College Planning Specialists

July 23, 2007

“Doctored Grades Scandal”: University Preparatory Charter Accused of Transcript Tampering!

Filed under: Colleges,High Schools,Preparing for College,Scandal — deansguide @ 7:38 pm

University Preparatory Charter Academy of East Oakland, California has been charged with falsifying student grades and tampering with the transcripts of five students in an effort to “give them a leg up in college.” According to “The founder and director(Isaac Haqq) of an East Oakland charter school has resigned amid mounting evidence of cheating, falsifying course credits and other unethical conduct.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Haqq, a former Pasadena city councilman known in the early 1990’s as Isaac Richard, suggested in a letter that racism was at play in the accusations.” Haqq is quoted in the article as saying “Historically, successful people of color must periodically challenge those who call that success into question. . . It has been that way for a long time. Unfortunately, not much has changed.”

The Chronicle’s retort to this assertion is that the accusations are backed by college transcripts, for five students in the class of 2007, supporting the accusations which were brought forward by University Prep teachers themselves.

An example of the fraud was outlined by Bob Martel a math teacher who was fired from the school in May after alerting the state Department of Education. “A student gets a D in math. On the report card, both the grade and the name of the course are changed. Go to the transcript, and it’s all A’s and B’s. That’s the fraud.”

Make no mistake about it-University Prep is big business. With an enrollment of 475 students, the school received $3,000,000 in public funds. To this date University Prep Charter is under investigation by the California Department of Education.


July 21, 2007

A P Coursework Controversy: “Facts and Data vs Critical Thinking Skills”

Filed under: AP Courses,Colleges,High Schools,Preparing for College — deansguide @ 7:20 pm

In the article “A.P. Classes: Are These Courses as Important as Your Guidance Counselor Claims?”, I outlined some of the unforeseen detrimental effects upon a student’s ability to gain entrance into a top flight university. As a result of this report, I was challenged by some authorities for playing the “grades game” and not emphasizing the positive growth factor that A.P. courses bring to a student’s development.

As a follow up to this initial article, I found another perspective from a San Francisco based independent admissions adviser Joanne Levy-Prewitt. Joanne’s experiences and thoughts were outlined in her February 19, 2007 piece for Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The questions about A.P. courses abound. Are AP courses “meant to replace college courses and provide college credit?” It seems that these courses are designed to move at a faster pace, cover more materials, and teach much tougher concepts and ideas. But Joanne asks a great question: “. . . is it the goal of advanced coursework to ask students to think deeper and more analytically about the subject?”

In my own experiences the answer to the last question is that students are asked to think deeper and more analytically about the coursework. On the other hand, Joanne’s experiences have been different and bare strong consideration:

“I’ve heard students and parents complain that college-level courses emphasize facts and data, and that ambitious syllabi leave little time to teach critical thinking skills such as reasoning, analyzing, comparing or critiquing. If that’s true, especially in light of Sadler and Tai’s research into AP science classes, other than impressing admissions offices, I wonder about the benefits of AP and IB classes.”

Consequently there are many variables and motivations for taking AP coursework. The positive effects have long been documented. Yet like most things in life, each individual student may have different results. Nothing is uniform. As Mathew L Tabor points out:

. . . any challenge is interpreted differently by each stakeholder in the educational process.”

If you have any questions beyond the comment area, please feel free to contact Dean Guadagni at Thank you!

July 20, 2007

New Scandal Rocks Brooklyn, New York College: Students, Teachers, and Administrators Guilty of Selling Fake Degrees

Filed under: Colleges,Scandal,Technology — deansguide @ 10:37 pm

Ten people were indicted on tampering charges for breaking into the Touro College computer system to change grades and award fake degrees in exchange for money. “The fees ranged from $3,000 to $25,000 for better or deleted grades and bachelors and masters degrees according to District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.” At least 50 people were “clients” of the group.

The most dangerous aspect of the scheme was fake degrees being sold to unqualified “physician’s assistants” who obviously could put patients at risk. Morgenthau advised employers to double check any recent Touro hire records to verify their qualifications.

Admissions Director at Touro College, Andrique Baron, was identified as the mastermind behind the scheme. It was estimated that he had been selling degrees and tampering with records as far back as 2003. Baron’s accomplice was, the former Director of the Computer Center at Touro, Michael Cherner. Of the ten people indicted, four remain at large.

As unbelievable as this crime sounds, even more unbelievable is the fact that none of the indicted can face more than 4 years in prison on their charges. Contrast this with the possible damage to life and limb that the “unqualified” degree holders may cause in the future, and you have a recipe for frightening results!

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