University Preparatory Charter High School (Uprep)

School mired in claims of cheating: Former University Prep teachers issue scathing report -- state clamps down (San Francisco Chronicle, July 8, 2007)

University Preparatory Charter High School in East Oakland bills itself as a high-end academy where students attract recruiters from the nation's top universities.

Photos of young scholars in caps and gowns grace its Web site above the names of colleges that accepted them -- Oberlin, Dartmouth, Pomona, Whitman.

But that bright image belies a grim truth: Someone at this inner-city public school, also known as Uprep, is cheating.

The state Department of Education has just concluded for the second year in a row that one or more adults interfered with state-required testing at the school. This spring, state investigators seized copies of 2005 tests being illegally used to prepare students for the 2007 exams.

State rules require that test booklets be turned in at the conclusion of testing each year because many exam questions remain the same. At Uprep, someone photocopied the 2005 test books and kept them…

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Charter school's director resigns (The Oakland Tribune, July 14, 2007)

The founder and director of an East Oakland charter school has resigned amid mounting evidence of cheating, falsifying course credits and other unethical conduct.

Isaac Haqq founded the University Preparatory Charter Academy, a high school known as Uprep, in 2001. The school's Web site boasts of high expectations, college-level electives and academic excellence, and Haqq has told the Tribune that he encourages his students to broaden their horizons by applying to colleges outside of California.

But for the second time in less than two years, the Oakland school district staff is deciding whether to close the school.

State education officials have documented evidence of cheating and security breaches on standardized tests administered in 2006 and 2007. Teachers, too, have raised concerns about the leadership at the school, from Haqq's rigid student-tracking system to the fudging of course titles and credits.

In a May letter written to a member of the school's governing board, teacher Bob Martel wrote: "It is clear to the staff that STAR irregularities at UPREP form a pattern of behavior as opposed to a singularity. Because of this phenomenon and the other seven areas of concern, we recommend that the Executive Director be removed ..."

Haqq could not be reached for comment Friday. His departure will be taken into consideration as the Oakland school district determines how to proceed, said Allison Sands, who has been overseeing Oakland's charter schools on an interim basis.

But, Sands said, more questions remain.

In June, the charter school's governing board responded to allegations of testing irregularities, grade and transcript changes, attendance-reporting discrepancies, course content rigor, intimidation of students, improper firings, arbitrary tracking of students and other concerns…

This isn't the first time Uprep has faced possible closure -- or allegations of cheating. Last year, the district threatened to revoke the school's charter over administrative matters, such as its failure to administer the California English Language Development Test.

But in April 2006, then-State Administrator Randolph Ward decided to keep Uprep open. According to board minutes, Ward stated he was satisfied with the school's plans to remedy those problems.

Not long after Ward's decision, state department of education officials began looking into a suspicious pattern of erasures on the school's 2006 standardized tests. Staff has since determined that adult tampering did take place, and has invalidated the scores, said Bill Padia, deputy superintendent for assessment and accountability for the California Department of Education…

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Students' stolen dreams: Charter school board votes to shut Uprep, after Chronicle reports grades, test scores, attendance figures were changed (San Francisco Chronicle, August 1, 2007)

The governing board of Oakland's troubled University Preparatory Charter Academy unexpectedly closed the school Tuesday, leaving hundreds of students in the lurch just weeks before the start of a new school year.

After an hour of discussion and deliberation, the board voted 3-1 to shut the school amid allegations of test-score cheating, manipulation of student grades and transcripts and fraudulent collection of state funding…

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