciak, Saul Cohen, David Abrams, Meg Overocker, Thomas Schoeck

Dec 15

Mr. Cox,

I will have a copy of the enclosures to the above-referenced letter available for you at tonights Board of Education meeting. Please let me know if you do not plan to attend so that I can then have them mailed to you.

Sara Richmond


December 15 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to David Abrams

Mr. Abrams,

The school board is holding their last meeting of the year tonight and I would appreciate getting a response to the email below from you prior to the board meeting.

Also, last week I mentioned to someone in your office that the document provided to me on December 7th is not the complete record of what was sent by Meg Overocker to the New Rochelle High School principal in August 2008. It is a cover letter and references “enclosures”. The district has ignored repeated requests to provide me copies of the “enclosures”. I do not want to have to wait another 16 months to obtain the “enclosures” and would ask that you have someone in your office scan and email me the enclosures. In fact, I would like to obtain a copy of everything in the file you reviewed with Regent Cohen last March.

Thank you,

Robert Cox


December 7 2009 Email from to David Abrams to Robert Cox

Dear Mr. Cox,

Thank you for you inquiry regarding your son, William Owen Cox, and his
Chemistry Regents Examination from June 2007.

We did review your complaint when it was made to Tom Schoeck and we did
determine that this did not warrant an official investigation from the
State. As you pursued your complaint with the school district, they did
request that we rescore the examination. Requests for rescoring an
examination can only be made by a school district administrator to the
State. We did rescore the exam and you have seen the correspondence
dated August 28, 2008 to the school regarding the results of that
process. The enclosure with that letter is with the school and since the
letter is addressed to the principal, Mr. Conetta is responsible for
sharing that information with you; I spoke with Mr. Conetta earlier
today and he assured me that the information you requested has been
shared with you. He also informed us that there was never a second
answer sheet generated in the school.

As to your new request that we conduct a “full investigation,” we
believe that the results of the rescoring do not indicate a need to
conduct further investigation. You have already been advised that the
school had the option of accepting our rescoring results or keeping its
original scoring results, but in either case your son ends up with the
same score. While we understand your concern, we do not see sufficient
evidence of impropriety to support additional investigation.

As to your request to see everything in the file, other than your
letter of June 11, 2008 to Mr. Schoeck, a copy of Meg Overocker’s
letter, and your e-mails sent to us during the past week, we do not have
a file of information.

My understanding is that your son has also graduated from high school,
and is now attending university. I hope his college studies are going
well and I wish him the best of luck.

Thank you,

David Abrams

David Abrams
Assistant Commissioner
Office for Standards, Assessment & Reporting
NYS Education Department
Room 675 EBA
Albany, NY 12234
518-473-7880 (Phone)
518-473-7737 (Fax)


December 17 2009 Email from to Robert Cox to David Abrams

Mr. Abrams,

The reason you do not “see sufficient evidence of impropriety” is because you have not seen the two different versions of my son’s answer sheet and that is the point of my email last week. I have sought for 18 months to present the evidence to someone from your office. What I do not understand is why your office is not even willing to LOOK at these documents.

I have in front of me right now 2 different versions of the answer sheets from my son’s 2007 Chemistry Regents Test. If need be I am willing to drive to Albany next week and present them to your or your designee for inspection. As will be instantly clear, there is absolutely no doubt that there are two versions of the answer sheet.

Robert Cox

3 thoughts on “Cover Up Continues; New York State Assistant Commissioner David Abrams Now Protecting Thomas Shoeck”

  1. Justice Denied
    A report of this size, complexity, and magnitude cannot be fully understood except on a very fundamental level of justice denied. Even the most hostile, no, most casual reader cannot fail to see the importance of what Bob is working to achieve. More important, the pain and anger he and his family had to experience over the last few years based on this travesty of simple denial. This appears to transcend coverup — it goes beyond negligence — it is the greatest of all tragedies, a failure to correct a matter of such elemental simplicity that it goes beyond any reasonable man’s understanding of WHY!

    Why should Owen, Maria and Bob Cox have to spend another day in a gut wrenching attempt to achieve justice denied? He seems to have clearly made his case. At its simplest and most fundamental level, we have no reason to doubt the existence of two answer sheets; a fact that seems beyond dispute. Why, then, this massive attempt to protect what turns out to be a simple matter of making something that is wrong, right. How can we have even a modicum of faith and trust in a system that ignores this need for restoration? Can any reasonable and fair person begrudge the Coxs’ search for justice?

    As parents, it is (or should be) impossible to turn away from this and I implore all readers to contact the NYS hyperlinks Bob provides in his report. I do not recommend wasting your time in contacting any District representative; they had ample time to make a wrong right.

    Happy holiday to all and lets hope Bob, Maria, Owen get the justice and respect they deserve.

    Warren Gross

    1. Maybe I will…
      I have come to believe that the system is set up in such a way that no one, anywhere in it, is willing to “rock the boat”. It is much easier to look the other way.

      The best thing I can think to do is start publishing the transcripts from my son’s hearings so that readers can see for themselves the full depth of what my family has confronted over the past few years.

      Some of the transcripts are actually laugh-out-loud funny; except that the laughable lies are actually perjury and thus crimes.

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