Double-dipping earns high school principal an ‘F’

The majority of teachers and school administrators want their students to learn something in high school, not just get through it.  But not Sharon Smalls, the principal of Jane Addams High School for Academic Careers (“Jane Addams”) in the Bronx.  You see, Principal Smalls has been “double-dipping“.

We’re all familar with the dreaded double-dip when it involves chips or a recession.  What’s an academic double-dip?



Where does this academic double-dipping leave a student?  Well, that depends…  before Principal Smalls’ shenanigans were revealed, students were just being short-changed science and unprepared for further study, but could graduate high school.  After Principal’s Smalls’ shenanigans were revealed, students learned there were short-changed science, unprepared for further study and not on-track to graduate.

“They put me in cosmetology because we don’t have chemistry,” she said. “This could really affect me, my graduation — I wanted to go to N.Y.U. for criminal justice. Now I don’t know if I’ll graduate.” (except from here)

In 2007, the year Smalls became principal, an often seen headline was ‘U.S. Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test‘.  A few years into her tenure, a 2010 report revealed 12th-graders’ scores up in math and reading, but this uptick didn’t get U.S. teens on par with their international counterparts.  Clearly, Principal Smalls is unconcerned with these scores.   No, Principal Small is more concerned with the number of students she can graduate – by any means necessary.

A school-issued “Dual Credited Course Table” obtained by the Daily News used course codes to show teachers how to award bogus credits to nearly all of the 720 student body. (excerpt from here)

Jane Addams math teacher Stephen Tavona reported this case of academic double-dipping last week.

“It’s criminal what’s been going on at this school,” said math instructor Stephen Tavano, 58, who has taught at Jane Addams for 19 years. “Our students are being cheated out of an education.”  (excerpt from here)

Damn right they are!  You know who else is being cheated?  We are.  We are being cheated out of scientifically literate high school graduates (who, at 18, are old enough to vote).  We are being cheated out of students who are prepared for a college-level science class.  We are potentially being cheated out of future scientists.  

What will happen to the students of Jane Addams?  That’s up to the New York Department of Education.  What will happen to Principal Smalls?  That’s also up to the New York Department of Education.  I hope they throw the book at her and anyone else complicit in this double-dipping.




Editorial Material & MethodsmEqual parts righteous indignation and Strongbow were used to construct this post.


Video image credits:
lab class image from, cosmetology class image from, and student stick image | shit creek figure inspired by
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