A recent SAT cheating scandal has rocked Long Island as officials have brought in a former FBI chief to examine security procedures after allegations arose in Farmingdale, The Associated Press reports.
From teacher-school salary battles to student discipline issues and class-size issues, education law in New York covers many areas important not only to teachers and schools, but to students and parents.
Having sound representation in these areas is critical. Take this news story, for instance. The scandal came to light when teachers at Great Neck North High School began hearing rumors of a scheme to cheat on the SAT, the most widely used standardized test for college admission.
After investigating, seven current or former students were arrested. Authorities say that six of those arrested had an older college student from the high school take their exam in order for them to score better than they could. Teachers found that the scores on the SATs were far better than their grades.
In most places that offer the SAT test, students must sign up for certain dates where the tests will be administered. They must bring a form of identification and sit in a large room with other students to take the timed test. In many situations, students can elect to take the test at any school that is offering test times.
Officials are now reviewing security procedures after revealing an issue at the high school. One older student is accused of accepting up to $2,500 for taking the tests and even dressing up like a girl to take one of the tests. All charged face misdemeanors and have pleaded not guilty, The Associated Press reports.
Investigators have said they are expanding the probe to other schools -- private and public -- and expect to make further arrests soon. At committee hearings recently, officials said students are under immense pressure to perform well on the tests. Bad scores are sent to The College Board and can be used to disqualify a student from getting into a good college or university.
Taking these standardized tests are high-pressure situations, especially for students who do well at assignments and studying, but struggle at test-taking. They know what's on the line -- even with good grades, a bad SAT score could hold them back from getting into their top choices for higher education.
And a degree from a well-respected university can be very important for post-graduate education and in the work force. That said, schools must provide security procedures that are fair to every student. If some are studying hard and trying their best to get good scores to realize their dreams, but other students are cheating, that creates an unfair advantage. And that can ruin futures. Schools must ensure everyone is on a level playing field.
At the same time, the schools may be opened up to litigation in these situations and must have sound legal advice when there is talk of criminal charges, investigations and possible widespread cheating.