P.S. 58 Parents Sound Off On Cheating Scandal

By Michèle De Meglio

The cheating scandal at a Carroll Gardens elementary school has caused a ruckus on the World Wide Web. Outraged that their school is undergoing a revamping of its leadership, parents of students at P.S. 58 have taken to posting their feelings on an Internet message board. Fueling the writings were last month’s reports that just one day before the state reading exam was to be administered, the school’s principal, Joyce Plush-Saly, allegedly instructed teachers to show the questions to students – and have the children complete them as a practice test. The following day, when taking the official exam, students told teachers they recognized several portions of the test. However, Region 8 officials reportedly advised Plush-Saly to continue giving the exam. (The scores will be invalidated if an investigation concludes that the test was “compromised.”) Plush-Saly has since been reassigned to a post in Region 8 headquarters. This has left many parents seething, as in spite of the allegations against the administrator, several wish she was still at the helm of P.S. 58, 330 Smith Street. On the message board, which is located online at groups.google.com/group/Carroll-School-Mail-List, several parents expressed their regard for the “dedicated” administrator. “Joyce Saly deserves a fair and timely investigation. She deserves our support,” a couple wrote. One parent even suggested that the company that administers the state exam is the true party responsible for the cheating fiasco at P.S. 58. “The fault more likely lies with McGraw-Hill than with the principal,” he said. Hoping to clear Plush-Saly of the allegations, a parent recommended that the city conduct several investigations into the cheating scandal. “We need to officially request an independent investigation, perhaps [by] a noted audit firm…or the Police Department,” the parent wrote. Also posted on the message board was a letter that a group of parents, calling themselves the “Committee of Concerned P.S. 58 Parents,” recently sent to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, in which they asked him to speed up the city Department of Education’s (DOE) investigation into what happened at the school. In the letter, they state, “We strongly believe that Ms. Saly is entitled to a prompt and thorough investigation…We say this not only for Ms. Saly’s sake, but for our own as well. Our children need a stable and fully functional environment to continue the strong education they have been receiving under her leadership.” As a result of the administration shakeup, some parents have begun looking for new schools for their children, the parents explain. “This is especially heartbreaking given the great strides P.S. 58 has made under Ms. Saly to attract new parents,” as printed in the letter. “One way or another, we will not tolerate P.S. 58 and our children being left adrift in a sea of political crosscurrents inimical to the welfare of our school.”