Cheating at Newark’s Barringer High School?

Students protesting conditions at Barringer last November
Students protesting conditions at Barringer last November

State-appointed administrators have scheduled a press conference Monday morning to boast about improved conditions at Newark’s Barringer High School–but they may be facing questions instead about both a cheating scandal and an unexpectedly low number of seniors graduating from the school’s “STEAM Academy,” one of two schools operating in the building.

Although administrators from central headquarters, led by Brad Haggerty, an assistant superintendent, were hoping to control access by the press to carefully selected employees and students, a group of parents hopes also to tell reporters that the troubled high school, the city’s oldest, still doesn’t have adequate supplies, furniture–and is now gripped in reports of a scandal that may spread to at least two other high schools.

According to documents obtained by this site, members of the Newark school board and top central office administrators have been informed that a Barringer student photographed pages from the  High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and sent copies to students at Malcolm X. Shabazz and Weequahic High School. The student was identified in an email sent to the central office administrators.

The HSPA is the state’s high school graduation test; this is the last year it will be used.

One document also suggests that a staff member at Barringer may have assisted the student, but the school’s testing coordinator informed officials at 2 Cedar Street, the headquarters of the state administration. They decided a re-test would not be needed. Parents are asking school board members whether the state Department of Education was informed of the security breach.

The incident allegedly occurred January 29.

According to parents who have seen it, school board president Rashon Hasan has indicated in an email that he would conduct an investigation of the allegations and have a response by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, parents and community activists are demanding that top local officials respond to other complaints about conditions at Barringer, a school that has been the center of turmoil since the new school year opened.

Chief among the complaints is the report that only 41 seniors–out of 138–may be eligible to graduate in time this year.

“We want the school to conduct a new credit audit to determine how many of the children will be able to receive diplomas,” said Wilhelmina Holder, president of Newark Secondary Schools Council.

She said parents want solutions to these problems:

(1) lack of developmental support for

(2) lack of resources, materials and supplies

(3) lack of highly qualified educators (substitutes still rule the day)

(4)  lack of technology support

(5)  no certified guidance counselors

(6)  no authentic credit audit done to date

(7)   senior status unknown (only 41 on track to graduate) parents not notified

(8)   students still without appropriate resources

(9) Students continue to fight daily-Dominicans & African Americans –last fight last week (video can be provided)

(10) Principal has not had a faculty meeting during this school year.

“We see this press conference as a publicity stunt, part of an effort to make the central office look good,” said Holder.

“But the children have been suffering all year and they continue to suffer.”

 

9 comments

  1. Tanaisa Brown

    Hey Bob, NSU Secretary here, just wondering how this HSPA scandal occurred if the PARCC is set into place in about 2 weeks? Is Barringer mysteriously exempt because of the lack of resources and technology? And also, just for your opinion, why do you think it’s Brad specifically hosting this presser?

    Bob Braun: HSPA still given to this year’s graduates who did not pass last year. Wilhelmina Holder and others tell me Haggerty is hosting the press conference. I, of course, was not invited.

    • Jen B.

      The PARCC is not needed to graduate like the HSPA. This year’s seniors are the last to take it if they didn’t pass both parts last year.

    • Mr. Outside

      Tanaisa,

      Brad Haggerty is hosting this press conference because he is the Assistant Superintendent in charge of all NPS’ high schools. They are part of his the network he is responsible for supervising.

  2. Shanard D. Seabrooks

    I am tired of media coming to my school and release negatively about us. We are doing great things at Barringer. All this negatively is not needed, try showing up sometime and report us doing great and positive things. You guys are quick to show up for something negative.

    Bob Braun: I understand your feelings, but I was not at Barringer today. I don’t know who was.

  3. robert

    I live in Newark. Most ,if not, all my friends who went to barringer are all drug dealers. I am happy I went to unionCatholic and not a Newark public school. One of my friends went to barringer, then received a scholarship toa Catholic school and he will be the first to tell you how none of the kids want to learn and how faculty watch porn during school hours….oh yeah, what positives should the media focus on? The fightings everyday? The police that have to sit park ave during school hours to prevent the gangbangers who attend from fighting?….Most of those kids aspire to gang members, the faculty knows it, so they just “milk” the job for a pay check…

    M

  4. Brick City Exile

    It is sad to see that after more than 3 years of the Cami Anderson reign, very little has changed at Barringer. I worked as a History teacher at Barringer from 2002 -2012 and all the problems it faces today were present then. Fights between Dominicans and African-Americans were part of everyday life. Some administrators refused to admit to the problem and did very little about it. Other administrators were proactive and at least tried to do something about it with minimal results. As for the lack of school materials such as books, there were not many especially for ELL and Special Education students. When it came to computers and technology most of the computers were outdated and slow. That is if they worked. If I wanted to do a history presentation using You Tube a five minute clip would take up to an hour to download if I was lucky. Planning around technology was useless because the technology was outdated and not up to date. Most of the time it did not work at all. There were not enough books available, therefore the next best option for a teacher was the copy machine. Unfortunately they would break down and if they worked, there was no ink or paper available for copying. There used to be a joke among the staff that the only technology available was the blackboard and chalk! All of these issues were reported and documented by most of the teachers and department chair people, but very little was done to fix them. There was a year when the fire alarm was pulled almost everyday for one month. In 2010 there was a new Principal that was brought in from Las Vegas, Nevada and only lasted a month. That year students had no schedules waiting for them at the beginning of the school year and every week they would get a new schedule and classes. One week I was their teacher the next week someone else was their teacher. This went on for a cycle before it was rectified. Sadly students were deprived of a decent education for a complete school cycle. An inexperienced interim Principal was put in charge of the school and the school stumbled along for the rest of the year. Barringer has been neglected for many years, yet most of the faculty cares but their morale is usually low. How can’t it not be so when one has to deal with all of these issues on a daily basis?
    It is very easy for outsiders to say that at Barringer all teachers do not care and that all students do not want to learn. I disagree, the majority of the teachers at Barringer work hard for their students and the majority of students want to learn. These conditions would never be tolerated in middle class and affluent towns. But they are tolerated in poor and minority cities. The students, teachers and the whole community of the North Ward of Newark and Barringer deserve respect and a decent learning environment.

  5. booklady

    Mr. Seabrooks,
    Some prior visits may have been to get the desks, scheduling, certified teachers/guidance counselors, reasonable class size that Barringer students deserve.
    Most of us welcome positive news about students. Would Newark Students Union post reports @ BHS doings?

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.