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NYC’s high school equivalency program is a complete boondoggle

New York Post

For adults seeking a high-school equivalency diploma through the city Department of Education, your odds are slim to none. Despite a $52 million budget last fiscal year, the DOE’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education, OACE, says it awarded only 150 diplomas — less than half as many as the year before. The lame results alarm City Councilman Daniel Dromm, chairman of the education committee, who held a hearing on adult-ed in September after a Post report. Daniel DrommErik Thomas “These students are people looking to the DOE to give them a chance of success in life. We can’t crush their dreams,” Dromm said Friday. The DOE enrolls about 28,700 students age 21 and up who failed or dropped out of high school, or came to America with few English skills. They need a HS equivalency diploma to enter community college or land a stable job. Insiders blame the failure on “gross mismanagement” by OACE Superintendent Rose-Marie Mills. Instead of focusing on teacher training and curriculum, she demands excessive “post-testing” as soon as after 12 hours of instruction to gauge student gains. The data gives the program an inflated rating by the state, but does not prepare students for the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), which students must pass to graduate. Administrators also put up roadblocks to take the TASC to avoid a high failure rate, they said. “It seems the…

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Santa's just the latest thing NYC has sucked the joy out of

New York Post

Santa Claus is coming to town — take a number, kids! More On: santa claus Santa busted with a crack pipe Man dressed as Santa Claus arrested for deadly Halloween party shooting Grinch at the US Air Force claims Santa Claus isn't real Santa found dead In a first since it began the tradition 155 years ago, Macy’s Herald Square will require reservations to get lap time with the world’s most famous department store St. Nick. “Santa’s a popular guy, so the wait times to meet him have been quite long in previous years,” Macy’s explained on its website. “The new reservation …

Bad Uber driver gets pulled over, tries to impersonate a federal officer: cops

New York Post

A disgraced correction officer who took up work as an Uber driver was nabbed for pretending to be a federal officer, Port Authority cops said Saturday. Andrew T. Kessler, 36, of Queens, was stopped at the Holland Tunnel toll plaza in Jersey city when an officer spotted him gabbing on his cell phone, authorities said. Kessler handed the cop a US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons identification card with his photo, and a shield — but the cop called the card out as a fake, and arrested Kessler for impersonating a public servant. Kessler was busted last year for stealing n…

Beaten straphanger: I have no ill will toward the NYPD

New York Post

“When I filed my report, I apologized. I didn’t mean to paint the police in a bad light. It was not about that. I wanted to make the community safe,” victim Sam Saia told The Post. “They are going above and beyond to help me.” Saia, 37, was riding the N train in Brooklyn on the way to work in Midtown 7:15 am Thursday when a hooded stranger sat next to her and “proceeded to press me against the wall” because he splayed his legs wide — a rude practice known as “manspreading.” When she asked for some room, the man exploded, cursing Saia and then punching her in the mouth, leaving he…

‘Perv’ dentist was obsessed with patient’s fake boobs: suit

New York Post

A Central Park South dentist was obsessed with a patient’s fake boobs and pressured a worker into giving him oral sex, a lawsuit alleges. Joseph Levy would make his all-female staff cringe with commentary on their bodies, and openly fixated on “one patient in particular, who was the ex-wife of a movie star,” two employees claim in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit against the doc. Levy got worse after his second divorce, allege Chrisna Idawati and Mari-Len Zaragoza. Idawati, a part-time employee, claims the dentist told her “you actually need to be nice to me. You applied for a job with me…

New Yorkers split over whether to nix Christopher Columbus

New York Post

New Yorkers got their first chance Friday to sound off on Christopher Columbus — and they split nearly evenly over whether statues honoring the famed explorer should be removed from city property. The occasion was the first hearing of Mayor de Blasio’s Commission on City Art, Monuments at Queens Borough Hall, which is supposed to recommend whether statues of controversial figures should be yanked or modified. An MTA bus operator who said he was representing the Knights of Columbus questioned why the city was even dealing with the issue. “There are so many other things more impo…

Legal bill for NYCHA flubs might cost taxpayers $100M

New York Post

Lawyer Robert Vilensky, who’s handled lead-poisoning cases for more than 25 years, said revelations by the Department of Investigation handed a wealth of evidence to plaintiffs in a pending class-action suit in Manhattan federal court. The DOI found that NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye filed federal paperwork that falsely claimed 55,000 apartments had been tested annually for lead-paint hazards and signed one form last year even though she knew it wasn’t true. “Federal court judges have immense power to fashion remedies. The court could significantly fine them for falsifying documents. …

‘Manspreader’ arrested for punching subway rider in the face

New York Post

Derek Smith, 56, of Brooklyn, was busted and charged with assault, officials said. “This is amazing news and I’m relieved that he is unable to harm anyone else or retaliate against me,” relieved victim Sam Saia told The Post. “Excellent news!” Saia, 37, was riding the N train through Bensonhurst while on her way to work in Manhattan when the man sat down and started overcrowding her around 7:45 a.m. Thursday. “He proceeded to press me against the wall and man spread me excessively,” she wrote on Facebook after the incident. “When I asked him to give me room, h…

Docs busted for dozens of illegal plastic surgeries

New York Post

A pair of Manhattan doctors were indicted Thursday for performing illegal surgeries on over 60 patients at an Upper East Side clinic and permanently disfiguring one victim, according to the state Attorney General’s office. More On: doctors World's first human head transplant a success, professor says Widow blames nurse for provoking ex-husband’s suicide Nurse posed as doc to convince women to send her nudes First digital pill approved lets doctors track patients' meds Brad Jacobs, whose plastic surgery license was revoked in 2007 for misconduct — including for al…

Coup spells trouble for NYU grad charged with insulting Mugabe

New York Post

The military coup in Zimbabwe that saw the army seize control of dictator Robert Mugabe’s government last week may not be good news for a New Jersey woman fighting charges of insulting the president. Martha O’Donovan, 25, was charged earlier this month with referring to Mugabe, 93, as “a selfish man and a sick man.” The Oct.11 tweet included an illustration of a man using a catheter and a photo of Mugabe with a circle drawn around his stomach. Although Mugabe appears to be losing his hold on power, it’s unclear if his imminent ouster will affect O’Donovan’s case. O’Donovan, who spen…

Boozed-up straphanger smacks fellow rider in head with bottle

New York Post

This is the sleepy-eyed straphanger who police say smashed his booze bottle over another passenger’s head during a scuffle on a Brooklyn train. The attacker and his 33-year-old victim were on a southbound 2 train on Nov. 8 at 11:10 p.m. when they began squabbling, cops said. As the victim got off the train at the Newkirk Avenue station in Flatbush, his attacker smashed the glass bottle over his head and took off, cops said. The victim captured video of his assailant, who took a couple swigs from the bottle with his eyes closed. The suspect is between 30 and 40 years old with black h…

Italian Americans: De Blasio is enabling monument vandalism

New York Post

About 50 members of Italian American groups protested de Blasio’s controversial monument commission across the street from Columbus Circle outside of Central Park on Saturday, the day after the public got its first chance to weigh in at a Queens hearing. “He’s emboldened a kind of disrespect for our community,” protest organizer Phil Foglia, 65, said. The Christopher Columbus Preservation Coalition also wrote a letter to de Blasio saying the review “has exacerbated ill will and enabled those who would deface monuments.” Two of the city’s Columbus monuments have been vandalized with “b…

Clues point to mystery buyer of $450M da Vinci painting

New York Post

The record-busting auction is over, but the question remains: Who’s the mystery art aficionado who shelled out $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”? Christie’s auction house in Rockefeller Center isn’t giving up the identity of the deep-pocketed buyer, leaving art experts speculating on just who would spend half a billion dollars for a work of art. Art adviser Thomas Seydoux, former head of Impressionist and modern art at Christie’s, guessed the bidder could be a nouveau riche billionaire from China, according to the Financial Times. That’s because the bidding went up in “…

Cuomo considers appointing monitor to oversee embattled NYCHA

New York Post

Gov. Cuomo is considering appointing an independent monitor to oversee the city’s public housing department, after the head of NYCHA was accused earlier this week of falsifying lead inspection documents, a spokesperson for the governor said. “We have continuously expressed concerns with NYCHA’s operational failures and these latest allegations — and potential legal violations — that the agency knowingly committed by exposing New Yorkers to lead paint are particularly disturbing,” he said through Spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer. More On: nycha City has done nothing about …

‘Manspreader’ victim says she got the runaround from NYPD

New York Post

First, a violent, racist “manspreader” socked her in the mouth on a Manhattan-bound subway — and then, she says, cops gave her the runaround. Sam Saia with a busted lip after the altercationFacebook Now, the NYPD’s top transit officer is reaching out to the victim, Sam Saia, 37, in order to speed an investigation. “Sam, I want to investigate this incident,” NYPD Transit Chief Joseph Fox tweeted to Saia on Friday. “Can you kindly follow/DM me so we can get some information?” Saia responded, “Of course. I do have video now as well that a gentleman kindly provided me that clearly shows the m…

Robbers who stole immigrant’s $200K also stole his American dream

New York Post

“It happened too fast,” Bah said in recounting the horrifying 11:05 a.m. incident caught on surveillance footage inside the Prospect Avenue building. The hooded crooks can be seen in the footage grabbing the man as he was walking down the stairs and then dragging him back up the stairs, while wrestling over a shopping bag he was carrying containing a total of $190,000. “He grabs me by the neck…the other guy with a black hat comes running up the stairs at me. He has a gun in his hand,” Bah recalls. “He grabbed my leg. I kick him away, but the man’s arm around my neck is too tight. I ca…

Norman Seabrook’s bribery case declared a mistrial

New York Post

A mistrial has been declared in the Manhattan bribery trial of ex-jail guards union boss Norman Seabrook — ending an often explosive, five-week proceeding. A federal jury was released Thursday afternoon after six days of fruitless deliberations. One juror told reporters that the split on the top bribery conspiracy charge was heavily anti-Seabrook. A full 10 jurors believed that Seabrook and his co-defendant conspired to commit bribery, with the remaining two wanting to acquit. But on the other count charged, wire fraud, jurors were heavily pro-Seabrook. On that charge, which alleged …

Teacher: Drinking from lead-infested school fountain made me ill

New York Post

PS 87 William T. Sherman School teacher Rachel Genicoff learned in February the building’s water had elevated lead levels of over 15 parts per billion, according to her new Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit. A few weeks later, Genicoff, 36, got a bone scan that revealed she had lead-concentration levels more than 2.5 times the average adult, the suit says. Genicoff “regularly drank from the cold-water faucet and the water fountain,” in her classroom from 2007 through 2014 and then when she returned to the school last year, according to court papers. “She was slowly lead-poisoned for ye…