Thursday, December 13, 2007
The grade tampering scandal at UC San Diego's Preuss Charter School is leaving school officials scrambling to control the damage. But some parents fear the school's reputation is already damaged for years to come. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
Preuss is a charter school for low-income minority students that's operated by UC San Diego. It was recently named one of the best schools in the nation because its been successful at getting its students into college. That's why news of grade tampering and other misconduct by top school administrators hit so hard. UC San Diego Chancellor Mary Ann Fox says she's moving forward with major changes to restore Preuss' credibility.
Fox: We regard these allegations with greatest importance, we are pledged to respond at a managerial and administrative level and to take whatever correction actions are necessary.
Those actions include hiring an independent consulting firm to conduct frequent audits at the school and oversight by Fox's office. Cecil Lytle is one of the school's founding members. He and other school officials realize the scandal is a huge blow, but believe Preuss will bounce back.
Lytle: Universities across this nation have admitted our students. We are tracking them and they are doing well at these institutions and the results speak for themselves. And what takes place at this school in terms of providing the scaffolding for the students to meet this challenge has proven to be successful.
Parent Maxine Armstrong's daughter graduated from Preuss about two years ago and her son is currently going to the school. She says the scandal is already turning people away from the school.
Armstrong: It makes me sad because now everyone is putting down the school and they're putting down the kids. So it’s like, now they're not smart low-income children anymore. They're low-income children that needed someone to cheat for them. And it sucks for the kids because they're the ones that are being affected by it. They did not ask for their grades to me changed.
Armstrong says a number parents are choosing not to send their kids to Preuss this year because of the scandal. She says a brand new administrative team would restore confidence. So far the principal at the center of the scandal is on leave and her future is unclear. The school's senior advisor was on leave during the investigation but has been able to return to work.
Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.