Tuesday, May 3, 2016

POTUS16: Presidential Election: Thinking About Post Election Populist Movements on the Left (and Right)

Is there a post election future of the Sanders movement?
(It Won't Be Over Even if Hillary is Nominee: Sand...)
Is there a post election future for Trump supporters, especially if he loses to Hillary? Tea Party morphing into populists? Probably not.

Are there any areas of unity between Bernie and Trump people? Trump people are wooing and as I pointed out recently POTUS16: On Elections and Political Parties - Part... some Bernie supporters among MORE readers and people I met at NPE - these are not right wingers -  will not vote for Hillary but Trunp - others will go 3rd party.

Look at this comment on that post: If you are "meeting too many people" who will vote for Trump, I think you should take stock of the kind of places you are frequenting - clearly someone who would shun any contact with a Trump supporter. I find that amusing but don't have time go get into the "who you hang out with" stuff - I know lots of people on the left who live in a bubble of their own.

What about the role our union on the city, state and national level play in the Democratic party?

Can the Democratic Party be moved left generally?

Can the Democratic Party be moved away from ed deform?

Many people on the left have given up on the Democratic Party - don't read any further here until you read: New Politics, The Sanders Campaign and the Left which points out the bankruptcy of the party and how there is no hope without some kind of 3rd party - think of the disappearance of the Whigs in the 1850s and the foundation of the Republican Party. Also in England how parties have come and gone.

Will your vote have an impact in UFT elections? Let's leave that for another time other than to say if you vote for Unity it won't.

I have few answers to these questions but intend to explore some of them over the next few months. While I have this stuff on my mind I will put a bunch of stuff up today before it all disappears in a vapor.

Let's face it. I am not happy with either Clinton, Obama, Cuomo, De Blasio and some of the frustration actually has driven me more to the right of the left where I used to be. My libertarian tendencies cannot be suppressed. I believe Hillary will not be a good president - for a lot of reasons. As one who had the Nixon threat drummed into me since 1960 I find it amusing to see people pining for Hillary who is to the right of Nixon.

Some of my blogging colleagues say hold your noses and vote for Hillary to keep Trump away.

Hillary is a neocon as the April 24 NY Times mag pointed out plus others: How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk - The New York ... see below for a list of Hillary as neocon articles.

The anti-capitalist left often talks about Hillary's neo-liberalism - which is not the same as neo-con: Anti-Capitalist Meetup: How Neoliberal is Hillary Clinton?

I put up a post the other day from Counterpunch that called for Bernie to run as 3rd party on the Green ticket. I think that is pretty impossible to imagine but did get a hissy fit comment from someone who is clearly a Hillary supporter:
This is what the paranoid style of politics ('progressive' edition) looks like. In the very unlikely event this advice were to be actually followed, Bernie would end up as the pathetic Henry Wallace of his generation or worse, Ralph Nader on steroids. Either way it would stab the 'political revolution' in the heart. OTOH, it would be so satisfying to the Dilettante Left!
Ah yes, the Dilettante left coming from a Dilettante "hold your nose" Hillary supporter. When you hold your nose and vote for her better get a clothespin.

Stab the political revolution in the heart? Like voting for Hillary is not stabbing the political revolution in the heart? Like is there any chance the Democratic Party will ever become progressive? You have to look far and wide to find a New Deal Democrat and look at education alone - public ed knifed in the back time and again and Hillary will do the same though she may be slicker than Obama in fooling people and she will have Randi/Mulgrew there to run interference for her.

When asked if I am a socialist - in the anti-capitalist vein - I cannot say I am even though many of my political associates would classify themselves as such. I put myself in the left-wing social democrat category which is where Bernie Sanders seems to come from. Of course to the far left and even some of the near left anti-capitalists, an SD is anathema since SDs accept capitalism but want it highly regulated and taxed.

Let's face it. Either Hillary or Trump will be the next president. I am not as hysterical about the outcome if it is Trump as so many others. Is Trump dangerous? They all are dangerous. If looking for a sliver - you won't have to hear "common core" shoved down your throat.

My thinking is driven by where I feel I'm at politically at this point. A registered Democrat, I have never believed very much in the party and have voted 3rd party about 50% of the time (Clinton, Obama first terms, not the 2nd, Nader, etc.). Like so many others I feel the 2-party system has left me with few choices and I believe it is time for a 3rd and maybe 4th viable party or at the very least a realignment. The Bernie and Trump campaigns actually offer post-election opportunities, especially if Hillary wins.

Afterburn: Hillary as a neocon
Hillary is a neocon as the April 24 NY Times mag pointed out plus others: How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk - The New York ...

Others are putting that out there too:
  1. Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary ...

    Jul 04, 2014 · Neocons like the historian Robert Kagan may be connecting with Hillary Clinton to try to regain influence in foreign policy. Credit Left, Stephanie ...
  2. Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite? – Consortiumnews

    ... including editorial writers at the New York Times who mocked Brazil and ... Hillary Clinton is a shill for Wall Street ... Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon ...
  3. Hillary Clinton Seeks Neocon Shelter –...

    ... Hillary Clinton is hoping that ... neocon superstar Robert Kagan told The New York Times in 2014 that ... 48 comments for “ Hillary Clinton Seeks Neocon ...
  4. Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon? | Cato Institute

    Senator Hillary Clinton, MSNBC, ... Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon? By Edward H. Crane. ... the New York Times columnist. Mr.
  5. Daily Kickoff: Hillary Clinton the Neocon? | Dayan...

    Daily Kickoff: Hillary Clinton the Neocon? ... [Eater; NYTimes] BIRTHDAYS: ... Get the Jewish Journal in your inbox.
  6. When Hillary Clinton Out-Neoconned a Neocon - FPIF

    When Hillary Clinton Out-Neoconned a Neocon. ... Hillary Clinton was the recipient of much criticism for her ... (as Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times in 2002 ...

#MORE2016 UFT Election Video: Dan Lupkin and Megan Moskop

I just love these videos showcasing the active members of MORE. Note that these are people on the front end of their careers with a long way to go. As someone who hasn't seen this age group (20s to 40ish) active in the opposition to Unity since the 70s I find that invigorating. Of course we also always track the long-time staying power of people who if they don't see some movement in policy within the UFT can get discouraged or just lose interest. The future of the opposition will not be told when this election ends but over the next year or two when there is no election activity. I dropped in to last night's MORE steering committee meeting and saw signs of post-election planning for the summer series. After the election I'm going to delve into some history and will explore the group dynamics both positive and negative.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

#MORE2016 UFT Election Video: Ashraya Gupta

#MORE2016 UFT Election Video: Marcus McArthur on Why Vote MORE?

Marcus McArthur is running for one of the 7 seats on the high school executive board, seats that are winnable if high school teachers check off the MORE/New Action box on the slate. Watch this video and imagine Marcus and the rest of the high school slate Arthur Goldstein, Ashraya Gupta, Mike Schirtzer, David Garcia-Rosen, Jonathan Halabi, and Kuljit Arhuwalia speaking up for all teachers.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Charter Scam: KIPP and Department of Education Conspire to Hide Graduation Data from Public While Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Money

Real public schools would never be allowed to claim that high school graduation rates or college matriculation rates are "proprietary" or "privileged" or "confidential."

Why does the Education Department's Charter School Program "Office of Innovation and Improvement" defer to KIPP's demand to keep that information secret from the public?
How public are KIPP public schools?
Not as public as real or traditional public schools.
New documents discovered on the U.S. Department of Education's website reveal that KIPP has claimed that information about its revenues and other significant matters is "proprietary" and should be redacted from materials it provides to that agency to justify the expenditure of federal tax dollars, before its application is made publicly available.
So what does a so-called public school like KIPP want to keep the public from knowing?
professor Gary Miron and his colleagues Jessica Urschel and Nicholas Saxton, found that "KIPP charter middle schools enroll a significantly higher proportion of African-American students than the local school districts they draw from but 40 percent of the black males they enroll leave between grades 6 and 8," as reported by Mary Ann Zehr in Ed Week....
Just a few tidbits from this must read from CMD on charter scam:
Center for Media and Democracy exposes KIPP's Efforts to Keep the Public in the Dark while Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies - 

See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/04/13096/exposed-cmd-kipps-efforts-keep-public-dark-while-seeking-millions-taxpayer#sthash.6gTURnoO.dpuf

The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate

Bernie Sanders, to the consternation of critics in the Democratic Party, pundits in the corporate media, and purists on the hard left, has accomplished an amazing thing. Up against Hillary Clinton, surely the biggest, best-funded corporate-backed candidate the Democratic leadership has run since Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984 over three decades ago, the once obscure independent Vermont senator has battled Clinton to almost a draw, down by only some 319 delegates with nearly 900 to go (not counting the corrupt “super delegates” chosen for their fealty to party leaders, not by primary or caucus voting.)
By doing this well, as a proudly declared “democratic socialist” who on the stump has been denouncing the corruption of both the US political and economic systems, and as a candidate who has refused to take corporate money or money from big, powerful donors, instead successfully funding his campaign with only small two and three-digit donations from his supporters, Sanders has exposed not just his opponent, Hillary Clinton, but the entire Democratic Party leadership and most of its elected officials as nothing but hired corporate tools posing as progressive advocates of the people.
But now Sanders faces a truly momentous choice. Defeated by the combined assault of a pro-corporate mass media and by the machinations of the Democratic Party leadership — machinations both long-established with the intent of defeating upstarts and outsiders, like front-loading conservative southern states in the primary schedule, and current, like scheduling only a few early candidate debates and then slotting them at times (like opposite the Super Bowl) when few would be watching them — Sanders knows that barring some major surprise like a federal indictment of Clinton, a market collapse, or perhaps a leak of the transcripts of Clinton’s highly-paid but still secret speeches to some of the nation’s biggest banks, he is not going to win the Democratic nomination.
So does he, after spending months hammering home the reality that Clinton is the bought-and-paid candidate of the the banks, the arms industry, the oil industry and the medical-industrial complex, and after enduring endless lies about his own record spouted by Clinton and her surrogates, go ahead and endorse her as the party’s standard bearer for the general election? Does he walk away and return quietly to Vermont? Or does he instead continue to fight for his “political revolution” by another route?
The first and even the second option would mean the demise of his so-called “political revolution.”
More at:

WTF is Wrong with Americans

Sources in the Poster Student loan debt growth, take your pick of sources. Here's one For-profit school deregulation. http://huff.to/for-profit-dereg Military expenditures, top 15 countures. http://bit.ly/SIPRI-yearbook-2011 This comic adapts some text from Letter of Support for Quebec Students from Nordic Students
Follow Occupy* Posters Tumblr Blog - the main site where all Occupy* Posters stuff gets released. The 20+ most viral works by Occupy* Posters - You may have already seen this stuff making the rounds, or held high on a street near you. Check 'em out! On Facebook On Twitter On Pinterest Occupy* Posters' coolest stuff on shirts
UPDATE: No one has noticed the parody proprietary "school" in this comic, Shareholder's University, or they have but have just not mentioned it in the comments. Of course, no such entity exists by name. However, all publicly-traded "schools" are exactly that: by law, they exist first to benefit shareholders, not students. 

Mulgrew Must Step Down | Teacher Letter in Queens Tribune

Teacher Stephany Verra puts forth a pretty good summary of the Unity Caucus leadership. But even if Mulgrew took her advice Unity Caucus would just put a clone in his place to do the same things. It is time to rally people to break the Unity 60 year power grip on our local, state and national union. Every vote going to MORE/New Action is another nail in their coffin even if we don't win the entire enchilada this time. Break their control over the schools through their district rep management structure. I don't know Stephany Verra but she gets it -- now if she has to get others to vote for MORE/New Action.

Are education departments in local universities virtually empty? My yoga teacher today told me she has one more year to go at Brooklyn College. I have to check with her. If there were a teacher shortage they might actually have to end the ATR crisis.

To The Editor:
Since Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg took office in 2002 and assumed control of New York City schools, the leadership in the IFT has been complicit in the privatization of public school scheme, supportive of incessant testing, allowing UFT members to become victims of age discrimination and ultimately is clearly part of the scheme to deprofessionalize the teaching profession.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, a huge supporter of the highly unpopular Common Core standard and data-driven teaching and learning, has been largely unresponsive to members’ concerns and in many cases pleas for help. What kind of labor leader would ignore his or her numbers? Members pay a tremendous amount in dues every year.
What have they gotten in return? Teachers have been abused, harassed, brought up on false charges and even fired. Teachers in many schools continue to work in hostile environments – with administrators who are incompetent, inexperienced and/or abusive. They continue to harass teachers because they know very well that the UFT will do nothing about it.

The City is currently in the process of settling lawsuits against them brought on by teachers through private attorneys for this abuse and harassment. Is this how taxpayers’ funds for public schools are being wasted? Does the Department of Education really need hundreds of lawyers currently employed by the New York City Department of Education?

Despite what Mulgrew says publicly, the UFT leadership has taken NO steps to improve the working conditions of teachers. None. The education departments in local universities are virtually empty. We are at a precipice of a teacher shortage in New York City. The biggest losers of a teacher shortage will be the students.

Mulgrew must accept the blame for the teacher shortage, miserable working environment in many schools and his reluctance to call for the removal of hundreds of  horrible school administrators still in our schools.

Stephany Verra,
Little Neck


Thursday, April 28, 2016

#MORE2016 UFT Election Video: Michelle Baptiste on Why Vote MORE/New Action


POTUS16: New Politics - The Sanders Campaign and the Left - Part 2

Senator Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic Party nomination for president has certainly energized thousands. It has also rekindled an old debate on the American left that revolves around the question: Should the left join, endorse, support, or work for campaigns in the Democratic Party?... New Politics, The Sanders Campaign and the Left
This is part 2 of my series on POTUS16. (Part 1: POTUS16: On Elections and Political Parties - Part 1).

Can the Democratic Party be taken over by progressive forces or is there a need for a new party? You might term this "The Case Against Bernie."
Sanders remains proud of his opposition to the Patriot Act—still supported by Clinton—which authorized mass surveillance by the National Security Agency. So why didn’t he point out the hypocrisy of a Cabinet member not trusting the government with her personal emails but feeling perfectly fine about the most intimate private data of the rest of us being subject to a vast and secret system of government spying?23
This piece written in October 2015 which is pretty predictive of what has happened to Bernie from New Politics, The Sanders Campaign and the Left. There is so much meat in this piece which delves into history of Bernie like movements in the Democratic Party and how they end up strengthening the 2 party system.

Most people see the left as monolithic. It is far from that and I will be exploring some of the forces on the left when I have time after the UFT elections. Some people suggested MORE endorse Bernie to win over the Bernie people in the elections. Reading this article might provide some insights as to pushback from some of the left to out and out Bernie support.

NOTE: Publishing this does not mean I agree with all aspects but a lot of it does make sense. I do not classify myself as an anti-capitalist socialist but as a left wing social democrat who wants strict controls on capitalism - which is where I think Bernie comes from. This piece comes from the anti-capitalist left. I've highlighted some of the points that strike me. Of interest to us is the relationship of labor unions to the Democratic party - especially the way Randi has embedded our union in the party.

The article does not seem to take into account the Bernie fundraising which has gone beyond Hillary's. Is there a future way forward around Citizen's United? Or is it more likely to dissapate as Hillary throws him a few bones for the platform until he fades into the night?

The Sanders Campaign and the Left
Winter 2016Vol:XV-4Whole #: 60

POTUS16: On Elections and Political Parties - Part 1

I want to do a series of posts exploring where we might be going with the Bernie and Trump movements vis a vis the current 2 party Republican and Democratic Parties which have both drifted way right of where they were - like Hillary and Obama are to the right of Nixon.

The so-called "left" actually has a lot of wings - and at times I feel I have touched base with all of them - just within MORE I've seen a wide range of the left - or to use a broader more inclusive term - "progressives." I think a dividing line is whether one is anti-capitalist or reform capitalism drastically left - the latter is where Bernie Sanders seems to be coming from. The social democrats which is where I put myself.

The idea of a viable party of the left with deep roots might have some legs given the post-election landscape. I posted about this sort of Occupy/Bernie follow-up in Chicago: It Won't Be Over Even if Hillary is Nominee.

It is one thing to become a sort of lobby group. Some people might imagine using the super fund raising ability of Bernie people to fuel such left wing lobby group, which I think is a dead end.

What is needed is a political party of sorts though I can't imagine what that might look like at this point.

Meanwhile there is a war of sorts between our allies over whether to vote for Hillary or not, with even some of our allies seeing Trump as a better alternative to her - especially from teachers outraged by the neo-liberal assault on education and the role Randi and Hillary have played in it - check some of the comments on this blog and I even met at least a few people at the NPE of all places who said they would vote Trump over Hillary. Their thinking was that Hillary will be more of the same while a Trump victory would discredit the neo-liberal, war hawk wing of the Democratic Party - and Randi too and he would be so outrageous that would either move the Democrats to the left or lead to a split in the party and maybe even a split in the Republican Party too.

I am meeting too many people who say Bernie is their first choice and Trump their 2nd. Something is resonating.

I will explore the possibilities based on either outcome in follow-ups.

There are 3 options out there for Bernie people.
Vote for Hillary
Vote 3rd Party
and I know this will drive people crazy - vote for Trump -

Arthur Goldstein at NYC Educator will not vote for Hillary or Trump: Hillary's Haters
Mr. Talk returns to blogging with his reasons why we must vote for Hillary:
As Bernie's Ship Sinks, Please Don't Pull the Rest of Us Down With You

Mr. Talk argues against Arthur's 3rd party vote even in Blue states because he feels Hillary need to be elected with a mandate. Like Obama in 2012? That did a lot of good. I think given Hillary's neo-liberalism a mandate for her would justify those policies and any educator who has seen the assault of  neo-liberalism must take that into account. If you have doubts about Hillary my follow-ups will include proof that Hillary in substance is a middle of the road Republican. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Test Scorer Reports Extremely Poor Math Scores in Central Brooklyn

I have been scoring the state math tests for a few districts in Brooklyn. Most of the scores for elementary and middle school are 0 or 1 out of a total possible of 2 or 3. Many are almost all "0" for the whole sheet. The special ed classes are almost all "0"'s as well.
From the names you can tell that many are probably ESL students. Are these ESL students being instructed in their own language? The extended response questions are mostly reading tests. There are some tests written in Spanish, but if students are not taught in their language, what good does that do?

Those who support testing often say that we need the tests to show the schools/areas that "need" support.
Well testing to do this has gone on for over 10 years. Where is the "support" for these schools? Many have classes of 30 and over.

I think this has to be a major point going forward.....okay we know these areas need support and major resources....WHERE is it? It is time for ALL the money going into tests to be spent supporting these schools.

Many teachers are upset by the low scores, but some say it is the teachers fault. Teachers are soooo "uneducated". Many say that students need to learn to take the tests as they will have to take the tests later in their lives. 

Thank you UFT for "not educating" teachers.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Damned by her own words - Fariña Speaks of Partnership with UFT/Unity in purging bad teachers

Farina leads hunt for bad teachers
Before we can even think about removing bad teachers, bad principals have to go first. Many of the bad teachers who leave move up to supervisor and it is often these people that Farina is telling to go after "bad" teachers. And she protects these people. As long as even a few principals act on V is for Vendetta principles the UFT should be digging its heals in the sand.

Here's a deal - for every "bad" teacher let's get rid of a bad principal.

An illuminating piece from Politico.
Fariña insisted the union was not interfering with her plans for firing ineffective teachers. “We have worked very collaboratively with the U.F.T.,” she said, adding, “If I’m getting pushback from the U.F.T. [on individual teachers] I or someone on my team is going to get involved.”

Fariña has repeatedly said she believes new provisions in the U.F.T. contract will help get weak teachers out of the classroom, including moving teachers out of the Absent Teacher Reserve (A.T.R.), a controversial pool of teachers who have been removed from the classroom but remain on the payroll.

Fariña said asking principals to weed out their weakest teachers has been her “first statement when I get into any school visit. ... I repeat it over and over again."

Fariña said, “I literally told the principal, ‘I will be back at the end of April, and so-and-so better not be here.’”
 - POLITICO  Capital New York 
The witch hunts are on. How nice to have a collaborationist UFT.
Jonathan Halabi said it on WBAI Monday night and I said it to the school I visited when they asked how we would be different than Unity? Farina would not be able to say any of the above about the union as the DOE will get severe pushback on wasting these resources on the bad teacher hunting expeditions. Because before we can even think about removing bad teachers, bad principals have to go first.

I love this line the best:
Fariña has appointed a D.O.E. official whose primary role is instructing principals on how to properly write letters about certain teachers to keep in their files.
You see, they have a plan while teachers are given no plan by the UFT to defend themselves.


Diane Ravitch touched on the bad teacher rap in her dialogue with Whitney Tilson when he asked:
• Some teachers are phenomenal, most are good, some are mediocre, and some are truly terrible.
This spread is probably the same in every other profession. Those who are “truly terrible” should be removed before they achieve tenure; most, I suspect, leave early in their career because they can’t control their classes. We actually have many more successful teachers than most people believe; as states have reported on their new evaluation systems, more than 95% of teachers have been rated either “Highly effective” or “Effective.” Very few fell below those markers. Frankly, teaching these days is so difficult that it takes a very strong person to handle the responsibilities of the classroom.
My response is that many of the bad teachers who leave move up to supervisor and it is often these people that Farina is telling to go after bad teachers.

MORE/New Action on the Radio Monday, April 25, 7-8 PM - Jia Lee (President), Camille Eterno (Secretary) and Jonathan HalabiMonday, April 25, 7-8 PM

UPDATED, Monday April 25 10 AM

Hear from three of the candidates running on the MORE/NAC slate (Movement of Rank & File Educators/New Action Coalition) in the upcoming UFT elections. Jia Lee (President), Camille Eterno (Secretary) and Jonathan Halabi (High School Executive Board) will explain why our membership needs new leaders in our union. Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus has controlled the UFT for over 50 years, and it’s time for a change. The UFT must stop collaborating with politicians and start building strong school chapters as well as unity with school communities and students, and effectively fight the forces that are working to privatize public education. Issues include: High Stakes Testing, the charterization of public schools, lack of union democracy, weakening of tenure and teachers rights, demoralization of the teaching profession, importance of Social Justice Unionism, and so much MORE!

Jia Lee, candidate for President
Jia is currently a 4th/5th grade special education teacher and is chapter leader at the Earth School in District 1 and a public school parent. As chapter leader, she supported staff consultation committees on issues from micromanagement and professional conciliation and fostered mediation to
support a democratic culture. She testified before the U.S. HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Senate Committee, on the reauthorization of ESEA. She is an opt out organizer with Change the Stakes and NYC Opt Out, a member of the Stronger Together Caucus and a national network of social justice caucuses.
Camille Eterno, candidate for Secretary
Camille has been an English teacher since 1996. She was elected to chapter leader at the Queens Gateway to Health Sciences and won grievances that were said to be unwinnable and organized her chapter into a force at many union rallies. As a leader in the Independent Community of Educators, she was instrumental in the battle against the giveback laden 2005 contract. She is now a delegate from
Humanities and the Arts High School in Queens.
Jonathan Halabi, High School Division Candidate for Executive Board
Jonathan is a UFT Chapter leader and a math teacher at the H.S. of American Studies at Lehman College.  He’s been on the UFT Ex. Board 2009 to the
present. Jonathan has said “Teaching is an honorable career. We help kids learn and grow. Their success is our reward. But not if we are mistreated. Not if our voices are ignored. Not if decisions that affect our schools are made out of incompetence and malice. We are running to ensure all our voices are heard
in our union”.
Ballots will be mailed on May 5th to member’s homes.
Building Bridges over WBAI Radio, 99.5FM
with Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash
Mon., April 25, 7 – 8 pm EST

streaming @ http://www.wbai.org/playernew.html
smartphone streaming @ http://stream.wbai.org/
to listen, or download archived shows


Sunday, April 24, 2016

De Blasio used ‘slush fund’ to support faulty pre-K programs | New York Post

 ...the practice of paying vendors with shady backgrounds who deal with vulnerable children is likely to recur in the future. ... Leonie Haimson
The ax is getting closer to DeB/Farina's neck as the scandal reaches into the DOE and PEP. The vaunted pre-k program was so rushed through it is loaded with fault-lines, especially in certain religious communities. deB/F better pray that a kid doesn't get hurt.
the practice of paying vendors with shady backgrounds who deal with vulnerable children is likely to recur in the future. ... the city gave a green light for pre-K programs to accept kids last school year despite problems including tax evasion, misspending public funds and failure to hire sufficient qualified staff — a move Sullivan called “irresponsible.”.... NY Post
I watched the PEP sit there like dummies last Wed with nary a peep. There are some very arrogant people on the PEP who claim they care about children but let this stuff go.
Patrick Sullivan is gone from the PEP because neither the new Manhattan BP (Gail Brewer) nor the Mayor would re-appoint him .... the PEP has never voted down a contract and the public doesn't get to hear any of this discussion or answers from DoE, which also sidesteps the open transparent process that's supposed to happen in the case of a public governing board.... Leonie Haimson
A plague on Gail Brewer for not reappointing Patrick. The Mayor could have also appointed him and he was lobbied to do so but he doesn't want someone asking questions. That is the essence of mayoral control - no accountability. I'm prepared to join with our enemies to take control away from him.

Yes, we had more info coming out of the DOE under BloomKlein than under DeFarina.

Leonie's full commentary:
The Mayors office asked a nonprofit called the  Fund for the City of NY to cover the costs of preK vendors who had evaded taxes, engaged in fraud and failed to hire sufficient qualified staff as well as engaged in other unspecified programmatic problems.
Now the DoE is asking  the Comptroller to retroactively approve these contracts so the city can pay the Fund back- in an end run around the city's procurement rules.

Good story by sue Edelman below.   What the story doesn't mention is the DoE is still asking the PEP to approve preK and special Ed vendor contracts before the background checks are completed- and the PEP complies.

This means  the practice of paying vendors with shady backgrounds who deal with vulnerable children is likely to recur in the future.  This is unacceptably careless behavior of questionable legality and risks taxpayer funds and kids' lives,
More detail you can see in the last few pages of this month's RAs - in the Addendum that Patrick spotted.  We also highlighted these issues in our comments to the PEP before their vote,  now posted on our blog at nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com  as well as other unresolved questions pertaining to the huge Amazon contract and the funds awarded special Ed vendors with similar problems as those found with these preK vendors,

Yet not one PEP member brought up any of these issues during the contract committee discussion or during the PEP meeting.

Supposedly there are backroom private discussions between the PEP members and DOE staff about some of their concerns, but the PEP has never voted down a contract and the public doesn't get to hear any of this discussion or answers from DoE, which also sidesteps the open transparent process that's supposed to happen in the case of a public governing board.
Sue Edelman asked me if it was better or worse under Bloomberg- I said about the same because a lot of rotten contracts were also approved during those years. But at least during much of the Bloomberg administration, Patrick was there to challenge the DOE and force them to answer questions in a public forum.  Robert Powell, the one PEP member from the Bronx who voted against the corrupt CCS contract , originally proposed to cost the city $1.1 B, also made his concerns public in that case.

Now Patrick is gone from the PEP because neither the new Manhattan BP nor the Mayor would re-appoint him,  and Robert Powell has left the PEP as well.

It Won't Be Over Even if Hillary is Nominee: Sanders Allies Plot Meeting to Discuss Future of the Movement

The progressive movement that supported Sanders existed before his campaign and will continue after it. But Sanders has expanded it and unified it in a way that creates the potential for a powerful post-election force in politics if it can retain at least some cohesion....  http://portside.org/2016-04-23/sanders-allies-plot-meeting-discuss-future-movement
Bernie may not even be involved in this for all we know but we do know things have changed as the energy of the semi-anarchic Occupy Movement has shifted to the Bernie campaign.

There has been a shortage of stuff on education coming out of Bernie and his crew. Time to escalate the awareness. 

Real ed reformers must be involved in making sure that ed deformers don't jump in and make their phony case that deform is civil rights. (We've seen them to that in the Black Lives Movement).

Right now, despite some criticisms, NPE could be a force if it doesn't get side-tracked into the Randi/Hillary stuff which will be sold as real reform. Union caucus groups like CORE in Chicago and MORE could play a role -- MORE's Mindy Rosier is already deep in the Bernie movement. Some people on the left don't want to hear the words "social democrat" and spend their time attacking Bernie and his supporters. That is the same mentality that led to the left being decimated in Germany by Hitler. I'll take Finland and Denmark any day.

Full article below.
Alex Seitz-Wald
April 21, 2016

The progressive movement that supported Sanders existed before his campaign and will continue after it. But Sanders has expanded it and unified it in a way that creates the potential for a powerful post-election force in politics if it can retain at least some cohesion.

Key allies of Bernie Sanders are planning to meet in Chicago after the final votes have been cast in the Democratic presidential primary to plot the future of the movement galvanized by Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Sanders’ loss in New York’s primary this week has put the Democratic nomination almost certainly out of reach, leading many to wonder what will become of the millions of people who donated, volunteered, and supported his campaign, including many who seem unready to settle for likely nominee Hillary Clinton.

The two-day People’s Summit is timed for mid-June in order to fall between the final set of primaries in California and elsewhere on June 7, and the Democratic National Convention in late July. It aims to continue building the “political revolution” Sanders often invokes and to develop a “People’s Platform” of issues important to the movement.

“There’s a vibrant conversation going on about what happens to the movement after the primaries are over,” said Charles Lenchner, who co-founded the group People for Bernie, which is helping to organize the summit. “This is a collection of groups that share a lot in common and want to work together in the future and who represent a significant portion of the coalition that has come together around Bernie Sanders.”

The event’s partners include many key players — though far from all, at least for now — of the Sanders movement. Lenchner said many other groups are likely to join.

Their focus remains on the campaign, representatives of various groups involved in the summit said, but they wanted to create a plan to come together regardless of whether Sanders wins or loses.
Taking the lead are People for Bernie, which grew out of the Occupy movement, and the National Nurses United union, which has endorsed Sanders and whose super PAC has supported the senator to the tune of nearly $3 million this year.

They’ll be joined by the environmental group 350.org, which backs Sanders, various Sanders-aligned liberal groups like Progressive Democrats of America and pro-Sanders demographic groups. Also on the list is the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund, which sponsored Sanders’ earliest visits to the first-in-the-nation caucus state in 2014. And then there’s the Democratic Socialists of America.

Conversations have already started in lefty circles about what happens after the primary, with a range of ideas about possible organizations, tactics and priorities.

Sanders has always been as much a movement leader as he is a politician, and hundreds of volunteer groups sprouted up organically across the country to support his candidacy and supplement his campaign’s relatively light footprint.

Almost everywhere Sanders’ campaign went, local volunteers had been first, organizing and opening field offices, some of which were absorbed by the official apparatus. In New York, for instance, it was volunteer efforts — not the campaign — that worked to get independent voters to change their party registration before the October deadline.

The progressive movement that supported Sanders existed before his campaign and will continue after it. But Sanders has expanded it and unified it in a way that creates the potential for a powerful post-election force in politics if it can retain at least some cohesion.
“Maybe we’re on the cusp of some really interesting political changes,” Lenchner said.

Haimson - A dispiriting night at the Panel for Educational Policy

What is so dispiriting is here are two, unique and successful schools, trying to do the right thing by their students against all odds, and provide them with an engaging, well-rounded education, and yet the DOE is trying to undermine them in the most unsubtle ways.  In the case of the Meyer Levin Performing Arts School, the administration is proposing to take away their performing arts rooms -- to give them to an oppressive charter school.  In the case of the progressive CPE1, by inserting a top-down, authoritarian principal who doesn’t believe in collaboration or progressive education.   These schools somehow survived the twelve ruthless years of Bloomberg and Klein’s reign of terror, and yet are being destroyed by de Blasio and Farina – despite the fact that these schools exemplify the supposed values of this supposedly progressive administration.... Leonie Haimson on PEP meeting
A dispiriting night at the Panel for Educational Policy; DOE continues to close struggling schools, co-locate charters and plans to destroy two terrific public schools 
Contrast this with what Mulgrew is saying as James reports at the ICE blog: IS MULGREW'S DESCRIPTION OF A HEALTHY NYC SCHOOL SYSTEM ACCURATE?

I wrote briefly about the April 20  PEP meeting (The "New" PEP Under di Blasio/Farina - New Boss, Same as....) Leonie has done a good job of touching on the important issues in the blog above where she posted the video of Meyer Levin students telling the truth about an invading charter - a video that had been suddenly removed from you tube but is now posted on vimeo.

Meyer Levin video from Class Size Matters on Vimeo.

With deBlasio facing rough waters how much longer will Farina be around? But if you are rooting for her to leave no matter who replaces her it won't get any better.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

UFT's Jason Goldman Implicated in Growing di Blasio Election Scandal

One of those alleged violations is a felony.... NY Post
Will Jason roll on Mulgrew and take the rap himself, breaking his mother's heart twice? ... a contact with inside knowledge of the UFT
The memo targets de Blasio, his legislative director Emma Wolfe; Ross Offinger, de Blasio’s campaign finance director and treasurer of his political advocacy roup Campaign for One; former Hotel and Trade union official Josh Gold; Jason Goldman of the UFT; and political consultants Neal Kwatra, BerlinRose, AKPD Message Media and Hilltop Public Solutions.... NY Post
Others said to be on the team included Jason Goldman, the United Federation of Teachers assistant director legislation and political action... UFT spokeswoman Alison Gendar said the union "will always fully cooperate with any state or federal inquiry if and when one is made."... Ken Lovett's front page Daily News article

Jason Goldman is the scion of the Goldman family - current officer candidate Anne, head of the nurses, and former Manhattan borough rep Jerry who was allowed to resign with full pension rights after an internal hush hush scandal. At one point the 3 members of the Goldman family were pulling down between 3 hundred and 400 thousand bucks a year. Jason started in the PR department and is now I assume working with Paul Egan or  since I can't follow the comings and goings at the UFT maybe this guy Jasaun Boone.

Are you rooting for di B to fall?
The other day I was at a school where teachers were happy di Blasio may go down - until I informed them that the most likely replacement would be someone connected to Eva Moskowitz. Pretty sad that even with the Farina/dB people in charge of the disaster things will get worse.

RBE pretty much made the same point in the Eterno posting.

UFT Election: Unity Irregularities

I find the whole thing blatant electioneering and highly inappropriate.... I’d be curious to dig through next years tax filings and see how much the UFT spent at Woodhaven Manor. .... a contact
Unity election material handed out at official D 27 UFT para event
We know that UFT district reps stuff mailboxes in schools where they do not have someone to do it, often on working hours, our time and dime (which is someone from MORE did the same thing on DOE time they would be cooked). But even if they do it on their own time that is still a violation of some important protocols given how chapter leaders are often dependent on the district rep as their main conduit in the UFT. It's a power relationship and when the district rep is openly partisan it violates that relationship.

But even worse, ask this question:
Is it election fraud if the UFT is holding "official" events as cover?

More Blatant electioneering by Unity than ever

Using district reps on our dime to stuff mail boxes where they don't have someone. But more egregious is the setting up of phony "official" UFT events as cover for their campaign.

A contact in District 27 sent this:
On April 19 some kind of large gathering/celebration dinner for para’s in D27 was held.  There was some spiel about how D27 para turn out is low at events and the union wanted a chance to get to know them better.  This was advertised as a UFT event for paras, not a Unity caucus event. I'd imagine union dues paid for their chicken. Then this was handed out to them after the meeting and there was some campaigning. I find the whole thing blatant electioneering and highly inappropriate. District reps try to hold some sort of meetings where they invite all paras to attend a few times a year after school hours.  D27 turn out for these events is by far the lowest according to what the para rep is saying. Low turn out is the reason given by her para rep for holding a catered meeting to try and attract more paras to come. (Yeah right). All previous meetings have always been held at a school and never before held at a catering hall, Woodhaven Manor on Jamaica Ave as a free dinner. The UFT people did discuss the election in general terms and the meeting featured a lot of self-praise and coy references to read this month's NY Teacher.  The Unity flyers weren’t handed out until near the end. 
They also hold chapter leader events:
I’d be curious to dig through next years tax filings and see how much the UFT spent at Woodhaven Manor.  They did an event earlier this school year at Woodhaven Manor where they asked CL’s from all the schools to try and fill a table. The reason for the event was something along the lines of "Mulgrew feels like he doesn’t know the teachers of D27 as well as he should so he would like to meet you."  He showed up about 2 hours in, spoke for 15 minutes, and then promptly left. 
Mulgrew must have gotten to know a lot of people in his 15 minute hit and run speech.

Unity has always done this but there is a sense that these events have escalated more this year than ever and that will pump up the Unity vote. I know some people will say we should a lodge protest, etc. I am still of the mind that the opposition must get closer in the school level vote (where retirees don't vote) before lodging protests. Hitting 40% in the elementary schools would be a sign of Unity  power crumbling from within.

Will these events gain Unity votes? Someone said "Look at what they are selling people. Why will people buy the same old crap, even for a chicken dinner?"

Where’s the big money in privatization? Take it from the teachers Plus Leonard Lopate Segment on Charters With Michelle Fine

When people question why so many wealthy people have jumped on the ed deform bandwagon they often ask how can they make money? We have heard about the real estate scams, high salaries for them and their pals, charter scams, etc. But not enough attention has been paid to the fact that teacher salaries make up probably 75% of all spending on education and if that number can be cut down significantly the money could begin flowing into the pockets of the privatizers. Teacher unions with their contracts are the major target as they want to move teachers to individual negotiated contracts like they have in charters. The problems charters have in big cities with union contracts is they have to compete for labor so they have to pay higher salaries than they want - even though they extract a lot more hours of work for what they pay. So if the union teacher competition can be removed they can lower teacher salaries across the board and open up billions of dollars for themselves.

While not addressing the teacher salary issue - but they did address the massive charter teacher turnover - Yesterday on WNYC, Leonard Lopate had a great piece with Michelle Fine and Michael Fabricant, the authors of Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education: What's at Stake?   - probably the most comprehensive critique I've heard on mass media. I bet Leonard comes under intense pressure to have a rebuttal. You know WNYC is funded by some of these slugs.

Listen to this informative segment at:  http://www.wnyc.org/story/charter-schools-education/

The infographic below does delve into where the money comes from to fuel ed deform.
....Norm Scott

Infographic: Why Corporations Want Our Public Schools 

This article is from Education Uprising, the Spring 2014 issue of YES! Magazine.
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    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Abusive Principals with UFT Support are as old as the hills - Teacher wore tampon because she peed everytime the principal came into her room

    I was asked how MORE would be different from Unity and I said one thing I would guarantee - at the very least every abusive principal would be challenged on all levels - privately and publicly.
    UPDATE: questions have been posed as to the use of a tampon in this situation and our understanding is that it was not used in a conventional manner. I leave the rest to your imagination.

    Yesterday I spoke to the 2 lunch hours at an elementary school and spoke about my own experience in District 14 which was run by the UFT district rep who eventually became the Superintendent - why  not take power directly instead of through an intermediary? The district 14 story where there was a local machine operated through the UFT deserves a book of its own which one day I may write. The route to principal ran through becoming chapter leader. Every one of these politically connected people were in Unity Caucus - so for those who wonder about my hostility to the Caucus it is rooted in my earliest experiences as a teacher activist opposing them on the district level at first and then on the city level.

    At the end of the 2nd lunch hour I was approached by a teacher who taught at the most repressive school in the district and she told me about the absolute fear people worked under in that school. Eventually she got out to the school run by James Quail who was slicker but not much better. She finally got out of there to her current school with a UFT transfer which was abolished in the 2005 contract.

    We talked about how teachers got pregnant just to get out of her original school due to a frightening principal. She told me that years later she ran into a former colleague who told her how she wore tampons every day because she would pee from nervousness every time this guy came into her room. When he retired his protege - the Unity chapter leader eventually who had moved up to AP took his place and was little better. When she moved up to Dist Supt the person who took her place continued the repression which she said still goes on today.