December 8, 2021

Librarian attacked for exposing cheating and fraud in Miami-Dade schools

Awarding federal funds to cheaters

Trevor W. Colestock is a Library Media Specialist at Miami Norland Senior High School. Colestock is also a liaison for Miami-Dade Professional Development and United Teachers of Dade (UTD) union Building Steward.

Colestock discovered teachers were cheating and being rewarded with Race To The Top and School Improvement Grant funds. This constitutes fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer money.

Cleveland E. Roberts, III, PBS DEAN, Asst. Basketball Coach/Head JV Coach and UTD Designated Building Steward, sent a letter to all the UTD members of Norland SHS titled “Response to Trevor’s Blog“. Roberts in his letter writes, “Due to the enormous amount of attention that this Testing incident has drawn to the school from the OIG, The Miami Herald, WSVN and;  and because I am mentioned in the online blog I am compelled to make a statement to you.”

Roberts states, “I understand my job as a teacher and UTD Building Steward. I am not an agent for the Office of the Inspector General or the Office of the Auditor General. I do not investigate cases against my colleagues, I do not gather evidence against my co- workers, nor do I recommend that they not receive bonuses that are due to them for their hard work.  I am not a “Watchdog”. That is not my job!! I report incidents!”

Does cheating constitute “hard work” and deserve a “bonus”? Hear no fraud, see no waste and say nothing about abuses.

Roberts then attacks Colestock. Roberts states, “I am deeply disturbed and disheartened to think that a staff member [Colestock] feels that our students are not intelligent enough to pass a test without cheating and that our teachers are not working hard enough in the classroom. Are we not entitled to our monetary bonuses because of an investigation?”

Colestock responded to the Roberts letter as follows:

“As for the allegation of me questioning our students’ intelligence, that is ridiculous. The investigation, and the articles, focus on instances of cheating and its impact on the scores, questioning performance and not intelligence.

We all know, as our students have demonstrated, that when our students study and apply themselves, they are capable of great things-the prime example being our increase in reading comprehension from 17% to 30% over the past two school years.

However, the level of productivity is a great disparity. The increase of passing students from 17 to 452 with scores 175-241 above the national average and completed in 8-22 minutes below the national average, coupled with cheat sheets and student testimony, tells anyone with common sense something is amiss. Moreover, when there are multiple records of unsatisfactory performance and there exists a passing score in 10-20 minutes, that is highly questionable. Put in context with reading levels and various EOC performance, this level of performance is unusual, especially given the presence of cheat sheets and student testimony.

This questions performance, not intelligence. The report and the evidence speaks for itself.”

Colestock exposed the cheating at Norland SHS, reported it, an Inspector General inquiry confirmed the cheating and actions are being taken to remedy the situation.

Howard Howe II, former US Commissioner of Education under President Lyndon Johnson, wrote, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks of education.”

EDITORS NOTE: Trevor Colestock is a volunteer citizen journalist who contributes to Watchdog Wire – Florida. Colestock receives no remuneration other than given a platform to tell the truth about what is happening in the public school system in Florida.

Dr. Richard Swier

Dr. Rich Swier is the Editor of Watchdog Wire – Florida. He 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.