By Shirley N Lew
AsAmNews New York Correspondent
Chinese American parents invested in their child’s academic future in a learning facility only to be misled by false claims. So says New York’s State Attorney General.
Xpeed Fun Academy, a learning center based in Queens, NY has reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to pay back $60,000 to parents. The learning center heavily advertised in Chinese language newspapers and promised parents that their child would advance as much as three grades higher.
Xpeed promised to turn failing students around and claimed that ten-year-old students can finish high school and become prodigies by way of their special learning methodology and one-on-one tutoring.
I reached out to Xpeed Founder Maverick Bian on Tuesday for a response to the settlement and about the letter he wrote to President Obama on how Xpeed “can revamp the U.S. current schooling system, making it more competitive down the road.”
RELATED: View Bian’s open letter to President Obama.
“We feel we kept our promises. All our students are in this field, three to five, even seven grades higher,” said Bian exclusively to AsAmNews in a telephone interview. “We have a solid record. We’ve made miracles happen, we actually (have) done this. We can cut short a lot of our students’ lives (in school). Students at age nine are working on SAT.”
I asked, “How many ten year olds from your learning centered graduated from high school?” Listen to the interview.
He basically kept talking over me, so I let him go on to see what he might say. He dodged my question about the ten year olds, but a simple number would have sufficed, yet he kept insisting that I come in and interview the students and that I should not “just sit in a a room and make comments.”
It was last summer when students began to complain to their parents that they been given iPads to self teach with a learning program that is already available to the general public. Parents alerted a local Chinese reporter, Amy Chen, who then pulled in Senior Director of Chinese Freemasons, Karlin Chan, for assistance.
In his statement, Chan said, “At the time I thought it may have been just a couple of unsatisfied parents, but at our first meeting 15 parents showed up. I later found out that Xpeed had “campuses ” in Manhattan’s Pace college, Queens, Brooklyn, upstate NY and Princeton University. Upon investigation, they rented a room in the senior class dining hall. I spent the next couple of weeks separating parents into groups based on borough and involved elected officials, Assemblymen Ron Kim in Queens and Peter Abate in Brooklyn to help.”
It was announced Thursday at Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim’s office that a settlement was reached two weeks ago. Under the settlement, Xpeed did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $60,000 in restitution to parents, end their deceptive advertising and change their refund policy.
“This company took advantage of parents’ natural desire to go the extra mile to help their children achieve academic success,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “These devoted parents spent thousands of dollars to try to help their children succeed. But Xpeed was a company that touted empty promises, squandering parents’ hard-earned money and their children’s limited academic time. I am pleased that we have been able to secure restitution for these affected families, while also sending a message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.”
Founder, Maverick Bian charged $3500 per student and that upon completing the course, claims students would be at least three grades ahead at the end of an eight week course. He also advertises an eight week summer program for as much as $10,000.
An investigation by the State Attorney General revealed that the college students that were hired as tutors received no prior training.
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