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Bronx charter school accused of skimming placed on probation

The Bronx charter school accused of rigging its admissions procedures to admit successful students has been put on probation.

The news, reported today in the New York Times, comes after Anna Phillips broke the story on GothamSchools in May that teachers and parents at Academic Leadership Charter School said the school tests students for admission. State law mandates that charter schools admit students through a lottery.

The testing allegations weren’t borne out in the city’s investigation, possibly because city officials did not speak to staff members who had resigned or parents of students who were not admitted, Phillips now reports for the Times. But investigators still found more than enough improprieties to warrant putting the school on probation.

Phillips writes:

… city officials found that at Academic Leadership, which has about 200 children in kindergarten through second grade, hundreds of applicants were left out of this year’s drawing. The lottery was supervised not by an impartial observer, but by a member of the parent association, the letter said. And while students who applied after the lottery should have been added to the waiting list, scores of them were not, it said.

Academic Leadership is the first charter school in the city to be disciplined for breaking admissions rules, Phillips reports. Recy Dunn, head of the city Department of Education’s charter schools office, wrote in a letter that the school suffered from “a pattern of failed operational oversight by school leadership” that extended well beyond admissions procedures.

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