By Nigel Boys.
Andrea McHale, a teacher at William Cullen Bryant High School, passed senior Melissa Mijia. Why is that bad? Well, Mijia consequently wrote a letter to the Post complaining that she did not deserve to receive a passing grade. McHale, the Long Island City, NY teacher, admitted in an interview that she had done so because of the “tremendous amount of pressure” to push kids through the system.
McHale explained to the Post that although the situation is not ideal, “If we don’t meet our academic goals, we are deemed failures as teachers.” Although Mejia admitted in her essay to the Post that she rarely showed up for class, missed her final and never handed in homework, she was allowed to graduate with a passing grade of 65.
McHale told the Post, “I thought it was in her best interest and the school’s best interest to pass her.”
Explaining further that Mejia was a very intelligent student who passed her state Regents exams and did well in history exams, McHale said that it was expected she should pass her class. Passing the Regents “suggests some kind of readiness for college,” the teacher said. “There is a fairly consistent policy that if they pass their Regents, it is strongly suggested that they pass in the class.”
“I don’t like receiving what I would call a handout, but that’s what happened,” Mejia wrote in her essay to the Post. “New York City gave me a diploma I didn’t deserve.”
McHale told the Post that she believes Mejia thinks the standards in New York schools should be higher and that is why she wrote the essay, but “if we set the bar higher, we would be a failing school.”
Although she did pass all five parts of her Regents exams by her sophomore year, Mejia still feels that she should not have been given a passing grade because of her absence from class and her lack of handing in required homework.
Namita Dwarka, the Principal of Bryant High School, Queens declined to comment on Sunday, but Harry Hartfield, spokesman for the Department of Educations said the situation will be thoroughly investigated.