A New York City elementary school principal committed suicide after being accused of tampering with 3rd grade Common Core English tests at the Teachers College Community School in West Harlem. Jeanene Worrell-Breeden, 49, jumped in front of the B train the same day that her 3rd grade class took the Common Core English exam and a whistle blower turned her in for cheating to the Department of Education.
The Daily Mail reports that Jeanene Worrell-Breeden was reported to the Department of Education for tampering with 3rd grade English tests the same day that the students completed the exams. That same evening, Jeanene would jump in front of the B train on St. Nicholas Avenue, claiming her own life.
Families of students at Teachers College Community School were shocked to learn of the death of principal Worrell-Breeden. The families were simply told she died in a crash, but later learned of her true fate after an investigation into the Common Core tests taken by the 3rd grade students was completed. According to the New York Post, investigations into the tests determined that they had been tampered with and were void.
The school’s spokesperson says that the claims against the late principal were substantiated and the case has since been closed due to her untimely passing.
“Principal Worrell-Breeden was the subject of allegations of testing improprieties. An investigation substantiated these allegations, and we closed the investigation following her tragic passing.”
The school did not give further detail on exactly what the principal did to tamper with the tests, they only noted that all tests were red-flagged and determined to be void.
The suicide death of the principal brings to light the stress and anxiety that many education professionals feel as a result of the high-stakes Common Core testing. A veteran educator told the New York Post that the testing is the reason many veteran educators are leaving the system.
“A lot of people are getting sick and leaving the system because of the pressure the high-stakes tests are putting on them.”
Others seemed shocked at the principal’s suicide over the Common Core tests as they say she always seemed so reassuring when it came to testing.
“She was reassuring us parents. Her whole attitude was that they’re going to breeze through this test, and that she had prepared them to ace any test. She had them run around the gym cheering to get rid of their nervousness.”
Though the allegations of cheating on the Common Core tests seem to be the last factor in the principal committing suicide, those close to the woman say she had numerous personal problems, as well.
“Her grandmother died last year. Her husband moved out last year. He had a child with another woman. She was under a lot of pressure at home. She was the first principal at that school so she was trying to make. . . a good impression. Maybe all that pressure, added to what was going on at home, got to her.”
Do you think Common Core tests put too much pressure on teaching professionals?
[Image Credit: Teacher’s College]