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News in Brief: Cheating Scandal at Ill. School

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Cheating Scandal at Ill. SchoolForces Resignation of Teacher

A cheating scandal has forced a Chicago high school to relinquish its state academic-decathlon title.

Steinmetz High School was stripped of the 1995 Illinois Academic Decathlon honor after students from last year's team said the coach, Gerald Plecki, an English teacher, gave them answers, which they memorized. Mr. Plecki resigned last week. He admitted cheating last year, but denied that students cheated this year.

The title passed to Whitney Young High School in Chicago, which will represent the state at the national competition in Chicago on April 20.

Accreditation Anxiety: Some Connecticut schools fear they may lose their accreditation if district budgets are stretched any further.

As state funding shrinks, it has become more difficult for schools to fulfill state mandates and bring their programs up to snuff, school officials say.

Most schools undergo periodic reviews by an independent accrediting agency. If a high school loses its standing, students may have trouble getting accepted into some colleges.

Nicholas Caruso, senior staff associate for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, said the state's weak economic recovery is the main cause of the troubles.

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