Question 17 of 20 for 2020 NRBOE Candidates: Apex Grade Inflation?

Written By: Robert Cox
  1. What are your thoughts on Apex Grade Inflation Investigations?

Adina Berrios Brooks: This District would benefit from school administrators who are dedicated to a culture of ethical behavior and vigilant oversight throughout the district. Furthermore, I would advocate for investigation and ongoing scrutiny into the causes of students not meeting the standards for graduation.

Katie Castellano Minaya: I’m disappointed and concerned about the reputation of our district. I want this to be the district where EVERYONE wants to be. The Apex Grade Inflation situation was extremely disappointing and could have been avoided if there were stronger systems in place with checks and balances. We need accountability and oversight, and a reinforcing of administrative leadership towards the proactive as opposed to the reactive.

Barbara D’Alois: This has been such an embarrassment on so many levels. From the early nonsensical efforts of the district, to the stalled, final results from the State. This has obviously been a broad attempt to minimize an abhorrent abuse of a system meant to help students. Unfortunately I don’t think we will ever know the true extent of the abuse and failures that lead us here. That doesn’t mean we should give up on demanding accountability, ever. I would be comfortable with somehow holding back money until the truth is uncovered. Not sure how to do it, but that is how important this is.

Christopher Daniello:Did not answer.

Stephen A. DiDonato: This is a stone that still needs to be turned over and addressed. These unscrupulous findings with the grade fixing scandal really damages our integrity. While closing the achievement gap is an important task, the attempts to improve graduation rates and effectively close that gap should never have been done so unethically. Here is an example of poor modeling of behavior. We should be practicing the same standards that we expect our children to hold sacred. This was an epic systemic failure.

Sharon D. Footes: No comment.

Matthew T. Hirschman: Even with what was brought to light, the district continues to cover up what has been discovered. There was a scapegoat, but I don’t think she was the mastermind. I can only hope that the higher authorities take action, as I am aware that they are involved or at least enlightened.

Michael Leone: The Apex Grade Inflation scandal was unfortunate and it came at a very weak time in the district’s administrative history. I do not know all of the intimate details, but I do know that oversight of grading is not a Board function. The Board hires a Superintendent who hires other administrators who hire subordinates. In this case, the Superintendent dropped the ball in failing to maintain supervisory control over the high school principal who hired the two persons responsible for inflating the student grades. The Board had to hold the Superintendent accountable. It did. It failed to renew Dr. Osborne’s contract. The year 2018 was one of calamity after another that I hope we never see repeated.

Timothy McKnight: The situation that occurred with our APEX program was an unfortunate one. In a numbers driven society, our schools and teachers have been put in a tough predicament to ensure the proper education plan for students throughout our district. There has been a lot of finger pointing that has taken place. The re-opening of this case and its findings need to be put to rest as soon as possible. The district needs to move forward and learn from all aspects (teachers, administrators, building leadership) on how we can ensure situations such as this do not further taint the image of the academic environment that we are fighting for on what seems like a daily basis.

Mario A. Scarano: It’s sad because as a former teacher at the end of each class I would take time to ask my students what they learned. If they didn’t have a reasonable answer then I didn’t do my job. It was the administrator’s and supervisor’s responsibility to make sure that each teacher asks that same question. Also, the administrator/supervisor’s should ask themselves did I provide the proper atmosphere that is conducive to learning for all students.

Julia Taylor: I think that it was unfortunate that it happened and I do not believe in online credit recovery. If it didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be a scandal. We can find other ways for students who are overage and under-credited to earn credits legally.

Donald Vega: There can be no questions when it comes to academic integrity. It is better to have lower grad rates and grades so we can realize the challenges that students have. If we demonstrate there are shortcuts, then that’s the example we are giving to students. Let’s find ways to help students with more alternative sources that are customized. Let the teachers teach and not stifle them with standardization that is just repetition. What matters is the environment and methods that student needs in order to learn.