Monday, October 31, 2011

Exposing Success Academy Marketing Strategies Harmful to the Public Good

The underlying concern, however, for many is that Success’ intensely focused financial investment in marketing is reflective of their priorities lying with private goals rather than public aims. After all, it can be argued that the money spent by Success on marketing could, alternatively, have been devoted to educational objectives or support. In fact, on the donation section of the Success Charter Network website, the organization opens by stating, “You can tell a lot about an organization’s priorities by how they spend their money” (Success Charter Network, 2011b). This may likely be very true.

Success Charter Networks spent $1.6 million dollars on marketing efforts alone in 2009-2010, amounting to $1,300 per incoming student.

According to Annual Reports available on through Success Charter Networks, each of the seven Success charter schools in New York City spent, on average, $13,727 per pupil in 2010-2011 (Success Charter Network, 2011a). That means that, if the marketing budget remained roughly the same, 9.5% of the per pupil budget went to marketing and recruiting efforts—a number which is on par with spending of big CPG companies nationally.
Above are excerpts from the article below co-written by Catherine DiMartino who moderated the debate I took part in with a NYC Charter School Center rep on Oct. 26 at Hofstra University. Catherine sent this to me after the debate. I wish I read it before as it contains so much information I would have used. Catherine was totally objective in how she moderated I might add. 

NOTE: See video and commentary on the disruption at Eva's bait and switch tactic in Cobble Hill in my follow-up article.

In new windowTC Record Commentary on marketing and charters
Corporate Style Schooling: Marketing for Private Gain Rather than the Public Good

by Sarah Butler Jessen & Catherine DiMartino — October 04, 2011

In response to a recent article in the New York Daily News regarding the marketing expenditures of the Success Charter Network, this commentary discusses the growing push for public schools (particularly charters) to engage in marketing. The authors argue that this trend is a result of the new educational policy context of merged private- and public-sector worlds. Concerns are raised about the effects of embracing corporate models for educational reform.

In recent years, there has been a push to implement private sector strategies in the public education system. Some have argued to treat education “like a business,” and discussions of “return on investment” in education have become more common (Boser, 2011; Colvin & Snider, 2010). School systems throughout the country have implemented market-based reforms, and private companies have begun not only to invest in, but also to partner with (and even create) schools in the name of generating systemic change. This trend receives ample support from the federal government through its Investing in Innovation Fund and, more recently, though the federal “re-start” intervention model. Many schools in New York City, New Orleans and Philadelphia have corporate partners—EMOs, CMOs, and intermediary organizations — that shape the daily practices of public educational institutions. These partners’ influence ranges from providing technical support to the wholesale management of schools.

It should come as little surprise, then, when schools respond to operating within this new policy context of a “business-like” environment with “business-like” strategies aimed at helping them succeed in the marketplace. For example, the expansion of market-based reforms into public education has introduced the world of marketing to a new arena. A recent article published in the New York Daily News revealed that the Success Charter Networks spent $1.6 million dollars on marketing efforts alone in 2009-2010, amounting to $1,300 per incoming student (Gonzalez, 2011). This report incensed many public school advocates, and received targeted criticism at the recent “Save Our Schools” march in Washington, D.C. (Decker, 2011). But how unexpected or outlandish is this financial investment given this current policy context modeled after the private sector?

Marketing, of course, is a central component of private industry. The average retail company spends 4 to 6% of their sales revenue on marketing, while consumer package goods (CPG) companies spend 8 to 10% annually (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2011; Moorman, 2011). In the “brand-building” stage of product development, companies spend a great deal more on marketing efforts (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011; Moorman, 2011). Think: the original rolling out of the Apple iPhone or the latest McDonalds’ 99 cent offering.

According to Annual Reports available on through Success Charter Networks, each of the seven Success charter schools in New York City spent, on average, $13,727 per pupil in 2010-2011 (Success Charter Network, 2011a). That means that, if the marketing budget remained roughly the same, 9.5% of the per pupil budget went to marketing and recruiting efforts—a number which is on par with spending of big CPG companies nationally.

Although charter schools are public institutions, many have embraced (and been embraced by) the private sector. Commonly viewed by the corporate world as “innovative” or “entrepreneurial” educational agents that break free of traditional bureaucracies found in public school systems, many charter schools have particularly drawn on financial and organizational support of private industries. Success Charter Network, for example, draws heavily on investments from large corporations, and their Board of Directors is largely made up of representatives from private corporations or investment firms (Success Charter Network, 2011b).

In the world of charter school marketing, Success Charter Network, of course, is not alone in drawing on the private sector. KIPP schools founders partnered with the founders of Gap, Inc. after Gap’s $15 million gift to launch the KIPP Foundation, which “was established help set up KIPP-style schools” (Kennedy School of Government, 2011, p. 2). Among other things, the KIPP Foundation spearheaded the trademark licensing of the KIPP name—a branding technique. Marketing efforts employed by others include sending monthly mailings of full color brochures to perspective students and their families, hiring part-time workers to target specific pools of applicants, transmitting personalized text messages to parents and advertising on bus stops (CellsTrust, 2010; Gonzalez, 2011; Medina, 2010).

Despite the recent merging of the education and business worlds, there are significant differences between the marketing of a CPG company and a public school. First, private companies have oversight systems in place to prevent the spread of misinformation or deception through their marketing materials. The Federal Trade Commission has governmental jurisdiction over advertising. Legal teams at major CPG companies work to ensure that wording of each marketing publication is not inaccurate or overstated. Companies can challenge claims made by competitors through the Better Business Bureau. Ads run on major television networks are additionally run through the network’s legal reviews.

At the present time, no such oversight exists for public schools. Principals, who are often charged with marketing and recruiting, are given little training on how to effectively, or accurately, portray their school in informational literature. Some research has shown that, in fact, schools have “glossified” their marketing literature to portray an image of the school (which may or may not be accurate) in order to attract certain populations )). Little research has examined the accuracy of the claims made in school marketing literature or the impact of such claims on the consumer – student and parent - experience, especially if hyperbole trumps precision.

Secondly, marketing practices from the private sector do not convert fluidly into the public arena of the educational system. At a very basic level, the purpose of a public school is to contribute to a public good whereas the purpose of private company is to build revenue. In the private sector demand can be met by increasing product and industries can expand by enlarging the consumer base. In public schools, the market is simply restricted. There are a set number of school-age children, all of whom are going to school, and each school only has a given number of seats. This creates incrementally increasing competition for specific schools, resulting in unintended complications.

Competition spurs innovation and improves practice, so school choice advocates claim. In the private sector, investing in marketing provides returns on investment through increases in sales and revenue. Research has shown that schools often begin to invest in marketing strategies, as school choice competition increases ). However, unlike in private industries, transferring portions of an institution’s educational budget to marketing can, in fact, detract from academic programming. Because public schools do not generally increase their income through marketing techniques, they do not see the same financial return on investment.

Where schools stand to profit from intensive marketing campaigns is through student enrollment. While distributing information about schools in a choice system is intended to contribute to creating a cohesive school community through student buy-in, or simply maintaining enrollment, research has shown that parents and students respond to marketing cues from schools, which can result in sorting by a variety of factors, such as socioeconomic status, race, or educational background ). Particularly with the intense pressure to meet accountability standards, there is an underlying danger that instead of focusing on improving educational practice, schools will compete for the most “desirable” applicants through increased marketing campaigns ).

It is possible that the quality of Success schools is superior to the public institutions from which they draw their students, and, at the very least, as a newer charter network they face hurdles of “getting the word out” about their schools. Yet, the marketing expenditures of Success Charter Network come as local public schools are facing extensive budget cuts. Extra ability to invest in marketing puts them at an advantage, whatever the quality of their product, raising questions not only about this inequitable distribution of funds, but also about the potential negative impact on neighboring public schools.

The underlying concern, however, for many is that Success’ intensely focused financial investment in marketing is reflective of their priorities lying with private goals rather than public aims. After all, it can be argued that the money spent by Success on marketing could, alternatively, have been devoted to educational objectives or support. In fact, on the donation section of the Success Charter Network website, the organization opens by stating, “You can tell a lot about an organization’s priorities by how they spend their money” (Success Charter Network, 2011b). This may likely be very true.

Ancess, J., & Allen, D. (2006). Implementing small theme high schools in New York City: Great intensions and great tensions. Harvard Educational Review, 76(3).

Boser, U., (2011). Return on educational investment: A district-by-district evaluation of U.S. educational productivity. Washington D.C.: Center for American Progress.

CellsTrust. (2010). Harlem success academy case study. Retrieved August, 16, 2011, from

Colvin, R.L, & Snider, R. (2010). Business leaders and the new education agenda: Investment in our littlest learners (A Hechinger Brief). Teachers College, Columbia University: The Hechniger Institute on Education and the Media.

Decker, G. (2011). Matt Damon criticizes Eva Moskowitz’s charters at D.C. rally. Retrieved August 14, 2011 from,

DiMartino, C., & Jessen, S. (2011). School brand management: The policies, practices and perceptions of branding and marketing in New York City's public schools. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, Louisianna.

Gewirtz, S., Ball, S., & Bowe, R. (1995). Markets, choice, and equity in education. Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Gonzalez, J. (2011). Success Charter Network has been just that for Eva Moskowitz but not for public schools, New York Daily News. Retrieved from

Kennedy School of Government (2011). The KIPP schools: Deciding how to go to scale. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Lubienski, C. (2005). Public schools in marketized environments: Shifting incentives and unintended consequences of competition-based educational reforms. American Journal of Education, 111, 464-486.

Medina, J. (2010, March 10). Pressed by charters, public schools try marketing. The New York Times, pp. 1, 3.

Moorman, C. (2011). The CMO survey: Highlights and insights, February 2011. Duke University Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association.

Success Charter Network (2011a). Annual Reports. Retrieved August 13, 2011 from

Success Charter Network (2011b). Ways of Giving. Retrieved August 13, 2011 from

U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2011). Setting a marketing budget. Retrieved on August 13, 2011 from

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 04, 2011 ID Number: 16556, Date Accessed: 10/19/2011 1:50:51 PM

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

"The Nation" Reviews GEM Film As Unions and Universities Hold Screenings While UFT Continues Boycott of Film

UPDATE Oct. 31, 11PM: We heard from The Nation that they will be showing the film on Thursday Nov. 3 at 4PM followed by a discussion led by Dan Goldstein.


We have been so excited that the film we started working on 14 months ago as a short you-tube project not only turned into an hour long feature film, but since the premiere in May (with Diane Ravitch as our guest speaker) the film made by NYC school workers and parents and without any promotion other than word of mouth and the internet has shown such staying power - except here in NYC where the UFT Administration continues its boycott of the film refusing to mention the film in the NY Teacher or in any other venue.

In the meantime, unions all over the nation, have been showing the film.

The Chicago Teachers Union has been a big supporter.

The LA Teachers union has held screenings and has contacted GEM for permission (they don't need it) to reproduce the film for every chapter leader to show to their school.

Here here in NYC we have to do this one school at a time.
PS 261 in Boerum Hill will be showing the film on Nov. 9 as part of a campaign to inform the locals about the truth about charters.

Last Thursday 60 people at NYU showed up for the film and a rousing discussion afterwards.

Next Monday the film will be shown at Teachers College at 4PM
On Nov. 9th I'm flying up to Cortland State College for a panel. They are showing the film on campus this week and next.

Hofstra will show the film after the New Year.

The Connecticut State Teachers Association held a showing and sent us a check for $500 as a donation.
Boston U did the same as did the British Columbia Teachers Fed.

Thanks to Julie Woodward for the review from The Nation below. Julie has been an incredible activist over the years as one of the founding members of the Independent Community of Educators (ICE) and we worked as partners for many years. Since she retired last spring, we haven't heard much from her. We're hoping she at the very least keeps her toe in the water in the battle against the ed deformers.

FROM THE NATION   Nov. 7th,  on the page called "Noted." (p.5), this is the 2nd story (middle column) on the page.
TEACHERS TAKE ON ‘SUPERMAN’: As two recent documentaries make clear, it’s not the abysmal state of the US education system that’s up for debate when only 12 percent of African-American boys in the fourth grade read at grade level, but rather the solution.

The influential documentary Waiting for “Superman,” released in September 2010 to critical acclaim, made the case for charter schools. A prescient complement to the Occupy Wall Street movement, with a demand early in the film to get “Wall Street out” of public schools, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for “Superman, released in May by the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), is a “no budget at all” response that argues that the charter movement’s push to privatize public schools is a move to corrupt one of America’s foundational tenets: access to equal and fair public education. Narrated by Brian Jones and Julie Cavanagh, New York City public school teachers, the film goes after Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit umbrella organization that runs three charter schools and is featured heavily in Waiting for “Superman.” It points out that a large portion of HCZ’s money comes from corporate sponsors. In September 2010, just as Waiting for “Superman” was being released, Goldman Sachs donated $20 million to HCZ. Of its seventeen board members, eleven are affiliated with major financial institutions.

The film also disputes the claim in Waiting for “Superman” that unions are responsible for protecting bad teachers. Its most salient segment looks at Finland’s education system, celebrated in Waiting for “Superman,” and reveals that 98 percent of teachers in Finland are members of the Trade Union of Education.
The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for “Superman” offers a list of ten (often vague) reforms to the current system, including “Parent and Teacher Empowerment and Leadership” and “Democratic and Social Justice Unionism.” During the Q&A session at a screening in New York on October 14, audience member and high school social worker Kathe Karlson voiced concern that if the unfocused group of organizations affiliated with Jones and Cavanagh’s GEM “didn’t come together,” they would simply “repeat [themselves] for a generation or two.” A member of GEM responded, “Look at how they’re doing it on Occupy Wall Street. It works.” Perhaps the Superman we’ve been waiting for is Occupy Wall Street.


To order the DVD "Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman"

DVD requests from have come in from ALL 50 STATES and....6 continents!!!


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jim Devor Report on How Eva Shut Down Her Own Meeting and Ran Out

It was a charade. From the beginning, when she realized that the vast majority of attendees were unsympathetic to her pitch, she obviously decided to have it shut down - doing her best to cast the blame on us.

She started with three parents from UWS Success extolling the wonderful experiences of their children in Kindergarten and the "terribly under performing" schools their children were saved from. As if that baiting of the public school teachers and parents in the crowd was not enough, one of the presenting parents started to directly engage the audience. For example, he asked whether anyone had ever witnessed actual classroom space be taken from public school kids by Charters. That immediately set off a contingent of PS 15 parents whose children have actually suffered exactly that fate as PAVE Academy has expanded in the building.

Eva then got up and complained that prospective parents were being deprived of the opportunity to hear a presentation of the Cobble Hill Success Academy's education program. But first, she said, she had to explain "the backstory". She then went out about the the terrible public school education she had received as a child growing up (in Manhattan D5, no less) during the Seventies (aside - at Stuyvesant High School??!!!!) She then went on about her career on the City Council and her failed campaign for Manhattan Borough President and how she lost because she had antagonized the UFT. That followed her recounting how she had three(?) children including one with special needs. That precipitated a snort of skepticism by one of the MS 447 parents - whereupon Eva loudly complained of being hissed at for having a "special needs child"

Throughout all of this, the crowd was growing increasingly impatient. As Benjamen Greene (President of CEC-13) called out, they wanted to "hear about the program" already. Eva petulantly responded that "you can't tell me what to say" and then abruptly "closed" the meeting.

To give you some idea of her true agenda, there was an opened film screen in the front of the room. Yet, despite presence of multiple film crews laboring at Eva's behest, there was NO SIGN OF A PROJECTOR anywhere to be seen.

In your experience, have you ever seen a pitch by these folks that was not accompanied by a film or at least a PowerPoint presentation? That small details tells you everything you want to know about the sincerity of her appearance.

Jim Devor; President, CEC-15

See Ed Notes earlier report:  Eva Shut Down By Parent Leaders in Cobble Hill - M...

Eva Shut Down By Parent Leaders in Cobble Hill - Meeting Over

SEE FOLLOW-UP REPORT:  Jim Devor Report on How Eva Shut Down Her Own Meeting and Ran Out

This was an unconfirmed report we just received from Cobble Hill. Waiting for more details. The other meeting today in Williamsburg at 2PM has not had any open opposition yet.

So far despite intense opposition on the Upper West Side, the Eva Moskowitz Success Academy onslaught on white middle class gentrifying neighborhoods continues in Brooklyn Cobble Hill, areas of Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg.

So far she hasn't been stopped with the DOE and the massive input of money into the Success Network with the goal of establishing a loss-leader - heavy investment up front to make these schools even more attractive then even the successful public schools like PS 261- until these schools are destabilized and closed, leaving the parents with no choice other than charters as has happened in New Orleans. (The New Orleans Charter Scam Game - See comment 1).

The invasion of Brooklyn will be voted on at the Dec. 14 PEP meeting where Moskowitz, who is using her charter schools to build a political machine, will turn out busloads of her troops (with lots of food and threats that they must attend). PS 59 is the target apparently. The UFT is too intimidated by Eva to go head to head so only by building the ed version of OWS which is being called Occupy Public Education can we fight her.

Before I go on, I do hope that people see the connection between this story, the OWS stories, the Charlotte Danielson story, the ATR story and Common Core Standards story and pretty much all the stuff we have been putting up. We have only one weapon to counteract Eva - your bodies. Numbers do count and it is imperative for rank and file teachers to start joining in - and yes we will be charged by FOX and the Post and most of the press with being hooligans and who knows what else if we shut down Tweed dog and pony shows - but we lose the PR battle if we are good boys and girls or bad- so let's be BAD!

Here is a message from Leonie:

Eva is  offering tours for parents in Cobble Hill & Williamsburg to Upper West Success in Manhattan, presumably because it has a more upscale demographic than her current Brooklyn  Success Academy which was opened this year.  See attached brochure above.
 The opening of Upper West Success w/ more middle class parents was critical to getting her the demonstration project she needed to recruit more such parents.  Also note the photos of the little blonde girl. Schools that are currently targeted for co-locations are: Bed Stuy Success Academy at PS 59; K059 (“K059”), located at 211 Throop Avenue, Brooklyn Cobble Hill Success Academy at Brooklyn School for Global Studies (15K429), School for International Studies (15K497) and P.S. 368 (P368K@H429K) in Building K293, 284 Baltic Street, Brooklyn.

There is also a new Uncommon School HS charter slated for Brooklyn Academy High School
(13K553), Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory High School (13K575) and a District 75 School (75K373@79K575) in Building K458; 832 Marcy Avenue, Brooklyn.

I don’t think they have announced the Williamsburg location yet.

Hearing times at below link.

Here was a call for people to come out and protest:
Eva Moskowitz will be hosting an informational session for Cobble Hill families at the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill library located on Clinton St between Union & Sackett. Our PTA will be bringing signs, petitions and flyers on what charter schools are really about but we need more people to join us. We will start handing out flyers at 11 am on the corner of Sackett & Clinton. There is no planned intervention for the forum itself yet but I am encouraging parents to go in and ask the hard questions - if there is a real Q&A allowed.
The original call came a few days ago with an interesting twist. Instead of parents at one school sighing with relief that Eva is not coming to them and being willing to throw the victimized school under the bus, we are seeing more of a united front. Being a skeptic and knowing the success of the Ed Deformers at Tweed ability to divide and conquer, I'm taking a wait and see attitude.

From a Brooklyn New School parent:
Hello folks,
This is a very interesting development about the charter school crisis that needs your attention.
Eva Moskowitz is.scouting out a location for a Bklyn based Success Charter School in Cobble Hill. One is PS 261 and the other is.MS 447, Math and Science. MS 447 serves a high percentage of students with special needs on the autism spectrum so the formula used to determine "under utilized space" makes them vulnerable to the rigged rationale for a co location
A plan of action was started at a small but feisty MS 447 PTA meeting last night.
The first action that we need your support with is this Saturday, Oct 29 at noon.
Eva Moskowitz will be hosting an informational session for Cobble Hill families at the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill library located on Clinton St between Union and Sackett. Our PTA will be bringing signs, petitions and flyers on what charter schools are really about but we need more people to join us. We will start handing out flyers at 11 am on the corner of Sackett & Clinton. There is no planned intervention for the forum itself yet but I am encouraging parents to go in and ask the hard questions - if there is a real Q andA allowed.
Although the group wants to start small - school based - there was general agreement that we are committed to building a coalition with other schools in the district and believe co location should be opposed everywhere. Besides myself, there were three other parents who took a radical and militant stance - calling for being "in their face"; noisy and dogged in our opposition and tactics. We are also discussing a joint showing of the Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman with the other school under attack.
Your presence Saturday would be great and also any other assistance and support that you can provided is appreciated.

One School - A Hundred Contract Violations a Second

I've been telling teachers who tell tales like the one below to reframe the debate in terms of how kids lose when the teaching contract is violated. Giving a teacher 6 periods a day instead of 5? Do we think the kids in period 6 benefit at the end of the day with a worn-out teacher? Class size violations = less services for kids in overcrowded classes. When we hear complaints from idjits like Steve Brill about the length of our contract I say we need to double its length. Actually, that wouldn't make a difference since the UFT does so little to enforce what is there - double zero is still zero.

This is from a former ATR. Where do you start after reading one teacher's report on how for all intents and purposes the UFT contract doesn't exist? Now in the world of the UFT they will place the blame on the teacher - "file a grievance" - that will go nowhere as it winds its way through the system - while the principal (who has been empowered to beat on teachers by Tweed with no opposition from the UFT) has free reign to retaliate. 

Remember when the UFT promised "small group instruction" would be "small group instruction and not another teaching period. Well, good luck. Yesterday a retired F-status teacher told me she has a pull-out group with 35 kids.

NOTE UPDATES TO ATR focused BLOGS - have ATRs send an email to to be added to the new listserve.

The C-6 Professional Duty – “C” for “Creative”
by Life-in-Limbo

I didn’t think they could squeeze any more out of us. I mean, my colleagues and I are maxed out paperwork-wise, class size-wise, and stress-wise. Seriously, we had one teacher die of a heart attack the first week of school, two teachers are out on medical leave due to anxiety, the teacher across the hall has stopped me twice in the hallway to ask me to watch her class so she can go throw up (no, it’s not pregnancy), the teacher on the right is having panic attacks every morning before homeroom and the teacher on my right was in the ER this past weekend diagnosed with Acute Anxiety Disorder and is getting a consult for anti-depressants this weekend. Also, a teacher down the hall left a few weeks ago, in an ambulance, because he was feeling dizzy and ill. Turned out his blood pressure was up to something insane, like 270/110 - he was in the hospital for three days. And that’s just on MY floor.

Now, before I go any further, here’s a pop quiz (yes, I know it’s the weekend, but it’s only one question for full credit):

How many teaching periods per week is considered a full schedule for an appointed teacher?

Twenty-five you say? Hahahahahahahahaha!!! How 2005!

Try thirty.

I have thirty teaching periods per week as of this week. How did they do it, you ask? Allow me to explain.

I came in to work this week to find a program of “small group instruction”, a Circular 6 Professional Assignment. I have no recollection of filling out a C-6 preference sheet, as required by our contract, but there it was anyway.

Remember my last post, where I said we had vacancies in the building? One of them is an AIS Reading position that, as of last week, has yet to be filled. This is a relevant fact, as you will soon see.

Now, I teach a CTT, which means I have a homeroom, which, according to our contract, serves as my professional assignment, so I should not have gotten the C-6 assignment, right? RIGHT???

Wrong. I went to my principal who said that since it is a CTT, there are technically two people doing one job, so Mr. X, my co-teacher (whom I must say does a wonderful job of putting up with me and my compulsive board-washing), will be the homeroom teacher of record and I will report to my C-6 assigned “small group instruction”. So I was officially relieved of my homeroom duties, apparently. Fine. I hate collecting baby pictures and lunch forms anyway

So the period for this “duty” comes and I report to the room, and I realize that it is the room reserved for the AIS vacancy – it is not set up, many desks have been pilfered, graffiti has been applied to some of the furniture, there was debris everywhere and there was no chalk, earasers, etc. I had no roster of students, no materials, and no idea exactly WHAT I was supposed to do with this small group. So imagine my surprise when an ENTIRE class shows up for “small group instruction”! No section sheet, no roster, no materials, nothing. There were 21 students in my “small group”, all of whom were so used to not having a teacher this period (it’s been this way since September) that my chance of getting them to actually DO anything was slim to none.

After this fiasco, I found out that the rest of the CTT teachers were subjected to the same treatment – one was given the homeroom exclusively, and the other pulled to cover a “small group” in this same room. We figured out that instead of HIRING one of the MANY READING ATRs that are currently members of the “School-of-the-Week Club”, they are using the C-6 assignment to avoid hiring a teacher and getting the five of us to teach what is, essentially, a sixth teaching period each day.

Upon closer scrutiny, I discovered a few more oddities relating to my particular assignment:
On two consecutive days, it causes me to teach four periods in a row, a violation of the contract.
On two days, we have “voluntary” department meetings during our common prep time, (as in, it’s voluntary, but you are still responsible for what happens if you don’t show up). On those two days, this C6 assignment leaves me with NO PREP at all, also a violation.
Twenty-one students is NOT a “small group”
I was never given a menu of C-6 choices from which to choose (I would NEVER choose more time in front of kids, LOL)
I was told by my CL that this IS an extra prep for me, that I must have a plan for it, and that I can be observed in this setting.
I must keep track of what I do, and the kids change every day, so I just had my prep time cut by more than half (if you count the lost periods for department meetings, I only have three preps/week now) and was given an extra prep (the “small groups” are a different grade than the one I teach), and another 100 students to keep track of.

I am considering chucking it all and joining a commune in Vermont.

So, how was everyone else’s week? Me? I need a large glass of pinot grigio, which I will now pour. Any more of this, and I’ll have to start mainlining tequila.

James Eterno reports from the ICE blog

MIND BOGGLING: AN ATR REPORTS FROM THE FIELD - An ATR from Jamaica sent this email to me yesterday.
Reported to LI City HS today as five day ATR, a nice looking, modern building, six stories tall. I covered three different teachers, none of whom taught English (my certification). When I got to my last class, the freshmen all asked, "Are you our real teacher or just another sub?" I asked another teacher leaving the room why this class had no regular teacher as we steadily approach November. Her reply was stunning. "We actually have five vacancies in the building," she said. "We're in transformation, which means they're trying to cause as much chaos as possible until they can shut us down." Naturally, this is the compete opposite of what the word 'transformation' means, unless the DoE means transforming into more boutique academies and creating still more ATRs, which is exactly what they intend.  

I'm certainly glad I spent my summer attending five separate DoE job fairs, while some buildings are intentionally understaffing and have absolutely no intention of hiring ATRs. I could tell from all those bobbing heads and smiling faces during July and August that no one was actually looking to hire teachers, let alone pay attention to what we were saying. Yet at this point in my career I can honestly say that I know who I'm dealing with when it comes to the Dept of Ed, a truly vicious, union busting entity. The real question I have is where my union is during all this madness. When will our pseudo-tough guy president finally step up and protect his people? I was paying tolls last week in the Rockaways at Beach Channel. This week I'm on the complete opposite side of Queens in Long Island City. The DoE is obviously testing my limits, but not one message, call, or e-mail from my union telling me to hold on, to keep fighting, to wait until things get better. So Alright, fine. I'll simply stop waiting. My fiance is a teacher in this troubled system, as well. From here on in, we are a teaching union of two. 

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Charlotte's Web - The Beat(down) Goes On

Published in The Wave,
October 29, 2011
by Norm Scott

How much money is being diverted from the classroom into playing "gotcha" with teachers?

When Sam Lazarus, Chapter Leader of Bryant HS in Queens, one of the 30 or so target schools trying out the (Charlotte) Danielson system of teacher evaluation, spoke out at the October 19 Delegate Assembly against a resolution being promoted by the UFT leadership supporting the system I thought I was watching a horror film akin to the Chernobyl disaster, embellished by zombie administrators looking to use what some people consider a potentially useful tool to chew on the livers of living teachers.

In September of 2011, Bloomberg began implementing yet another reform in the NYC public schools. Dennis Walcott, with Bloomberg’s encouragement, has directed principals to use the Danielson Framework rubrics as a formative evaluation for teachers. For those who are unfamiliar with educational jargon, a rubric is a grading scale that can be used to give a rating to someone or something. In the current school year, this framework is to be used for support, next year it is to be used to provide evaluations.

The Danielson Frameworks for Teaching – along with the Common Core Standards, which we'll get to in a follow-up column – are the hot new things in ed deform in the WalBloom administration. From what I hear the DFT standing on its own is not a bad idea but in the hands of those with evil intent - oh, let's say the gang at Tweed - is a dagger aimed at the heart of every single teacher. Why not give nuclear technology to Iran since they say they won't use if for nefarious means? Are teachers willing to hand AhmadineWalBloom a neutron bomb to use on them? (Unless the union agrees to a deal the entire plan is a no-go. To add insult to injury, many teachers have been forced to spend $30 of their own money to buy the Danielson book - sort of like giving someone a shovel to dig their own grave.)

Charlotte Danielson herself paves the road to possible perfidy:
"Let me give you a story of when it’s not done well. I was contacted early on by a large urban district in New Jersey that…had a horrible evaluation system. It was top-down and arbitrary and punitive and sort of “gotcha.” And they developed a new one based on my book, and it was top-down and arbitrary, and punitive. All they did was exchange one set of evaluative criteria for another. They did nothing to change the culture surrounding evaluation. It was very much something done to teachers, an inspection, used to penalize or punish teachers whom the principal didn’t like…[and] I discovered that if I didn’t do something here, my name would get associated with things people hate. So I thought about what it would take to do teacher evaluation well. And I discovered that doing it well means respecting what we know about teacher learning, which has to do with self-assessment, reflection on practice, and professional conversation."

Sam Lazarus spoke at the DA after Academic HS VP Leo Casey urged the delegates to support the UFT leadership-sponsored resolution - which affirmed support for the Danielson system while admonishing the DOE to stick to what was agreed to - to only use the system in Transformation and Restart schools THIS year. (But it is coming to a school near you next year). Sam's story at what the teachers are going through at Bryant where even the Assistant Principals who have to spend their lives evaluating teachers instead of managing their areas of responsibility are warning the teachers that this is all about gotcha and not helpya.

Sam laid out what is happening at Bryant in such graphic terms, some people could be seen retching in the halls - OK - just a little hyperbole - I was ready to retch but it was probably the rotten bananas. He told of how the DFT could be used to rate teachers poorly and fire them without hearings - an end to LIFO and tenure ¬– pretty shocking and something that should call for a long discussion within the union. But of course, in the spirit of UFT democracy, this resolution was gotten to with about two minutes left in the meeting. After Leo and Sam spoke, Mulgrew, using his seating chart to call on the pre-planned Unity Caucus speakers who would support the resolution, got two affirmatives before hitting the "call the question" button to close debate.

It so assuring for the resolution to say that the UFT will "defend the integrity of the Danielson Framework of Teaching using all contractual [is there still a contract?], legal and other means [please tell us some of these] at our disposal to stop its misuse in schools where supervisors are engaged in rogue [see, it's not good guys at the DOE executing a plan but a few bad apple principals] evaluations that violate our members' rights."

So I know you are enjoying a good laugh at how tough UFT leaders will be with the DOE in defending your rights. At the DA a Unity Caucus member who has some knowledge of U-rating hearings told me disgustedly, "Even the hearing officers are asking why the UFT is so weak in defending people." But we do know about the lack of support at the school level when it comes to psycho principals. Imagine giving this tool to one of them, especially when we know that Tweed will support grads of the Leadership Academy even it they are proven serial killers.

So how will/can the UFT protect people from misuse of Danielson? At the September Chapter Leader meeting Mulgrew was slobbering all over how wonderful Danielson is and selling it to the members. Now his assistant Michael Mendel is publically complaining about the principals using it when they are not yet empowered to do so and this has become a point of contention between the UFT leadership and DOE (even though Mulgrew, Walcott and CSA pres sent out a joint letter telling principals they are not to be using it).

A chapter leader from Queens emailed:
"Danielson should be implemented in a supportive, collaborative, non threatening environment of mutual trust. To be highly effective, Danielson states, a teacher should offer students choice in their pathways to learning, students should raise their own questions and show that they take initiative for their own learning, an observer of teachers should be trained and certified in this fine art. Danielson says she can provide the training. To date, we are unaware of any NYC principals receiving this training. To initiate the process without these components already in place is to exchange one poor evaluation system for another in the very words of Ms. Danielson herself. It will take principals with knowledge, experience, and expertise to make the two models work together. Unfortunately, Mr. Bloomberg has not sought out and appointed principals that have the experience, sensitive understanding and knowledge of the classroom to collaborate on the Danielson model. He has replaced many experienced principals with younger, corporate minded supervisors. Given the present reality of the Bloomberg/Walcott regime, the Danielson rubrics have already failed in the New York City Public Schools. The prerequisite climate of trust, knowledge, and cooperation inherent to achieving the true goals of the Danielson framework does not exist, precluding any possibility of this transition. Principals are already using Danielson merely as a vehicle to give teachers unsatisfactory ratings, without implementing any of the positive ideas that Danielson has put forth. The focus continues to be on the usual pecking away at details, rather than on true teacher support and improvement. Therefore, the use of Danielson should be tabled at this time. Perhaps, instead, to move forward in the right direction, a rubric should be created for principals that would encourage them to work toward that climate of trust and respect that Danielson aspires to."

Given complaints like these, the UFT has been balking at signing an agreement so far even though Bloomberg is supposedly dangling a contract with some raises in exchange. The NY Post shrilled this headline: Mayor: Teach union fears evaluations. "Mayor Bloomberg yesterday blasted teachers union complaints over a new evaluation system that’s not even operational yet -- saying the UFT is just trying to subvert a real measure of teacher quality. 'Teachers unions don’t want the evaluations.' Bloomberg was responding to a Post report that the UFT was already threatening to walk away from negotiations over details of the rating system, which can’t officially launch without a deal."

Clearly, Bloomberg badly wants the union to agree to the plan – good enough reason to balk. But the UFT won't balk, in the long run. Tweed will give "assurances" they won't nuke the teachers but while the UFT wails in the courts teachers will end up flailing through the ashes of the resulting incineration.

Norm nukes his readers every day at his blog:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Great Edited Video of Occupy PEP

This video from NYCORE absolutely captures Tuesday night's events. Note the attempt to invite Walcott to stay for a real meeting with parents and teachers. Also note that the teachers involved though UFT members, are either independents or members of GEM, NYCORE and Teachers Unite. The UFT has never closed down a PEP meeting totally. CEJ did so in August 2010. Note how in these times of so many teachers showing fear, so many teachers, most of them at the early end of their careers, are confronting their bosses. Ahhh, the benefits of tenure protection which also protects children and parents by giving voice to their teachers.

The next action is Nov. 7 at Tweed at 5PM. Looks like another one I will miss since the GEM film (still being boycotted by the UFT) is being shown at Teachers College uptown at Columbia at 4PM with a panel afterward. I hope we can get a video with as high an editing quality as this one.

New Orleans Update: Loss Leader
I posted a great piece about New Orleans yesterday from Lance Hill (The New Orleans Charter Scam Game).   j.a. bujes left a great comment that ties the business model to ed deform.
The supermarkets use the same strategy: it's called the loss leader. You put an item on sale to attract customers, but mark all other items up. These initial donations to make the charters look good are loss leaders. After they destroy the public education system, leaving no choice at all, there will be no more donations. Just endless siphoning of public money and industrialized/kill/drill "education".

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The New Orleans Charter Scam Game

...this really is about removing education from the public to the private sector and especially removing control of public education from urban black governance.  Once the schools are privatized, they never come back to the public.  
Here is a powerful piece on how New Orleans is the model for total privatization of the public school system. Most revealing is how certain selected charters were given double the resources to "prove" how "successful" the model was. All you need to know is this: Mayor Bloomberg has made sizable donations to Louisiana edu-politics causes. (Times-Picayune)

Lance Hill from New Orleans
Why foundation and corporations are focusing on New Orleans and why the true education reform movement and the national media needs to view New Orleans as the key battle ground for school privatization and deprofessionalization of teachers.  If the corporate reformers convince the public that the New Orleans model works (through fabricated and misleading data), then the rest of the nation will follow suit.
The “beachhead” strategy of the corporate education forces in New Orleans has always involved subsidizing select privatized charter schools to provide additional instructional resources and incentives which creates a set of model “successful schools” that can’t possibly be replicated on existing revenues in other districts.  From the outside, it appears that the charters and TFA have “done more with less” when in fact if they did more at all, it was with massive subsidies from the state, corporations, and foundations­all concealed from the public.  So the state, which never spent anything on education, gave Vallas double the expenditure per student. Broad foundation gave KIPP $150,000 to pay the kids (secretly) up to $50 a week to behave.  NOLA college prep spends twice per pupil as the state funding formula through corporate and foundation subsides.  And this does not take into consideration the in-kind subsidies­using AmeriCorps volunteers who function as teachers (calling them tutors); Konica-Minolta handing out $60,000 scholarships to KIPP 8th graders to attend private schools;  Bill Gates making a $3 million grant to plan charters and train charter CEOs. 

The outcome is a handful of model schools that the corporate reform advocates market as the norm.  That is why it is crucial to the corporate education reformers that New Orleans privatization appear to succeed at all costs.  It’s like a Ponzi scheme: great profits are returned at first but in the end, they could not sustain the flow.  So why would Gates and Broad and Duncan push a contrived, flawed, and subsidized model as the national model?  Because this really is about removing education from the public to the private sector and especially removing control of public education from urban black governance.  Once the schools are privatized, they never come back to the public.  That is part of the lesson of New Orleans ­the worse, chronically failing charters are just given to another charter operator.  Although Act 35 promised to return the schools once they were  brought up to standard, that promise was reneged.  What happens once all the veteran teachers quit because of new evaluation standards and pension cuts?  In the long run we end up with an untrained and inadequate teacher corp.  This is why we say the original charter movement which wanted autonomy to create replicable innovations was hijacked by the free-marketers who simply wanted control of education and the profits that will come with that. 

This shell bait-and-switch game can’t work without media complicity.  The first year that post-Katrina LEAP scores were published by the Times-Picayune, they only published the top charter school scores. They did not publish the scores of the “dumping schools”  within these charter networks where, in one case, 93% of the students failed the 4th grade LEAP.  So these temporary subsidies work if the media does not reveal them.  

New Orleans is at the center of the national debate on education because here we traded democratic control of education for the putative benefits of increased efficiency and lower costs ­the promise that privatization always makes.  The danger is that rest of the nation will forsake its local control of schools in trade for that same illusion.  In the end, the charter and on-line schools will make billions and the public will be left with schools that perform at the same level or worse but not accountable to the public.  

New Orleans is not an ”experiment”: it is a carefully planned corporate takeover of public education that will ignore evidence that they system they implement is a failure.  The free market has no problem selling products that don’t work as long as they turn a profit. 

Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Southern Institute for Education and Research

Tweed Panic Sets In: High Security as Noah Gotbaum Reports From Walcott Closed Meeting

Who is at this meeting?
Many CEC members, PA heads and Parent Coordinators will be. Not surprisingly, Walcott will be sharing his priorities, rather than working to establish shared priorities. He and the 1% at DOE continue to be blind to the irony that Parents as Partners week entails yet another top down presentation conceived, drafted and presented entirely without parent input. And they wonder why their parent engagement policies aren’t taking hold or why 7 out of 10 of us polled believe that Bloomberg’s education policies are failing our kids. Hello? Is anybody listening?-- Noah
Am at Chancellors meeting.  Security is impossible.  Only letting people in with tickets. Won't even allow reentry.  Must be 100 Tweedies here.  They are petrified of losing control. Booth promoting ARIS and handing out papers dog and pony show.  Inside 150 parents in an enormous auditorium. Outside about 50 parents protesting from various schools on the closure list chanting "oh where oh where can the Chancellor be?" and "save our schools" No wifi available according to Ravetz et al  so won't be able to live tweet.  Heading back in now and will report back in a bit. 


Parent Comments: OMG... We really shook them up last night!How sweet it is!

Enormous dog and pony show to focus on their definition of parent engagement in service of "college and career readiness". Guess they are hurting from high school progress reports and concerned about OWS influence on parents.

Speech by Walcott totally formal - behind lectern. He acted like Kennedy in Berlin. Presented 5 point plan to involve parents in college readiness:

1) parent academy in 2012! (what happened in 2009).

2) strengthen role of parent coordinators! (while laying them off)

3) improve communication with parents

4) focus on improving parent teacher conferences (including providing a bookmark with tips!)

5) raise bar on parent involvement including having it part of school and principal rating.

Will pilot in 15 schools. Expand later citywide. Supposedly developed with help from PC's, PA members and Tweed. Anyone know anyone who was involved?

Q and A by cards only.

Q: How can they cut PC's in high schools while touting them? A: Difficult decision to stop pc's in HS!

Q: Budget cuts? Doe doing everything it can to preserve school budgets.

Have it all on tape.

More later.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

Oakland Police Riot Against OCCUPY Oakland As Protesters Shout: WE ARE STILL HERE

Frank Rich pretty much predicted this in his NY Mag article on OWS with a story from the past.

Frank Rich on Occupy Wall Street and Class Warfare -- New York Magazine_

The Bonus Army veterans stage a mass vigil on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in 1932. 
During the death throes of Herbert Hoover’s presidency in June 1932, desperate bands of men traveled to Washington and set up camp within view of the Capitol. The first contingent journeyed all the way from Portland, Oregon, but others soon converged from all over—alone, in groups, with families—until their main Hooverville on the Anacostia River’s fetid mudflats swelled to a population as high as 20,000. The men, World War I veterans who could not find jobs, became known as the Bonus Army—for the modest government bonus they were owed for their service. Under a law passed in 1924, they had been awarded roughly $1,000 each, to be collected in 1945 or at death, whichever came first. But they didn’t want to wait any longer for their pre–New Deal entitlement—especially given that Congress had bailed out big business with the creation of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation earlier in its session. Father Charles Coughlin, the populist “Radio Priest” who became a phenomenon for railing against “greedy bankers and financiers,” framed Washington’s double standard this way: “If the government can pay $2 billion to the bankers and the railroads, why cannot it pay the $2 billion to the soldiers?”

The echoes of our own Great Recession do not end there. Both parties were alarmed by this motley assemblage and its political rallies; the Secret Service infiltrated its ranks to root out radicals. But a good Communist was hard to find. The men were mostly middle-class, patriotic Americans. They kept their improvised hovels clean and maintained small gardens. Even so, good behavior by the Bonus Army did not prevent the U.S. Army’s hotheaded chief of staff, General Douglas MacArthur, from summoning an overwhelming force to evict it from Pennsylvania Avenue late that July. After assaulting the veterans and thousands of onlookers with tear gas, ­MacArthur’s troops crossed the bridge and burned down the encampment. The general had acted against Hoover’s wishes, but the president expressed satisfaction afterward that the government had dispatched “a mob”—albeit at the cost of killing two of the demonstrators. The public had another take. When graphic newsreels of the riotous mêlée fanned out to the nation’s movie theaters, audiences booed MacArthur and his troops, not the men down on their luck.

Join Me at Hofstra Today: Is "Reform" Killing or Reviving Public Education?

I'm on a panel at Hofstra from 4:30-6 this afternoon with NYC Charter School Center's Michael Regnier.  I don't usually do this sort of thing where I actually have to prepare a 15 minute presentation but I'm working on it so I don't just blather. Yelena Siwinski, CL of PS 193, is going with me for moral support. If you're in the neighborhood, come on down and ask Michael Regnier a question about charter schools.
4:30-5:55 p.m.
Is "Reform" Killing or Reviving Public Education?


Norm Scott, GEM (Grassroots Education Movement)

Michael Regnier, NYC Charter School Center

Moderator: Dr. Catherine DiMartino, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership, Hofstra University
Mack Student Center

GEM film attracts 70
Just wanted to let you know that we had about 70 people turn out for the screening of your film last night - a UMass professor even brought her graduate class (Urban Education). We had a great discussion afterward and people were really inspired by the film!

And the UFT is still boycotting the film.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



I'll keep updating this post as new reports come in - check the UPDATED date and time to track them.


Epoch Times:

Daily News:

Fox News:

A NYPost editorial where we're "thugs"... ha. might be worth a few comments:

Gotham Schools: Walcott opening remarks while People's Mic goes on:


Raging Horse Blog: Occupy the Department of Education: Walcott Takes it On the Hop

Anna Philips, NYT:
Great photo by Anna Philips

Report from NY Eye: NEWS: On "Occupy the PEP"


NY1 Video from Lindsay Christ:

A teacher reports:
Hi everyone,

Tonight was the best (non pep) pep ever. The best meeting ever. It was amazing! I have no words. We shut it down, everyone got to talk, voices were heard, the people's mic worked like a charm, basically we rocked it.

The doe is definitely going to spin it but there were literally few people there who weren't there for the occupy the doe action. And we really made something incredible happen. The press was there in mass and everyone who spoke on the mic was truly amazing. I was ao deeply happy. There are no words.

I want to give a more thorough report-back but I don't know what to say! I guess just ask questions and I will answer them... I am having a hard time figuring out how to share the energy of the room. Beautiful.   L
Let's see how the press covers this. Note the important point L makes - that there were only very few people there to actually hear Walcott and Coleman talk. (See Leonie report on who Coleman is).

I couldn't make tonight's possibly historic events but was trying to follow the Tweets. I heard Keith Olbermann mentioned what occurred. Pics below. And for those teachers who are wary of putting their foot in the activist water due to fear of Tweed, there are many teachers in this protest who show no fear. There were 200 people this time. Let's double or triple this at the next

PEP Regular Calendar Panel Meeting11/17/2011 - 6:00 P.M.
The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
35-12 35th Avenue
Queens, NY 11106

Up to now you really couldn't do this without the UFT which while walking out and doing some disruption in the past never tried to stop a meeting cold in its tracks. This protest had no UFT presence - they were marching over the bridge with political slug like Vito Lopez to support OWS. Irony of irony when corrupt politicians like Lopez are part of the problem.

Here is a video from Gotham:

Untitled from Elizabeth Green on Vimeo.

Here is an email about tonight from Leonie:
It was a wonderful evening, something to celebrate and relive. Democracy
lives! For those who missed it, we took over the PEP tonight at Seward Park HS and the entire meeting is being re-broadcast now at
Here is the Gotham Schools report:
mic check

Protest derails DOE meeting on curriculum after just minutes

The possibility of a public comment session evaporated just moments into tonight’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting, after nearly 200 protesters drowned out Department of Education officials.
The panel had convened for a special meeting about the city’s new curriculum standards. But as Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the standards’ architect, David Coleman, took the stage at Seward Park High School, protesters aligned with the Occupy movement launched a chorus of complaints via “the people’s mic.”
“Mic check!” each protester would call out, commanding the attention of his or her compatriots. Then he or she would call out a statement, pausing after every few words so that others could repeat them, amplifying the statement without the help of a microphone.
“The DOE’s priorities! Are all wrong!” one protester shouted. “We would like! There to be a community conversation! a real community conversation! about the people’s priorities!”
“We want our teachers to be paid more,” yelled a 7-year-old, Anais Richard, who attends P.S. 11 in Brooklyn. “If these things are not done, then we won’t be able to be succeeded.” The people’s mic repeated her statement, complete with the misspoken final word.
Walcott delivered his opening remarks over the shouting. At one point, he said, “We appreciate the activism, and we look forward to having you participate in our discussion.”
But when Walcott turned the microphone over to Coleman, the tone shifted. (more…)

I'm putting up a series of tweets from Bryan Jones and NY1's Lindsay Christ which will give you a flavor- read in reverse order

Brian Jones
laid-off school aides were there, chanting "bring the workers back!"
Brian Jones
have to leave, sadly. best moments included Walcott walking in and out, not sure what to do while the crowd shouted "SHAME!"
by brainyandbrawny
200 protesters, including teachers, parents, students, chant in auditorium while Walcott, David Coleman, PEP attend Common Core sessions
Brian Jones
What a moment. This movement, this feeling, is infectious. Very difficult to put this cat back in the bag.
Brian Jones
Amazing, just amazing. The whole room is repeating our speakers, Walcott is drowned out & the police have no idea what to do.
Brian Jones
People's mic has TAKEN OVER THE PEP!!

Lindsey Christ
"Occupy the DOE! Occupy the DOE!" They are now marching out of the building.
Lindsey Christ
Protester: "This is our PEP meeting. And we hope the next PEP meeting will be ours as well." Chancellor Walcott wouldn't comment on that.
Lindsey Christ
Meeting tonight was moved to small breakout rooms upstairs. The protesters remain in auditorium, holding their own meeting.
Lindsey Christ
Speaker David Coleman was much more hesitant to speak over crowd. He tried then turned to Chancellor. Walcott called general meeting off.
Lindsey Christ
As soon as Chancellor began speaking, the crowd began protesting through the "People's Mic". Walcott keeps speaking, through a real mic.
Lindsey Christ
These aren't school safety officers outside tonight's education meeting. Cops with guns and handcuffs. Several officers. No OWS presence yet

Earlier story from Gotham Schools:
NEWS: Discussion of Common Core to compete with human mic tonight

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.