When Failing Is Passing


Hempstead Schools

Photo of Hempstead Schools where failing is passing and most everyone is failing

Just in case you missed it, there is a “new”, district-wide, school policy in our neighboring Village of Hempstead. And I thought I had heard of everything!

From now on; ANY STUDENT WHO FAILS, WILL ACTUALLY FAIL!  Sound ridiculous?

But that’s NOT the way it was in Hempstead. It seems that a “whistle-blower” named Carlos Ramirez, Hempstead’s Director of Technology, informed New York State, that previously, (you won’t believe this one!) any Hempstead student with a “failing” grade of 63 or 64, automatically “passed” with a 65.

As the Beatles said; “with a little help from their friends.”

When Hempstead’s school board heard about this previous policy, (were they asleep at the wheel?), they voted to rescind it. Way to go, school board!

Maybe others felt that they were trying to help their students prepare for life after high school. After all, doesn’t every employer “gladly” promote workers who fail, but come close to passing? Not in my office!

I only wish that this was Hempstead’s only problem. Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the educational iceberg. Nassau County is the home of some of the most respected and highly rated schools in the country. How can we allow one of our own school districts to have failed its students, parents and taxpayers so miserably.

Please take a deep breath before you read on!

Even with these “inflated grades”, Hempstead’s graduation rate in 2011-2012 was an astonishing 38%. Do you believe that? 38% It is the lowest of any of Long Island’s 124 public school districts.( stats from Newsday)

I knew Hempstead had problems, but I never realized it was this bad.

Holding their school board responsible is not enough. No one claims that inflating their student grades was the cause of their deterioration.

Was it intentional? Who knows? A poor education can be blamed on the School Board, Nassau County or New York State. We can point our finger at the teachers, administrators, parents or even the students themselves.

It’s to late for the blame-game. Just fix the damn problem, before more  children’s lives are wasted.

That’s the issue, not why they didn’t know about this previous policy.

School Board President, Ms. Betty Cross and her Board, seemed ready to thank Mr.Ramirez for exposing this ridiculous policy. After all, isn’t hard work the key to passing a subject, not arbitrarily lowering the passing grade.

This is nothing more than “legalized” cheating. “Playing the system” is what they were teaching their students instead of raising the bar of academic excellence.

Great Neck’s SAT scandal, the arrests of Roslyn’s school Superintendent and of course, Roslyn native Bernie Madoff, are examples of our moral and ethical decline.

But, wait a minute! just when I thought lesions were learned and things were getting better, breaking news just out of Hempstead: Mr Carlos Ramirez, their Director of Technology, was just fired!

I’m sure lawyers for the district will be in court defending the Board’s decision to let him go. Of course, their expensive legal fees will just be added to next year’s school budget.

By the way, according to Newsday, two out of the five Hempstead school board members weren’t even present when the vote to rescind the policy was taken! Seems like school board truancy is another district-wide problem as well.

I live in the Roslyn School District with a 99% graduation rate. It’s only 15 miles from Hempstead. What a difference those 15 miles seem to make.