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100+ Miami-Dade teachers may be fired for buying


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106 teachers may be fired in Miami-Dade for buying fake credentials

by Ihosvani Rodriguez

Miami Bureau, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

September 1, 2005


The head of Miami-Dade County Public Schools on Wednesday vowed to fire as many as 106 teachers named in an accreditation scandal in which teachers are accused of paying for fake credentials.


Miami-Dade authorities released the names of the teachers suspected of being involved in the scam and the sworn statements some have given to prosecutors.


The teachers are accused of paying for phony college credits to renew their teaching certificates or to get special endorsements in different subjects, officials said.


Prosecutors have not filed any charges as authorities say they violated school district policy, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.


School Superintendent Rudy Crew said during a news conference on Wednesday that his office has launched an investigation and will fire the teachers -- even though school is under way -- if district investigators substantiate the allegations.


The announcement comes about a month and a half after a Miami-Dade grand jury indicted former teacher William McCoggle on charges of running an organized scheme to defraud. Authorities said McCoggle issued fake college credits and transcripts to teachers through Moving on Toward Education and Training.


McCoggle, a longtime Palmetto Senior High School teacher who taught physical education for 22 years before retiring this summer, sold bogus credits from Eastern Oklahoma State College, investigators said. His company also had deals with at least four other universities, school officials said.


Six teachers have come forward and told prosecutors that they paid for academic credits without ever taking any classes. School officials said most of the teachers avoided scrutiny by submitting their fake credentials directly to state officials and not to the local system.


Crew asked the state's accrediting agency, the Florida Department of Education, to assist the investigation. The state agency has given some of the teachers a year to retake the courses they received credit for through the scheme. School officials acknowledged on Wednesday that the teachers have been given the option to resign.


"As an educational enterprise, we will not tolerate people who devalue learning by using fraud to avoid it themselves," Crew said in a written statement.


Records show that teachers on the list work throughout the county, both in affluent and impoverished neighborhoods. The subjects they teach range from science to driver education and include all grades.


Some teachers began their careers as far back as 1968, while others have been with the system for a few years.



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