The Ivy Coach Daily

April 24, 2020

Long Island Public Schools

Roslyn High School is one of America’s top public schools (photo credit: Mschwartz20).

Many of Long Island’s public schools are among the very best public schools in the nation. Schools like The Wheatley School, Jericho Senior High School, Garden City High School, Manhasset Secondary School, Great Neck South High School, Great Neck North High School, Cold Spring Harbor High School, Syosset Senior High School, North Shore Senior High School, Roslyn High School, Half Hollow Hills High School East, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Plainview Old Bethpage JFK High School, and Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School are among the Long Island public schools that regularly appear near the top of high school rankings. And just how competitive are these schools with one another? Look no further than HBO’s newly released feature, Bad Education, which we give two thumbs up.

HBO’s Bad Education Focuses on Roslyn School District Scandal

HBO’s Bad Education, starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, brings to life a scandal that rocked Roslyn High School in the early aughts. As our loyal readers may know, Ivy Coach was born in Roslyn Heights, New York, though not within the Roslyn district lines. Back in 2004, then Roslyn Union Free School District superintendent, Dr. Frank Tassone, was caught hoodwinking the district to the tune of millions of dollars. One of his direct reports also embezzled taxpayer dollars earmarked for the schools and Tassone, a man who was widely credited with making Roslyn one of the very best school districts in the nation, helped the school board cover it up. And while Tassone had his own motive to cover up the embezzlement (he didn’t want his own unscrupulousness exposed!), why would the school board cover it up?

At Roslyn High School, It Was All About Ivy League Acceptances

As the film references at many junctures, Roslyn didn’t want the scandal jeopardizing their college acceptances. The school had been setting records with acceptances to the likes of Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and other elite universities and, as Hugh Jackman’s character correctly points out in the film, these institutions are known to stop admitting waves of students from schools that are enveloped by scandal. Jackman’s character also correctly points out that Long Island property values are heavily tied to the prestige of the school districts, and that word of a scandal could adversely impact the then surging property values.

A Future Dartmouth Student Journalist Brought Down the House of Cards

If you happen to be from Long Island, it’s a film that’s definitely worth checking out — especially since you’ve likely already finished all Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+ content during these days of the pandemic. It’s especially cool that it was a Roslyn High School student who helped shine a lantern on the scandal and speak truth to power by publishing a piece in the student newspaper that other journalists, including those from Newsday and The New York Times, would subsequently pick up. Yes, high school journalists can actually break real news on occasion! They don’t just have to write about school sports, school spirit, and cafeteria food. In fact, that journalist would go on to write for America’s oldest college newspaper, The Dartmouth.

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