Troubling Jurisprudence in Miami-Dade: The Tale of Two Teachers

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The actions by the Miami-Dade School District in the aftermath of Adobegate have been troubling to say the least and poses interesting questions in terms of justice and fairness for the parties involved.

The Miami-Dade OIG Final Report concluded that, “Miami Norland has benefited in the form of attaining a higher school grade and may have received financial compensation or other benefit resulting from its high pass rate on the industry certification exams” (page 13).

With the assistance of cheating, undertaken by Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin and Mrs. Brenda Muchnick, Miami Norland’s school grade went from a “C” for the 2010-11 school year to an “A” for the 2011-12 school year.

As a result, total federal funds (SIG, RTTT) given out due to a grade influenced by cheating was $100,560; the total state funds per FSRP was between $130,000- $140,000; the total overall combined federal and state incentive funds were $230,560- $240,560.

Each teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School received $1730.41 from all three payouts.

On October 16, 2013, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to terminate Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin for his role in Adobegate, and rightfully so.

On November 19, 2013, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to suspend Mrs. Brenda Muchnick for 30 working days without pay for her role in Adobegate, which boggles the mind.

When Mr. Fleurantin appeared alone on the D55 item of the School Board Agenda on October 16, 2013, something seemed amiss and it was common sense that something was in the works given the disparity in actions taken against them.

Most crimes, such as theft and homicide, have varying degrees; test cheating does not and state law is straightforward and clear.  In any given instance of test cheating, a role is a role; there is no distinguishing a major role from a minor role. Either one was involved or they were not.

Both Mr. Fleurantin and Mrs. Muchnick, according to the Miami-Dade OIG Final Report, allegedly “knowingly and willfully” violated test security rules irrespective of quantity of students in their respective roles.

When one reads that document and the Department of Administrative Hearings brief, issued by the School Board Attorney on January 8, 2014, justifying Mr. Fleurantin’s termination, one can reasonably conclude that Mrs. Muchnick is equally culpable and a reasonable person would think her employment was up for termination as well.

Excerpts concerning the actions of Ms. Muchnick from Mr. Harvey’s brief follow:

18. ‘O.D.’, a minor student, revealed to the OIG Investigator that during the 2011-2012 school year Respondent along with another teacher, Ms. Brenda Muchnick, allowed him to use a study guide during his certification exam.

22. During the 2011-2012 school year ‘C.N.,’ ‘A.O.,’ ‘L.T.,’ and ‘R.P’, minor students, were enrolled in Ms. Muchnick’s Dreamweaver class. During the course of the year, Ms. Muchnick took the entire class to take the certification exam. According to both students, Ms. Muchnick, along with an unknown black male teacher, allowed the entire class to use a study guide and a questionnaire with highlighted answers during the certification exam. ‘C.N.’, ‘L.T.’ and ‘A.O.’ stated that the questionnaire was similar to the document discovered by Mr. Gant in the computer lab.

However, this is not the case, and Mrs. Muchnick went back to work at Norland SHS two weeks ago while I am still displaced from there, and the library media program has been shuttered in violation of state law, since October 24, 2013, given my role as the whistleblower in this affair.

The optics of this does not look good and one wonders about the outcomes being anti-labor and questions of race and religion:

How is it that the union member, Mr. Fleurantin, who is black (Haitian) and Christian, is up for termination and his union steward (me), white and Catholic, has been removed from the school three months ago, but Mrs. Muchnick, a non-union member who is white and Jewish, the same religious persuasion as the Chief Human Capital Officer (Enid Weisman) over the process and two influential School Board members (Vice-Chair Dr. Larry Feldman and Dr. Martin Karp), received an inconsequential 30 day suspension without pay (possibly will be made up with supplements to her and/or her husband) and goes back to work at Norland?

One does wonder, especially given that my meritorious Civil Rights Compliance complaint was dismissed and a bogus CRC complaint devoid of merit was processed against me but later dropped last October.

A fair-minded person may conclude that Mr. Fleurantin lacked background, connections, and money, thereby being unable to evade justice like Mrs. Muchnick, and received what was right and just; and I, though contrary to federal and state law, was wrongly moved from Norland not only because I upset the School District, but because I was a white steward who exposed a massive fraud in terms of cheating in conjunction with over $230,000 of awarded federal and state incentive funds to teachers in a predominately African-American school.

http://drrichswier.com/2014/01/20/troubling-jurisprudence-in-miami-dade-a-tale-of-two-teachers/

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Dr. Richard M. Swier, Ed. D., LTC, US Army (Ret.) Richard holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, a Master's Degree in Management Information Systems from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Richard is a 23-year Army veteran who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1990. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his years of service. Additionally, he was awarded two Bronze Stars with “V” for Heroism in ground combat, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry while serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officers Basic and Advanced Courses, and U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Richard was the Founder/CEO of Sarasota Online, a high technology company that was sold to Comcast Cable in 1996. He helped start Backsoft Corporation an enterprise software development company in 1997 whose clients included Coca-Cola, Anheuser- Busch, Hyundai Electronics, Volkswagen, Moen and Goodyear. Backsoft was sold in 2001. Richard twice chaired the Sarasota Better Business Council, sat on the Board of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and served from 2000 to 2009 on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

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