Monday, December 31, 2012

Keeping a Woman Happy

I'm a happy woman. I'm a happy woman, tra-la, tra-la, tra-la
I heard this song wafting down from upstairs into the basement through the fumes of the mold spray. Joyfull after 41 years of marriage? Could it be the effects of the raw ginsing roots I've been munching on? Alas, no. My wife had just ordered a replacement washer/dryer for the one month old ones we lost in Sandy and was told they were finally in stock and would be delivered this Thursday.
I'm a happy man. I'm a happy man, tra-la, tra-la, tra-la. 
No more traipsing to Brooklyn to sit in laundromats or going begging at the homes of friends. And being able to take hot yoga without having the wet clothes tossed outside on the deck by yiu know who. Tra-la.

Why Police Don't Belong in the Schools Except in the Most Extreme Cases

ICE took an early stand from its first days in late 2003-4 on police in the schools during the UFT elections that year. Here Loretta Prisco, a founding member, in addition to being part of the groups I belonged to in the 70s -- Another View in District 14 and Coalition of NYC School Workers --- make a point, followed by the ICE official position in the 2004 election. I hear voices saying MORE should not take a stand so as not to alienate the pro-police teachers in the schools in the election. I absolutely disagree - no police unless in the most dire circumstances even with the Sandy Hook story still hot.

On a SURR visit to a Brooklyn HS that was labeled "impact", I witnessed an incident that made it clear to me that police don't belong in schools. Perhaps an isolated incident but it had quite an impact on me.

During change of classes, teachers, deans and other support staff asked kids to "move on", "get to class", "you are going to be late". And the kids moved, no push back, no arguments, just compliance. We know how to talk to kids and not back them in a corner. A cop got wise with a kid, I didn't hear the remark, only the facial expressions on the kids and his friends. He responded in like manner as we would expect any 17-18 year old to do. In a split second, the kid was taken to the ground, face down, hands behind his back, cuffed and led out of school. And there his record began as an adult in the justice system.

Yes, smaller class sizes, training for teachers (I have seen new fellows successfully calming kids going thru a melt down), guidance services beginning early in a child's career, etc. We know how to do it, but no one listens to the experts-the teachers.

Loretta Prisco
Here is the ICE statement, published in Ed Notes, March, 2004:
It’s no surprise that school security is making all the headlines. It’s a major concern for staff, students and parents, and at the same time Bloomberg and Weingarten use it to play politics. Our mayor and UFT president have presented themselves as saving the day through their plan to send teams of uniformed, armed police into the “most dangerous” schools in the city. While this plan may appeal to many teachers and students who feel vulnerable and helpless in the face of an escalating breakdown of discipline and constant threat of danger, it fails to address the years of neglect and poor policy toward troubled students that have led to our present circumstances. Since the quick-fix remedies by themselves can create additional problems, our school system must address both our immediate concerns and their fundamental causes.

Emphasis should be on preventing problems rather than reacting to a never-ending series of emergencies. Within our schools we must create and maintain calm, peaceful and mutually respectful classroom environments with clearly spelled-out consequences and alternatives for disruptive students. School discipline efforts should focus on those children with a history of problems, and schools must be given the resources they need to deal with the needs these children have. This includes supportive services and small classes, especially for children who cannot function in a regular classroom setting. Although these measures are costly they will pay off in the long run by giving children the academic and social skills they need to succeed in school.

Consequences to children for their inappropriate, disruptive, potentially harmful and dangerous behavior must be effective. If the consequences are too little, too late, destructive behavior will not be deterred. If the consequences are too severe, school staff will want to minimize the problems and not report incidents.

Law enforcement measures should be viewed as a sometimes necessary but last resort and only in response to actual criminal activity. If there is unwarranted, widespread criminalization of student behavior, this will not only mark student lives but will exacerbate an already faulty and underfunded approach which doesn’t address the roots of the problem.

Within a generally accepted citywide framework, school committees of teachers, supervisors, parents, and students should come to a consensus concerning the rules and procedures and in-school structures that are appropriate for each school. The citywide framework itself should be based on input from these school committees. The recommendations of these committees should reflect an honest assessment of practices that have worked and failed in each school. In addition, the Department of Education should undertake a thorough effort to research successful programs throughout the country.

The shuffling of children with low achievement levels and a history of poor behavior from school to school and their increased concentration in certain schools, the inadequate number of staff (guidance counselors and deans) to deal with problems, the intimidation of teachers through the use of the redefined corporal  punishment rule (which is often abused by principals against teachers  they don’t like), and the tearing down of the suspension structure, coupled with the total ineffectiveness of the in-house suspension program has exacerbated the problems of discipline and security in many schools.

The DOE and school administrations must be responsible for discipline and security in the schools. School suspensions, rather than in-house suspensions must be restored for all principal’s suspensions. But the key is to deal with the children at an early age before attitudes and  behavior have developed to the point where they are much more difficult to deal with. If funds are allocated for staff and programs that focus on preventing problems in the early grades, if needy and troubled children are given the appropriate services and placed in smaller classes and, if necessary, alternate educational settings as they progress through the system, we believe that there will be a marked change in the atmosphere and security of all our schools.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

PEP Hearing, 12/20/2012 by SOSfromEVA (Save our Students from Eva Moskowitz)

The Eva/Success scam exposed. Watch resources in the Success network flow to the rich white kids whose parents want to use public funds instead of paying for private school. Really, a brilliant business model to drain funding from public schools and remove those pesky kids of color from neighborhoods where they are not wanted. One day the parents in Harlem will see that very clearly.

Great work by Thomas Hasler, chapter leaders of Intl HS on the Irving campus in shooting and editing. He has been one of the leading lights in the struggle against Eva's invasion of Washington Irving -- a foothold in tony Grammercy Park, which indicates that the poor kids are no longer on the table for Success Charter.

PEP Hearing, 12/20/2012 by SOSfromEVA (Save our Students from Eva Moskowitz) from SOSfromEVA on Vimeo.

The NYC Department of Education's PEP decided to ignore the public input and opinion of all the affected communities, teachers, principals and students. They approved ALL proposals and hand Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy Charter School Corporation numerous public school spaces so she can operate her schools inside our public schools.

When Chancellor Walcott says that he is for "CHOICE" he means that he wants to open more charter schools.

We ask why they don't support our public schools, so nobody needs that "choice"?

"SOSfromEva" is a movement to highlight the attack on public schools spearheaded by Success Academy Charter Schools as well as by other Charter School operators.

SOSfromEva can be contacted at

Candidates for Public Advocates Take a Stand Against Eva

Noah Gotbaum

Tish James full 8 minute rousing speech:

Rob Rendo Doesn't Like Unity

See Rob's other cartoons: Education Reform: a Blog of Cartoons by a Nationally Board Certified Teacher

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Irony: Randi's Call for Teacher Voices to Be Heard Attacked by Ed Deformer

Groups like E4E which bans any dissenting view gives teachers more of a voice? And Randi arguing for teacher voice when she and her crew deny rank and file teacher voices all the time -- like at the recent Del Ass where they argued against allowing teachers to vote on any eval agree even though it is a contract item and required by UFT by-laws.

the views of our [self-declared] good-and-great teachers should matter more than those of colleagues [higher priced with seniority] who don’t make the grade. More importantly, the views of teachers cannot be the only ones [how about them billionaires] that predominate in education decision-making.

Both Randi and the author are sipping something with side effects.

Randi Weingarten’s Misguided Lament (or Why the Voices of Teachers Aren’t the Only Ones that Matter)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Chicago Public Schools Sued by Teachers Union for discrimination against black teachers

Statement and documents of Chicago Teachers Union on the suit charging CPS with racial discrimination.

  1. The oft-maligned Chicago Public Schools (CPS) policy of subjecting neighborhood schools to “turnaround” discriminates against African-American teachers and staff according to a federal lawsuit filed this week by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and three public school educators. More than half of the 347 tenured teachers who were terminated by CPS as a result of the most recent turnarounds are African-American. This is the second major legal action on this matter taken by the union.
  2. The Dec. 26 lawsuit alleges that the process for selecting schools for turnaround results in schools being selected that have a high percentage of African-American teachers, compared to schools that performed similarly but are not selected for any school action. More than 50 percent of the tenured teachers terminated as a result of the most recent turnarounds were African American, despite making up less than 30 percent of the tenured teaching staff at CPS, and 35 percent of the tenured teacher population in the poor performing schools.
  3. The complaint, a potential class action first filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August by the CTU and teachers Donald L. Garrett Jr., Robert Green and Vivonell Brown Jr., challenges 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

MORE Retreat Friday 12/28 Harlem NYC- Join us

Let’s make it happen...
building more, training leaders

Friday, Dec. 28 - 10a.m - 4 p.m Come for Part or All of Day

10:00-12:00pm Discussion-The Importance of Social Justice Unionism & Preparing for Political Attacks

12:00-1:00pm Lunch - Get to know MORE members (suggested $5 donation)

1:00-3:00pm Workshops, Breakout Groups on Leadership & Fighting Back for Public Education & Building MORE 

3:00-4:00pm Committee on Structure and Organization of MORE
Morningside Garden Cooperative Apartments - 80 LaSalle Street , The Thurgood Marshall Room Harlem NYC (btwn. Broadway and Amterdam AVE, 1 block south of W. 125st)

FEATURING LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS ON• Delegate Assembly Training: Writing, Raising, & Motivating Resolutions. DA Rules of Order
• Chapter Building: Speaking about MORE to educators and parents

MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators) invites you to a day long retreat on the nuts and bolts of creating a strong social justice union by mobilizing our chapters. Work with MORE on creating a democratic, bottom up organization that reflects our vision for a member driven UFT. Participate in discussions and workshops on building MORE leaders to stand up to the attacks on teachers, students and communities of New York City.

I'm going for the pizza.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

PS 138 Eva Invasion: Speculation on going to court to question DOE giveaway to Success?

the DOE specifically has earlier said that there would not be sufficient space for a similar projected enrollment - good evidence, though subject to argument. PS 138 would also have an advantage if they filed right now, before the SCN lottery takes place ---anon
After seeing the video of the PS 138 princpal at the PEP (see below), when the question in the title of this post was asked on the NYCEducationNews listserve, here was one response:
With a strong legal team, PS 138 would probably have a better case than anyone else right now. My understanding of prior co-location cases is that the plaintiffs, in the first instance, could not prove that the potential for overcrowding exists. Here the DOE specifically has earlier said that there would not be sufficient space for a similar projected enrollment - good evidence, though subject to argument. PS 138 would also have an advantage if they filed right now, before the SCN lottery takes place. Courts in the past have found that the enrolled charter students stand greater risk of harm if a co-location is blocked compared to what the existing school students would face from the various potential harms of co-location. Since this Success would be a new school, there are no existing Success students whose interests the court typically would consider on an application for injunctive relief. If a case arrives - either to the Commissioner or ultimately the Courts, I will be interested to see whether the court will hear any evidence of what actually happens in schools that are co-located with this particular charter chain. At this point, there are enough schools in this network that existing co-located students, teachers, etc. should be able to provide evidence of what likely will happen in a proposed new co-location.

As a matter of background to this particular co-location, SCN's initial application was to site three new charter schools in the heart of gentrifying Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill, 2 in District 13 and one in District 17. The pitch was presumably built upon their successful move into Cobble Hill, but this time premised explicitly on luring the acknowledged minority of such families in D13/D17 to create a majority of them in their schools by siting them in prime locations. That is to say, they hoped to poach middle school families from the many traditional public schools (that are already integrated despite being undermined by the DOE, its co-locations and new "choice" schools on a regular basis), and concentrate them in three charters.

I have no idea the discussions, strategy or logic, but the DOE instead is co-locating these charters not in Success's desired areas but instead in the Navy Yards, in Crown Heights, and in Brownsville. SCN has strained to market these locations as gentrifying neighborhoods, in accordance with their current "mission," but in reality all three co-locations are on a VERY slow, if any, path to gentrification. E.g., 265 (Navy Yards) is located in a triangle of the Whitman Houses, the Ingersoll Houses and the BQE, PS 138's population (Crown Heights) is still 96% FRPL, etc. That's not to say that the current schools aren't doing valuable work and doing it well with whomever they serve -- just pointing out that SCN does not appear in this instance to be poised to carry out its stated purpose of creating integrated schools simply by getting shoe-horned into rich neighborhoods a la the Cobble Hill plan. Interested to see what the next round of applications brings --
Here's hoping that we see the day this happens.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas & Chanukah/ Letter to Santa

An oldie, but appropriate to the season.

Just in case anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and Chanukah, you will know what and how to answer.

Fred Smith Celebrates The Night Before…

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the state

Tisch was telling the Regents that she couldn’t wait.

The new year was coming, surely bringing the best;

Every school overflowing with test after test.

The Common Core Standards would arrive any day,

Educational nirvana was well on its way.

And in the Tweed Courthouse joy was also in season.

Tests, yet more tests on top of tests were the reason.

Dasher Klein passed the torch to Walcott, the Dancer;

Year-round testing, K-12 was the obvious answer.

On Bloomberg’s A team was no reindeer named Cupid,

But Polakow-Suransky was left to play stupid,

Explaining how tests were mere all-purpose tools

For holding back kids, judging teachers and schools:

If test prep and drilling took the entire school day,

Such a sacrifice was but a small price to pay.

If History was lost and Music and Art,

Well, you know everybody has to do their part.

If kids are nervous and are sick or are stressed,

That’s kinda sad, but the state and Fed say we must test.

When tests make special need and ELL kids feel dumb and sob,

Again, blame the Fed, we’re only doing our job.

If teachers feel pressured and are tempted to cheat,

We’re sure that’s so rare it’s not worth a tweet.

When teachers are rated by tests that won’t let them teach,

Hmm. I’ll get back to you soon. That’s not part of my speech.

If teachers don’t add value and their names make the press,

I really don’t like that either, I must confess.

When teachers quit because they can’t stand the grinding,

We’ve not done a survey that proves what you’re finding.

And so on and so forth on this Christmas Eve.

Here’s a list to check twice of things I believe:

If children come first, then parents come second.

That’s a clear truth that never gets to be reckoned.

So Albany and Tweed, you must let in the sun;

You and the privateers are not Number 1.

And that goes for Pearson and all of the charters;

We’ll call you if we need you! How’s that for starters.

Don’t keep parents in the dark about testing you’ve planned.

And spring tests on our children with your high hand.

Inform us of field tests and all other exams;

We’re not here to be led around like little lambs.

Let us decide to opt out or give our consent,

If we think taking these tests is time that’s well spent.

Be sure to assess what’s important to measure,

The work kids can do and the growth that we treasure.

Not the bubble sheet tests sold by grubby green vendors

To the grinches on Tweed Street—education’s pretenders.

That’s the kind of New Year that I hope will be seen;

Merry Christmas to all and Happy 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ed Notes Exclusive: NRA Solves Fiscal Cliff Problem

The only thing that stops a bad Democrat from heading us over the cliff is a good Republican with a gun. There is only way to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.  Give every good tea party member of Congress an assault rifle. "---Wayne LaPierre

LaPierre called for the federal program implementing the NRA's solution to the fiscal cliff issue to be headed by Dick Cheney. He also called for armed guards in every row of every movie complex, theater, sports stadium, supermarket (especially the meat aisles), deli, bodega, and ice cream parlor. "I love banana rocky road," LaPierre said.

Arms for Congress - as long as you're Republican

Sunday Funnies


Have a Very Rephormy Christmas!

And an excellent and innovative new year…
Still looking for the purrfect gift for that extra excellent and innovative someone in your life? Not to worry. EduShyster has assembled an assembly of offerings guaranteed to send test scores soaring all through the holidays and into 2013. So from my rephorm family to yours: ¡feliz navidad and a very prospero año! Continue reading

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yesterday They Called Me a Union Thug...

Now they want me to carry an assault rifle.

Video: Paulie Z Does Rounding Numbers With Brooklyn Class

My friend, a teacher in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - District 14, sent along this video:

Paulie Z has been working with kids at my school.  They made a video about rounding numbers.  Please watch and pass it on!


Sandy Diaries - What Were We Thinking? Day of Sandy, Part 1

Published in print edition Friday, December 21, 2012,

By Norm Scott

Here’s hoping everyone is recovering as best they can. I’m so glad The Wave has come through this. Seeing it out again is a clear sign we are moving towards the new normal.

Monday morning, October 29, at 10:30, I posted a piece on my blog about the education evaluation negotiations and the January deadline imposed by Cuomo and how it might tie into a UFT contract, plus other issues all coming together at the same time. I lightheartedly titled it “The Perfect Storm.”

What was I thinking? We had decided not to leave Rockaway, though when I had looked out the window at around 8AM there was water coming up my bay block street from the ocean. And when I saw my neighbors across the street come racing out of the house around 10AM with a suitcase it got me thinking. Some of my other neighbors had already left.

Last year we left because of Irene and I remember the night of anxiety worried if the house would be there. Not this time. We wanted to be there on sight to clean up the next day. Who knew cleanup would take months. I went outside and saw other neighbors who said they were staying the course – we were taking picture of the water, which was lapping at my garage door until the tide began to go down and the waters began to recede.

Hey, we were ready. I was on a long line at Brown’s Sunday morning -- the always amazing crew there went to Pennsylvania Saturday to pick up 6000 sand bags – and my wife and I went to the beach and almost died from carrying the bags full of wet sand to my car. Boy was I glad that I only had to fill 12 bags. Later Sunday I tucked my wife’s car into the garage (we live in a split level with the garage, laundry room, den and bathroom on the ground level) and carefully placed them in front of my garage door, covering about 18 inches. There, that ought to do it. Well, if it goes to 2 feet some water might get in. I proudly took a picture showing off all my work, really one of the funniest photos I have ever taken.

At 4:30 PM I posted another piece I called: The Real Perfect Storm. Here is a slightly edited version to give you some idea of some dumb, lighthearted thinking even at that late time.

“Thanks for all the concerns and invitations for us and the cats to come stay. No, we have not left. As soon as I tell everyone that due to probable loss of power and/or storm damage we would probably have to stay for 3 months I could hear the enthusiasm begin to wane. My friend and I took a walk to the beach at noon and I took some photos and video. The water had totally receded and people were walking on the beach. The rain was beginning to hit hard. We stopped at someone's house who was worried about her car in her driveway and wanted to know if it would be better on her lawn. I started to panic over my 3 month old car in my driveway. Realizing my next door neighbors had left I had the brilliant idea to put my car in their garage which seemed higher than mine. Well it is tucked away but if the surge gets in there we are in big trouble -- in terms of our house which could take a long time to be back to normal. I'm as worried about the bay a half block away as the ocean 4 blocks away. We have a sea wall about 5 feet high. In Hurricane Donna in 1960 the wall wasn't there and the ocean met the bay. It could still happen tonight at high tide, around 9PM, the big one where we expect to take in some water. The idea is to turn my basement into a swimming pool. One seeming good thing is that the storm is moving faster and should hit land a few hours before high tide. But we still do have a full moon. I will be howling at it as my basement and possibly higher levels fill with water. The video is posted at”
After I posted this piece at 4:30PM, I looked out the window and saw another neighbor racing out of the house as the water started coming down the street. “You think we should have left,” my wife asked?

My garage at around noon- water came up to the bags this morning at high tide

Monday, Oct. 29 high tide around 9AM - My new car - water receded around 10:30AM,

Friday, December 21, 2012

Same Old PEP Except When PS 138 Principal Gives Tweed and Eva Tongue-Lashing Over Co-loco

"Now you want to take my school and say Success Academy will give them choice when the choice is PS 138 ... I am a choice too."

There wasn't much different at the PEP yesterday other than a somewhat rare event -- the outrage of the principal of a school (PS 138) that has a good rep but is in an increasingly gentrifying zone and thus became a target for an Eva invasion. She was following Success clones who kept talking about the high achievement of their schools (which I am always skeptical about) as an excuse to give them the right to invade any place they deem proper knowing that their SUNY and DOE servants will hand over the plumpest real estate. I have a few more videos to show later from the meeting, including speeches from 2 contenders for Public Advocate, Tish James and Noah Gotbaum.

Lisa Donlan Comments on Tweed Inability to Manage Schools: Is it Centralized Mayoral Control?

No checks, no balances, no levers of power except for the mayor, his chancellor and the principals. The next Mayor had better tread carefully- the public school system is land mined w/ a dozen years of structural changes contradictory and uneven bad policy, and even worse implementation. --- Parent activist Lisa Donlan
DOE can do nothing right acc to Mulgrew; many would agree.
You know I don't necessarily buy the "Tweed incompetence" argument, which the UFT often pushes. I think Tweedies are just not interested in making things work in many public schools other than to cover their ass in case something goes wrong.

They are much more focused on their political agenda of pushing privatization schemes. There is a form of intentional neglect, in essence to make many public schools in areas targeted by charters a less appetizing choice. In fact as was pointed out at the PEP meeting last night, much of the gifted and talented policies are set up to drive the most active parents into the arms of charters.

Here, Lisa responded with a focus on the folly of mayoral/centralized control, some form of which we know the UFT will continue to support even after its bogus task force meets for a year and comes up with the recommendations the leadership wanted anyway. Why will the UFT support centralized control? Because they cannot accept the alternative.
Well, think about it- how CAN a highly-centralized ( removed) administration charged w/ overseeing 1750 schools in 1200 buildings w/ 80,000 teachers and more than a million students get anything right when it comes to actual implementation?

Especially when authority is relegated to " empowered" principals of stand-alone schools w/ no supervisors?

How can the administration even know, never mind monitor or supervise, how policy is being implemented?

As we all have seen, the promise of mayoral control = total control in exchange for accountability, revealed itself quite quickly as unfeasible- even impossible.

After centralizing and trying a top-down, one-size-fits-all edict-based administration for 2-3 years, Klein pulled a complete 180 in 2006-07 and implemented a crazy quilt of bureaucracy based on empowered principals (total autocrats) and their virtual hidden bureaucracies (SSO's, now CFN's) w/ essentially no supervision beyond unaudited self -completed compliance check lists and review by not much more than test score.

While principals and their Network Leaders seem to operate in a total vacuum, they still must respond to plenty of top down mandates.

For instance the safety protocols that mandate safety- fire and lock down- drills' (See how that is working out, here: Police were called to an East Harlem school that had conducted a ‘shooter’ lockdown drill. Times and here:

Or the Teacher Evaluation Pilots that schools are implementing willy nilly, whether or not they are in the pilot, and in an "anything goes" unchecked manner, described below by Mulgrew and Mendel.

Or the special education reforms (I was not able to link to the story Ellen posted but I am sure it is an object lesson in the abuse of power by certain principals trying to meet an impossible top down imposed but unfunded mandate that is unmonitored and unsupervised.)

No checks, no balances, no levers of power except for the mayor, his chancellor and the principals. The next Mayor had better tread carefully- the public school system is land mined w/ a dozen years of structural changes contradictory and uneven bad policy, and even worse implementation.
Lisa Donlan

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ed Notes Uncovers Draft of Mulgrew Letter to DOE Never Sent

We regret having tried to fool you into believing we were going to dupe our members into an evaluation system that could not be fair when we endorsed the new evaluation framework which became law. Our internal union elections are coming and we have come to the conclusion that forcing the evaluation system based on bogus student scores and unreliable data will hurt our chances to get re-elected. We are willing to take the heat from the local media as long as we can stay in union office and pull down our salaries and double dipped pensions.
Ed Notes has uncovered the real letter Mulgrew wrote to the DOE but never sent. Eterno at ICE posted what he did send, apparently the wrong version found its way into the envelope:


The letter below was sent to the Department of Education by UFT President Michael Mulgrew. It describes the conditions necessary for there to be any future meetings between the UFT and DOE regarding development and implementation for a new evaluation system.
Dear Chancellor Walcott,
The Department of Education’s demonstrated inability to manage the school system correctly has led us to have serious concerns about getting anything constructive done with you. Two and half years ago the state decided to change this year’s standardized tests to the Common Core standards and since then you have done nothing to create a curriculum based on the Common Core. You have now left teachers in a horrendous situation where they are scrambling to try to get material appropriate for these new tests to teach their children.

Additionally we realize we have made an egregious error in ever believing that you would seriously evaluate our teachers in a fair manner. We regret having tried to fool you into believing we were going to dupe our members into an evaluation system that could not be fair when we endorsed the new evaluation framework which became law.

Our internal union elections are coming and we have come to the conclusion that forcing the evaluation system based on bogus student scores and unreliable data will hurt our chances to get re-elected. We are willing to take the heat from the local media as long as we can stay in union office and pull down our salaries and double dipped pensions.
Given this history, at this time we will only meet with you to discuss a planning and roll-out process for the new evaluation system — in case we ever get to such an agreement. We understand that an evaluation system that will create a constructive practice in each school that will enhance instruction and benefit our over 1.1 million students is a critical opportunity. An evaluation system that will change the culture of our schools is something that the UFT has been working on for over three years. We hope that you will not be party to wasting such an important opportunity. We await your communication to set up such a meeting on the planning and roll-out process for the benefit of our children and our schools.
Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew
UFT President

United Federation of TeachersA Union of Professionals
52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 • 212.777.7500

Also read:

Perdido Street School: On Mulgrew's Evaluation Letter

Reality Comment:
The election might be playing a role here and we may see some sort of reprieve/stall, etc until sometime in April. Unless there's money on the table. That would give Mulgrew time to let the wounds fade. I do think there is some genuine outrage on the part of the UFT leadership given the way the DOE rolled out - and rolled over people - with that new program on Danielson -- the screams coning out of the school were real and there is still that MORE petition that has now topped 1000 signatures. (You can sign here:

PEP Again? Today at Fashion Industries HS, Tweed Gives Charters the Store

 EVAcuate our schools now!

Shit, Tis that season again and later this afternoon I have to drag my ass out of Rockaway where I'm enjoying the pleasures of mold spraying to head over the PEP meeting where every Tom, Dick and Charter will get whatever they want from Tweedies and the PEP. Eva is getting prime real estate school buildings in Grammacy Park and Hell's Kitchen (where I was at a Weds matinee of The Mystery of Edwin Brood yesterday).

Some MOREs are going to be there wearing their red shirts to support whatever effort will be made to fight the Eva paid hordes. 

We know the UFT is not really capable of fighting back on the charter co-loco issue, fighting to keep its own charters open in co-located public schoolsUnion-Run Charter School In Fight for Survival.

When I read this tweet: 
Are the problems of the UFT's East NY Charter School proof unions shouldn't run schools?
My response was:

Unions should fight to eliminate charters not run them
But, alas, the UFT/AFT/Randi crew have cast in their lot with charters by running one in a public school building, which pretty much takes that dog out of the big fight, leaving them to provide minor assistance to what turns out to be a losing battle without any big guns to stand up to the charters.

By the way, did you see the latest lying claim from the charters that co-loco schools have more space?
Yes, Virginia, charter school co-locations do indeed cause more overcrowding
Well, below are some leaflets MORE has produced for the PEP and  when we speak some

Talking points on charter schools

*They are not public. They are often run by corporations as for-profits.
*They are selective, filtering out low income, special education and ELL students.
Despite the screening, research shows that 80 % of charter schools students perform the same or worse than students in public schools.
Talking points on co-locating schools:

*895 of the system's over 1,700 schools share space with other schools in 328 buildings.
*Co-located schools have competition over access to libraries, gyms and cafeterias. Students face eating lunch as early as 9:45 or as late as 2:00.
*Co-located schools have less access to support services such as social workers or guidance counselors. They have eliminated space for tutoring or for professional development, further hindering their ability to serve special need students.
*Co-locations have been a large part of the PEP agenda over the last year: the DOE made around 100 co-location proposals in 2011 to 2012. --Dep. Chanc. Marc Steinberg.
*Co-locations are a strategy that is now expanding nationally –from Florida, to Louisiana to Texas.

Talking points on how charter schools connect to the co-location strategy:

*Co-locations are the avenue for expanding the growth of charter schools in a tight real estate market.
*The 102 co-located charter schools create the greatest amount of tension around co-locations.
Examples of effects on at schools:
*With co-locations, students in the public schools face glaring inequities when compared to students in co-located charters schools, said the NAACP:
*Students have been barred from using nearby bathrooms, and told to use bathrooms on other floors, causing them to have accidents.
*District school-charter school divisions in a building create separate but unequal cultures:
*Classrooms with peeling paint and aged equipment; and no working Wi-Fi Internet on the other side: new computers, Smart Boards and working air conditions.

*At Alfred E. Smith High School, the Bronx, the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries program, part of the Victory Schools charter school network has been scandal ridden: its founder and former chairman faced federal embezzlement charges. In just the 2009 to 2010 school year, the principal and five of fifteen teachers left, along with one-third of its students.
What does MORE advocate instead?

*MORE stands for equitable school funding and more resources to the schools that need them the most.
*MORE says that instead of competition, we should focus on reforms that promise
one free, fair, high-quality and integrated public education system.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

E4E - Misuse of Influence at Truman HS: Group With Political Agenda Gains Entry During Professional Development

Explain how pushing an agenda to pressure the UFT into caving on the evaluation issue is PD? Walcott must bear responsibility.

How interesting that E4E is allowed into schools by the DOE officials to push the political agenda pressuring the UFT to give in on ed evaluation. This is a blatant abuse by the DOE. I bet here is a law being violated somewhere here.

Imagine if MORE were allowed to do PD with its political agenda and the howls of protest. It seems there was some pushback but where is the UFT on this issue? When I was invited to speak to teachers, not during official PD but on their own time, there were howls of protest from the Unity chapter leader and push back from the district reps.

Someone at Truman should check the sign-in books and get the names.

I received a request from someone at the school for more info in E4E.
Here is the email with a link
At Monday's PD, we were visited by Educators4Excellence.  For your consideration, it is funded by Bill Gates [see article].  This is an interest group advocating a political agenda.

May 22, 2011
Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates 
Bill Gates' foundation pays educators to pose alternatives to union orthodoxies regarding seniority and test scores. 
People at the school want more info on E4E. If you have some stuff to share leave the link in a comment and I'll send the info along.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Karen Lewis Kicks TFA Veep the Creep David Rosenberg's Ass Down the Road

To David Rosenberg, Shanda! Shame on you for such a paranoid rant. If you had nothing of which to be guilty, those words would have rolled off your back.... Karen Lewis
a town like Sandy Hook would laugh at the very idea of a TFA 6 week wonder teaching their kids. 
I kvell at the growing relationship between Karen Lewis and Diane Ravitch. Today Karen, who let me remind everyone, came straight out of a high school chemistry classroom to lead the CTU, comes to Diane's defense over the loose cannon attacks by a TFA slimeball named David Rosenberg -- (not cousin David Rosenberg, thank goodness, who is also my accountant). I wonder of TFA leadership is bummed that the Sandy Hook teachers are AFT and not one of them is a TFA ---and we know why -- a town like Sandy Hook would laugh at the very idea of a 6 week TFA wonder teaching their kids.

You can read the background at Diane's blog: Karen Lewis Reacts to the Kerfuffle

Here is Karen's comment:
Diane, et. al.
I have read these posts (alas I do not do Twitter), and I am struck by the lack of authenticity by the Rosenberg comment. Diane has been at the forefront of the desire to lift up the beleaguered profession of teaching in each and every post. She has drawn the connections between people who wouldn't think of sending their children to public schools and their policies that are destroying the common good. Anyone who doesn't know that in the marrow of their bones, doesn't read her blog.

On the other, the educrats who do not agree with her, read her posts, too so as to keep abreast of her thoughts and are ready to pounce if they see an opening. There might have been a time where "politicizing" tragic events, especially mass shootings was thought to be in poor taste. That has changed with the 24/7 news cycle that continues to focus far too much time and energy on the perpetrator of the massacre than that of our precious victims. Rosenberg's "false outrage" needs to be checked. That same false outrage should show itself when policies his colleagues support kill and disenfranchise children from schools across this nation. We in Chicago have been the victims of their experiments on our children since the current secretary of Education "ran" CPS.

The accolades heaped on a group of education missionaries, (hopefully with beautiful intent on the part of the TFA teachers) cannot go unchallenged. Diane does that. Day in and day out, she champions rank and file educators and the hard work they do. She has a special place in heart for those who see the value of the classroom and not as stepping stone to a more lucrative career or the opportunism of self-promoters like Michelle Rhee who, with her lies about her own classroom experience has catapulted herself into the welcoming arms of those who hate unions, tenure and anything else that provides due process and gives teachers real voice.

To David Rosenberg, Shanda! Shame on you for such a paranoid rant. If you had nothing of which to be guilty, those words would have rolled off your back.

Monday, December 17, 2012

UFT Leaders Show Disdain for Tweedies: We Don't Care About the Money

Indications there will not be a deal by the deadline.
Well, I took another shot at attending a UFT Executive Board meeting tonight in the hope I survive the free dinner. I won't get into which UFT people were saying what but the sense of derision towards Tweedies at the top was rampant.

UFT to Tweed: You know where to find us
Uncaring, incompetent, insane and inane would pretty much cover it. There is no progress on the evaluation deal.

They talked about some DOE implementation of a program called something like Teacher Effective Intensive Network --- that was sprung on teachers by hordes of administrators using Danielson with razor blades and knives inserted. I'm paraphrasing here: If that's how they are going to do this how can we come to any agreement on evaluation when they set up this kind of climate?

All District Reps were directed to send this out:
This is for all non-TEP schools (TEP is Danielson Pilot schools).  If your school is not in the pilot, please let me know if you have groups of people coming into your rooms to observe or to ask you for your lesson plans, etc.  With or without notice.  Please respond to this request as soon as possible.
They seemed pretty pissed and given this was just an Ex bd meeting of loyalists where they don't have to put on a show, it seemed real.

One top Tweedie reminded a UFT honcho that Bloomberg's scary tactic deadline was this Friday. "Your deadline, not ours" was the response.

The message the UFT was giving: "Go to the Post and the News all you want. We don't care if you do. And we don't care about the money." Hard to believe the UFT doesn't worry about bad PR but I've never quite seen this level of fedupness. Is it remotely possible that the UFT has had enough? Hard to believe but they were talking tough tonight.

When Tweed asked if the UFT was going to keep a negotiating team on watch during the vacation, the response was, "Hell No, our people are going on vacation."

Rhee's Smoking Gun: Silent On Michigan Bill Allowing Concealed Weapons Carry In Schools

From South Bronx School most legislators Student First endorsed voted for it.
Asked whether that means the group supports or opposes the concealed-carry expansion, [StudentsFirst spokesperson Ileana] Wachtel said, "We're focused on education reform policies. That's what we do."
Students first indeed.
One group that has taken no position on the legislation is StudentsFirst, the education reform group that was started by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and that happens to be active in Michigan politics.
Asked about its stance, StudentsFirst spokeswoman Ileana Wachtel said, "StudentsFirst believes that schools have to be a safe haven for kids. It is incumbent upon our elected officials to ensure that every single child is protected, particularly those under the care and direction of our public schools."
Asked whether that means the group supports or opposes the concealed-carry expansion, Wachtel said, "We're focused on education reform policies. That's what we do."
Although the group takes no public position on the measure, StudentsFirst's allies in Michigan politics have no problem with concealed carry in schools. Indeed, the vast majority of the Michigan legislators whom StudentsFirst recently endorsed voted in favor of the legislation. Of 22 legislators who received election endorsements from StudentsFirst, 14 supported the bill (all of them Republican), one voted against it (a Democrat), and seven others aren't in office.
More at

I really figured this out. Rhee wants guns in the school just in case hubbie Kevin Johnson gets frisky with the young ladies.

Why I Joined Unity Caucus

I gotta be on the side that's going to get me out of this lousy teaching position.... A new chapter leader who recently was recruited to Unity Caucus.
This same person would not support the MORE petition calling for a membership vote on any evaluation deal.

Who does this person now represent?

The people who elected this person or the Unity Caucus masters who hold out the carrot of a possible job in exchange for selling out colleagues?

At the DA last Wednesday, a MORE member was sitting with a group of chapter leaders from one district who were talking about how the MORE resolution made sense. The District Rep turned around and yelled at them that they must vote against it. (That is why the get the chapter leaders from each district to sit toether). About half did.

At a District chapter leader meeting a few days later the District Rep was asked for more info about the MORE reso and the response was, "That's a dissident group. Ignore them."

Here is the raw stuff that shows how Unity controls the teachers.

Robert Rendo Blog: All Images Free

A colleague of mine, Robert Rendo, is a teacher and illustrator and is now offering free license to use images from his blog, which you can now access at

The name of the blog is "The Truth About Education Reform: a Blog of Cartoons . . .  Images with a Voice!"

Users can literally enlarge and grab the image to incorporate into their own literature. All they have to do is click on the image, and it enlarges to be grabbed or saved as a file on the desktop. It's that easy, and all images for the taking.

Robert is encouraging everyone and anyone to fight back against this horrific and undemocratic corporate reform in public education, and he believes in the potent use of imagery, in part, to get one's message across to the public.

Robert gives free and permanent license to anyone who wishes to use his images in their literature, tweets, websites, blogs, etc. to fight the corporate education reform agenda and to restore public education as a public trust to parents, educators and cognitive scientists who are maintaining the same fight. He encourages everyone to use the free license to utilize images as advocacy. The sole condition for usage is that the name "Robert Rendo" is credited for the illustration and text therein. This notice of free licensure can be used as well and is equally encouraged. If image obtainment is a problem for the reader, please e-mail Robert Rendo at, and he will e-mail the illustration in any file format the user requests.

Robert is a 19 year veteran teacher English Language Arts to low income immigrant populations in the public schools, and he's Nationally Board certified. He is also an award winning editorial illustrator with works in the Society of Illustrators, the American Photography/American Illustration Show, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Sacramento Bee. He has collaborated on projects with Los Angeles Times feature writer Roy Rivenberg and 30 year art director Jerelle Krause of the New York Times. More of his work can be seen at

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rhee Uses Tragedy to Take Her Own Shot

Our children are our most valuable assets ---- Michelle Rhee

For Rhee and her sycophants to call these teachers in Newtown colleagues is not only laughable.... It is vulgar. One of the worst vulgarities I have ever seen. These teachers are career teachers, went into teaching to have a career, a lifetime of education children. Rhee and her ilk stand for everything that is opposite of these.. teachers' belief systems. --- South Bronx School
 What can you say about a person who uses an event as unspeakable as the massacre in Sandy Hook to promote her organization ?-- Raging Horse 
Slimy Michelle Rhee and her slimy Student First didn't miss a beat to jump in on the tragedy. Here is a definition of asset:
A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.
Enough said.  One more cartoon to indicate how the world views the expression.

Rhee says:
how are we expected to foster an environment in which students can learn, grow, thrive, and set off on positive life-paths when we cannot guarantee basic needs such as their safety?..But events like these also strengthen our resolve to do exactly that -- improve schools for children and thereby improve entire communities.
Oh, EXCUSE ME! What happened to your "no excuses"? You mean kids actually have to feel safe to learn? What about kids living in poverty? Do you think they feel safe? Rhee's organization will not skip a beat talking about how the most important factor is judging teachers based on test scores. The "strengthen our resolve" is code for "we won't stop hounding and vilifying teachers and calling for their scores to be published so they can be further vilified." Student First in Connecticut will still be calling for the teachers at the school to be pilloried in public. Maybe they will exempt the ones who gave their lives for the children.

Read bloggers
Many bloggers are pointing to the actions of the teacher heroes.
Jersey Jazzman: Do We Remember Heroes For Their Test Scores?
And here's a good piece from a non-teacher who was married to one.
Once the media horror dies down about Soto and her co-workers’ sacrifices, I guarantee you this: public school grade school teachers will go right back to being the despised class. “Union thugs.” “With three-month vacations.” “Teaching kids their ABCs.” All the idiotic, ill-informed, right wing anti-intellectual myths will rev up again as if nothing had happened. And in the meantime the people the Fox pundits despise will go on teaching kids to read and do math and treat each other with respect.

Thank you, teachers

Victoria Soto, age 27, apparently died yesterday while trying to get her students into a safer spot in their classroom at Sandy Hook. She stood between the murderer and her students, and he killed her.
This is Soto right here.
[Updated to add: Andrew Revkin shares more on Soto's colleagues Kaitlin Roig  and Maryrose Kristopik: "Kaitlin Roig locked her students in the bathroom and kept them safe, while Victoria Soto was trying to do the same when she came face-to-face with the gunman and was shot, execution style. Maryrose Kristopik barricaded her music students in a closet, while the gun man fought to get in." Roig and Kristopik survived, thankfully.]
I spent a little time thinking about Soto and her colleagues this morning. I’ve known quite a few grade school teachers over the years. Until 2009, I was married to one. And I realized as I was thinking about Soto that there’s not a single one of those grade school teachers I’ve known, my ex- emphatically included, who I could imagine doing anything but jumping between the gunman and his or her students.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chicago Teachers Say: Tell the Fat Cats: Get Your Paws Off Our Public Schools

Could you see the UFT putting on an event like this when they themselves are fat cats?

Chicago Teachers Union
Defending Our Schools

Click here to RSVP

Tell the Fat Cats:
Get Your Paws Off
Our Public Schools

Rowdy Rauner and the Litterbox Crew caricatures from the Stand Up to the Fat Cats video. Names: Rowdy Rauner, the Rahminator, Bill the Fence, Penny Pincher, Kochta Brothers, Stan Onchildren, Robbing Stains, The CEO, Broady Bucks, and DEFR.
Dec. 18
4 pm – 6 pm
125 S. Clark
Brief March
& Action
here to
Rich people always seem to think they know best. When it comes to our schools, all their brilliant ideas have only made things worse. Rahm listens to them about the future of our schools, but parents, teachers and students are shut out.
The Fat Cats say schools are “underutilized” and should be closed, but they push at the same time to open new charter schools that they control. They cut from students and teachers to save money, but their companies are still taking tax breaks, contracts, and TIFs that broke the budget to begin with. Stand up: Tell them to keep their paws off our schools!