Principal Tells Teachers To
Friday December 14, 2007
Have teachers at an East Harlem school been ordered
to lower their standards because many students there are poor?
That's the impression some got from their principal's memo.
And now City Hall has stepped in.
The weather was gloomy Thursday outside Central Park East High
School, but the talk was about a controversial memo from the school's
"I don't think he thinks we're dumb," 12th grader Crystal
Scarlett said. "He just thinks we can do much better than
But not everyone agreed.
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Last month, Principal Bennett Lieberman sent off a stern memo
"If you are not passing more than 65 percent of your students
in a class, then you are not designing your expectations to meet
their abilities, and you are setting your students up for failure,
which, in turn, limits your success as a professional."
Was he ordering teachers to dumb down their classes?
The memo continued:
"Most of our students come from the lowest third percentile
in academic achievement, have difficult home lives, and struggle
with life in general. They DO NOT have a similar upbringing nor
a similar school experience to our experiences growing up."
Some students took offense.
"That's not the way to pass," 12th grader Richard Palacios
said. "That's not the way to get your education, so you're
basically cheating yourself."