Each month, The Oklahoman's editorial board recognizes a contributor to Your Views for a letter to the editor that exemplifies a timely, fair, accurate and cogent viewpoint. Raoul Carubelli, of Oklahoma City, is the honoree for letters that appeared in Your Views last month. His “School scandals” letter was published Oct. 17.
Meet the writer:
Carubelli, 83, was born in Argentina as the son of Italian immigrants and became a U.S. citizen in 1966. He was educated in Argentina and the University of Minnesota and has a doctorate degree in pharmacy and biochemistry. Carubelli has been a researcher with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute. He also taught biochemistry courses at the college level. He and his wife, Barbara, have two children and two grandchildren.
Regarding "Federal inquiry targets city school" (News, Oct. 4): In July we read disturbing news about sexual scandals involving teachers and students and now we face investigations about alleged serious academic scandals. Complaints about serious academic violations at Douglass Mid-High School prompted parallel investigations by the school district and the U.S. Department of Education.
Reports from former teachers and students include allegations of grades being changed by administrators, and of a student who didn't attend English classes, required for graduation, receiving a passing C. A student who couldn't handle algebra was told to have another student to take the course online; an administrator allegedly collected $250 from this student. Poor attendance records, which have a negative impact on grades, were also altered.
Reports indicate that cheating is rampant and the faculty turnover is alarming. Teachers were ordered not to assign homework and "to pass all students no matter what." Since this school gets federal funding through School Improvement Grants, it appears that these maneuvers were aimed at preserving this funding.
These illegal actions are in conflict with the terms of the federal grants and are detrimental to the academic standing of the students, jeopardizing their ability to pursue higher education or to obtain meaningful employment. We need to get to the bottom of this problem. Any guilty individuals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. A more careful evaluation should be conducted of individuals to be entrusted with the sacred duty to educate our children both morally and academically.
Raoul Carubelli, Oklahoma City