Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Two Dollar Professional Test Taker

Just when you think that you've seen everything, something comes along that just leaves you scratching your head:

A Bronx teacher who repeatedly flunked his state certification exam paid a formerly homeless man with a developmental disorder $2 to take the test for him, authorities said yesterday.

The illegal stand-in - who looks nothing like teacher Wayne Brightly - not only passed the high-stakes test, he scored so much better than the teacher had previously that the state knew something was wrong, officials said.

"I was pressured into it. He threatened me," the bogus test-taker Rubin Leitner told the Daily News yesterday after Special Schools Investigator Richard Condon revealed the scam.

"I gave him my all," said Leitner, 58, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a disorder similar to autism. "He gave me what he thought I was worth."

Brightly, 38, a teacher at one of the city's worst schools, Middle School 142, allegedly concocted the plot to swap identities with Leitner last summer. If he failed the state exam again, Brightly risked losing his $59,000-a-year job.

The piece goes on to say that about 95% of teachers that take the exam ultimately pass it. As for soon-to-be-ex-teacher Wayne Brightly, he has been taken out of his Baychester classroom pending the outcome of the case. But when dealing with New York City's weird and wacky school system, one can never be sure.

Tipped by: Leather Penguin
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